A little background to start with. This isnt my jeep but rather a customer's (I run a small shop) and I recently installed, against my better judgement, a 3.5 inch Iron Rock lift kit. After we installed the lift we couldn't align it because the rear tires were offset close to 2 inches to one side. I advised my customer to purchase a rear trac bar after talking to Iron Rock and them telling me that it shouldn't have been off that far. He purchased it and it was installed and the rear end now sits centered under the vehicle. He has since decided he wants to run 33x12.50 R15's on it. I did a test fit and let him know that the best way to proceed was to purchase adjustable rear trailing arms. I want to make sure this is done the proper way since he is a young kid and uses this as a daily driver as well as doing some light off roading. The new trailing arms are here and I am getting ready to install them, but my question is, how much should I move the rear axle back to get the tires to fit, with clearance? I originally did some measurements and came up to about 3 inches would get the axle centered in the wheel well. Then I started checking online and found people were having to do alot of work to move the rear axles. Like moving fuel tanks and upper shock mounts and the like. So If I move the rear axle 2 inches will that give me the clearance needed without having to remove the tank and all the other stuff that comes with it? Any help is greatly appreciated.
33's are too big for 3.5" especially off road but whatever. The tire should not be centered. It should be close to the rocker. When the rear suspension compresses the axle and tire do not go straight up, it rotates rearward and up. By centering the tire in the wheel well it will hit the rear bumper when its compressed. You can have the tire as close to the rocker as 1 finger space. Here is my last ZJ at 4.5"-5". You can see how close the rear tire was and it never ever touched.
more confused on how a shop didn't know that certain tire size won't fit depending on lifts, much less that they shouldn't be centered for an offroading vehicle. Or why you think installing a 3.5" IRO lift was a bad idea or "against your judgement" but hey, he paid you not us.
But yea, stickied and the track bar was the right call for centering the axle left to right, but CA's would be what needs to push the axle back, but that's not the issue here. Trim the fenders is the best solution IMO.
Sounds like you've done the right thing, if he got the base level iro kit that would explain why the axle was so off. Do what polka said to position the axle in the rear. Maybe add some bumpstops so his 33s don't destroy his finders completely.
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