Thanks guys. I like this forum - a little less activity than the general Wrangler forums, but the responses always seem genuine and well-considered. I appreciate it; thanks for welcoming me into the fold.
33's are basically the stock JK-sized tire. 35's fit very well and would match the 4.88 gears. With a JKU, you need a bigger tire. If I'm limited to those choices for a JKU going offroad, I will pick the 35's. I'll also recommend that you make sure you have a good belly skid.
Your axles should be perfectly fine, strength-wise to handle 35's with no reliability issues
I still have the 4.10 gears in a box and would be willing to spend the money to have them swapped back if the ride and reliability/longevity of suspension components is going to be noticeably better with 33's. I'm worried about all the extra maintenance and constant tweaking that might be needed when I go to 35's. (Now I need adjustable front UCAs to get the pinion angle right, need to replace the rear control arms with adjustable, etc. etc, etc,)
When you say "belly skid" are you talking about a skid plate that covers the entire undercarriage as opposed to individual skids for the various pieces? Can you point me to a good example that is popular?
The problem with 35's...
I have 2.5 lift and 35's and wouldn't go back to 33's. The only problem is that with a 2.5 lift your up travel gets limited. I have high clearance fenders and have adjusted my bumps to get full stuff. If I had stock fenders then I would end up riding on the, or very close to the bumps all the time.
I assume you will have a 12.5 tire. with a 33 you could tuck it in a little more. Do you have fender laws?
If I started over I would go 2.5 lift and a 34x10.5 tire then after a year I would still upgrade to a 35. It would just be a dumb thing that I know I would do. I am 50 and still havn't learned about vehicles and money.
All the time? As in riding down the street and pulling into driveways?
Or do you mean that you do so much extreme off road flexing that you would be on the bump stops "all the time" (while in heavier-duty scenarios off road)?
If I'm understanding you correctly, the thing I'd need to think about replacing if I go with 35's is the fender flares. Is the problem generally the outside lip making contact with the tire (because it extends outside the flare) and thus the need for "flat" fenders? Is there an option for a "wider" flare that will keep the mud from slinging all over the sides of the Jeep? (or are those all f'ugly?). I don't believe fender laws are really enforced here unless they really want to get you for something. Front license plates, however, are something people get routinely pulled over and ticketed for...
Just out of curiosity, why would you go with 34's first and then 35's?.
The crazy thing is that I'm sitting here with 2 complete sets of OEM Rubicon wheels, all of them with less than 2,000 miles on them. (5) JKUR with a full set of the OEM 32x9.5" BFG mud terrains and (5) JLUR along with three remaining OEM 33x11" BFG KO2s. But I've pretty much convinced myself that I don't want to run spacers, so i'm looking at new wheels (hopefully funded by selling all this stuff) and then either buy 2 new KO2s in 33x11" or try to sell those and go with 5 new 35x12.5's. My inner child of course wants the 35's but not if it is going to force me to always worry about issue with my suspension or lead me down a rat hole of constant tweaking to figure out why things are wobbling, scraping, grinding, etc...
I have a set of the Rock Krawler adjustable front UCAs in a box, so it would be just a matter of installing them and then finding a competent shop to set the pinion angle, right?
Sorry... so many questions.