View Full Version : Downgrading to 33s...am I crazy?
08-08-2006, 08:40 AM
After somewhat being able to lower my SAS lift about an inch or so to something more reasonable like about 4" of total suspension, I was thinking of downgrading my Goodyear MTR 35x12.5-15s to MTR 33x12.5-15s. In fact, I'd lower my lift even more if that was humanly possible. The front springs are flat a board right now, but that's the nature of SASing an Toyota truck. You really can't get away with much less than 3.5-4" of lift.
The truck is primarily used for long distance travel with occasional jaunts into the local mountains and rarely sees extreme off roading, so I'm trying to sort of downgrade it to fit it's real mission instead of the "rockcrawler" it ended up being. I wanted slightly smaller tires for better highway performance, off road gearing, hopefully better fuel economy, being able to put my easier to store 33x9.5-15 spare to use, and better handling. And reduction in overall height by about another inch for better center of gravity.
I'm running 5.29 gears and I've run 33s with that gearing before the SAS, so I know I'll enjoy some added power, but after ordering the tires (haven't got them yet), I'm starting to have buyers remorse, thinking that they might turn out to be too small. Goodyear lists them at 32.8" :confused:
The set up I really want is Scott's slightly taller than 33" tire but nice and narrow too. But I just couldn't bring myself to go with BFG. Not because they were a bad tire. I did have a few minor issues with my old BFGs. But these MTRs have been the absolute best off road tire I've ever owned. If only Goodyear made a 34x10.5-15 tire. Then I'd be in tire heaven. So, I'm asking opinions...am I crazy or did I do the right thing? :)
08-08-2006, 11:40 AM
No you are not crazy. I built a big truck once (75 K5). It could clear 38's. The fact of the matter is I seemed to have less problems as a whole on 32x11.5's. Brakes worked better, handled better. easier to get in and out of.
I sold that truck to go light and small because it was such a big fat pig I didn't want to trailer it and I have a 454 R20 Suburban tow rig!
I am real hesitent about doing the SAS on my 86 for the exact reason you have stated. This truck is my driver. The rock buggy thing is fun but it makes a miserable daily driver and the fact is I do hundreds of miles for every mile of trail. Its a ballance that you have to concider.
I'm going for 33x10'5's in an AT tread this go around with a 2 inch body lift and a little fender trimming. See how that combo does. I am also running an Aluminum wheel trying to cut rotational mass to help the already marginal Toyota brakes.
The 2 inch body wil let me raise the tank. Going to run a 4Crawler engine lift as well and a rotated Marlin eventually to try to get it close to a flat belly.
Now just a FYI for your next build. Go read 4RnerRick's Project Quasimodo build on pirate. He started with a 2wd truck this time. He found and confirmed that on the 84-88 (and probably up to 95) truck that the 2wd has the same frame profile as the solid axle trucks had. It allows for less lift. He managed to flat belly it with a 2 inch body lift and minimal floor cutting.
08-08-2006, 01:30 PM
You are building the truck for what you enjoy. The smaller tires will be easier to turn, stop, rotate and change. You are still keeping a lot of clearance (gained from the SAS).
Rock crawlers and big tires get most of the ad and mag coverage, but they are in the ABSOLUTE minority of the 4wd enthusiasts.
On my old CJ-7, I hit the 35" diameter tire, and have spent the last 10 years with 33" tall tires or less. I enjoy the driving challenge now, and trails I used to love are difficult again.
I think one of the best times I ever had on a trail was running C-Gap (a Tucson trail) in a 77 FJ40 with open difs and 31" tires. I earned every yard...
08-08-2006, 04:02 PM
I don't think you are crazy at all. Everything you said makes a lot of sense. I agree with you that it would be nice if some of the more popular tires would offer more sizing options. I wouldn't have the buyers remorse though - give 'em a shot. Let us know how it goes.
08-08-2006, 06:46 PM
I've really enjoyed the combo of 5.29 gears and 33" tires (I happen to use 33x9.50 BFG ATs). I don't think you're crazy at all. I'm on the fence between SAS or not and the amount of lift you end up with is certainly a part of the reason why. My truck with a couple of bikes up on the roof and fully loaded is already plenty tippy. I wouldn't sweat it, I think you'll find you rather like the combination when pointed up hill at higher elevations, too.
08-08-2006, 09:17 PM
I think you will find that its a good compromise and be happy you did it. Gas mileage, COG, convenience, easier on the drivetrain, steering components...just more practical especially for expedition type 4wheeling and running around town.
My good friend runs 33" MTRs on his 85 4runner, he loves the setup and swears by the MTR's. Not to mention, it is much nicer to drive than a truck on 35's like my current trail rig.
As another option, Interco makes a 35x10.5 SSR radial. Of course they make some 34" tires as well, but those are all bias ply I believe.
