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I heard that when they built the rubicons they went with a larger wheel to get a specific tires size that was not available on a 15" rim. The 31" tires on 15" rims rubbed so they went to a 16" rim to get a 31" tire that was not as wide so it would clear. The dana 44 axles on a rubicon, I think, have dana 30 outers. But dont quote me. Just crawl under the jeep and see how much room there is around the caliper. The 15" rims should work fine.
 

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They will work, I have seen people run 15 inch rims just fine. The front is a hybrid D30/D44. The rear is a regular D44. JTjWrangler nailed it on the head on why they used a 16 inch rim.
 
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