Huge tire advice - 1980 / 13" lift - Ford Bronco Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Huge tire advice - 1980 / 13" lift

I just got a great price on this 1980 Bronco and couldn't turn it down. Not too pretty but runs strong. According to the previous owner it's lifted 13" (from what I can tell some type of crude suspension lift, possibly home made plus a slight body lift). Its got tons of clearance, even compared to my '78 with 6" lift on 38's. The tires that came on it, 40x17xR15 Gumbo Mudders are completely shot so I'm looking into replacing them.

What I'm wondering is..what are the biggest tires I can fit on it without destroying the drive train and axles? It looks like the axles are stock, regeared with a custom driveshaft. From what I understand even 40" tires will be putting a lot of extra strain on the stock axles. I have a chance to buy some 46X19.5xR15 Mickey Thompsons, will these be much worse for it than the 40's that currently sit on it? What kind of problems should I expect? Not worried about clearance at all- just want to know what drawbacks I would have if I went with the 46's.





Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 01:05 PM
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First question would be what are you using it for? Even just a mall-crawler might break a stock axle hitting curb, lol.

Is it geared for 40's already?
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 01:25 PM
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The 46"s look like they'll be rubbing the fenders.

I've run 37s for years on the ttb d44 without problems, but I don't wheel it, so stress is minimal.

Running that large of tires, you'd better have 5.38 gears.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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BroncoSteve I plan to use it for a hunting truck in the South Texas brush, some light mudding and maybe an occasional beach cruise. No hard wheeling or rock crawling and it wont be going faster than 35 mph.

According to the PO "it had extra plates welded to the axles for reinforcement" and the gears are 4.80. I never noticed the plates he described when under it last but will try to get some pics after work.

BigBlue here's a better shot showing the fender clearance:



46" = 6" bigger than what I currently have but it's only 3" added to the radius. The fenders look like they can fit that no problem when I hold a ruler between the tire and fender.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 02:44 PM
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Not event to talk of axles my first concern would be brakes. If they're the stock disc/drum combo on a TTB and 8.8/9" check them to see when they were serviced last. Event at sub 35mph driving a 40" or 46" inch tire is a significantly larger amount of rotating mass to add to a break system. If it were up to me I'd be swapping up to a D50 TTB hubs and breaks up front at minimum.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 02:58 PM
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I ran 39.5" swampers on the 1/2 ton stuff for years and beat the holy hell out of it... the 8.8 wasn't a fan (I think I over tightened the clutch packs when I re-geared)

Man, I wish I could find a sweet deal on some 46's!
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 03:54 PM
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To answer your question, you are already beyond the safe point of half ton axles. My main concern is that fact that TTB is a tire eating monster if its not maintained. 46's are anything but cheap and from the pics your front tires are already cambered out. Another question is rather or not you have the "swiss cheese" frame of some 80-81 Broncos, I have seen big ttb lift/tire combos overstress the frame even on trucks that didnt have that frame design and they eventually will fail.

Bottom line, proceed with caution. You are likely going to run into a string of issues if you use the truck in anything beyond normal driving on smooth roads, and even that may be an issue.


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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 06:05 PM
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If you're using it as a hunting truck, AKA anything but street use, I would drop it down to a 4-6" lift with 35s if you plan to keep the stock axles for a while, if you get onto a hillside with tires that tall you could easily roll the truck, or a broken axle could make you lose control
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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RacersJunkyard the entire brake system was redone just prior to me buying it. Everything under the hood all the way back to the rear drums. Probably needed it after running those big ass tires haha.

PO swears they're stock 3/4 tons. Is there an easy way to verify this?

Maybe they were swapped prior to him owning it?..or maybe they're half tons after all?

92XLT I'll take some pics of the frame and reinforcing once I get home from work. What do I look for to determine if its the swiss cheese style?

Thanks for the responses yall
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 06:13 PM
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RacersJunkyard the entire brake system was redone just prior to me buying it. Everything under the hood all the way back to the rear drums. Probably needed it after running those big ass tires haha.

PO swears they're stock 3/4 tons. Is there an easy way to verify this?

Maybe they were swapped prior to him owning it?..or maybe they're half tons after all?

92XLT I'll take some pics of the frame and reinforcing once I get home from work. What do I look for to determine if its the swiss cheese style?

Thanks for the responses yall
I believe RJ is trying to say that the stock braking system is far too weak for such huge tires, but there's no way they're 3/4 tons, I count 5 lugs instead of 8 in your pics. Also, the Swiss cheese can be identified by 3 or 4 big holes in the frame on each side about in line with the doors

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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBuffalo View Post
RacersJunkyard the entire brake system was redone just prior to me buying it. Everything under the hood all the way back to the rear drums. Probably needed it after running those big ass tires haha.

PO swears they're stock 3/4 tons. Is there an easy way to verify this?

