Here's an (rather pessimistic) chart of what should fit:
31x10.50/15 with 2 inches of lift
29x9.50/15 stock vehicle
31x10.50/15 with 2 inches of lift
31x10.50/15 stock vehicle
32x11.50/15 minor fender trimming
33x12.50/15 2,5 inches of lift
It is divided into four principal sections:
(1) Defining your wheel
(2) Wheel sources
(3) Some D90 wheel/tire combos used
(4) A note on Fender trimming from Kelvin Creezee
Rim diameter x rim width and backspacing (distance from inboard flange to wheel mounting surface. If you want to
know the wheel's offset, subtract half the rim width from the backspacing. Backspacing is easy to measure: you just
put a straight edge across the inner rim and measure the distance from it to the wheel mounting surface.
I just measured my Land Rover Alloys: they are 16x7" rims with 5.375" backspacing (i.e. a whopping 1 7/8" offset to
If you are out hunting wheels, remember the bolt pattern: 5 x 6.5" 5-6 with 5.15 Bore
Here are a few of the aftermarket wheels you can buy:
Safari Gard Steel 15" rims: 15" x 8" and 15" x 7" rims, both with 4.00" back spacing.
http://www.safarigard.com/frameset.asp (but careful: their webpage currently - on Oct 29th - has incorrect offsets
quoted: these numbers were given by Brandi after discussions with AR, who manufacture for them)
Desert Rovers Steel 15" rims 15x10" with selectable backspacing 5' or 5.5" http://www.desertrover.com/wheels.html
American Racing AR23 alloy (P/N 23-7757) 16"x7" rim width, 3.75" backspacing
American Racing Black Nugget steel wheels 15"X 8" with a 4.25" backspacing
Chris Hinkle got Carbon fiber wheels from Marsh racing through Todd, who runs the Discount Tire store at 1901
Dallas Pkwy, Plano, TX 75093 - phone (972) 267-1877 He's supplied wheels and tires for most of the Texas Rovers
club members for several years, so he's well acquainted with defenders. When Chris wanted carbon fiber wheels he
found them. When he wanted 15" steel wheels, Todd found an alternate source from American Racing.
Most of those using larger than
stock tires have done suspension mods. At least 3" of lift seems to be
needed to stuff
the 36" tires in.
Stock: BFG AT 265x75R16. Standard Alloy rims 16"x7" with 5.375" backspacing
Many!!: BFG MT 285x75R16. Standard Alloy rims 16"x7" with 5.375" backspacing
Yellow 90: City Wheel: Unique 15"X8" Steel wheel with a 3.5" backspace
Tires: Yokohama 35"X12.5"R15LT Mud Digger
Off Road Wheel: Marsh Racing 15"X9" Carbon Fiber with a 4" backspace
Tires: Yokohama 35"x12.5"R15LT Mud Digger
White 90: Wheel: American Racing 16"X7" AR23 wheels with 3.75" backspace
Tires: Goodyear LT305/70R16 Wrangler MT
Note: The Yokohama Mud diggers are now discontinued, replaced by the Geolander MT: good looking tire, but
unidirectional: a slight problem 'cause you really need two spares ;~( They are currently available in 285x75R16 and a
couple of small 15"ers: 30"x9.5" and 31"x10.5"
305/85x16 Buckshot mudders on SG AR23's: 16"x7" rim width, 3.75" backspacing.
