Let’s delve into the topic of achieving a size lift for 35-inch tires on an F150. While the process can be costly, the visual appeal of an F150 rolling on 35×12.50s makes other tire options pale in comparison. The desire to fit genuine 35s prompts numerous inquiries about the necessary requisites and the complexity of the procedure. This article aims to outline the precise prerequisites, and any supplementary modifications, and explore alternative options.
Let’s now do a deep dive into what exactly is required, and look closer at the options. Option one is the more expensive option, which includes aftermarket wheels, a suspension upgrade, and aftermarket UCA’s. Option 2 is more affordable, however, it involves much more cutting, trimming, pounding, and, and, and…
Let’s get into it.
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What Size Lift for 35-Inch Tires F150
Fitting 35” tires has many benefits, such as improved aesthetics, increased ground clearance, and more surface area contact which equates to better traction both on and off-road, and increased load-carrying capacity. Being 35” tires, they also have thicker sidewalls which makes them more durable with the added benefit of improved puncture resistance.
Now that we have that little sales pitch out of the way, let’s look at the lift requirements to make this all possible.
F150 Minimum Lift Requirements For Fitting 35s
The main thing with the F150 is the lift. Clearing the 35s isn’t that big of a deal, but more the horizontal clearance, UCA clearance, and movement inside the wheel well.
Your one option is a full 4” suspension upgrade. You will also need a new set of wheels with a more negative offset for improved UCA clearance. This option is more expensive but will eliminate the need to trim as much.
If you don’t want to go through the hassles of a complete suspension lift kit and a set of new wheels, the other more budget-friendly option is adding a leveling kit, wheel spacers on the factory rims, and some cutting away of the wheel well plastic and other components.
However, to get the vertical clearance right you’ll need at least a 2.5”-3″ leveling kit if you don’t mind doing some trimming. You will need to do some trimming of components around the front wheel well. Depending on the tire brand and mold, you might need to add a front off-road bumper for added clearance.
Cutting, and Pounding Your Beloved F150
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. A cab mount chop will need to be performed to prevent the tires from scrubbing against the cab at full lock. Your other option is a full Cab Mount relocation kit. Aftermarket cab mount relocation kits are your best option since they offer the most clearance.
If you’re using wheels with a limited offset and minimal backspacing, you will also likely need to trim the rear part of the front wheel well near the mounting bolts for the liner. It’s not exactly the ideal way to go about things, however, if you are determined to squeeze true 35s in, then it can be done with a certain level of success.
F150 Wheel Arches
In most cases, at full compression, oversized 35” tires rub along the interior perimeter as well as the top arch section during full compression. Tires will rub at the maximum limits where the truck’s body runs within the wheel well. Whether you’re keeping your stock wheels or not, you’ll end up having to trim your F150’s wheel well liner and front valance.
Your factory flares will require some trimming along the entire length of the wheel well for added clearance at full articulation and to prevent rubbing, so get familiar with your angle grinder. The easiest move would be to simply remove the fender liner, although not the most practical since you’ll get dirt flung up inside the wheel well and collect in all the crevices. – Not cool!
F150 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 ground 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. If you’re planning on running the stock wheels without a wheel spacer, then you’ll need to trim the crash bars on the 2015-2019 F150s, THEY WILL SCRUB!
Re-Gearing To Accommodate The 35s
Other factors to consider when fitting 35s are the effects on your drivetrain system and transmission, which in many cases means a decrease in performance and the need to re-gear your diffs to try and salvage some power and MPGs. You also don’t want to dog out your transmission.
With heavy bigger rolling diameter 35s, the factory gear ratios of 3.55 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 differential-gear ratios.
You can check your door-jam sticker for the correct gearing code. There is also a cool link below with will help you determine the correct ratios for your upgrade.
So there are various options when it comes to re-gearing, and if you are going to be towing or hauling heavy loads, but most owners opt for something along the lines of 4.10 or 4.56. With 35s there’s little in the way of measurable mpg difference, however, the lower gears will offer much better acceleration and improved throttle response.
Other effective Gearing options are:
You might want to look at a small tune later which will improve performance on acceleration as well as recalibrating the speedometer for the transmission shift points.
Then some UCAs will need upgrading since the wider, fatter 35s will require more UCA clearance to fit properly. The cheapest and quickest solution to cure this is to add a 1” wheel spacer. Alternatively, a more negative offset wheel combo is a good enough option.
Use this calculator to determine what your new effective gear ratio is.