Hey guys, I wanted to give you some feedback on your “What Hits What Fits” (Aug. ’09). Yes, I know I’m writing you about a story that ran quite awihile ago, but my favorite reading place was being upgraded and I am still catching up (that story is for another magazine).
I have owned a 2003 F-150 for the last eight years with several wheel/tire and lift combinations, so I wanted to give you my feedback. First, I put 33x12.50 Pro-Comp A-Ts on the truck almost as soon as I bought it. They were on 17x10 wheels with 4.5 inches of backspacing. Most of my wheeling time was spent in sand, but with zero lift, I had absolutely no problems after trimming less than 1-inch off of the black chin spoiler (not the grey fascia).
Later, I put 35x12.50 Dick Cepek FC-IIs on 17x8 wheels with 4.5 inches of backspacing (and a 1-inch-offset shift inboard). I did this because everyone I talked to told me it was impossible to fit 35s on a 2003 F-150 without a lift, and needed a back-up plan in case the 35s did not fit. After a quick test fit, I trimmed about another inch off the very bottom of the lower fascia/chin spoiler. I drove a few thousand miles with those 35s on, no lift, and only experienced the slightest rub on the frame at full steering lock. Then I installed a 4-inch lift with the 35s on 17x8 wheels. With the lift, the fascia trimming may not have been necessary.
Seeing the front/rear at full stuff, I know 35s are the max with my setup, so 36-plus-inch tires would require more lift. But I feel with the proper wheel offset, you can run 33s with no lift and 35s with only four inches of lift.
Keep up the good work—and next time, I hope to be more timely!
Via the Internet
Hey, no worries here. Thanks for the info! And people write to us all the time about stories that are a lot older than the one you mentioned . . .
I’m looking for a picture of a Jeep Willys. It was taken in Iceland about June, 1981. The car was flying, and the picture was in your magazine. It was maybe on the front page. It would be very nice to see this.
At the present time, our parent company, Source Interlink Media—which includes sister publications such as Motor Trend, Hot Rod, Truckin’, Low Rider, and Petersen’s 4-Wheel—is embarking on a massive project to digitally convert all of our magazines’ old photographs and artwork for future use on the Internet. The total number of photographs these magazines have generated over the course of six decades is almost impossible to calculate, but the number of images from Motor Trend and Hot Rod alone is estimated to be in excess of six million. So, long story short: You’ll eventually see this old Jeep on our website. It’s just going to take some time.
Bombproof Tires for Afghanistan?
Can you offer some advice on tough tires for Afghanistan? I lead a small U.S. unit in Afghanistan with a pair of armored Ford Expeditions. We’ve blown nine OEM tires since March due to daily ops on some harsh surfaces. Since fixing a flat on the side of the road has some added hazards in our neighborhood, I need to upgrade my rigs with some tougher rubber that I can count on not blowing out when outside the wire. Our stock configuration is 255/70R18 and 18x8.5 rims on a 7,480-pound vehicle. Any suggestions for brands, model and tire type?
Well, for starters, you’ve added about 1,700 pounds (give or take) to the base curb weight of your vehicle. While we understand the (obvious) reasons for this, that’s a lot of extra poundage, and it could be shortening your tires’ life cycle, depending on sidewall construction, load rating and inflation pressure.
As to tire type, generally speaking, bias-plys will be more durable than radials for your kind of use, though they’ll deliver a rougher ride (if that matters), and finding a bias-ply in your size could be an issue. If it were up to us, though, we’d look at possibly acquiring some “run-flat” tires, which typically use an internal support ring and/or sidewall reinforcements to keep the full weight of the vehicle off the rim in case of a blowout. Most of them will let you drive upwards of 100 miles at speeds of around 50 mph after suffering a flat, and while they’re not bombproof per se, they should at least be able to get you to a safe location where you can change tires. Most of the major tire manufacturers employ some kind of run-flat technologies in their high-end performance tires, though sizes and applications can be limited according to manufacturer. Your best bet is to take a spin through some of the tire manufacturers’ online catalogues, and maybe run some size searches at one of the bigger online mail-order sites such as Tire Rack or Discount Tire.
The action adventure, Cowboys and Aliens, debuted on Blu-Ray December 6th featuring an ext
Heath Edwards takes the cake this month. We’re not sure where he read to do otherwise in Four Wheeler, but his stern (although misguided) letter put a smile on our faces. So Heath, we’re sending you a DVD copy of Cowboys and Aliens to ease your troubled mind.
Where To Write
Address your correspondence to Four Wheeler, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All letters become the property of Four Wheeler, and we reserve the right to edit them for length, accuracy, and clarity. The editorial department can also be reached through the website at www.fourwheeler.com. Due to the volume of mail, electronic and otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.