Ford Ranger Big Tires No Lift – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

So you want to know what the biggest tire size there is that can fit on a factory stock Ford Ranger T6 without a body lift or suspension upgrade? Are you concerned about tire scrub and the tires affecting your turning circle? How does backspacing affect the tire size? If you’d like to find the answers to the above questions, this article is for you.

What is the biggest tire you can fit on a T6 Ford Ranger on a stock suspension and no body lift? The largest tire size that a factory stock Ford Ranger can accommodate without any modifications is 31.6”.

The stock tires on the T6 Ford Rangers are 265/65/17 which equates to a 30.6” tire. The 18” stock tire is a 30.5” or 265/60/18. Upgrading the 18” tire one size up would mean going for a 265/65/18 or 31.6” This would give you a higher sidewall by roughly +7.9%, which increases your ground clearance and raises your center of gravity slightly.

So upgrading to a 31.6” shouldn’t be a problem right? I mean it’s less than 4% difference in diameter and circumference. What about going with an even higher sidewall but maintaining the width by opting for a 275/70/17, would that fit? What about a 285/70/17 (33”) or even a 285/60/18 without a lift or level?  Will it be too close to the spindle and are the tires far enough away from the crash bars?

Let’s find out!

Ford Ranger Big Tires No Lift

When fitting bigger tires to a stock suspension, there are many factors you need to consider. Those are all of the following:

  • Wheel Clearance
  • Backspacing
  • Stock Suspension Travel
  • Bottoming Out
  • Wheel Spacers
  • Spare Wheel
  • Aftermarket Rims

Let’s look at each category separately, to understand exactly what they mean and how it would affect the tire choice on a stock Ranger T6. 

Wheel Clearance

How do we measure tire clearance?

This can be best described as the minimum distance between the tire and the nearest object i.e. the wheel arch.

When fitting wider taller tires, you are essentially decreasing that distance between the tire and the closest object. The Ford Ranger can easily accommodate a 32” tire on the stock rims without scrubbing or any wheel arch modifications. It’s once we go 33” or bigger where you’ll need a body lift or suspension upgrade to accommodate the wider tires. Alternatively, if you change to a 20+ offset aftermarket wheel, you can make the 33” tires fit nicely with a bit of wheel well modification.

Crash Bars

If you want to fit a larger 33” tire without a suspension lift, there is some modification needed. The Ranger T6 crash bars protrude from the wheel well and the bigger 285/70/17 tire makes contact. These will need to be removed/modified first so as not to damage the new tires. They are quite a PITA to remove so be prepared. Once removed, and a 20+ offset aftermarket wheel is fitted you should be able to get the 33” tires to fit comfortably.

Take note that off-road travel and trails are not advised with the 285’s until you do a 2” suspension upgrade, since your clearance will be minimum.

Wheel Offset

You measure the offset of a wheel from the hub mounting surface to the imaginary center line of the wheel. Offset is measured in mm and generally refers to how your wheels sit inside the wheel wells. You get positive and negative offset wheels. When it’s positive the imaginary line is more towards the front and negative means the mounting surface is more towards the rear of the rim creating a deep dish effect.

When attempting to fit a 33” tire to a Ford Ranger with a stock suspension, you’ll need to fit a aftermarket rim that has a slightly more negative offset. This will push the wheel further out creating more space inside the wheel well. The risk of making contact with the spindle or UCA (Upper Control Arm) is significantly reduced.

What offset are stock Ford Ranger wheels?

The offset of a standard Ford Ranger 2019 is 55mm. If you want to improve your wheel offset, in order to fit wider tires, you can insert a wheel spacer to improve the clearance from the steering knuckle and allow you to upgrade to 33” tire sizes.

Front Offset:55
Rear Offset:55
F&R Backspacing:6.7
F&R J size:18×8
PCD:6×139.7
Rim:8jx17 / 8jx18

Stock Suspension Travel

The extension and compression of the spring is referred to as suspension travel. The rebound of the spring is caused by vertical forces due to irregularities in the road surface.

When you fit a bigger tire inside the Ranger Wheel arch without a suspension upgrade or a body lift to accommodate the additional size, you risk the wheels scrubbing at full travel. Fitting bigger tires does not decrease travel.

The Raptor, for example, uses Fox shocks, coils spring, and a Watts linkage setup, whereas a T6 Ranger uses leaf springs. The Raptor suspension will be softer and more compliant and have the ability to absorb heavier knocks off road. The Ranger on the other hand has the ability to carry haul bigger loads and tow heavier trailers, since it has less suspension travel in comparison.

Bottoming Out

When fitting oversized wheels and tires, there is always the risk of the suspension bottoming out. This is because the stock suspension is not designed to accommodate such a heavier wheel combination. The suspension system helps keep your car level, regardless of the typography of the road you’re driving on.

The stock Ford Ranger suspension is designed to run optimally on a 265/65/17 or 32” tire. You can safely get away with a 265/70/17 without placing any additional strain on the suspension.

Wheel Spacers

A wheel spacer is a piece of metal plate that that fits over the vehicles holding bracket to create extra clearance (backspacing) between the wheel and the wheel hub assembly

If you have a stock suspension on the T6 and want to fit 265/70/17, that’s very safe option. Going with a taller tire such as a 275/70/17 will be a very, very tight fit on the factory standard suspension. With a 265/70/17, there is a barely any space between the inside of the tire and the upper control arm. This is easily cured with either a wheel spacer or a +20 offset aftermarket wheel.

Spare Wheel

Always make sure you upgrade the spare wheel tire to the new size as well, since a smaller stock diameter tire will place enormous strain on your spider gears, which if driven for too long could result in further drivetrain damage. To keep initial costs low, perhaps consider buying a used spare tire of the same size as your upgraded tires.

Aftermarket Rims

How would fitting aftermarket wheels affect the tire choice? Well by fitting aftermarket rims with a slightly more (-) negative offset we essentially increase the backspacing to allow for a wider tire. Instead of a 265/70/17, we can now look at a 285/70/17. This will give the vehicle a wider footprint, more stability since there is more tire surface contact with the road, as well as a more aggressive appearance. 

What you need to consider with your ranger is how the wider wheel and tire would affect the vehicles articulation. The wider stance would most likely result in the tire scrubbing against the wheel arches when fully flexed. So the best option would be to do a 2” suspension upgrade or a body lift to improve the wheel clearance.

Resources

IF you would like to play around with tire configurations the below link is a cool tool you could use.

https://tiresize.com/comparison/

  • Wheel spacers
  • 2” Suspension upgrade
  • 3” suspension upgrade
  • +20 aftermarket rims
  • Front leveling kit
  • Full body lift

Conclusion

Remember heavier tires will increase the un-sprung weight on your 4WD. Unsprung weight is any weight below the suspension. The heavier the unsprung weight, it would result in higher fuel consumption and a decrease torque at the wheels.

When doing any tire upgrade its important to pay attention to how big you are going since it can have a negative effect on fuel economy and your speedometer reading, if you go heavily over-sized. You will need to upgrade your suspension if you ever want to venture off-road and I would suggest first doing that upgrade before you consider bigger tires, since it would negate the need for body panel work and cutting.

Jade C.

4-Wheel drives and off-road driving techniques has been my passion for over 20 years. Here we strive to provide the most accurate, up-to-date, information about the functionality, common faults and latest technology built into most 4 Wheel Drives.

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