I’ll say from the outset that fitting 35’s on an F150 can become expensive very quickly, however, when you see that F150 rolling on 35×12.50’s, it just looks so good, all other tire alternatives immediately feels irrelevant. From an aesthetics POV, it is well worth the cost, so it’s not surprising there are so many questions around the requirements to fit true 35’s. So what do you need to pull this off and is it a complicated process? This article will discuss the exact requirements, all additional modifications, and later some other alternatives.
The minimum requirements necessary to fit 35x.5 to a Ford F150 are a 4” lift kit and an aftermarket wheel with a more negative offset for improved UCA (Upper Control Arm) clearance. A more affordable option is a 2.5”-3” leveling kit with wheel spacers on the stock wheels combined with fender, body, wheel wells, and bumper plastic trimming.
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.
What Size Lift for 35 Inch Tires F150
Fitting 35” tires has many benefits, such as improved aesthetics, increased ground clearance, 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 35’s
The main thing with the F150 is the lift. Clearing the 35’s isn’t really 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 it offers 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 35’s 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 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 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. If you’re planning on running the stock wheels without a wheel spacer, then you’ll need to trim the crash bars on 2015-2019 F150s, THEY WILL SCRUB!
Re-gearing to accommodate the 35’s
Other factors to consider when fitting 35’s 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 MPG’s. You also don’t want to dog out your transmission.
With heavy bigger rolling diameter 35’s, 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 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 like the factory setup again.
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 35’s 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 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, a more negative offset wheel combo is a good enough option.
Minimum Lift to fit 35” tires on a Tacoma 3rd Gen
Fitting 35” tires do not require a crazy amount of modifications. It starts with an aftermarket suspension with the minimum lift of 2.5” inches, and 3 inches is 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 35’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 Wrangler’s 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 Chevy 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 offsets 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
- CMC & Fender trimming
- Wheel well liner trim
- Possibly a front bumper swap
- 16” rims are smallest for brake caliper clearance
- Negative offset wheel
- Odometer recalibration
Use this calculator to determine what your new effective gear ratio is.