Fitting 35” tires to your truck is no longer a mystery or guessing game. More and more 4WD owners have successfully pulled off this upgrade, so we know what is expected if you want to join the 35” club. There are quite a few facts you need to be aware of so hopefully this article will give you a better idea of what’s involved.
Fitting 35” tires to your truck requires a suspension upgrade of 3.5”-6” depending on the vehicle and if it’s an IFS or SFA front suspension. Other requirements for 35” tires could include:
- Fender trimming
- Relocation of crash bars (IFS)
- Adjustable aftermarket UCA’s (IFS)
- Minimum 16” negative offset rims
- Speedo Recalibration
- Diff Re-gearing
There’s no doubt that 35” tires will totally transform the look and performance of your vehicle. There are however, a few pros and cons when doing this upgrade, which we’ll look at in more details next.
Minimum lift requirements for fitting 35” tires
There are many benefits to fitting 35” tires such as improved looks, improved aesthetics, and they just look so SWEET, lol. As an added benefit, you get increased ground clearance, more surface area contact which equates to better traction both on and off-road. Being 35” tires, they also have thicker side walls which allow you to carry heavier loads and are more durable than smaller, thinner tires with better puncture resistance.
Unfortunately, it’s not all roses, and there is a downside as in the case with most upgrades. 35” tires are heavy, Period. This means the unsprang weight is increased, which means a decrease in MPG’s. Yep, you’ll pay more at the pumps!
Cutting, trimming and Pounding away
35”s in most cases with IFS trucks, requires quite a bit of trimming, cutting and grinding away plastic fender liners, body mounts and pounding away to create more clearance inside the wheel wells. In some instances you’ll have to do a full BMC (Body Mount Chop) as in the case of the 3rd Gen Tacoma’s, which you can read about here. This almost always happens when running 33” tires, so you can expect it to happen with 35’s. A cab mount chop will need to be performed to eliminate this or you can opt for full relocation kits. Aftermarket cab mount relocation kits, is your best option since it will allow for the most clearance.
In most cases, at full compression, the tires rub along the interior perimeter and at the top during full compression. Tires will rub at the maximum limits of where the truck’s body runs within the wheel well. Factory flares will require trimming along the entire length of the wheel well to avoid rubbing, so get familiar with your angle grinder. The obvious move here is to remove the fender liner, although not practical if you are concerned about dirt collecting inside the wheel well.
Front Crash bars & Pinch Weld
In many cases, with modern vehicles, there are safety features built into the bumpers, so you’ll need to do front crash bar removals as in the case of the Ford Rangers. Then there’s also the pinch weld, which will need to be grinded and pounded flat. This is a welded piece of the body that protrudes into the wheel well and interferes with the tires. This usually happens during compression on all oversized tires.
But in all cases, without a doubt, you’ll need to spend some cash on an aftermarket suspension, which means increased costs on this project. In some instances, even a body lift or leveling kit will be required, it all varies from vehicle to vehicle and factors such as, how big the factory arches are, shape of the arches, and clearance inside the wheel wells.
Re-gearing to accommodate the 35’s
Other cons to fitting 35’s will include more strain on your drivetrain system, which in many cases means a decrease in performance and the need to re-gear your diffs to try and salvage some power and MPG’s.
The factory standard gear ratios of your differentials will result in your truck feeling slower on-road and more sluggish off-road. The only way to minimize this effect is to modify the diff gear ratios.
In the case of a 3rd Gen Tacoma, the stock gears are quite long and rather poorly setup in standard form, so you will need to bump it up to 529. This is the ideal ratio to get the gearing and RPM back, or as close to feeling factory again.
Then there’s UCA’s that will need upgrading since the wider, fatter 35’s will require more UCA clearance in order to fit properly. The cheapest and quickest solution to cure this is to add a 1” wheel spacer. Alternatively, negative offset wheels with more backspacing is required when fitting 35s, especially if the spacers are not enough. Aftermarket UCAs are designed to take larger tires and will provide enough clearance to fit 35s. UCAs will also help with improving caster. Combine this with an aftermarket rim with a more negative offset and you should be good.
If you already have a high clearance front bumper, you won’t have to worry about scrubbing at full lock. If not, you’ll either have to cut and trim and pound your beloved truck or invest in an aftermarket front bumper, since most aftermarket bumpers can easily run 35s without further modifications since they are designed with larger tires in mind.
Minimum Lift to fit 35” tires on a Tacoma 3rd Gen
Fitting 35” tires does not require a crazy amount of modifications. It starts with an aftermarket suspension with the minimum lift of 2.5” inches, and 3 inches being recommended for off-road. You will require a lift, negative offset rims and you’ll need to do some other modifications, which you can read in more detail here.
On the rear, it’s a straightforward fit with no clearance issues. You can get full tuck on the rear without any hassles. You can trim the wheel arch for improved clearance, however you will lose your wheel arch liners.
Also you need to remember the front wheels don’t only move left and right when turning, but there’s also some forward and backward movement. This is why you get scrubbing at full lock when turning and why it’s necessary to do CMC’s and trimming of the pinch weld.
Minimum Lift to fit 35” tires on a Jeep Wrangler
When upgrading to 25’s on a Jeep Wrangler you will need a minimum lift of 2.5 inches for decent clearance or a 3.5 inch lift to retain maximum articulation off-road. The Wranglers suspension geometry will be thrown out with such a big lift and you’ll then need to rectify it by installing aftermarket front and rear track bars and at least upper or lower front control arms to realign the front axle under the Jeep. Your springs, sway bar links and brake lines will all need to be modified to accommodate the bigger lift.
Minimum Lift to fit 35” tires on a Chev Sierra/Silverado 2014-2019
There are claims that you can run 35s with only 4” of lift, however there will be a fair amount of trimming involved. When lifting a Sierra/Silverado you ideally want to go for a 6” lift. This will avoid unnecessary trimming and cutting. The wheel offset also plays a role and how wide they are and how much backspacing they have. For example if you are running 325/60r20 with a 6” lift, you’ll still need to trim the front air dam for them to not rub. You would definitely need at least 4 inches to run 35×12.5 tires and you would need a 9 inch wide rim with around 0 offset for this to work. The wider the rims, i.e. 12 wide rims, will require a 6 inch lift as the offset will be around -44 which will push the tires out a lot.
Minimum Lift to fit 35” tires on a 2019 Ford Ranger
Most Rangers I’ve seen online are running 35’s on a 6 inch lift with minimal cutting and trimming. I think you’ll be doing a lot of trimming, trying to fit 35’s under these trucks with only a level.
However, to successfully run 35’s on a Ford Ranger requires all of the below:
- 6” lift kit is required to fit 35” tires
- Crash bars delete
- Fender trimming
- Wheel well liner trim
- Possibly a front bumper swap
- 16” rims are smallest for brake caliper clearance
- Negative offset wheel
- Odometer re-calibration