Do you ever regret going too big on your TJ build?

AndyG

TJ Expert
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
4,922
Location
Alabama
Mine has been on 33's with a 4" lift since I bought it back in the summer of 2008. Honestly it is more than I generally need, but it looks cool, and I'd rather have more than enough than not enough...and it looks cool, if I forgot to say that.
33" tires/4" lift , looks so good , scale wise on a TJ , and most 35's look good too.

Both my Rubicons' came with 35" tires , I dropped back to 33" fast on each and I tend to think it's the best "all around " set up for cool looks, good road manners and off-road clearance /capability , but it's easy to make that case for a lot of sizes , especially 31-33" tires.

I'm not "Anti -35" but I do feel they come with a price, and they wouldn't make a positive difference when I am the majority of the time , which is where I want the Jeep to work its best , and they still do well in technical off road. I feel like lockers compensate for so much , I don't get too deep into the tire size thing .... because there is always another size and argument for it .

At the same time , I totally realize there are times when 35" tires make a huge difference , so I can't knock the choice if you need that set up..that's why they make them .

My biggest real regret with my TJ? Waiting so long to buy one. What was I thinking.
 

Rescue6

Long time wheeler
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
Messages
480
Location
Colorado
I do sometimes wish it was still on 35”s. Having had numerous spinal surgeries now it’s harder to get in and out of these days. I’m on 37”s now with a 5” stretched wheelbase and the axles to go with them and an atlas 4 speed transfer case. I do run trails that make the 37”s necessary a few times a year. However it doesn’t drive as fun or as nice on the road as it did with 35”s. I contemplate going back to 35”s often but then I contemplate going to 40”s also. Once these tires wear out. I’ll just let my body Decide if it goes bigger or smaller.

407B284D-56B5-409E-8EFB-666C4F5CCC7B.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Dilly Dilly

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2019
Messages
85
Location
Yorba Linda
I'm a little surprised at the comments on the smaller tires , not good or bad. Then I looked at the locations of the posters. I was wondering is it as much a mud to rock comparison as a 35 vs 33. I live in mostly lg rock area and anything less than 35 is going to get lower body damage and hung up a lot more. We just did a pretty serious blk diamond trail and a guy with 33's wanted to come out I told him he would be fine. My bad he was not having fun and his wife was having less on top of that they got body damage on a new JL and every scrap on the skids got me a horrified look. Had to re think where my group is at. We have maybe 3 jeeps with 33's and they always tell me they can run anything the big tires can but most of them have older jeeps with some pre damage.
How different are the Eastern states are 33's plenty of tire for the trails.
 

BuildBreakRepeat

Have you cycled your suspension today?
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Messages
1,095
Location
Corvallis, Oregon
I'm a little surprised at the comments on the smaller tires , not good or bad. Then I looked at the locations of the posters. I was wondering is it as much a mud to rock comparison as a 35 vs 33. I live in mostly lg rock area and anything less than 35 is going to get lower body damage and hung up a lot more. We just did a pretty serious blk diamond trail and a guy with 33's wanted to come out I told him he would be fine. My bad he was not having fun and his wife was having less on top of that they got body damage on a new JL and every scrap on the skids got me a horrified look. Had to re think where my group is at. We have maybe 3 jeeps with 33's and they always tell me they can run anything the big tires can but most of them have older jeeps with some pre damage.
How different are the Eastern states are 33's plenty of tire for the trails.
I agree that location has a lot to do with it. I run 35”s because I want to. But @jjvw has done some pretty incredible things on worn out 33”s (big rocks) that show a short wheelbase TJ and properly setup suspension Is the biggest advantage.
 

