Tires and wheels make the truck. Pick the wrong rolling stock and not only will your 4x4 perform poorly, it will look goofy too. Last installment, we lifted our ex-military truck and slapped on the tires and wheels. This time around, we’ll give you a closer look at what we chose for rolling stock, why, and how it all came together.
We wanted wide. Our truck really isn’t built for overly narrow and tightly treed trails, but we were looking for excessive flotation and tread-like traction. It doesn’t get much more tread-like than an Interco Super Swamper Bogger. Unfortunately, these tires provide some of the worst on-road manners of the street-legal-tire world. The good news for us is that we don’t plan to spend a lot of time on the street. We began building the truck around 40-inch-tall tires, so we opted for a set of 18/39.5-15 Boggers.
Square-fender GM trucks, and most older trucks in general, just don’t look right with many of today’s wild, chromey, large-diameter wheels. Nothing could be truer of an ex-military truck like our ’85 M1008, so we stuck with the smallest diameter wheels we could fit, hosed in black paint. But it wasn’t as easy as ordering mass-produced wheels from a catalog. Our low lift, custom bed, and large brakes were sure to cause clearance issues, requiring us to look for custom wheels that wouldn’t break the bank. We called upon National Tire & Wheel to build us a set of Eaton 32-bolt Type 402 beadlocks. These durable and affordable steel wheels are available in many different lug patterns and have an outer bead ring that clamps the tire in place, allowing us to run the single-digit air pressures we need on the trail. A non-beadlock version is also available. You can order your Eaton wheels with almost any backspacing in many different widths, so they are the perfect wheel solution for everyday builds as well as oddball projects. We ordered our 15x12 8-lug wheels with an unheard-of 1.5-inch backspacing. This provided the clearance we needed for the inner fenderwells of our M101A3 bed and front Dana 60 brake calipers. Our 15-inch wheels conveniently fit over our 1-ton brakes (front and rear) without any grinding. Another added bonus with the Eaton beadlocks is that you can mount the tires yourself in your own garage. Keep an eye out for the next installment, where we’ll upgrade our steering system to handle these extra-wide meats.