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Unread 03-08-2014, 12:27 AM   #1
Jeff42
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15"/17" wheel size and tire selection

Hey!

I'm planning my 04 TJ build around 35" tires and a 1" BL/4" SL. I've run 33" on another Jeep in the past, and am going for broke this time. It will be awesome!!

My existing load range E tires (set at 28psi) from the PO are very hard riding. I believe folks who say to run load range C. Also range C will flex better on rocks.

I've hear one advantage with 17" wheels is that you have more tire options (plus better brake upgrade clearance).

I can only find Goodyear MT/R in 35x12.5R17 in load range C. Other brand's mud/max offroad variants are load range D or E: BFG muds, Nitto, Toyo, Kumho, Yoko, Dick Cepek, Dunlop, General, Maxxis...

I don't buy it that you have more tire options unless these guys are all running load range D or E. Am I missing something here?

From my point of view, if I run 35x12.5R15 I get:
- Instant $100/ea tire savings over the same 17" tire = $500
- I have more wheel options. Definitely easier to find 5 on 4.5 wheels in 15" with backspacing I need
- More rubber to protect rims

The only advantages I think for 17" wheels are:
- Maybe handle a little better on road with shorter profile?
- Look cooler
- Clear bigger brakes. But the Vanco 15" kit will stop 35s well so who cares?

Anybody want to come to the defense of 17" wheels on a TJ? It really doesn't make sense to me.

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Unread 03-08-2014, 07:17 AM   #2
biffgnar
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With 35s, I love my 17" BBK! Can never have too much braking! It is true though there are less load range C selections and the tires are more expensive in 17s.

Note that the 16" BBK kit will fit most 15" wheels.
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Unread 03-08-2014, 09:41 AM   #3
Jeff42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biffgnar View Post
With 35s, I love my 17" BBK! Can never have too much braking! It is true though there are less load range C selections and the tires are more expensive in 17s.

Note that the 16" BBK kit will fit most 15" wheels.
Thanks for the input about the BBK!
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Unread 03-08-2014, 12:11 PM   #4
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Dont perseverate on the load range. find the tires you like and run them either way.

On a 35" tire the 17s will work better on and offroad. On road they will corner better and feel more stable even at low speeds. Off road they will bounce a lot less and tire will not roll under the wheel on sidehills. You should have plenty of tire bulge to protect the wheel and plenty of rubber when aired down. If you are wheeling your jeep you shouldnt worry about scuffing the wheel anyways.
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Unread 03-10-2014, 12:04 AM   #5
Jeff42
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Thanks fratis. Good advice about the perseverating and 17" wheels!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fratis View Post
Dont perseverate on the load range. find the tires you like and run them either way.

On a 35" tire the 17s will work better on and offroad. On road they will corner better and feel more stable even at low speeds. Off road they will bounce a lot less and tire will not roll under the wheel on sidehills. You should have plenty of tire bulge to protect the wheel and plenty of rubber when aired down. If you are wheeling your jeep you shouldnt worry about scuffing the wheel anyways.
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Unread 03-10-2014, 11:07 AM   #6
CJ7nvrstk
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I'm going to have to disagree on 17s being better off road. On road, yes, they will handle better but that's about it. 17s will ride rougher d/t less sidewall.

Off road the more sidewall of the 15 will get you better traction and protect the wheels more. As for the 15s "rolling under the wheel on a side hill", ya I've heard that from the guys touting the benefits of a 17, but as a guy who has run 15s for 30 years off road, aired down, lots of nasty stuff, I have NEVER experienced or seen that phenomenon. What I can say though is that I have never had tire and sidewall issues until I ran 17s for a short while. I put more rocks thru sidewalls for the 1 year I ran 17s than I have for the rest of the time running 15s!

Granted, some choices are limited on the 15" wheels above 35" but I can get everything I need out of what is available. (Interco, Pitbull, Toyo....)
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Unread 03-10-2014, 04:10 PM   #7
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i've split the difference. i'm using 16" wheels. enough options for my kind of driving. available in several 'load' ranges and multiple tread patterns.
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Unread 03-10-2014, 04:55 PM   #8
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i've split the difference. i'm using 16" wheels. enough options for my kind of driving. available in several 'load' ranges and multiple tread patterns.
Worst choice. More expensive tires, odd sizes and mostly load range D and E. At 16" size tire manufacturers are catering to the light to medium OEM truck market. Does not relate well to the jeep market.
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Unread 03-10-2014, 11:00 PM   #9
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Ive used 15" wheels since the 70s. 35s on 17s have plenty of sidewall. Any more aired down doesn't do you any good. If increasing sidewall was the key to traction then we would all be on 14" wheels on 37s running 2 psi. Suspension will have more to do with a rough ride then a bit less sidewall. If its too rough then stick to smoother trails. Again there will be plenty of bulge to protect the rim. So you put more rocks through an argued smaller sidewall then a larger one that is flattened out more? There is a reason why tire options have shifted.
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Unread 03-11-2014, 12:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff42 View Post
Hey!