35x12.5x15 Dunlop Mud Rovers 15"x8" backspacing 4.5". Comment: I have slight rubbing at this
tire width/ backspacing combo on both my shock towers and rear shocks almost exactly at full articulation. I would
guess I could fix it with another 1/4"-1/2" of backspacing. A wider rim would also take a little bulge out of the
sidewall, which is where the rubbing is happening. I'll probably replace my rims. I love the tires. I removed about 4" of
rear fenders to fit the tires at full compression with the Desert Rover kit. I trimmed the fender flairs back by 2" as
Buckshot radial mudder 305/85R16 (36x11.9) on AR23 aluminum rim, 16x7 with 3.75" back
spacing. Comments: With 36" buckshots/DR suspension/17" MD OME 200# springs at all 4 corners w/(1" spacers in
the rear)/Rancho RS9000's. I ended up trimming 1" from the back bottom corner of the rear wheel arch to "safely"
clear the tires at full compression. It was close. I also went to a 4.5" bumpstop to keep the taller tire from rubbing the
top of the wheel box at full stuff. The bumpstops came from James Duff, and are for early Bronco's. Nice because
they came with a very beefy adapter plate that we tack welded in place and the bumpstop attaches with 2 bolts, (one at
each end) instead of only one in the center.
35" -12.5 BFG M/T's on American Racing Black Nugget wheels 15"X 8" with a 4.25" backspacing.
Comments: The tires stick out about 1-1/2" past the (uncut)top of the fender flares. With the Desert Rovers
suspension and OME Med. Duty springs and Rancho 9000 shocks the tires do have a slight contact with top outer
fender flair and on full compression and extreme articulation touch the ribs on the top of the wheel wells (longer than 4
" bump stops may be needed to correct) a wheel with either 3-1/2" to 3-3/4" back spacing may also solve the top
fender flair contact. The effects of a 10 " wheel in comparison with a 8 " wheel must be studied when used with 35"
12.5" tires due to the expansion of the side walls when wider wheels are used .(to use this set up the fender flares
must be trimmed front and rear of all 4 tires; 4" must also be trimmed off the rear quarter panels and the fender flair
reattached to the new wider wheel wells. If you are planing to go to tires 35" or above, make sure the rock sliders you
are using or plan to buy are not too long the two sets I have White Wolf's and British Bull Dog's work fine with no
interference, but I know others had to replace their current sliders to except the new big meats. American Racing
Black Nugget wheels are (sometimes) available but not at the local distributor level. You must call the regional
warehouses to find them.
Super Swamper TSL/SX 36x12.5R15. 15"x8.5" wheels with 4.5" backspacing. I drove from N. Cal. to
Moab and back on the Swampers. Simply awesome tire. At 3-5 PSI they actually work more like tank tracks by
spreading out on the ground. Yeah they are noisy, but frankly I didn't notice much difference between them and the
BFG Baja Terrains and Mud Terrains I've previously run. Biggest problem is probably wear. I expect to get about 1/2
the miles out of them as on the BFG Mud Terrains. Anyway, I don't trailer, and the Swampers are acceptable. But
then I don't use the D90 as a daily driver either.
35x12.5R15 BFG MT on SG 15"x8" steel rims. 4" backspacing I switched to 15" for the cheaper
tires and the extra inch between my rim and the rock, as it were. When you run low pressure on rocks, you have a lot
more sidewall to flex with a 15" tire than a 16" tire of the same size. Since there's more air in the tire, you also wind
up with a slightly improved ride due to the shock absorber effect of the tire itself. The problem I have with alloys is
that they don't have access to the hub, which I find VERY handy. Being able to change a half-shaft or torque a bolt
without removing the wheel is nice. I used to have problems all the time with the alloy wheels *melting* because of the
friction of off-roading. You would pull one off and notice an alloy slime around all of the bolts. The wear on the wheel
resulted in the wheel becoming more and more loose, which exacerbated the problem. In addition, when hub bolts
work their way lose, you have no way to know until oil comes flowing out of your hubs and fouls the wheel, then you
have to remove the wheel to fix the problem.
