Cramming 35s on a Cherokee
When you envision the potential of your truck, many images come to mind--lots of traction, monster-truck ground clearance, and adequate stability. While only a small step toward that image, going from 33s to 35s helps to improve dragging-axle syndrome and gives you drive-through-gaping-hole capabilities. Our '01 four-door Cherokee (XJ) already had a 5 1/2-inch lift and 4.56 gears so the limiting factor was basic--sheetmetal.
Our learning curve went something like this: remove flares and ask L&G Enterprises to cut, trim, and fold the metal to clear the new rubber. The goal was to cut just enough tin to cycle the suspension with the new tires. Then we threw on the new tread and took the truck to our secret testing facility to check for contact points while in action.
Your level of off-road commitment, bodywork competence, or wallet capital--the three Cs--will determine if this tire trend is for you. Here are a few ways to fit more meat by getting rid of fender.
There's always something to be said about simplicity. Luckily Bushwacker makes a newly designed Cut-Out flare for the XJ with injection-molded high-impact thermoplastic. The thermoplastic material provides flexibility in twisting. Additional advantages to running flares include body and glass protection from road debris, they help legalize oversized tires, and they will be the first to tag unseen rock formations.
Bushwacker's Cut-Out flare instructions take you through a detailed six-step process. In a few short hours you will have trimmed away the excess sheetmetal (about 2 1/2-3 inches on either side of the wheelwell opening) and give your XJ that oh-so-legal look. The flares are reminiscent of late-model Nissan Frontier flares with their pocket-style design. They extend out from the body about 5 inches.
Our hunch is that the 35s will rub at full tuck in the front on the inside of the fender flare, because unlike the stock flare, the Cut-Out laps from the outside edge of the flare back to the body.
Out of Pocket: $400 flares, plus labor