Maybe they were swapped prior to him owning it?..or maybe they're half tons after all?

92XLT I'll take some pics of the frame and reinforcing once I get home from work. What do I look for to determine if its the swiss cheese style?

Thanks for the responses yall

It's good that you have a recently refreshed braking system but I am indeed concerned for the ability for the truck to stop at all. You may be okay with your driving ability to maintain control of your vehicle in the event of a failure but the other people on the road/trail may not be.

An easy way to tell if you have the stock 1/2 ton axle is to see how many lugs you have on your wheels. 5 lugs = 1/2 ton 8 lugs = 3/4 ton. It appears that you still have the stock TTB under the front but as it has been stated by others the generally considered upper limit for the stock axles is approximately 35" of tire. That's not to say that others haven't gotten away with larger tires, but I would say that 40" tires is far in excess of what is normally considered 'safe'.

I'm not trying to flame you, just advising caution. Personal injury aside it's tough to believe that 46" tires wouldn't axle wrap the buhjeebys out of your leaf springs. Is there any chance you can take some photos of this "homemade lift"? All of this safety talk may be moot if it's built well.

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses guys.

I-6 luckily where we are in South Texas it's completely flat so rolling down a hill wouldn't ever be an issue I'd have to worry about. Yall are right it only has 5 lugs so they are the 1/2 tons. And yes it does look like I'm working with a swiss cheese frame.

RJ- not at all taken as flaming..safety of others is always a top concern for me. Luckily this rig will not ever be on the road/trail with anyone but the family ranch hand. It will strictly be cruising around on private property hunting dirt roads and senderos, and maybe mud through an occasional stock tank. If i'm lucky I might get to take it down to Port Aransas once or twice to redneck around on the beach but still..nothing faster than idling speeds there. The main reason I'm trying to go as big as possible on the tires is just the fact that it'll be going through some thick/high brush and a few creek crossings when it actually rains down there.

Here are some pics of the lift and reinforcements. Flame away!!













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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 12:39 PM
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Yikes that is scary looking. The radius arm drop brackets and coil spring spacers scare me. The rear looks solid though, as those blocks don't appear too tall.

PS how deep of creeks are we talking? I've had my stock 02 explorer sport in 12" of water on the little ~29" tires. My f350 crew cab did some creeks with no lift and 33" tires.

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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 12:42 PM
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First question would be what are you using it for? Even just a mall-crawler might break a stock axle hitting curb, lol.


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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 12:57 PM
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That front end is terrifying. It may be just the picture, but it looks like the drop bracket for the drivers side beam and the huge perch the spring is sitting on may be bent?

Do with it what you want, personally i'd do a solid axle swap with real suspension, drop it back down with a real lift, or get rid of it.


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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 04:09 PM
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Wow! Home made lift for sure!
Body lift (some people hate them but I've never had an issue) The back doesn't look bad, just blocks, maybe a 9" rear axle (should be stronger than the 8.8 I mentioned earlier)
The front is downright scary... Looks solid enough with the welds and angle iron used but geometry will be all out of whack so it'll never align and eat tires... How does it drive???

I would remove all of that front end junk and swap in a straight axle, tire size is up to you (I love giant tires) but for what you're using it for the 40's are probably over kill but you could get away with say 5-6" of lift with the straight axle and clear them with the body lift you already have. Just my $0.02
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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 05:37 PM
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This is definitely a good time for a SAS
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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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I see what yall are saying. My only real experience with Broncos is my '78 which has a single front axle. Once I got under the '80 to get those pics last night I finally understood what twin beam meant and yeah it looks pretty flimsy in comparison. What are some good solid axles to look out for that swap most easily?

I dont want to break the bank considering what I'm going to use it for and how cheaply I got the truck for, and definitely dont want to sell it to anyone else if it isn't safe. The engine is strong and drivetrain seems to be in great shape so if I can make this axle swap work I'm all for it.

BigBlue- we're on the San Antonio river so depending on the rain it can go from dry sand to 100's of acres under water within a few days. I like to get after the wild hogs so rain = great hunting = my daily driver caked in mud and stuck several times a year
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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 06:53 PM
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If you're looking for an axle that swaps easier then keep an eye out for another front axle from a 78-79 F150/Bronco. It's a high pinion D44 just like your old bronco. They almost bolt in with some swap arms from Jim Duff. Or you could go with a leaf sprung D60 from a superduty but that will require more welding. If you're still planning on the 46" tires id recommend going with the D60. More Beef, but also more weight.

If you go with the D44 you'll still have 5 bolts front and back.
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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 10:17 PM
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after reading through this, just curious but what is the biggest commercially available lift?

my girlfriend has been on me to buy a newer truck . . . . had to break it to her I'm not likely ever going to have anything newer then 1996 . . . . . .
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