Originally Posted by fcsallan
Here is the problem. If you look at the profile of the front wheel opening you will see that there is a return on the bottom that narrows the opening almost to contour the tire. If you lift the chassis you will put the fattest part of your tire in a narrower opening than it was meant to be in. Thus, the 29 1/2" tire that comes stock on the R/T will even rub at the bottom.
There is a rib where the inner fender, floor and firewall come together behind the inner wheel well that is only about 1/4" behind your plastic wheel well. If you push on it just a little you will feel it. This rib is approx. 1" deep so if you only want a 31" tire, you could remove the inner wheel well and cut off this rib and re-weld it to gain that space, then just modify the inner wheel well with some cheap plastic to extend it back against the new profile but I would thing that was a lot of work for 1 1/2" worth of tire.
Yeppers, you are correct about an initial lift without modification. But, the largest tire you can run is actually 30.5". You can do this without a lift, you just have to modify the flange area like you are talking about. Any tire larger than this will hit the lower footwell even with the flange bent over.
You can go to many of several web sites that sell lift kits for Libertys and find that the largest tire they recommend even with a lift is 30.5".
As to who would do the modification. Well, for one I would so I could run 10.5" wide A/T tires. They are 30.5" diameter and just touch on the corners of the tires in the wheel wells on full lock turns.
Here is what I had to do. I bent the seam over and sealed it again.
Added some bracing and then resealed the wheel well.
This is the opposite side. You can see where I removed all the lower colored plastic from the wheel well and trimmed the colored plastic sides of the wheel well to about a 2" width to prevent rubbing. If the pix confuses you a little, I added color matched splash guards, then trimmed those. It was the only way this trimming process would have looked good from the outside.
So, who would do this. Anyone that can, has the ability and desire to run an over-sized tire A/T tire. I could lift this Nitro, but I have no reason to do so. It would not provide any additional clearance in the wheel wells.