Go Big Or Go Home
I have an '00 Dodge Ram 1500 with the 5.9L V-8. I started modifying the truck soon after I rolled off the dealership lot. I 'bagged it and put Center Line 20s on it. I was king of the local cruisin' scene for quite a while. Then, guys started showing up with lower, more radical trucks. I upped the ante by getting my truck body-dropped. You can't go any lower than laying the rocker panels on the pavement. I love my truck and don't want to sell it (especially after all the work I've done to it), but with all the advances in newer and bigger wheels, the 20s just aren't cutting it. I'd like to move up to a set of 24-inch rims and tires. Things are plenty tight underneath my truck as it is, so I'm wondering if I will have any trouble with clearances for the tires and suspension components? I've been looking at running tires in the 315/35R24 range. I want a little sidewall so the ride isn't too harsh. Can this tire and wheel swap be done without too much trouble?
Steve Ng
via e-mail

You're looking at putting some pretty tall tires under your Dodge. As such, you're pushing the limits of available space. You didn't specify what size tire you're currently running, but it's probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 28 to 29 inches tall. You're looking at tires in the 32- to 33-inch-tall range for 24-inch rims. That's a 3- to 5-inch increase over what you're currently running. The best way to estimate potential clearance problems is to measure your present setup and check with the tire store where you plan to get the new tires, regarding the inflated height of the new tires. Remember that a tire that's 4 inches taller is only 2 inches wider at opposite sides of the tire. Your clearance concerns are the distance from the center of the hub to the farthest part of the tread. A 32-inch-tall tire is only 16 inches from the wheel center. Finding an extra 2 inches of room is easier than trying to accommodate 4 more inches, but it will still involve moving a lot of parts. Depending how radically your rear framerails were notched before, they might need to be further notched. Radical notching involves bed clearance problems. You might need to narrow the rear axle and tub the wheelwells. The front fenderwells will need modifying, which is why lazy builders just simply eliminate them. That looks tacky and unfinished, plus it allows road crud to get all over the engine compartment. In addition to obvious clearance problems such as wheelwells, there can be secondary problems caused by moving primary obstacles. Moving the front fenderwells could impact the firewall, for example. It may be necessary to modify or relocate items related to the power brakes and ABS. You should have dealt with most of these problems during the body-drop process, but you might not have anticipated the amount of room needed to clear 24s. Back when 20s seemed huge, who knew that dubs would be factory equipment on some trucks or that aftermarket wheels would get as big as they are? A problem that should occur infrequently, but still needs to be addressed is the ability to change such tall wheels and tires if you get a flat tire or want to rotate the tires. Depending on how much suspension travel you have when your truck is fully aired up, the tops of the tires might not clear the fender lips. Running 24-inch (and larger) rims on a 'bagged, body-dropped truck can get quite involved, but if it was super easy, everyone would do it and you wouldn't have the unique truck you desire. Have fun measuring and moving stuff.