Michelin XZL 9.00 x 16 on 16x7" AR23 Alloys with 3.75" backspacing
35" Dunlop Mud Rovers, 15x10 inch steel wheels. 5" backspacing I run with 15 inch steel wheels
and Dunlop MT's 35"X15"X12.5" These tires only fit in the D90 wheel well if you do some fender trimming and flare
trimming ( they come in a 33X16X8.5--which fit the stock rims and wheel wells). The 12.5" width just barely sneeks in
under the trimmed flares at full compression if you trim off 2 inches. I have been very happy with the Dunlops, they
are a bit noisier than the BFG on the road but really hold the rocks for boulder crawling compared to the BFG's. They
are made of a softer compound and wear a bit faster, they have a much faster clean out because of bigger lugs and
they are tougher than the Goodyear MT's which are easily cut up with rock crawling but are a good sticky tire. The
Dunlops are not as tough as the BFG's but so far I have had no flats or problems (6 mos of wheeling) doing the
extreme trails in AZ.
Dunlop 255/85R16 on the stock rims. Comments: These tires measure 33.6" in diameter on these rims
(exactly as advertised by Dunlop). With the front DR set-up (with RR springs and Rancho shocks), the front left tire
rubs against the upper spring perch before full articulation is reached. I had to do some very minor trimming of the
rear fender flairs to clear the tires when the tires are tucked into the wheel well. I also added one inch to the stock
rear bump stops to keep the tires off the ribs in the wheel well.
BFG MT 33x12.50R15. American Racing steel 15x8" wheels. 4" (?) backspacing
BFG MT 33x12.50R15's 15"x10" with 5" backspacing. comments: With the BFG MT 33x12.50R15's I'm
running, only a minimal amount of rubbing is occuring on the rear fender flares (no rubbing in the front) at full
compression. (So the black plastic flares need some trimming.) I've also found since the tire is out so far (greater
track width), that the turning radius is actually better than stock. I actually still need to tighten the bolt for the
steering stops which will increase my turning radius. Two additional things I might note is that the tire width is a bit
wider on the 10" rim verses the 8" rim (again, slightly wider track width.) Even with the additional height of the 33"
tires, the roll-over angle has to be as good, if not better than stock due to the extra width gained on the wider rims.
Also, another benefit is that the entire hub assembly (including the metal shield) actually fits inside of the rim about an
inch (does a nice job of protecting everything from any stray debris on the trail.)
Goodyear 305/70R16's on Stock LR Alloys 16x7, backspacing 5.375" The steering stops needed to be
adjusted (a bit more than the 285 BFG MT's). I have tried both the BFG 285/75R16 and the Goodyear 305/70R16
mounted on Defender 16x7 stock wheels. I have posted size measurements, photos and comments (including
side-by-side photos) at: http://web2.airmail.net/defender -- look for the link to the tire comparison. I am thinking of
changing over to 35's next spring. I'll be looking at bead locked steelies or carbon fibers.
Super Swamper TSL Radials 33x10.50R16 on AR 23 16"x7" alloys, 3.75" backspacing. Comments:
With stock suspension they require a little trimming of the flares. With OME springs no rubbing at all. Tires are great
off road but are VERY unsettling on the highway. Pumping them up to about 45 psi helps but they are still squirrely.
They are a soft compound and have a flexible sidewall that adds lots of interest at speed on turns.
BFG 285/75R16 on stock alloys: rub on the shock towers front and rear and the radius arms
33"X11.5" Sidewinders radials on 15"X8" custom steel rims with 5" backspacing.
Here is an old post from Kelvin Crezee of DR, which pretty much gives everything you need to know.
"Ok, I will give a brief overview
of how to trim out the D90 for big ugly feet (35" X 12.5" X 15"
Dunlop Mud Rover
tires). First, you will need a cutting tool--I used a Dremel with a fiber cutting wheel--don't want steel in your aluminum
when you cut or you will get rusting later. Second, you will neet an Aluminum Pop Rivet Tool. Third, a scribing tool
that you can set at 2 inches for an even line on your Flairs. Fourth, a sharp utility knife. Fifth, tape measure. Six,
Goggles and gloves. Seven, sharp nail--I know, I know, but you'll see why later.
Cutting, to get you started I recommend
doing the flairs (front and rear), because down inside you know that if you
blow it you can just buy anouther set and re-attatch, or if you get chicken you can stop at the flairs and still turn back.
