Shoehorning 40-Inch Tires On A Wrangler
When we first started our 1994 Jeep Wrangler TJ project, a ka the No-Lift TJ (Mar. '05, Apr. '05), 35-inch tires were the tire that we saw off-road the most. Now, with an increasing number of larger-than-35-inch road-worthy tires becoming available, and people building Jeeps with less lift for stability, we are seeing a lot of 40-inch tires on Jeeps with 4 inches of lift and some fender trimming.
We decided we'd raise the bar by putting 40-inch tires on a Wrangler with no lift for the ultimate in stability and ground clearance.So we ordered up a set of 40x13.50R17 Goodyear MT/Rs, mounted them on the new HD17 TrailReady bead locks, and quickly found out just how much sheetmetal really needed to go away to make this work.
A few of the goals we had going in were that we didn't want to "comp cut" the Jeep and we wanted to keep our gas tank under the Jeep where it belonged so our bulldog could ride in the back seat. Other than that, it was game on with the reciprocating saw and angle grinder.
The idea was to move the inner fenderwell up about 4 inches to the edge of the tub, and cut the tub until the tires had plenty of clearance. This Jeep is a jack of all trades, and in addition to rock crawling, we want it to be able to go down fire roads at speed and bomb through mud pits with aplomb, so we needed more than an inch of uptravel.
This fender moving is something that Trasborg has been looking to do for years, but when we got wind of Gen-Right Off Road putting together a high-clearance kit that included replacement inner fenderwells, corners that you could cut the wheel openings out of yourself, and larger tube fender flares to cover the bigger openings, we decided that now was the time.
This '94 Wrangler already had a 1-inch Daystar body lift on it, and a set of Mountain Off-Road Enterprises shackles, which together should have given about 1 1/2 inches of lift, but the sagging stock leaf springs meant we didn't get anywhere near that. We had 31 5/8 inches from axle centerline to the edge of the tub when completely empty. A bone-stock hardtop YJ has 30 1/4 inches from axle centerline to the edge of the body. Once we get everything back in the Jeep, we'll be lucky to see 1/2 inch over stock. We figure that's close enough to say we fit 40s on a stock Wrangler. Check out the clearance between the top of the tire and the wheel opening. A 1/2 inch isn't going to matter there.