Larger wheels and tires for 49 Jeepster

jim53066

Bigger Hammer
Aug 7, 2023
30
SE Wisconsin
First Name
Jim
Willys Model
  1. Jeepster
Willys Year:
  1. 1949
Ok, I am putting together a list of what I need for my newly acquired Jeepster.

Near the top of the list would be tires and wheels. I have given up on the wide white idea, the cost is just not worth it to me since they will go out of date before wearing out... My vehicle is already modified with a 289 Ford, automatic, and a 9 inch, so originality is NOT an issue, drive-ability is first priority, looks a close second.

I currently have 215/75/15 radial tires and what may be the original wheels. Sitting back and looking at the vehicle, to me it looks like the tires and wheels get lost in the huge wheel wells. I am not looking for an off road look with huge tires, more of a classic hot rod look with old style spoke wheels, Cragar 5 spoke, or Torque Thrust wheels. Modern wheels? I think the positive offsets would create problems.

I think I could easily put 235/75/15, OR, possibly even a 16 or 17 inch wheel with narrow tires if I used the correct offset..

QUESTION for those that have put larger wheels and tires,
How large did you go?
Please post success stories along with problems.

Thanks, JIM


Got any pictures?
jeepster5.jpeg
 
I have 205/70/15 in the front and 275/60/15 in the rear. Mine is not stock either. I have a Mustang II front end and custom rear leaf springs on a Ford Explorer rear end to give it that lowered hot rod look. A 275 rear is about as wide as I would go, otherwise you will have clearance issues.

I found 16 inch tires had a lot less sizes available so I went with the 15s.
brea2.JPG
 
I went with a larger diameter rear tires to gain speed on my stock 4 banger Jeepster. You may not need with that engine and transmission you have. BUT you have to be very careful about both width and diameter of new tires. Biggest problem is the width of the tire. Everyone goes with a wider tire and they end up rubbing on the outer panel of the rear fender right in the middle of the fender and then you mess up the look there. Especially if you corner to fast. You will end up putting an outward bow in the fender. Second do not go to big on the diameter either as the tire will rub on the fore and aft surfaces an you will actually feel it slowing your car, I think stock tires are 5,60 or 5,50 X 15. You can go maybe an inch larger on the diameter be careful with the width,

peewee
 
I have 205/70/15 in the front and 275/60/15 in the rear. Mine is not stock either. I have a Mustang II front end and custom rear leaf springs on a Ford Explorer rear end to give it that lowered hot rod look. A 275 rear is about as wide as I would go, otherwise you will have clearance issues.

I found 16 inch tires had a lot less sizes available so I went with the 15s.
this one shows the rear tire width
 

Attachments

  • exhaust3.JPG
    exhaust3.JPG
    127 KB · Views: 6
Stock suspension verses modern suspension changes everything and how you drive should be considered too. Sloppy sway in the suspension and clearance should be considered. You have gone with a V8 which adds power and weight to your rig. All I know is in 69 I drove my stock old Jeepster faster than I should have. I was young. I did rub the fender with my modern 235/75 tires and bowed the fender outward so just be really careful what you do there. With a soft stock spring ride you may rub your tires, with a stiffer ride maybe not. It is the sideways swaying movement you have to be careful with that larger rubber. If you drive normal and never corner fast. You drive careful with passengers and so on you will be OK. Just think about your driving habits and your suspension. It is a bummer to bend the fender. Bodywork and matching paint cost bucks. Larger tires look great, bowed fender not so much!

My 2 cents.

peewee
 
I went with a larger diameter rear tires to gain speed on my stock 4 banger Jeepster. You may not need with that engine and transmission you have. BUT you have to be very careful about both width and diameter of new tires. Biggest problem is the width of the tire. Everyone goes with a wider tire and they end up rubbing on the outer panel of the rear fender right in the middle of the fender and then you mess up the look there. Especially if you corner to fast. You will end up putting an outward bow in the fender. Second do not go to big on the diameter either as the tire will rub on the fore and aft surfaces an you will actually feel it slowing your car, I think stock tires are 5,60 or 5,50 X 15. You can go maybe an inch larger on the diameter be careful with the width,

peewee
Hello everyone. This post is late for those making expensive decisions, but my experience may help others. I have a 48 Jeepster completely stock, L148. Stock tires are 5.90-15. On the rear I installed 235/75R15 tires on 7” wheels with 4.5” backspace. Tires were perfectly centered with no clearance issues inside or outside! Sorry, no pics, as I have recently changed to stock 5” wheels with 205/75R15 with 1.5” spacers. Bringing the tires out closer to the fender lip improves the visual look and converts the drivers side to RH thread…a win-win in my opinion. Hope this helps. P.S. the little 134 pulled the 235’s surprisingly well.
 
Hello everyone. This post is late for those making expensive decisions, but my experience may help others. I have a 48 Jeepster completely stock, L148. Stock tires are 5.90-15. On the rear I installed 235/75R15 tires on 7” wheels with 4.5” backspace. Tires were perfectly centered with no clearance issues inside or outside! Sorry, no pics, as I have recently changed to stock 5” wheels with 205/75R15 with 1.5” spacers. Bringing the tires out closer to the fender lip improves the visual look and converts the drivers side to RH thread…a win-win in my opinion. Hope this helps. P.S. the little 134 pulled the 235’s surprisingly well.
I’m an idiot. My stock engine is L134 Go Devil, not the L148 I referred to. Sorry for the confusion! For clarity, I installed 1.25” spacers on the front; 1.5” on the rear.
 
Back
Top