Tire width for a daily overland rig (JGC WK2)

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Adding a 2.5" OME suspension lift to the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited I picked up to turn into my overland rig named "Trail Dragon". However, this is also a daily driver.

Because I've run them in the past and loved them, I'm going with Toyo Open Country M/T: Off-Road Tires With Maximum Traction | Open Country M/T

I've already researched and debated the 18" vs 20" rim size, and decided to start with 20's. If you're curious why we made that decision for Trail Dragon, let me know, and I can start a new thread. In this thread, I wanted to discuss tire width specifically.

I was talking to my tire & wheel guy, and when I mentioned going with 295/55R20 he replied that it's a "very wide tire, and I worry about onroad handling. When they get that wide, there's a lot of tread squirm and they tend to make the Jeep very "darty" feeling. Is there one that's more narrow that suits you?"

The 295/55 calculates to roughly 32.8" tall/11.6" wide. The only other size in the lineup that seems like a good fit is 275/55. That brings the tire to roughly 31.9" tall/10.8" wide.

Because this is a daily driver that will see quite a bit of on-road miles in addition to going off-road, what are your thoughts here?
 

jeepinjeepin

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Have you chosen your wheels? What width? I would lean towards the 275s instead of the 295s if you are set on that tire and a 20” wheel. I would be more interested in the 265/70R18 if 17s aren’t an option.
 

Smileyshaun

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If your worried about daily driving I’d skip the toyo mt , really heavy tire and being a MT you will see a big drop in mpg . And generally you want to go with the smallest rim that will fit over your brakes . The more rubber you have the more dampening you will get from the tires and when aired down will give you a bigger footprint leading to more traction .
 
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Aequitas1916

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I'm no expert, I only know what I've read. But, my understanding is that you de-air your tires on various terrain types to increase the *length* of tread in contact with the ground, rather than the width. Sure, you gain some additional contact surface with a wider tire. But, if you don't have much rubber to play with to begin with due to larger wheels, I'm not sure having a wider tire is going to make up that difference.

Personally, I kept the stock width on my tires. I just dropped from 20" to 17", and kept roughly the same overall diameter in my tire. Just a lot more rubber between my rim and the road now. It's also my daily driver, so I didn't want to go too crazy with the tread pattern. BF Goodrich T/A KO2s.
 

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If I’m reading the website correctly, an 8.5” wheel is the sweet spot for the 275s.
I appreciate the info! Thanks :)

my understanding is that you de-air your tires on various terrain types to increase the *length* of tread in contact with the ground, rather than the width. Sure, you gain some additional contact surface with a wider tire. But, if you don't have much rubber to play with to begin with due to larger wheels, I'm not sure having a wider tire is going to make up that difference.
Great point! I appreciate the input!

I didn't want to spark a 20 vs 17 wheel size discussion here, but it appears we have lol...

17" should be max if you plan to do anything other than dirt fire roads.
I get it. More rubber/less rim = better for airing down, impact resistance, wheel protection, etc, etc. Of course on the flip side, a stiffer sidewall will equate to better on-road handling. So in a stock-daily-driver-slowly-turning-overland-rig, what's the balance between the two? Based on reading forums, blogs, and miscellaneous websites where lots of people have had great success with 20's off-road, coupled with my personal on-road and off-road experience, I think a 20-inch wrapped in M/T gives that balance we're looking for at this stage of the build.

Truth is, we're starting the build from stock, and with a little bit from each paycheck building up the rig. We'll be keeping trails appropriate to the stage of the build. Until I can get rock sliders and skid plates, I'm going to try and avoid off-road adventures where a 17" becomes obviously advantageous. Same goes for not having a winch and entering areas (sand, mud) where airing down and 17's will truly make a difference.

If your worried about daily driving I’d skip the toyo mt , really heavy tire and being a MT you will see a big drop in mpg.
I'm not worried about MPG for this vehicle, but I am worried about on-road and off-road handling and manners. It's a 5.7L HEMI that will eventually be outfitted with steel bumpers and skid plates (although, admittedly, I may consider aluminum options in certain applications -- yet to be determined) along with lots of other stuff. This rig is going to be heavy. MPG is going to suck.

Obviously, we don't want to add weight to the rig all willy nilly, we want to be mindful -- that's why a few days after purchasing the vehicle we went to a CAT Scale to weigh the rig and will continue to weigh it as we build it (Currently 5,420lbs). We're going to manage weight distribution, have appropriate suspension, etc.

