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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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 on 20x8.5 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?
 

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I think your tire guy is an idiot, if we're being bluntly honest here. Tire width has much less effect on darting and squirm than sidewall height. You're on a 20" rim, you barely even have sidewalls compared to those of us with XJs and ZJs that are all on 15 and 16" wheels running 31s-37s on the road every day. If you are running your tires at proper pressures on the road anyways then you should be fine.

Now, if you want to discuss how width affects mileage or traction, then you have some real considerations to think about. A narrower tire will make less contact with the ground, thus getting better fuel mileage. It also will sink into snow or mud a little better, allowing you to get traction on the hard ground beneath, whereas a wider tire may float a little more and be slipperier in the winter, or even in some mud.

I am not familiar with tire fitment on your Jeep, but you will need to consider how far the tires will stick out and if you are ok with the look and the side-effects that come with. The additional width will probably throw rocks/mud up the side of the vehicle.

In your case specifically, you are looking at a width difference and a height difference each just shy of 1 inch. I can guarantee you will not feel a performance difference in terms of squirming, but you need to prioritize how you feel about fuel mileage, traction, and your paint.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
need to prioritize how you feel about fuel mileage, traction, and your paint.
I appreciate your input, thank you!

The vehicle will be getting a full vinyl wrap and ceramic coated, to help protect the paint when off-road from tree branches, rocks, etc. While I don't mind, and I guess even prefer, the tire sticking out an inch or so -- that's not a goal here one way or the other but definitely a good call-out to anyone else reading this thread!

As for fuel mileage... this 5.7 HEMI once it's fully loaded with steel bumpers, skid plates, full size spare, and the rest of the gear/equipment... my MPG is going to suck regardless. Choosing rotary-forged wheels should help reduce some rotational mass and at a minimum help offset the weight of an M/T, although only on a technical level I assume. Either way, MPG isn't really a factor that should determine my wheel/tire combo.

Now, traction... that's where I'm most interested. I know that a narrower tire actually helps in mud and snow so that's definitely something I'm considering. And because of that, along with a couple other factors, I've decided to go with the 275/55's.
 

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FWIW, I had 285/75/16's (33") on alloy wheels, weighed in at 75 lbs.They are mastercraft courser m/t load range E I changed to 35/12.50/15's on steel wheels and they weigh in a 90 lbs each, the tires are goodyear Kevlar. load range C. I can definitely tell the difference.
 

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Keep an eye on your GVWR and weigh your vehicle loaded with you in it as you progress on your build. MANY "overland" vehicles are way overloaded with equipment then wonder why they're breaking suspension parts on something simple like the Mojave Road.

If it were me I'd go with a skinner tire for multiple reasons.

Should net slightly better gas mileage. A guy in a TJ over on Overland Bound forums went to a pizza cutter tire. Something like 7.5 inches wide and his fuel mileage went from under 20 to 22-24.

Keeps crap off the side of the vehicle better because your tires and in the wheel wells better.

Keeps crap from your Jeep flinging off on road and damaging other people's vehicles for the same reason above.

I'd also go with more of an AT tire than MT especially for a daily driver.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Keep an eye on your GVWR and weigh your vehicle loaded with you in it as you progress on your build. MANY "overland" vehicles are way overloaded with equipment then wonder why they're breaking suspension parts on something simple like the Mojave Road.
Way ahead of you!

First thing I did after purchasing it was 1) a "pre-purchase" inspection, within the 500 mile/5 day return window and then 2) took it to CAT Scale and weighed it, so we can monitor weight. I plan to weigh it left-to-right as well, I just wanted to get an initial weigh before I did ANYTHING. She weighed 5420lbs with a full tank of gas :)

227583

227584


For anyone on instagram, you can follow the build @wk2traildragon and pretty soon there will be a dedicated website/blog too, and a YouTube channel.
 

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I never run wheels bigger than 16" because more sidewall is better for off road and airing down but from your choices it would no doubt be 18.
 

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Well, your tire guy is half out of his mind and what he maybe referring to as "darting" would be better put as wandering. With a wide tire your tracking will be affected by the crowning of the road. My 12.5 wide 35s do this on my WJ and my 33s did the same on my JK. It's is only really a concern for me in heavy snow traveling on road at speed trying to stay in everyone else's tracks.
 
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