I can only find Goodyear MT/R in 35x12.5R17 in load range C. Other brand's mud/max offroad variants are load range D or E: BFG muds, Nitto, Toyo, Kumho, Yoko, Dick Cepek, Dunlop, General, Maxxis...

:
Goodyear MT/R in 35x12.5R15like 776$ for 4 190$ each seems fair. with rebate
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Unread 03-11-2014, 09:07 AM   #11
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CJ 7 is right on, been wheelin 40 years and ill take more sidewall any day on a 15 over a 17!
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Unread 03-11-2014, 12:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biffgnar View Post
Worst choice. More expensive tires, odd sizes and mostly load range D and E. At 16" size tire manufacturers are catering to the light to medium OEM truck market. Does not relate well to the jeep market.
worst choice for you perhaps, but the perfect choice for me.
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Unread 03-12-2014, 07:37 PM   #13
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Ive used 15" wheels since the 70s. 35s on 17s have plenty of sidewall. Any more aired down doesn't do you any good. If increasing sidewall was the key to traction then we would all be on 14" wheels on 37s running 2 psi. Suspension will have more to do with a rough ride then a bit less sidewall. If its too rough then stick to smoother trails. Again there will be plenty of bulge to protect the rim. So you put more rocks through an argued smaller sidewall then a larger one that is flattened out more? There is a reason why tire options have shifted.
Any more aired down doesn't do any good? Wrong! 1 psi can make a significant difference in wheeling capability. If you've never experienced that then you really haven't wheeled much so that's a pretty foolish statement on your part.as for ride, I was referring to on road ride at full pressure. Sorry if that wasn't clear. Not as much flexibility to that 17" tire=more sidewall damage. It's fairly simple actually to understand that.
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Unread 03-12-2014, 08:27 PM   #14
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I made no reference to any PSI number. Any more "sidewall" when aired down. There is a limit to how much a flattened sidewall will help with traction. Like I said if maximizing the amount of flattened rubber was the ultimate key to traction then we would all be on 14" wheels. The only people who havent gone to a 17" wheel on larger tire sizes are those still stuck on steel wheels. Im saying with experience that slightly less sidewall doesnt automatically equal more damage. There is a lot more involved and that assumption is overly simplistic and sophomoric. Do the tires in my avatar look like they will lack traction? Do the 17s in my avatar look like they are at risk of damage?
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Unread 03-13-2014, 04:38 AM   #15
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I made no reference to any PSI number. Any more "sidewall" when aired down. There is a limit to how much a flattened sidewall will help with traction. Like I said if maximizing the amount of flattened rubber was the ultimate key to traction then we would all be on 14" wheels. The only people who havent gone to a 17" wheel on larger tire sizes are those still stuck on steel wheels. Im saying with experience that slightly less sidewall doesnt automatically equal more damage. There is a lot more involved and that assumption is overly simplistic and sophomoric. Do the tires in my avatar look like they will lack traction? Do the 17s in my avatar look like they are at risk of damage?
As is your assumption that we should all be running 14" wheels! Heck, why not just 12s then. That's just being foolish on your part. Just like making no reference no being aired down. I guess you risk no damage to your sidewalls on your 17s at the mall since you apparently don't wheel. Since many of us on here wheel our rigs I felt it important to bring it up. Since you don't, fine, but not taking that into account is doing a disservice to the new Jeepers on here looking for info that DO plan to wheel their Jeeps.

My experience with 17s has yielded more sidewall damage with 17s. We all have different experiences. What caused my 3 tire failed in less than a year while running 17s? Who knows? Maybe it was just luck and timing that made those rocks rip thru those sidewalls. I don't know but what I do know is that I didn't have that problem before I went to 17s and haven't had that problem since going back to 15s. What I also know is that given the same size tire, only differences being 15/17, same psi, the sidewall of the 15 will be more flexible/pliable on the trail, will conform better to enhance traction, and will protect the wheel better than the 17 when aired down. If you look at it logically, it will make sense.
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