OK, time to get started: using
your scribe set at 2 inches mark the flair the full length--if you feel artsy
go ahead and
try to make it wider (take less than 2 inches off) at the tail end of the flair--you will need to free hand with the scribe (I
tried on the first flair many different ways to mark it but could not get it to look right so just went with the 2" scribe
the whole way--I'm not artsy). If scribed correctly the widest portion of your flair will be at the top and is about 3
inches and at the ends of the flair a bit over 1.5 inches. If you don't have rock sliders yet, I strongly recommend them
-and you will be able to match up your flare trimming better if they are there (of course Desert Rover sells the
toughest sliders made). BTW, did I mention we sell sliders too? You cut the flares with the utility knife and it helps if
you have two people one pushing and one pulling slightly but mainly guiding the knife to stay on the scribed line.
Now for the really white knuckle cutting (of the rear quarter panels)
OK, start by detatching the drivers
side rear flair (rear flair only, no need to cut the front fenders) at the highest
of the turn at the upper rear aspect of your flair (detach the rear portion of the flair only). I'm not sure how to describe
this but it is the most rearward aspect of the flat upper part of the flair just before it turns to go down-- verstadt
(understand)? The flair is detached (you don't need to detach the entire flair just enough to make your fender cut)by
cutting the plastic heads off the plastic pop rivets holding it to the fender. Once you have freed the flair you will need
to slide a piece of cardboard in behind it then put the flair back into simulated previous attatched position and mark
with a pencil the exact arc that it makes. Now, move the flair out of the way again and remove the cardboard--using
scissors cut along the line you drew--natural arc of the flare.
OK, this is where I need to start
making disclaimers so I or Desert Rover don't/doesn't get sued--this is how
I did it,
but if you follow this you are on your own and I take no responsibility---STILL WITH ME?
Grab your tape measure and mark
2.5 inches on the bottom of your rear quarter panel--measure from the wheel
side of the quarter panel toward the rear bumper 2.5 inches. I used 2.5 inches but you can do what ever distance you
feel comfortable with. Now, put your piece of cardboard back up with the top of the arc of the cardboard cut at the top
of the arc of your flair then put the bottom of the arc at that 2.5 inch mark and voila you have an exact replica of the
shape of your flair so it can be attach with only a small kink at the top apex of your new arc--verstadt? Now look at it
hard, make sure it looks right (remember, measure twice cut once) then pull out a sharp nail and scribe along the
cardboard cut out arc. If you make a mistake and are in a hurry you can use a color crayon that matches your paint
and rub it into the, never to be forgotten, painful mistake. Next thing to do is fire up the Dremel close your eyes and
have your friend start cutting--thats so you won't feel so bad if a mistake is made, 'cause you didn't make it, right?
BTW, put on the goggles and gloves, because aluminum will be flying and hot.
I started at the bottom, but you
can start anywhere you want--the main thing is YOU MUST LEAVE A HINGE AT
THE TOP, i.e. DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH AT THE UPPER APEX- THE APEX IS YOUR HINGE.
You will slide the wheel well side of the cut quarter panel in behind the rear portion of the quarter panel then pop rivet
it into place with the flat edge facing as it did before the cut so that you can reattatch the flair-verstadt? Now, you will
notice that there will be a few items like a bolt and strut or two that you will need to make cut outs for in the portion of
the rear quarter panel that slides behind the rear portion of the rear quarter panel so that it will fit flat and you can
pop rivet, OK!!
The same thing will be done to
the passenger side except that you will not be able to go as high up on the
arc and will
therefore get a little more binding/kinking at the upper hinge. The reason for this is the fuel inlet is in the way. Look
at it hard and consider everything then do as above as best possible.
Sooner or later you will need to get used to cutting and drilling on your D90--just remember, measure twice cut once!
Doug and Kim Aitken
'95 Red Defender 90 5-speed
'95 Aspen Silver Range Rover 4.0