Fitting 33" tires on your Sport ...
I finally wore out my second set of 31x10.5 Yokohama Geolandar M/Ts and decided to experiment since winter is coming. The Geolandar M/Ts performed very well so I stuck with the same brand and model.
THIS WILL NOT WORK WITH ALL 33X12.5" TIRES! If you're not familiar with tire sizes and discrepencies something to know is that the advertised size - 33x12.5 or 31x10.5 - is usually not the actuall size. Actual tire dimensions vary quite a bit no matter what is stamped on the outside of the tire.
So far, I've run this mostly on pavement with a LITTLE dirt hill climbing. I can say that it is definitly doable if you never plan to go off-road. AS LONG AS -- you don't mind you Sport riding like a truck, spending a goodly amount of money (in the 2K range), sucky gas millage (well for our Sports, that is), and less power to the pavement (means scratch off towing). Also, kiss your warrenty goodbye. This requires more modification then the service departments will generally tollerate.
On the positive side, it looks REALLY NICE! It did improve the ride quality over the 2.5" lift with 31"s. The extra side wall softened up the ride quite a bit - almost as soft as it was stock. I'm up to ALMOST 13" under the front cross member. Tires fill the wells very nicely with the lift.
Getting it to work ...
- '97 Montero Sport LS 5-speed manual transmission w/3.0L.
- 33x12.5" Yokohama Geolander M/Ts on the stock rims. Yes, I know they're kind of big for a 7" rim but these are kinda small for a 33" tire.
- 2.5" suspension lift. The add-a-leaf spring kit from John Baker in the rear and cranked up the torsion bars in the front.
- OME shocks -- you MUST something other then the stock shocks if you raise the suspension. As it is the OMEs are still too short.
- Trimed a piece 3.5 long and an inch thick from the front bottom corners of the front fenders at an angle so it doesn't look like anything is missing and a bit off the steel bracket (my bumper had an incident involving a rather large mud hole and a dirt bank so no loss there). The ARB bumper solves this problem -- no corner to trim -- and this is the recommended solution!
- I use Jaos mud flaps so I don't know if the stock ones would still fit. Re-bent the inside flap bracket. Going to replace the bolts with flat headed socket bolts to keep them from catching debris. There is a VERY TINY rub on the Jaos flap at full lock but I don't think you'd get that with the stock mud guards. The Jaos flaps stick into the well more at that point (about .5 inch) then the stock ones do if I remember correctly.
- K&N filtercharger kit for the GT3000, synthetic oil and gear lubes. No, this does not make the tires fit better but it does mitigate the power loss. Transmission, transfer case, differentials and engine.
What I still will probably have to do to get it back into shape for serious off-roading...
1" body lift. So far as I can see - if I even need it and we'll find out this Saturday - 1" should be plenty. More then enough to make sure there is no weel rub as mentioned above at full lock.
4.88 gears in the diffs from the Montero SR. Yea, I STILL haven't done that yet but I'm getting there. 'Least I'm sure it'll work. Now I just have to find an unattended SR just sitting around...hmmmm......:-):-)
Not for off-roading but still have to do it...
Speedo adjustment. 'Least its not off by too much.:-)
I'll say right now that is is not for everyone! If you do sticky mud forget it. There isn't enough room between the wheel and rear of the front fender well at the bottom - 2.5" or so. Two-three inches of body lift would help that considerably but I don't recommend it. I don't like body lifts for several reasons and I don't think its worth the expendature in money it'll take. These are considerably bigger, wider tires and I think if you get them good and muddy you'll find that power - well, lack thereof - becomes an issue.
If you can find another 33 the same as the Yoko in size you can use that in place of these. Otherwise, the Yoko has some quirks -- good and bad. Good -- extremely quiet for a M/T, excellent on the street both in handeling and traction - IMHO - again for a M/T, extremely good in anything that resembles mud or slush, very good wet traction and zip hydroplaning - got to love directional tires - absolutly awesome in the snow - I was driving through snow up to the bug guard last winter without even thinking about it. Bad - if you don't air down off-road you'll do nothing but tear up your tires and the terrain - 12-15psi works good - even light trails will convince you that someone switched them for bald balloon tires at stock pressure, you will have to air down in the snow before everyone else does -- flotation is non-existant above 25psi, very good at 12-15psi and allows you to walk on water at 10-12psi - yea, 5psi really makes that much of a difference; you'd have to experience it to believe it, very soft rubber means more wear -- my last set made it to 20K, barely, but almost 5K was off-road so I can't complain -- especially off road in sharp, broken, fragmented rock frequently found in the Colorado mountains. 25-30K on the street is expected.
I also don't recommend this to people with 3.0L and automatic transmissions. It takes power and/or gearing to roll bigger tires. The auto has the 4.34 in the axles and I don't know how well they cool the transmission. But, with the 3.5L it would probably work ok, I think. Unlikely you'll get the tires to clear with the running boards from Mitsu, though. Most of this is conjecture since I don't do anything with automatic transmissions. Personally, I just don't recommend doing this.
Gas millage will go down. Think I'm down to 17 but I'm not sure exactly yet. I do have to downshift more then I used to but not much -- also keep in mind that I live in Denver so I have 5500+ feet of altitude to deal with that some of you don't. I won't be towing trailers without changing to the 4.88s but otherwise its livable. Still can pull Land Crusiers and 4-Runners out of the snow, so....
Think VERY HARD before you take on this project! This is not for someone who expects to just stick the tires on and thats it! ALMOST 13" of clearance under the front cross member. Can you say "Why didn't they build it like that in the first place?!?" Ah, well, wouldn't have anything to do if they did, I guess.