Let’s face it, any FJ Cruiser with a big tire upgrade looks bad-@ss and I guarantee you, if I owned one, it would be one of the first upgrades I’d do. The FJ is a super capable off-road beast, even with the stock tires which are 32s, (265/70/17) or 265/75/16a. A larger, wider tire upgrade will not only allow it to perform even better but will definitely add to the aesthetics. So, what is the biggest tire upgrade you can do, on both a stock FJ, as well as a lifted FJ? Stick around to find out.
The biggest tire you can safely fit on an FJ without any body scrub or any body modifications required is a 275/70/17.
So, now that we know the answer to that particular question, let’s see what is involved in fitting a 33″ and bigger when stock and in lift format. I’ll cover exactly what modifications need to be done, and what most owners’ experiences have been.
Tire lifts can be tricky sometimes, and in many cases, depending on how big you go, there are modifications required like, body chops, relocation of brackets, spacers, and so on. Obviously, it all depends on how big you intend to go, since the bigger the tire the more complicated the install can become.
I’ve recently fitted a set of 33” Cooper AT tires to my Toyota Truck/Ute/Bakkie, and there were a few additional “alterations” I had to do to prevent them from scrubbing and chaffing my body. Fortunately, I have a 2-inch lift and front aftermarket TJM bumper so there were no issues with my fenders.
Let’s face it, you don’t want a fender or something to end up chopping up those new tires you’ve just dropped a fortune on. Off-road, oversized AT or MT tires are crazy expensive.
There’s also that small thing called “flex”. When you initially fit your oversized tires, everything might appear to be hunky-dory on-road, since we don’t need much articulation to get around comfortably in the city.
However, once we venture off-road and you start “flexing” (Articulating), that is when you could run the risk of slicing your expensive rubber. For daily driving as well as off-road, you need the tires to be able to turn, travel up and down freely, and brake at full lock.
Let’s now look at the procedure of fitting the biggest tires on a stock FJ Cruiser without a lift.
FJ Cruiser Biggest Tires without Lift (No Chop)
As previously stated, not all FJ’s are created equally, meaning some FJ’s might rub on a 285/70/17 (33″), on a stock suspension while others won’t. What could be an influencing factor is the actual tire.
So it’s also safe to say, not all tires are created equally i.e. mold, width, etc. So they are not all made to exactly the same measurement.
As mentioned from the outset, the biggest tire you can safely fit on an FJ without body scrub or requiring any chops is usually a 275/70/17. That will be on the stock tires, stock rims, no lift, no chop, no spacers.
Anything over and above this could possibly require a body-chop and a small 2” lift.
If you are driving mainly on gravel tracks and never venture deeper off-road where the uneven terrain reaches deeper than 12-18 inches, the 275-70-17 will suffice. However, anything more extreme and you’ll have tire scrub on fenders or body mounts.
Let’s look at what’s required to fit a 33” tire (285/70/17) and bigger.
FJ Cruiser Tire Size with 3 Inch Lift
So you want to go bigger than a 275 on a stock 17” rim. You’re probably thinking 285/70/17. Some FJ owners have stated this is possible without much drama or chopping. However, there are no guarantees here. A small lift would be needed just to be safe.
There are, however, some owners who claim that the 285/70/17 is about the biggest tire you can fit on the factory rims without any modification. The factory rim size is 17 x7.5 so I tend to think, this will have to be taken on a case-by-case basis, just to be safe. Especially if you want full articulation when going off-road. The backspacing is rather limited for wide tires.
So the 285 measures out to 33″ x 11.6″ section width. There will be a slight tire bulge. The 285/70/17 is a fantastic option for an FJ with a 3″ lift and it’s almost guaranteed there will be no scrubbing/rubbing when off-roading.
Again, if you are not running stock rims and fit an aftermarket rim with a slightly more negative offset, this will affect your backspacing by pushing the wheels further outward, risking body scrub during articulation.
FJ Cruiser 33” Tires Without Lift
The stock rim specifications are:
- 6×5.5 (6×139.7 metric) bolt pattern
- 15mm offset or 4.84″ backspace
In most cases, you could make the 285/70-17 or 285/75-16 fit snugly without many complications, provided you have your caster pushed forward to the maximum setting. So I would suggest you stick to 17” sizes since a 285/75/16 which are also 33s, rub slightly against the mud-flap at full lock. You could, of course, simply remove the flaps. With a 16” and a 33” tire, you’ll need a 3” lift or an adjustable suspension to dial it up slightly. That’s because a 285/75/16 is a slightly taller tire than the 285/70/17.
Each FJ is unique so in some cases. You may rub on the body mount. Every tire manufacturer’s size and measurement vary slightly. A safe bet would be to stick to 265 or 275 or 285. These are your best range of sizes.
Adjustments might be necessary to the caster on the alignment to get it pushed out to ~3.5ish. The other factors involved are the offset and width of your current wheels. All these variables play a factor.
Rubbing spots to watch for:
- Body mount
- Front wheel wells above body mounts
- Upper control arms
- Front sway bar/frame
- Rear wheel wells at the back and top
Fitting 35s on FJ Cruiser with a 3” lift
Remember, tire size has no impact on suspension travel…
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your intended purpose with the vehicle. Off-road driving under challenging conditions that require maximum articulation would be better suited to nothing bigger than a 33-35” tire. You definitely don’t want to go 18, 19, 20-inch for off-road use.
For everyday driving with the odd gravel track and mild trails, an AT in 275/70/17 would be the ideal choice. You get the extra lift and a more aggressive look with the right tire. You won’t need to do much in terms of chopping and making it a comfortable fit.
Again, if you decide to upgrade the rims, your offset choice will directly impact your tire size choice. A more negative offset will increase backspacing and help you clear the UCA (Upper Control Arms) but can cause the tire to rub the body mount so choose wisely for the desired build result.