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  • What 33" tires can I put on 1981 factory wheels?

    I need suggestions as to what size tires I can put on 15" factory CJ wheels. Don't know much about them, but need to order them soon as I have a small window of time to get the job done. I work out of state, but going home soon for a visit. I want 33's but not sure what width will fit the stock 15" wheels. Any suggestions on brand/model tires that I could use for this application? Thanks as always for any suggestions.

  • #2
    I put a 12.50 tire on a 9 inch width rim. They are a little balloony, but I hear that's good for keeping a bead at low tire pressure.

    What width are your rims? I have 12.50 spare on a 7 inch rim that mounted up too.

    I can find a picture if you'd like.


    • #3
      Man, I don't even know. I thought they were 15" X 8", but maybe they are 15" X 7". Not sure. They are stock 1981 CJ Laredo chrome over steel wheels. Not sure how to verify the size. I am out of state now and not with the Jeep.


      • #4
        Dana I think there is a sticky on this subject in the wrangler section or just jeep. The short answer is the inside of the lip to the other inside of the lip. Tire manufactors recommend different things (Like BFG says to mount a 12.50 tire on a 10.50 rim), but you should have no trouble getting a 12.50 tire on a more narrow rim. Can you get a family member to run a tape on yours? You can probably ball park it within a half and inch. I was worried about the same thing. Basically, the wider the tire on a narrow rim, the more it balloons, and wears the center of the tread on the road. Conversly, it also allows you to run lower tire pressures on the trail without bead locks and the tension on the sidewall helps keep the bead. That said, a 33inch is a lot of tire for a little Jeep, and filled with air to the sidewall spec, often makes for a hard ride. I run my 33's at about 20psi and the tread seems fairly flat on the road. I measured 8.5 to 9.0 on my rims, and a 7.5 on the spare and I run a 33x12.50xr15 trxxus mt's. Another factor is tire height. You have widetrack axles, so backspacing and tire height will be easier for you to deal with because you are less likely to rub on the springs while turning. You should be aware that although manufactors label tires with "33" for the height, they often go over or under in actual height. Read carefully when you look around, as some places show actual height. I'll go take a pic or two for you in a min.

        Front tire
        Notice where the dust on the tire showing where it meets the road
        Spare on a "too narrow" rim. I would not run a 12.50 on a 7.5 inch rim on a regular basis.
        Last edited by gnarly; 01-27-2009, 10:00 AM. Reason: Added pics


        • #5
          Thanks for the pics man. I am working out of state, but fly home tomorrow. I will check on it then. I may need to get the 33 x 10.5 x 15 rather than the 33 x 12.5 x 15. Problem now is locating the Black Diamond 3" kit for the CJ. Emailed a few online retailers last night and sounds like everyone is sold out. Said they are three weeks out per manufacturer. Got a few other places to call, hopefully I can find one in stock. Otherwise, the tires won't be much of an issue until I return home again in June


          • #6
            I think BFG still makes their classic MT in a 33x9.50. Yes, it's narrow, but they are/were well loved for years. A stock Jeep does not have a lot of power for spinning big tires, especially if you go to 33's without re-gearing, so a narrow tire can make a bit more sense.

            Ok, let me go old school here:
            Back in the days before big lifts and common 350 swaps into CJ's, 33's were the biggest you could realisticaly go on a CJ, and it was all you realy needed as extreme rock crawling had not come around yet. One of the tires considered to be the best to put on a CJ was the BFG MT in 33x9.5. The 258 is no power-house, so the extra floatation from wide tires didn't pay off as spinning big meats for propulsion, whereas with a tall skinny tire, you could bite down and get a better grip from more weight on your contact patch and torque your way through. You could retain your stock wheels, it kept the then-current-standard for side wall to rim size ratio intact, and didn't rub at full steering lock.

            And yes, this was back before some guys on the forum were even born...back when CJ's were state-of-the-art and still found in showrooms.

            Nothing wrong with a litle old-school if it works. My $.02.

            Otherwise, spring for some low-buck steelies in 15x8 at least or 15x10 for a 12.50 wide tire. The ProComp Rockcrawlers (Series 99) are good units and quite affordable. I run the chrome ones. The black rims are cheaper, but I don't think they would look too great with your color scheme (IMHO.)

            (Sorry guys, but I feel old today and kinda lurched at the chance for a history lesson. I don't jump any more.)


            • #7
              33-12.50's will work just fine.


              • #8

                33 x 12.50,s on a stock 15x7" rim will look really ballooned 33x12.50 look good on 10" rims. Not to ruffle feathers but the 9.50's without changing rims would be my way to go. Check tirerack .com They usaually say what width rim you should run.