4x4 AnswerMan - Truck & SUV Questions Answered

Jan. 24, 2013 By Jaime Hernandez
Alec Yager in his highly customized 4x4 crawler shows us the advantages of tire size and on-demand wheel placement. How do you like those hydraulic spider arms?

Have a truck or SUV question for the 4x4 AnswerMan? Send your questions to editor@off-road.com. Please include your name and location, and be as detailed as possible about your questions.

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December 2012

November 2012
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4x4 AnswerMan,

I just bought a 1996 crew cab F250 7.3 powerstroke diesel. I would like to know what is the largest size tire I can fit without rubbing.... Tires will be all terrains. Do you have any recommendations on tires???
Thanks for your time.
Josh Griffin

Hi Josh,

These are nice, beefy trucks. You should be able to run 35-inch tires with no issues.  You can also do a 2-inch front leveling kit while you’re at it to get rid of the stinkbug look, and maybe add some additional wheel-well space. This can be done with either leafs or coil spacers--depending on the year of Super Duty.

If you want to go any bigger, like a 37-inch tire, it will require a 4-inch lift. Here is a sample of a truck we did a few years back.

Read more:
Lift and Control - Towing in Style

One thing to note is that if you plan on towing or hauling heavy loads, make sure it’s a “Load Range E” tire. It becomes harder to find this load rating as the tire size gets bigger, but some companies like Nitto and Toyo do have them. BFG used to have them, but many of the larger sizes are now classified as “Load Range D,” especially in the 35- and 37-inch range. A good tire shop should be able to set you up with the right tire for your truck and needs.

Keep it Rollin!




Gotta say, love the site! I'm looking into replacing the leaf springs on my ‘83 Toyota pickup and I'm kinda stuck wondering if I should try some coils or 4-link the whole rig. I'm really looking for some more lift, maybe 4 inches, but basically just want room for bigger tires. I've checked out the 4-link gear from trailgear.com and it's really impressive but no one can seem to tell me if this will give me the results I want. Any thoughts?

Angel Marinez
Prescott AZ

Hi Angel,

Thanks for the love... we try. You’re on the right track, looking at different options to get your Toyota off the ground will yield more tire options. A 4-link and coilover suspension is uber cool, especially if you like to hit technical trails.  They also require a lot of fabrication and money. Unless you’re ready to make this big jump, I’d recommend looking at other tried-and-proven options like leaf suspension upgrades.

I’m not sure how big of tires you’re looking to run, but 32-inch would be the sweet spot for your Toyota 4x4 Pickup just to get going using stock suspension.  If you want to go bigger, say 35s or 37s, then you’re looking at a 5-inch suspension lift. Try Trail-Gear, Marlin Crawler, All-Pro or WabFab. Any of these companies should have what you need.


4x4 Answer Man, I have a 2004 Toyota Tacoma 4X4 Extra cab with a 2.7L 4-cyl. engine. I am in Washington State with some great off-road areas. This is my daily driver but I would like to modify for weekend fun! The truck is stock and I would like to modify the suspension to accommodate larger tires and/or wheels so I can take it off-road 4-wheeling but maintain reliability. I was thinking about 32" tires, but honestly I would like your opinion on where to start. I don't know if I need a body lift or suspension lift or both?  Brian Mogle

Hi Brian,
If you’re serious about keeping things simple--start off by simply replacing the stock tires with some off-road rubber.  You step it up a size, up to 265/75 R16 (roughly 32-inch diameter). If it’s a daily driver and you want to get better MPG, go to an All-Terrain style tire. 

Although not necessary for a 32-inch tire, you can add a front leveling kit or adjustable coil-overs for an added 2 to 2.5 inches of lift. This will allow up to 33-inch tires.

Here is build we did on a truck similar to yours. Maybe you’ll get some ideas.  This setup proved good for daily driving, dirt, Baja and even Moab.

Toyota Tacoma Off-Road Tune-up Project 

4x4 AnswerMan,
If fitting only one locker, which is the better option, REAR or FRONT?

Hari Gill

Hi Hari,

Hands down, the rear locker will give you the most off-road performance. If you need a little more traction going up a hill, rocks or even mud, having two rear wheels propelling you forward will make things much better. Sure, having a front locker is good, but most of the time they are only used when the rear wheels can’t help get you over an obstacle or you need that extra traction up front. Go with the rear, worry about the front later.

Game on!


Hi 4x4 AnswerMan,

I'm new to the 4x4 world just got a 1986 Chevy K10 4x4 & I'm tryin’ to find some places to take it to have some fun with it. I'm in Springfield, Ohio, can anyone help me out? I'd like to stay close to town ‘cause I only get about 10 miles a gallon lol, but you know what they say "Ya Gotta Pay to Play!!!" Please email me with some great places to go wheeling. 

Thanx, Dizzel

Hi Dave,

Welcome to off-road. Looks like you are already on a good path with your K10 Chevy. I know how frustrating it can be to see open land around you but not have access to it. Best thing to do is to meet some other off-roaders in your area that can share some of the local 4x4 spots. There are also some good off-road group forums in Ohio, like http://www.offroadohio.com that will give you specific places in your neck of the country that make sense and won’t drain your wallet.

Good luck, and make sure to check out our archived tech and project builds here on Off-Road.com to get ideas and information on ways to make your truck more fun and capable off-road.

Next Page... 4x4 Answerman January 2013

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