NON standard wheels & tires


Capt. Mike

Moderator
;) Please post your questions & comments about non-standard wheels and tires here.

This is the thread to post your 'what fits', experience with aftermarket rims, modifications, or non-standard tires comments & questions, etc. Save the std. wheel & tire thread for their respective OE or OEM topics.

Thanks.

Capt. Mike
 
Last edited:

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Post by KODIAKVW dated 7/2/00 transferred:

I have an 84 Westy, I was wondering if I could put the 5 or 8 spoke Empi type wheels on it, would it look good? If not what kind of wheels could I put on it?

Thanks for the patience, I'm new

Chris
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred from archives

Robert McLeod (Rmcleod@smednet.com)

9/10/99 (6:03 PM)

I just bought 4 Yokohama Y370 195/75/14 tires. If you go to Vanagon.com and view the thread for a discussion on Yokohamas you will come to the conclusion that the most used tire is the Y370. The load capacity is 1700 lbs. and I bought them for CDN$96 installed and balanced. I figure this will be somewhat better than the passenger tires the previous owner had on.

Moderator note: meets Load Range D standards; photos on the Westy Tech drawings link.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred from another post to consolidate same topics
15" rims

komodo, Junior Member, 02-25-2001 03:22 PM

I have been told from a friend that 15" rims from a Audi 5000 turbo will fit a vw van with no problems. I know that the offset must be different because these wheels are for a front wheel drive. Does anybody have any feedback on this. Switching to this size opens up alot of tire options.
 

herbpowell

New member
a friend recently purchased a vw thing, it has a set of 14" western brand "mag wheels". these wheels have been on the car a long time, according to the old owner, he had it 20 years. i would say they are 70's vintage. their bolt pattern fits my 82 westy perfectly (they had adapters to make up for the wide five pattern on the thing). they are mine if i can use them. does anyone have any experience with said wheels. each wheel has a weight limit warning not to exceed 1,620 lbs printed on the inside. should i worry about this. oh yeah, they look way cool on the westy. any info or safety opinions would be greatly appreciated. herb
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
I don't get into aftermarket wheels, but I do ask you to consider a couple of safety issues. First, a Westy GVWR is, depending on model, about 5,500 lb. Divide by 4 = ~1,400 lb. Nobody gets one loaded exactly balanced and that doesn't include the stress of road shock, bumps and any tire failures. I'd question the safety margin.

Second, aftermarket wheels that old could be 'cast' which are subject to fracture instead of bending when there is an excessive force like a hidden pothole at speed. Many of them are aluminum and magnesium alloys that can be attacked by road salts and the common wheel cleaners, which tend to be alkaline. Thus hidden (castings are porous) oxidation can internally weaken the alloy.

Finally be sure they are the correct profile & offset. Westies require a J profile, the necessary inner bead for tubeless tires, and are very particular to offset due to bearing loads. So 'free' is not necessarily be a bargain.
 

westfalia

New member
I just purchased a nice set of alloys and wheels for my 91 westy gl. I went to Volco up here in Vancouver, and ended up getting a set of Ronal 'Bulldog' wheels (15")-they look superb. RonalUSA machined spacers for all four wheels and didn't charge me anything for it (they were 169.00 Can). The tires that I got are made by Woosung, they have the proper load rating with reinforced sidewalls. They also ride quietly and handle much better than the 185/75/14's that I had on before. I had tried to purchase a few of the tires suggested on this site, but not one of them were available here.

[Moderator note: Additional post on suspension modifications deleted; not subject of this thread.]
 
Last edited by a moderator:

herbpowell

New member
this months issue of hot vw has a letter from a fellow looking for wheel options on his 76 westy. hot vw's reply says that 5 lug mercedes wheels will fit post 71 type 2's and vanagons. anyone have any experience with this option? also what is off set and how critical is it to have the right off set?
herb
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Offset was an important consideration in the original design because of bearing load. Any changes in offset that put the load in or out of the original plane act like a lever on the axle and resultant pressure on the bearing.

How important? Consider the cost of a bearing failure and resultant risks or inconvenience. Your call.

I will ask one question; why a MBenz alloy which is at least as expensive as the VW's? And don't forget the change in lug-nuts or lug bolts required. That can easily break $100 a set! See the comments on alloys in the OE & OEM tires thread.
 
Last edited:

bondfox

New member
I recently purchased my first V.W., a solid 1971 westy and am in the process of having all the mechanicals repaired and am comming to the wheels. I also saw the GoWesty 15" wheels and wondered if they would be a good idea for my bus. The information at GoWesty says it willl make my vehicle drive and handle better and increase availability and selection of tires. Any information from others would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
GoWesty and I have agreed to disagree on tire selection. That's fine -- it's how we push the envelope and sometimes find solutions to tough problems. They are a highly respectable company and I value their opinions. Resident curmudgeon that I am, doesn't mean I'll always agree with them.

In 15" or 16", there may be a slight increase in tire selection, but I will not recommend a car tire, even if the load capacity is satisfactory. Increased size will get an increased load capacity within the same "load rating", but things like sidewall reinforcement, # & type of belts, construction, pressure capacity and heat build-up are also a part of tire performance. GoWesty claims good success with the B-rated Michelin X-One's but you will find many others who claim poor handling with the 35 psi limit of car tires. Also, the X-One is a very street oriented tread pattern, whereas many Westy owners are looking for an aggressive, off-road compatible pattern.