To help combat the extra weight of the MT's, I'm looking at rotary forged wheels which not only helps reduce overall wheel weight but the weight saving is in the outer rim of the wheel which dramatically reduces rotational mass. I'll weigh the stock 20's and the aftermarket 20's w/ MT to see exactly what kind of weight difference we have between the two and post my results when I start the build thread.

I'm not really curious as to why you chose 20" wheels, but I do think you are going in the wrong direction regardless of the reason.
Lastly, I'll say this: Just because we're going with 20's at the start of this build (stock on-road/light overlanding) doesn't mean that as we get closer to the other end of the spectrum (aftermarket off-road/heavy overlanding) we won't switch to 17's or 18's down the road. Or possibly even have a 2nd set of wheels to swap in when heading out on an overland adventure that has "harder" trails/terrain that absolutely would benefit from 17's.

As always, I appreciate the input, advice, and yes -- even opinions of others! Thanks everyone <3
 
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GrundleJuice

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Considering on road handling and manners and then choosing a M/T tire seems to be counter productive. I'm surprised that a M/T tire is even available in a 295/55. Is a mud tire a requirement and you are just trying to find one that sits the daily driving role? I would think that whatever steering/handling performance gains made by a slightly shorter sidewall would negligible compared to the amount of squish and squirm from the tire construction and tread when compared to a taller sidewall version of the same tire. Also, the 295/55 flavor of that tire looks to be available in a load E only, which can be quite a harsh ride for daily on road use in my experience with the BFG KO2.
 

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Considering on road handling and manners and then choosing a M/T tire seems to be counter productive. I'm surprised that a M/T tire is even available in a 295/55. Is a mud tire a requirement and you are just trying to find one that sits the daily driving role? I would think that whatever steering/handling performance gains made by a slightly shorter sidewall would negligible compared to the amount of squish and squirm from the tire construction and tread when compared to a taller sidewall version of the same tire. Also, the 295/55 flavor of that tire looks to be available in a load E only, which can be quite a harsh ride for daily on road use in my experience with the BFG KO2.
Haha there's all different sizes.

06B8B4CD-5BF2-422B-94F2-8D2D9108AF35.jpeg

OP, I just didn't want you see you make a mistake. I'll stay silent on it. What I've learned from my truck so far is, if you can't afford to do it right the first time...wait. Because in the end you do it over again and pay twice.
 

Lil Bear

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YES! Some of these questions i've wondered myself. My truck came with 20's on it, (LT275/65R20) Cooper Discoverer ATP. I want to run a 35 but I also wondered if it would be better if I went with a smaller wheel. Oh my truck is a 2016 Nissan Titan XD (diesel). It is a daily driver but I want to put a set of good A/T's on it. I like the Falken Wild Peaks.
 

Aequitas1916

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How often are you hitting off-road trails? The reason I ask is that you may just consider keeping your current setup for your daily drive. Then buy the exact M/T setup you want and just swap wheels when you're ready to hit the trail. It's not that you couldn't use M/T tires on a daily driver, but if your reason for wanting to keep 20" rims is handling, well, even my AT tires are pretty crap on slick roads (rainy/thin layer of snow). While great on dirt/gravel/depper snow, I lose traction pretty easily compared to my road tires when it's just a bit slick. I can only imagine that M/Ts would be worse. So the handling you're wanting doesn't seem like it would be there.

Just an option you've probably already considered. But it doesn't take that long to swap 4 wheels, especially if you have a compressor.
 

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Considering on road handling and manners and then choosing a M/T tire seems to be counter productive.
Not necessarily trying to choose one, or the other, but a balance by weighing all the factors together. On-road manners, off-road capability, looks, price, etc.

Is a mud tire a requirement and you are just trying to find one that fits the daily driving role?
I guess I don't know how to answer this. Is it a M/T a "requiredment"? No, technically not. But I like to be prepared in the event I meet some sand, mud, snow, etc. Which, speaking of, we get a LOT of snow where we'er from. Sometimes, roads aren't plowed for 24-48hrs and we've gotta get through 6, 9, 12 inches of snow. And I've been known to go on last minute adventures based on where I find myself, which can lead me to sand, mud, etc.

