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Selecting and Installing Big Wheels & Tires - Go Big Wheel

Selecting and Installing Big Wheels & Tires - Go Big Wheel

Dr Whaba
May 1, 2009
Photographers: Dr Whaba
If you want to upgrade the look of wheels and tires on your eight-lug truck but don’t want to go through the hassles that usually follow after you make a change for aesthetics (like having to install a lift kit, wheels that hang out of the fenders, tires that rub when you turn corners, or even a loss of load rating), listen up. This story will show you how to have your cool looks and keep that work truck working. We not only make a swap to 20-inch-diameter rims (from the stock 17-inch-diameter rims) on an ’06 Ford F-250, we’ll show you how to do the same for your truck.
Photo 2/22   |   Bolting on a set of large-diameter wheels and tires makes a dramatic difference in the look of your eight-lug truck—but choosing wisely makes the upgrade even better as your truck will still be able to work as good as it looks.
Measuring The Stock Wheels/Tires
The first step when considering a big wheel/tire swap is to do your homework! First, determine the wheel width, diameter, and backspacing of the wheels currently on the vehicle. Then record the tires that are currently installed on those rims and how the existing tires fit in the wheelwells of the vehicle while pointed straight and also when turned full-lock in both the left and right turn positions. Measure the distance from the framerail to the tire so you will know how much more tire you can install before it starts to rub.
On this vehicle we did all those measurements and determined that if we kept the stock wheel backspacing, we could put a much bigger wheel/tire on the vehicle with minimal or no rubbing, compared to what we would have gotten if we went with many of the common straight-up backspacing wheels on the market. This was easier said than done, as finding a 9-inch-wide, 20-inch-diameter wheel with more than 5¼ inches of backspacing was not easy. But it is doable.
Finding Aftermarket Wheels/Tires That Fit
We did a lot of searching on the Internet before being lucky enough to have some friends suggest we check out MKW Alloy wheels. MKW has a wide selection of wheels that feature large diameters and stock wheel-type backspacing, along with having load ratings equal to or greater than the wheels we were removing. We found a set that looked good, but wasn’t too gaudy (this is a truck that hauls and tows every day on the jobsite, so we wanted it to look good, but not too good), and ordered them.
Photo 3/22   |   Nothing explains this story better than the Before and After photos shown here. The 20-inch-diameter MKW wheels and 275mm-wide Nitto tires look spectacular—absolutely transforming this work truck from nothing to something, while still being able to do everything a work truck should be able to do!
The tires turned out to be easy too, as Nitto recently introduced its Dura Grappler Highway Terrain tires in a relatively narrow, yet tall design: LT275/65R20. This new tire size gives a working truck owner another option when selecting an oversize wheel/tire combo that needs to have load rating and work in multiple conditions (pavement, mud, snow, etc.).
Photo 4/22   |   0905 8l 03 Select And Install Big Tires And Wheels Ford Truck
Since completing this wheel/tire swap, the MKW/Nitto combination has been subjected to 4,000-pound hauling loads, towing a trailer weighing more than 10,000 pounds, and mud and snow with nary a whimper. We do vary the air pressures in the tires depending on the load being carried (between 35 and 60 psi), but otherwise, this truck is being used as before—the only difference is that it looks way better!
Product  Profile:
Harlow Tire Racing
MKW Alloy Inc.
Nitto Tire USA Inc.


Nitto Tire
Cypress, CA 90630
Harlow Tire Racing
Westland, MI 48185
MKW Alloy Inc
City of Industry, CA 91748


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