I went to Michelin and several other manufacturer looking for appropriate size tires in 15" that had the 40 psi capacity and in Load Range C or D and found few; none in an aggressive LT pattern. In fact, I wasn't impressed with the selection in 16" size. There are plenty out there but not many narrow enough or with the correct profile to be compatible in the VW application. For example, I love my Michelin LTX A/T on the Redneck pickemup and I'd be standing at GoWesty's door if they made them in about a 195-205 in 65-70 series LR C or D, but the smallest 15" they have is LT215R15C, which would change your gear ratio ~10% higher -- somthing the VW doesn't have a lot of power for. The smallest 16" is the LT215/85R16D would reduce gearing 20%. Thus 'oversize' besides clearance, brings into host a whole new set of considartions.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you choose to go the 15" or 16" conversion, please research your tire choice FIRST and, if you are going below VW recommendations on psi or LR rating, be sure you will be happy with it because I doubt too many tire dealers will let you try a set for a few thousand miles and then change your mind.

[ 01-20-2002: Message edited by: Capt. Mike ]
 

bondfox

New member
Thank You Capt. Mike, I appreciate your quick response. I think I will refinish my 14" rims and stick with them. Carl
 

chris_hinkle

New member
What are the consequenses of the change in gear ratio, which Capt Mike mentions above?

Can sbdy pls explain this?


Thanks,

Chris
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Gear ratio, in it's simplest form, is the number of times the engine must turn for a turn of the tire. This translates into number of feet the vehicle moves for each revolution of the tire.

Power, as we feel it, is the ability to accelerate or hold a speed. A Vanagon, for example has a 4th gear ratio of .85. The differential is 4.86. Gear x differential thus = 4.13. 4.13 turns of the engine for one turn of the tire. The 195/75R14D tire currently used by most standard Vanagon owners goes 6.68 ft in one revolution. This translates to 55.13 mph @ 3,000 rpm in 4th gear and the engine can usually handle mild grades or some acceleration for passing.

But, for example, you went to a 16" rim with 215/75R16's (if they fit), you would now get 7.51 ft in one revolution of the tire, giving 62 mph @ 3,000 rpm. Sounds good but nothing is free. The HP of the engine is the same so can it pull the extra 13%? What you end up with is the effect of driving about a gear lower than normal. This is fine for level cruising but becomes a real problem when there is an uphill grade or you're loaded to the maximum GVWR. You'll find yourself having to downshift for the smallest hills and running in a lower gear much of the time.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the 1st gear 3.78x4.86=18.37 engine revs per tire rev. The same 13% 'less power' means starts will be harder and require more clutch finess and slipping. More wear and more likelyhood to bog down the engine. In fact lugging (too few rpm for given speed) is one of the hardest things you can do to the engine. That's even mentioned in the owners manual.

Maybe the easiest parallel is to imagine every hill is that percentage steeper.
 

chrisquinn

New member
Hey Captain,
I was just up at Mammoth Mtn and a dude pulled up alongside my 86 Westy Syncro in an 89 Westy Syncro. We got out and talked, and he had just put a bitchin looking pair of BFGoodrich AT/KO's on his van -- apparently they're pretty new. He had the 14 inch Vanagon alloys, just like mine, and the tires were 27x8.5R14LTC's. I guess they're a little larger than 195 or 205's, but my question is: am I asking for any kind of trouble fitting these to my van? They can be seen here: http://www.bfgoodrichtires.com/catalog/all_terrain_ta_ko.html
Thanks
BF Goodrich AT/KO webpage
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
That equates to approximately a 215/75R14C and is 1.3" larger in diameter than standard OEM. The load rating meets minimum Westy specs and the tire is capable of the 40 psi required. The 6.0 Vanagon alloy is the smallest rim it's allowed on -- it calls for about a 7". This oversize compared to OEM and gives about a 6% higher change in gear ratio -- i.e more speed per given engine revs, less power.

I can't comment on clearance. Remember, the Syncro has a raised suspension in comparison to a standard Westy and considerable higher than the usual Vanagons. (Most Vanagons sold on the US market actually have a lowered suspension over standard.)

It is an intrigueing looking tread pattern and sure meets the aggressive pattern many look for. Their spec sheet does not give any wear & temperature ratings. The owner of the www.syncro.org site says his member's experience is generally negative for road use -- too much of a gear ratio change and too noisy.
 
Last edited:

chrisquinn

New member
Hey Captain,
I spoke to a guy named Derek Drew, who is apparently well known in Syncro circles, about the BFG TA/KO's -- 27x8.5x14. He told me that he thinks they are the best tires available for a Syncro, and a 2WD Westy, period. Apparently there is the issue of the tire being slightly larger than stock, thus the 6% you wrote about, and the load rating is 1550 and the Syncro Westy calls for around 1600. (Within spec for a 2WD westy, less than 100lbs off for a Syncro Westy) Also, the tires will ONLY work if you've got the wide Vanagon alloys, not the steel wheels. He said the TA is so tough that he can't imagine much of a problem with the close maximum rating as he's been running the tires hard (ever seen his Syncro Madness section on Syncro.org?) and has had absolutely no problem with them. I got the same report from the guy I met at Mammoth. Drew said he's trying to spread the gospel of these tires to anyone who will listen. I think a set is in my future. Note to any syncronaut considering them: you MUST replace your spare with one of these also (and you should do a 5 wheel regular rotation), otherwise your spare will not be the same size and you will burn out your viscous coupler.
CD

[Moderator Note: The 27x8.5R14LT/C 95R translates to a 216/76R14 which changes your gear ratios 6.4% higher. Most find this excessive for standard use, especially on hills and acceleration. Since you need the spare in the same size -- absolutely mandatory on a Syncro -- this means clearance problems in the spare tire carrier as well. It is a Load Range C tire that does not meet Westy specs.
 

Fly Fisher

New member
B.F. Goodrich T/A KO 27x8.50R14LT/C tires all around on my '88 Westy... WOW!! what an amazing difference in handling and performance... no BIG deal on up hills... a little bit more road noise... but I am truly impressed!
 

Top