I was in your same boat not long ago, except going the other way, up in tire size from 35" to 37" MTR and was hesistant because I didnt want to raise the COG, or lift my truck anymore. I said heck with it and just did it after speaking with some people, and they fit great, no rubbing. Sometimes it just takes some encouragement and advice from a few other fellow wheelers to make a confident decision!
I believe 'downgrading' to 33s will infact be an upgrade on your truck, go for it.
08-08-2006, 09:40 PM
I've been considering downsizing from 35's to 33's for my next set of tires on the trail rig. I no longer flog the truck at the Hammer's or at Table Mesa, so the diff clearance isn't an issue any more. I'm also very much sold on MT/R's - tough, tough tires.
08-09-2006, 12:35 AM
Thanks for the comments, guys!
I think I would feel better if I could lower the lift another inch or two. I used to run 33s on my truck with the stock IFS with as low as 1.5" of lift http://www.brian894x4.com/jeepstuck2.jpg Although there were some very minor clearance issues that required some fender trimming. But the set up I miss most was the 3" of lift with 33s and long A-arm IFS suspension.
For you guys that are on the fence about SASing or not, let me share some of my experiences. I've run stock (torsion bar) IFS, slightly modified IFS, Long A-arm IFS and SAS and all of the above have advantages and disadvantages from the others.
To sum it all up. Back when I had the stock IFS, all I could dream of was Sassing and big tires. I never appreciated the simplicity and durability of the stock torsion bar IFS system until I didnt have it anymore.
The long A-arm suspension set up was probably the best over all suspension I ever had, because it made normal driving both on the highway and on dirt roads just so enjoyable. and fun. I could literally drive over a pot hole and not feel it until my rear wheels hit it. But my set up had “used” parts and a hairline crack in the upper A-arm ultimately ruined my day up at the end of a long trail. It was not fun trying to get out. However newer set ups from the likes of Total Chaos, should prove to be more durable. Unfortunately, you still have the weaker 7.5” front diff and relatively small axles.
The SAS set up is clearly the most durable, and is by far the strongest, with certain aftermarket parts, and is the best for extreme off roading. There really is a major difference when the suspension can actually articulate. But the ride is rougher and handling is absolutely dismal, especially on windy roads. And there are driveline angle issues that make it difficult and expensive to run 4WD at normal speeds, if you like to do that on dirt roads, like me. For those reasons, I would recommend against SASing an IFS truck that is used primarily for expedition travel. Unless one can figure out how to keep the lift minimal and run sway bars and don't mind going with an expensive high pinion front diff. If you really want a solid axle truck in an expedition rig, I would go with a Land Cruiser, since it's a far better compromise of a highway/off road vehicle.
My next project, should I decide to start over will likely be an FZJ80 Cruiser, since that seems to have the best of all worlds, except not so great gas mileage.
08-09-2006, 02:47 AM
The long A-arm suspension set up was probably the best over all suspension I ever had, because it made normal driving both on the highway and on dirt roads just so enjoyable. and fun.
This is the way I'm leaning, Total Chaos. Oh sure, there's that money and welding shock hoops, but I can dream, right?
Unfortunately, you still have the weaker 7.5” front diff and relatively small axles.
I wouldn't worry about the 7.5" diff. This is the same diff Toyota used in the drive axle of the 2WD 1-ton Hilux cab-n-chassis (different housing, though). The CV axles are probably the weak point, fer sure.
My next project, should I decide to start over, won’t be a pick-up. I’ll likely go with an FZJ80 Cruiser, since that seems to have the best of all worlds, except not so great gas mileage.
You know, it's funny. The big Cruisers are sure nice, but I'm not sure I could do one. I really like my pickup a lot (and I'm the odd ball who actually prefers a XtraCab over the Double Cab). I suppose it's a personal thing, but I never clicked with my FJ40 much and the 60/62/80 just seem waayyyy too big to me. Funny thing, I'm none too miniature either! Just a pickup guy I guess. You know what makes the biggest difference is sleeping set-up. Stick a WilderNest or FlipPac on your pickup and you'll have Cruiser wagon guys envious over your rig... One of my good pals is a 62 driver and he always points out that when I pull up, all I do is level the truck, pop the 'Nest and I'm drinking cold ones in 5 minutes while he's still finding a good spot for his ground sheet. You do get spoiled.
08-09-2006, 03:09 AM
Total Chaos seems to make a great product and if I were do it again, I would probably get their kit.
As for shock hoops, my kit used Downey bolt on hoops and I was able to install it and the entire kit completely by myself with little experience and no welding, etc. It did take me a few days of taking my time, however. Here's my install write up from a few years ago:
and part two: http://www.brian894x4.com/WCORIFSINSTALLPT2.html
I would go with the Total Chaos kit that allows you to use T-100 axles, since they are cheap and you can easily carry a spare. Definately install any upgrades you can to the steering. The stock IFS steering is very strong, but upgrade it anyway, and that usually just means installing a heavy duty idler arm and replacing the tie rod ends. I'd also carry a spare tie rod end set with you. By going with T-100 axles you won't get the maximum articulation you could otherwise, but for most cases you won't need it that much anyway and you'll get most of the benefits of the longer A-arms.
