Wheels / Tires
It seems one of the first things we Jeepers look at when it comes to mods are a wheel/tire combo. The stock Jeep benefits greatly in both looks and function when we up size the tires. Larger tires allow greater ground clearance, increased ability to roll over obstacles and widen the stance of the Jeep to add stability.
Regarding wheel selection, for a Jeep, the sweet spot size wise is 17". A 17" wheel will allow you run a big brake kit, and gives you the widest selection of tires available. You can go with a larger wheel, say an 18", but I would caution against running anything smaller than a 17" diameter wheel. More on why I refer to the 17" wheel as the sweet spot later.
Let's take a look at a few wheel terms you may encounter when you are shopping wheels for your Jeep build.
Wheel offset is a refernce to a wheels ideal position. This ideal position provides clearance for brakes, steering components, etc.. If a wheel is described as having a positive offset, it will be positioned further in on the vehicle. Conversely, if a wheel has a negative offset, it will be positioned further out on the vehicle. Simply put, positive offset, the wheel is tucked in, negative, the wheel rides further out. So, negative offset wheel will be moving the wheel further out, away from the brakes, steering components, etc..
Similar to offset, backspacing is the distance from the hub mounting surface to the inside lip of the wheel (measured in inches). For 35" tires, backspacing of 4.0"-4.25" works great. For a 37" tire, backspacing of 3.5"-4.25" is ideal. It's not easy to find a lot of wheel choices that offer 3.50" backspace. On my Jeep, my Method wheels are 4.75" B.S.. I run an 1.25" TeraFlex spacer, netting me an effective B.S. of 3.50".
A beadlock wheel is a wheel designed to clamp the tire to the wheel. This is typically done via an outer ring around the circumference of the wheel. Why would you need this? On the trail, we like to air down the tires on our Jeeps. This provides better traction and reduced chance of puncture. A beadlock will allow the tire, with reduced tire pressure to stay on the wheel.
1) Superior tire retention
2) Easy tire mounting at home
3) Ability to run lower air pressure
4) Ability to run narrower tire on wheel
5) Strengthens outer wheel circumference
1) Greater weight
2) Higher cost
3) More maintenance
4) Might not be street legal
On my Jeep I am running a set of Method Race "Fat Five" wheels. Size: 17x8.5 B.S.4.75" These wheels have been converted by OMF Performance to a simulated bead lock. This conversion greatly enhances the wheel's strength, and provides off road wheel protection via OMF rock domes. The rock domes are designed to take abuse on the trail and keep any potential damage away from the face of the wheel. The domes are easy to replace if you damege them.
I chose to run a non bead lock wheel, as I did not want the complexity of a true bead lock. My Jeep is my daily driver, spending 95% of it's time on the pavement.
Here's a look at how they are built.
This is the finished wheel...
One really nice aspect of having the trim rings is the ability to add color. This can really add a lot of customization and personality to your Jeep. On my set, I had the rings powder coated bronze.