If you’re interested to know what’s required to make a 33” tire fit on your 3rd gen Tacoma running on stock suspension, then you’ve come to the right place. Tire upgrades are usually one of the first and most popular modifications to off-road trucks since it’s the quickest way to get a more aggressive look with better traction on and off-road.
Fitting 33” tires on a stock 3rd gen Tacoma requires doing a CMC (Cab Mount Chop) as well as some light trimming on the inside fender lining.
If you are not prepared to do trimming and cutting and you are running stock suspension then you’ll be limited to a 32″tire. However, you’re not completely limited to only 32” since there are other options you can try.
This article will cover what exactly is required to make the 33” tire fit, as well as some of the most popular setups on a factory-stock 3rd Gen Tacoma that works.
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Tacoma 33-inch Tires and No Lift – Options
There are so many queries and threads all over about people wanting to know if running a 33” tire on a stock suspension is possible. How many actually do it is another story. Most owners eventually opt for a leveling kit or spacer to allow better clearance of the Cab mount and increased clearance on the UCA (Upper Control Arms).
Its only obvious that a 2” suspension upgrade will solve a lot of your clearance problems and a combination of small spacers and suspension options makes things a lot easier, although not cheaper.
So as mentioned from the outset, if you really want to fit a 33” tire on a stock suspension 3rd Gen Tacoma, you’ll need to cut.
Cut what cut where, and how much?
Cutting Up Your Beloved Truck – The Cab Mount Chop
Well, the main clearance problem with the 3rd Gen Taco is the cab mount. When compared to the 2ng Gen Tacoma, it’s massive and takes up so much usable space in the wheel well and under the firewall. This is what severely restricts you from fitting wider tires like a 285/70/17 or a 285/75/16. Both equate to roughly 33”. So without any suspension modifications, this is what limits you. Also, you have to consider the clearance on the UCA (Upper Control Arms). As for running 33″‘s straight on a stock suspension with stock rims definitely, nope they definitely WILL rub.
So, if you really want to run 33” tires on your stock Tacoma suspension, it is possible, but not without cutting a lot.
What else would need to be trimmed to run 33s? The flaps and the plastic fender insert will need some massaging to allow the wheel to clear when at full lock, especially when reversing.
What if you refuse to cut up your truck, what are your other options?
What About Skinny “Pizza Cutters” 33s?
Then you have the option of a skinny tire upgrade. This option will offer improved ground clearance since it’s a taller tire than stock, but narrower, hence the nickname, “pizza cutter”.
These tire sizes are roughly 32.7” and come in the form of a 255/85 r16 or 255/80 r17 which is 33×10 (roughly) and will fit on a stock suspension with no lift and little to no rubbing. The width of a 255 works well, as long as you don’t fit negative offset rims or thick wheel spacers. You could make this work by doing some trimming behind the mud flaps.
If you’re okay with the appearance and stance of the skinny-width tires, then this is a feasible hassle-free option since “skinny” 33s on stock wheels stay in the wheel well.
But, what if you really want to fit 33” like a 285 width on stock suspension – Will spacers and a leveling kit work?
Let’s find out.
Will A Small Leveling Kit Or Wheel Spacer Help With 33” Tires?
Usually when wheel spacers are mentioned, many will give you the “hairy eyeball”, but truth be told, they aren’t as bad as people make them out to be. They definitely aren’t the fix-all of suspension woes either, however, they will offer improved wheel clearance, which allows for a slightly wider tire. It’s a very affordable way to improve the aesthetics and ride height of your Toyota Tacoma, by installing a metal spacer to the front coil springs.
They do not improve off-road performance although it will increase your approach angle slightly since the body sits slighter higher. Fitting a 2″ leveling kit, without any cutting of cab mounts or trimming wheel wells, you’re still bound to a 32” tire max. If you really want to fit a small 33″ (32.7″) tire, and you have a 2″ leveling kit, minor trimming of the fender liner will be required, but it’s very doable.
So would wheel spacers fix the mud flap scrubbing problem?
Wheel spacers have a similar effect to fitting wider tires or more negative offset wheels. Yes, it might improve your backspacing somewhat, and even clear your UCA better, however, you still need to take into consideration the clearance of the inside of the wheel arch at full articulation. You don’t want to go too wild with the spacers.
33” Tires On A Tacoma And Fuel Economy
With any upgrade, there’s always a small tradeoff somewhere. Fitting bigger, heavier tires definitely comes at a price. Since the tires are below the suspension, they fall part of the unsprung weight of the vehicle. The quickest way to increase fuel consumption is by increasing unsprung weight. The heavier rolling mass of the tires has a direct impact on your fuel consumption.
So before you do the big tire upgrade make sure you understand your fuel economy will be affected. Yes, the truck might look more aggressive and perform better off-road, but it all comes at a price. Toyota pickups are well known for this and you can get as low as 12mpg in the city and 16mpg on the highway. It’s definitely noticeable! I speak from personal experience here. Do you also need to consider your spare wheel?
Also, depending on how big you go, you’ll feel a drop in pull-off performance as well due to the heavier tires needing to be pulled along. It might not even be more than 4kg heavier per wheel, however, this makes a big difference in torque, and if you decide to go bigger than 33” then re-gearing of diffs should definitely happen.
33” With Suspension Kits
So, how high you go with the suspension kits will determine how wide and tall you can go. So for example, with a 2″ suspension upgrade a tire size of 275/75r16 and 275/70r17 will clear with no major issues or modifications like cutting and trimming. This tire size offers decent ground clearance improvement but is not very wide. However, if you add a small leveling kit on a 2” spacer, this should allow you to run a wider 285, 33” tire.
If you opt for a 3″ suspension package it will allow you to safely run 285/75r16 and 285/70r17 without any issues.
So the takeaway here is, if you don’t have a 2” or 3” suspension upgrade and want to fit 33” tires, you’ll need to do extensive cutting and trimming of wheel wells and a cab mount chop. You’ll be limited to a smaller 32.7” skinny 255 “pizza cutter” tire. A leveling kit will help with wheel clearance, however, the best option for your Gen 3 Taco is to opt for a 3” suspension kit and a 285/70/17 or 285/75/16, 33-inch tire. If you can include more negative offset aftermarket wheels, it would improve UCA clearance and backspacing with no need to do any cab mount chops.