The IFS inner CV joints rarely break. The outer joints are actually bigger than the solid axle birfs. Most people don't believe me, but I have the pics and measurements to prove it. And a stock solid axle will slide into an IFS CV joint, so the axles are technically the same size at the weakest point on both the IFS and solid axle rigs. But the solid rigs have far more options to upgrade the strength of the diffs, axles and steering. With a properly maintained and greased CV joints, the breaking point is usually the axle itself. Sometimes, the inner shaft in the diff will break. There are actually two IFS diffs. One uses smaller axles than the other. I think the ADD version.
One more thing, speaking of ADD, if you have it, I would get rid of it if you go with long A-arms and install manual hubs. A very easy upgrade. Of course this widens the front front track by at least 4-6" and leaves the rear narrower than the front, but I found this to only add to the superior handling.
Darn it, the more I talk about it, the more I miss it.
08-09-2006, 03:56 AM
Yeah, all T.C. kits use T-100 axles, due to the increase in track width. I personally already use their idler arm, which is a nice product. One downside of the T.C. Idler is that with the recent recall on IFS relay rods, I've had problems getting the replacement. My dealer would not exchange mine, seeing as I drilled out the taper on the right side for the 7/8" hole the new idler used. My trusty parts guy tried all the angles and could not work the system to just /give/ me the rod, either. Oh well, I figure if it's gone 200K miles (and the last 100K with this knucklehead behind the wheel), it's probably not an issue. ;-)
A.D.D.? Ha, funny man. I have the base of the base DLX, 22R-E, manual everything (even just got around to doing an AC Kits A/C kit this summer). I was not aware that there were two different diffs between the two, though. Learn something new everyday. My FSM doesn't cite a difference other than the tube housing from the left side of the diff to the left CV. Oh, of course there are no hubs, just drive plates.
BTW, I know the hubs are very similar between the truck with the exception of the inner seal at the CV because the wheel bearings, thrust washer, star washer and spindle nuts were all the same between my '91 Hilux and the spares I had from my '78 FJ40. I'd totally believe that the outer CV joints were pretty much the same as an 80 series, for example (these were larger than the 40/60, right?).
08-09-2006, 04:24 AM
I haven't been on the Total Chaos page recently, but I thought they offered a set up that used special axles sort of like what I had, which included special inner CV joints for extreme travel and stronger axles. But they were very spendy too. And I thought they were longer like 3" wider track per side while the T-100 kits were 2" wider or something like that. I'm going off of memory.
As for the CV joints, these pictures show it all.
From left to right are the stock solid axle birfield, Old school Longfield with welded ring and IFS outer CV joint. The IFS joint is bigger, but ironicly, the outer stub axle is much smaller.
I would seriously consider trying to find a way to exchange your link rod. The cracks that develop are hairline, are hard to see, but when they finally go, if you're on the highway, you're in big, big trouble. Do you think if you found a link rod in a wrecking yard and just brought it in claiming to be yours, they'd exchange it over? If not, I think it would be worth the trouble to install the wrecking yard piece and your old idler arm and then have the dealer exchange it and then redo the mod to fit the TC idler arm. Just my opinion.
08-09-2006, 11:12 AM
Well, I just looked at the Goodyear MTR page. It never occured to me to look at metric tire sizes with 16" wheels.
They don't make the 255/85R-16s that Scott has, but they do make a 285/75R-16. The height is slightly more than 33" (although they measure it on wider wheel than they do the 33x12.5, so it's really probably the same, since I'm running 8" rims) but it's narrower by a good inch, around 11.3. Although again, measured on a narrower rim, so maybe it really isn't much narrower than my 33x12.5-15s will be on an 8" rim.
It's too late for me since I already ordered the tires 33x12.5-15 and wheels and they're probably sitting at the shop as we speak, but just out of curiosity, are there any advantages/disadvantages to going with a 285/75R-16 tire on a 16" rim on my truck? I noticed that this tire has a higher load range, D, verses C on the 33x12.5 tire. I wonder if that translates into a much rougher ride on my rig that only weighes around 5200lbs?
Anyway, just curious....should have researched a little more before I pulled the trigger I think.
08-09-2006, 03:11 PM
Thanks for the great discussion. It is very good reasoning.
With a lot of the "other" boards geared towards rock crawling, it's easy to get caught up in the big tire game. I am constantly reminding myself that I don't NEED the 35" tires and my 33" are just fine. They have taken me everywhere I have wanted to go.
Regarding the 16" rims or metric...You might have more cost associated b/c you would have to buy new rims. The metric tires also tend to cost more than their standard equivalents. Then there is the argue about flotation or more sidewall. You loose the 1/2" or so of tire side wall by going with the larger rims.
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