I've run the Toyo Open Country M/Ts previously and really loved them. Road noise wasn't bad, handled summer rains well, handled snow amazingly, got over 60k miles on the set and still looked/worked great (sold the truck before I could see just how long they would last). Maybe it's my personal bias steering me back towards the Toyo's. Perhaps I should just throw a set of General Grabber AT2's and be done with it lol.

I would think that whatever steering/handling performance gains made by a slightly shorter sidewall would negligible compared to the amount of squish and squirm from the tire construction and tread when compared to a taller sidewall version of the same tire.
This could absolutely be the case. It would be awesome to hear any feedback from someone who's actually run these two setups back-to-back and could chime in. Hell, maybe I'll be this person and do it just to make a YouTube video

OP, I just didn't want you see you make a mistake. I'll stay silent on it. What I've learned from my truck so far is, if you can't afford to do it right the first time...wait. Because in the end you do it over again and pay twice.
Buy once, cry once! Haha, I feel you, and I definitely appreciate the input. I'm definitely considering the 18's (again, for the dozenth time lol) so you're not falling on deaf ears.

YES! Some of these questions i've wondered myself.
This is the exact reason I absolutely LOVE forums. It's a shame Facebook has all but wiped out a vast majority of them. Hopefully, you can gather up some useful information! :)

How often are you hitting off-road trails? The reason I ask is that you may just consider keeping your current setup for your daily drive. Then buy the exact M/T setup you want and just swap wheels when you're ready to hit the trail. It's not that you couldn't use M/T tires on a daily driver, but if your reason for wanting to keep 20" rims is handling, well, even my AT tires are pretty crap on slick roads (rainy/thin layer of snow). While great on dirt/gravel/depper snow, I lose traction pretty easily compared to my road tires when it's just a bit slick. I can only imagine that M/Ts would be worse. So the handling you're wanting doesn't seem like it would be there.

Just an option you've probably already considered. But it doesn't take that long to swap 4 wheels, especially if you have a compressor.
Great idea, and definitely considered it. But I don't like the look of the current wheels, and want to buy new wheels. While I'm not one to do something simply because it "looks cool", appearance does have some bearing. Aftermarket wheels are often stronger and lighter than stock assuming you keep the same tires so there is a benefit beyond just looks, although only technically. I could just swap the tires I have onto new wheels I suppose. But also, as I mentioned earlier in this replying to @GrundleJuice, there are definitely "last minute" and "unplanned" adventures I find myself on based on where I am in the world - and while not hardcore enough to truly need 17's or 18's, having a more rugged off-road terrain tire has absolutely been helpful in those instances. Not once have I gotten myself stuck, when the same can't be said of other trucks/SUVs I was with.

While great on dirt/gravel/depper snow, I lose traction pretty easily compared to my road tires when it's just a bit slick. I can only imagine that M/Ts would be worse. So the handling you're wanting doesn't seem like it would be there.
My Toyo M/Ts weren't bad in the rain. All the blocks have siping which must have helped. Or, maybe I just got use to them and how bad they sucked lol. Honestly tho, I was really impressed with them. Now, my Nitto's I had for 40k before the Toyo's is an entirely different story haha

I've come to find that wheels & tires are often like politics & religion :tearsofjoy: With all that being said, I definitely have made my decision to skip the 295/55 and go with the 275/55....... if I stick with my R20 plan. I appreciate everyone's input! :)
 
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I just got this JGC trailhawk 4x4 5.7 awhile back, also got a sweet deal on an old 99 JGC 4x4 4.0. But I have been wondering about wheel and tire options for both. Anytime you ask a question about it in any group you get bombarded.
What is the perfect tire size for these jeeps? Personal experience and preferences of course.
Also what are my options for a lift on my trailhawk with air ride?
 

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Billygoat Rocklanding

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My 34 x 10.5r 17 BFG KO2 are the best tires I have ever owned. I went with the 10.5 widths because it handles better in the snow then 12.5

I have 70,000 miles on mine hard miles ( trail's, Rock Gardens, freeway, and ice roads) I keep the rotated often, and they're just good tires. I am thinking about going with the BFG 35 or 37 KM3 next for trails and Rocks but keep a set of the BFG KO2 34's for daily. With the lift and all the mods, the JKU still gets 19mpg on the Hwy with the 34's. 20170107_110013000_iOS.jpegIMG_2012.jpeg