Rescue6

Long time wheeler
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
Messages
480
Location
Colorado
I'm a little surprised at the comments on the smaller tires , not good or bad. Then I looked at the locations of the posters. I was wondering is it as much a mud to rock comparison as a 35 vs 33. I live in mostly lg rock area and anything less than 35 is going to get lower body damage and hung up a lot more. We just did a pretty serious blk diamond trail and a guy with 33's wanted to come out I told him he would be fine. My bad he was not having fun and his wife was having less on top of that they got body damage on a new JL and every scrap on the skids got me a horrified look. Had to re think where my group is at. We have maybe 3 jeeps with 33's and they always tell me they can run anything the big tires can but most of them have older jeeps with some pre damage.
How different are the Eastern states are 33's plenty of tire for the trails.
33”s on a short wheelbase is ok. But 33”s on a JKU or Jlu is not enough tire
 

Queticon

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Messages
213
Location
Minnesota
I think there are some things at work here that we need to admit: generally speaking, dudes like how big tires look on a Jeep. Again, that's 'generally' speaking.

I think a well sorted TJ as a DD looks good up to 35. 33s are ideal. Again, this is strictly from an aesthetic standpoint and it really, really depends on the tire/wheel combination. A 'knobby' tire looks better on a jeep than a smoother, AT style tread.

That said, to get really good articulation, a 4" lift with 33" tires is a great combination, but it looks a little bit out of proportion. As though the tires are too small. 33s with a 2" to 3" lift look great. My personal experience with a 2" lift is that 285/75 r16 M/T tires rubbed a little and likely would limit articulation. Never wheeled with that setup, so I don't know.

I think on the TJs, the ideal setup for off road/overland would be 33" BFG K/O/Cooper STT/Falken Wildpeak/ on 4" lift. Or maybe even a 3" lift.

Anything over 35 on a TJ looks a bit cartoonish. JKU/JLU can look good with 40" tires, but the TJ is just too small for such huge meat.

Comes down to how you want to use it. billiebob is happy with the stock setup and it's worked great for where he goes. There are plenty of videos out there showing stock TJ Rubis hitting some challenging terrain so maybe he's got the right idea.
 

Queticon

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Messages
213
Location
Minnesota
285/75 r16 with 2"+ OME lift. This looks good to me. And with 1" spacers, I do not rub at all with these wheels.

244718e7-98c5-4b47-95ed-0b56f5b556be.jpg


Same tires with 4" lift. I don't think this looks 'bad'. It just doesn't have the same proportions. It will definitely look better with M/T tires when I switch in the summer. One thing I wanted to be sure of is that any lift or suspension mods I make, I can go back to bone stock if I want. No crazy long arm brackets or extra holes cut for track bars or any other surgery.

24ab8feb-57d8-446b-b1b2-242b3c6541d1.jpg
 

jjvw

Now 100% Metalcloak free
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Messages
10,630
Location
Colorado, USA
I agree that location has a lot to do with it. I run 35”s because I want to. But @jjvw has done some pretty incredible things on worn out 33”s (big rocks) that show a short wheelbase TJ and properly setup suspension Is the biggest advantage.
The more impressive looking stuff I've put the jeep through is at or near the limits of my worn down 33s. And it really is mostly set up for 35s. Occasionally you will see talk about the relationship between tire size, wheel base and belly height. I am starting to see and understand that better. 35s will help solve a few trouble areas I have noticed over the last year.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rescue6

Byhumba

Learning phase
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2018
Messages
204
Location
SoCal, USA
33s on mine. Very happy with my setup. Looks good and performs really well. I will not go any bigger than that. 33s are enough for the type of wheeling I do.
 

Dilly Dilly

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2019
Messages
85
Location
Yorba Linda
I think I got my answer it's what you do that decides what your tire size is. People tell me all the time I can go where I want to on 33's and you can. It's one thing to drive it thru and another to drag it thru I'm talking big rocks, I know there are drivers that disagree with that not looking for a debate more of an observation I don't think there is a wrong choice it's up to the person and their jeep . I have 35's and have thought about 37's I have the smallest tires in my group but I do think there is a point you take the fun out of it. We have guys with 40's now and then they run the trail and wait for the rest to catch up, kind of takes the challenge out of it. Not trying to step on anyone's toe's more of a what makes people tick thought.
 

