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Leeroy Jeepkins 05-06-2013 10:39 AM

Please bear with me.i would like to get some wheels for 33's b4 i get married and....
and.... my suspension needs an upgrade. i would like to get the cheapest available wheels with 4.5 to 5" of backspacing before i get married. This way when i actually need to upgrade my suspension and tires i can "go bigger". i have no clue as to how i can start looking on craigslist or whatever or whether or not 4.5" backspaced rims will fit my current BFG A/T 31" tires.

i know cheapest isn't always best but i have no clue what to look for. what should i type into Google or Craigslist to look for 4.5 to 5" backspaced wheels for a 1997 TJ? i have no clue as to what brand,make,model etc.

any help would be appeciated.

jfallon83 05-06-2013 11:10 AM

Your best way to search on craigslist will most likely be to just search "wrangler wheels" or "wrangler rims". You'll have to look at them on an item by item basis to determine the backspacing and may even have to contact the seller, as the backspacing is not always listed in the ads. 4.5" is fairly common in aftermarket wheels, so you should be able to find them fairly easily. You will also need to check and make sure that the wheels are not for a JK wrangler (2007 and up) because the bolt pattern is different. Yours Jeep has 5 x 4.5" bolt pattern.

The backspacing will not effect your tire fitment. For that you will want to get the tire width. 8" and 10" wide wheels are fairly standard and should fit both your 31" tires and 33" tires, assuming they are common sizes. In order to tell you for sure, I would need to know the width of the tires.

Now, my one concern is the 4.5 or 5" of backspacing. Backspacing measures the distance from the mounting surface of the wheel to the back of the wheel. So, the larger the back spacing the more "tucked" in closer to the frame your wheel and tires are going to be. Because of this, I would avoid the 5" backspacing and maybe search for more of a 4" or 4.5" backspacing. Since 33" tires are almost always wider than 31" tires, you want to make sure that you have enough room for the tires to clear the frame rails when your going around a sharp turn.

You probably already know this, but I figured I'd mention it just in case. If your looking to get this done on the cheap, I would look for a 15" diameter wheel. 15" wheels and tires are almost always cheaper than 16"+.

Hope this info helps.

Jerry Bransford 05-06-2013 11:19 AM

For 31x10.50 tires, definitely stick with a 15x8 wheel, a 15x10 wheel would be too wide. 4.5" of backspacing would be better for that size tire too, 3.75" of backspacing would cause the tires to stick out further than necessary. I'm running 15x8 with even my 35x12.50 tires & would turn down a 15x10 wheel even if it were free. Also, 4.5" of backspacing will work with a 33x12.50 or 35x12.50 tire, you only need to add two washers to each of the two steering bolt stops. 3.75" or 4" of backspacing would be better for a 12.5" wide tire but... :)

jfallon83 05-06-2013 11:50 AM

Not to hijack a thread, but just out of curiosity, why would you turn down a 10" wheel? I've ran them on tires ranging from 31" to 37" with no issues (10.50" to 13.50" wide). Is there something I should be looking out for?

Jerry Bransford 05-06-2013 11:56 AM

A 15x10 wheel is just too wide for a 10.5" wide tire for one thing. Since a tire's stated width is only at its widest point half-way up the sidewall, you should not try to match the wheel width to the tire width. The tire's actual mounting bead width is usually at least 1-2 inches narrower than the tire's stated width.

For my 35x12.50 tires, I air them down for offroading. With a 15x10 wheel, an aired down tire is more likely to unseat than it would be when mounted on a 15x8 wheel. It takes more air pressure to hold a tire reliably seated against two edges 10" apart than if they are 8" apart. I'd only run a 15x10 wheel if my tires were wider than 12.5". For street use, a 15x10 wheel would be fine for an 11.5 to 12.5" wide tire. A 15x10 wheel would never be the right choice for a 31x10.50 or smaller tire though.

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