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Rule of thumb for space between tire and fender?


NAXJA Forum User
Syracuse, UT
I have gone through multiple sized lifts and various tire sizes during the lifetime of my XJ. I have always wanted to keep my stock flares untouched, in the stock location and have adjusted the lift size according to the tire size that I want to run.

I was wondering if anyone knows of a general rule of thumb for how much space should be desired between the top of the tire and where the bottom of the flare is located. For example, a hypothetical rule would be that no matter what tire size you run, you should try to have a space of 4 inches between the top of the tire and where the sheet metal is.

I may be over-simplifying this, but maybe someone out there can provide some helpful input. I realize that many people trim fenders to fit larger tires, but I still feel that with those circumstances, a general rule may be applied... obviously requiring more trimming to fit larger and larger tires, but still trying to maintain that "general rule" of having a certain amount of space above the tire.

I don't know if this is necessarily the same thing as up-travel, but perhaps this can be lumped together with that. Unfortunately, if up-travel is lumped into this, other things, like wheel backspacing would probably need to be taken into account. So try to simplify this as much as possible for me and let me know if there are any general rules to follow with regards to tire and fender space. Thanks.
I may be over-simplifying this
I think you may be putting to much thought into it.

I guess the "general rule" would be to clear the tire.
Like you mentioned, you are oversimplifying it. You'll need to flex and turn the wheel to really determine what you need to clear. Then trim accordingly.
You really can't trim based solely on an uptravel measurement. For example with 4" of uptravel if you trimmed your fenders up 4" you'd be fine if you were evenly compressing both sides at the same time. However if you were to flex and get one side stuffed and the other drooped, you would run into clearance problems. Way to many things to factor in (like you mentioned some, wheels, tires, suspension geometry, bump stops, etc) to just give a general "you should trim to here" call.

Of course, if you never leave the pavement, just do what "looks good". ;)
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theres another version of this chart but this is the "rule of thumb" your asking for
In my opinion, how much space you want is up to you.

Ride height in relation to the tire is preference. However, space between the body and the tire during flex is much more important, and its really the only thing you should worry about. This is changed by bumpstops, and trimming.

I personally like it to look lifted. And as it is now, this also translates into less rubbing.
theres no exact amount of space you need just make sure that when you competely flex it so that ur tire is fully tucked you can turn and not rub. if you clear that you souldnt hit at any other time.
The general rule is this: add bumpstop until your tires don't hit your fenders at full up flex. The end.