Irun

Jeep Addict
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2019
Messages
399
Location
Virginia
How different are the Eastern states are 33's plenty of tire for the trails.
The eastern states are definitely different than the west coast. A properly setup TJ on 33" tires can run most of the difficult trails. JKs and JLs typically require 35" tires. For an experiment, this past year, I took my TJ on 31" tires on the same trails I normally run on my LJ with 35s. I made it through, but did suffer a torn lower control arm mount. That was remedied with Artec replacement mounts.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dilly Dilly

taylormade73

Apprentice Thread Derailer
Supporting Member
Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
983
Location
Ohio
I think a 2” lift with 32s is perfect. Of course I had that when I first bought the Jeep and then had 31s and then 33s😖. 31s was nice and simple and extremely capable but I think I got bored with it in a year. Now I’m in the 33” rabbit hole but I will be content after the motor mount lift is in and UCF skid and dare I say “I’m done”?
Not a chance...
 

RiverDawg24

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 31, 2019
Messages
122
Location
Arkansas
I ruined a great jeep ( 97 TJ ) by going too big. Started out on 31's, went to 33's, 35's,36's then finally 42's. I upgraded axles at each interval finally going full width 60's. Wasted a lot of time, money and energy chasing big tires.

The jeep was the most fun and the most useful during its 35"/36" phase. and least fun on 42's.

I'll end up on 35's with my current jeep (33's currently) but I'll never go bigger than a 35 again.
 

tworley

Bent Currie Club
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Joined
May 23, 2018
Messages
3,867
Location
Morrison, CO
Probably 90% of the trails here in CO can be done on 33s. There are a few where that 1" can make a world of difference (not getting hung up on rocks via the diff), but still possible to get thru. I wont go beyond a 35". Ive almost gotten everything dialed in for them right now.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JMT

Goatman

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
2,689
Location
Upstate NY
I think tire size is generally based on 3 things.
1. How hard is it to get in to. I used to be a 35s guy, but now with my back and leg issues I'll stick with 32s.
2. How hard are you wheeling it. Bigger rocks need bigger tires. But this also has to do with back problems. When young 35s on a CJ and I'd go over anything. Older now. I wince with pain at just thinking about hitting those obstacles now.
3. Looks. But this should be at the bottom of the list. I don't need the ego stroke of 35s anymore. Not when it hurts just to climb in it. But , hey, we're guys (mostly). Size matters to us.
 

Westtown Willy

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
May 10, 2018
Messages
984
Location
Saltopia, PA, USA
I have no regrets but I bought mine already ‘built’ size-wise at 33s with a 3 inch lift which is what I wanted appearance-wise. I later added a 1.25 inch spacer in front to offset extra weight from the winch & some armor I added, and rake. My rig probably would have benefited from the recommended body lift too but I’ve tried to compensate for that with the coil lift and some extra bump stops.

On my mind of late has been the idea of lowering the entire rig by one inch with a combination of removing the coil spacers up front and swapping in 2 inch coils in the rear. Mostly, I’d like to do it for appearance sake and to make it a bit easier to get into, but I have some concerns about the mechanics of that idea (besides tires rubbing, some parts on there that may be affected, what comes to mind is the SYE/CV, currie steering and antirock, the existing Rancho shocks (2-3 lift)...). Part of me thinks this is a can of worms on which I oughta leave the lid. Also, I don’t mind losing performance off road, I’m not doing much anymore that really requires maximum suspension performance, I dipped my toe in those waters and I’m less & less inclined to go that route in the future. Tamer usage is likely my future.

Anyone here successfully run 33s with a two inch lift (3 in front to level it out)? Just in the kicking it around stages now, but would like to hear from anyone that’s done it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jazngab