It was surprisingly hard to find anything on the internet dedicated to showing a very specific setup for Jeep Wranglers, specifically what a Jeep looks like with a 2.5″ lift with 33″ tires. So here you go, if you’re looking for such a thing.
Seems like everybody in Jeep forums buys the biggest tires they can stuff into their wheel wells, which for a 2.5″ lift is 35″ tires. For me, that’s just too big. I’m not into rock crawling or driving over obstacles for the sake of it. I’m more of an explorer, sort of a Jeep-equipped adventure rider. I want the Jeep to take me adventuring without worrying about capability. Also, 35″ inch tires have a lot of rolling resistance and require a lot more horsepower (and gasoline). I’m no fuel miser, but range is an important consideration while exploring. Thus, 33″ tires worked for me.
I also went with a shorter lift–just 2.5 inches. In my case, I went with AEV’s 2.5″ JK DualSport XT Suspension. As you can see from the pictures, the Jeep sits considerably higher than stock, but not extremely. My reasoning behind the 2.5″ lift is much the same as the tires: I love adventuring, not rock crawling. Also, no matter what, and even though it’s not a daily driver for me, my Jeep will spend most of its life on pavement. I didn’t want a silly-huge lift with horrible handling day-to-day.
For reference, in addition to the AEV 2.5″ DualSport lift, I have the following pictured items installed:
- 33″ (285/70/17) BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO tires
- 17″ AEV JK Pintler Wheels in Silver
- Steel AEV bumpers front and rear
- A crapload of assorted lights everywhere
UPDATE May 2016: In a weak moment I decided to change out my 33″ tires for 35″ tires. Here’s the result.
After a couple years with the 33″ BFG AT/KO tires, I decided to try out 35″ tires this time instead. (The 33s weren’t bald; I just wanted a change. I sold them.) I decided to change over from the 33″ BFGs to 35″ Goodyear Wrangler Duratracs. Immediately the ride was softer — much softer. I don’t know if this is more a result of the bigger tires (probably) or tires with a thinner sidewall (also possible) but now I’m running the tires at 30 PSI and the Jeep is far more livable. It’s a pleasing result that I didn’t expect or try for. It just happened.
This is a great chance to see how 33″ tires compare to 35″ tires on the same Jeep with otherwise the exact same setup. If you’re looking at which tires to fit to your Jeep, this might make your choice easier. While the suspension setup is the same, I’ve fitted different driving light covers and when I took these photos I had removed the doors and I have a lightweight flatbed attached to the hitch. So the doors would have made the Jeep marginally lighter and the trailer probably drooped the rear bumper by maybe 1/2″. Yeah, but seriously, the setup is the same. Splitting hairs that exactly is, frankly, pretty pointless. It’s the same Jeep.
Immediately you’ll notice the taller stance and the more filled out wheel wells. The 35″ tires don’t actually jack up the Jeep that much, but you do feel it when you’re hopping up into the seats. Gas mileage has suffered of course, but not by more than 2 MPG, and tire noise has increased somewhat. The look is decidedly tougher and more, well, off-roadish and it more closely matches the other Jeeps driving around here in the Salt Lake City area — and there are tons of Jeeps here.
You might like the 35″ tires more or you might like them less — for me they’re worthwhile for ride quality alone — but if you’re shopping for tires this hopefully will help your decision. Both are seriously great options. I personally won’t go any bigger than 35″, and I’d have to get a bigger lift to fit larger tires anyway (AND bigger axles, AND bigger differentials, AND new suspension, AND bigger brakes; yikes) which would be antithetical to my intentions for this Jeep. I’m not against fitting 33s again either, but I probably won’t return to the thick, heavy BFGs. Just buy the tires that are best for your situation. Both sizes are great.