NON standard wheels & tires


Tim Hannink

New member
I have a set of Kumho RoadVenture ST's in the 215/70R14 size (http://www.kumhousa.com/pages/ltr/st.htm) that I have put over 10K on this year. I am very happy with their performance, ride and wear qualities.
They have a nylon reinforced sidewall (6-ply rated), a 96 load rating and 44 psi max inflation pressure. They were designed for 6.5" wheel which I have on my camper, but should work fine on the factory 6" alloy wheel also. The outside diameter is 25.9" and the RPM rating is 805 which matches the calibration number on the speedometer.

I special ordered mine through Discount Tire and paid less than $50.00 per tire, $65.00 each installed with a lifetime replacement/repair warranty which I have used to fix two tread punctures from nails I picked up on the road. They also do rotations for free.

Kumho also makes an all terrain tire (RoadVenture AT) in a 215/75R14 size (98 load rating) which might interest some of you Syncro owners.(http://www.kumhousa.com/pages/ltr/825specs.htm)

Good luck,

Tim Hannink
Winter Park, Florida
Goldibox - 1987 Vanagon Camper, Wolfsburg Edition
http://home.earthlink.net/~tjhannink/
http://photos.yahoo.com/tjhannink Vanagon Album
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wolfsburg_campers/

[This message was edited by TJ Hannink on January 31, 2003 at 11:22 PM.]
 

Hershamboy

New member
Hi,In answer to the empi question, on my last van I had 5 spoke empis 5.5j x 15 they look great ride well and fit straight on with no problems. There's a good english type 25 site with a lot of info on wheels www.club80-90.com
you can get the empis in england with tyres fitted from bigboystoys www.com I think
Dave
 

powderhippie

New member
I've been doing research and shopping for new tires and think I just found THE new tire I've been looking for! It's the Vanco 8 from Continental...check this out: For the 14" crowd 205 R14C 109/107P, and the 15" crowd 215/70R15C 109/107R. Both are load range D and for my 15's rated at 2271lbs - well within the Captains recomendations! Yee Haw - I think I'll be checking these out and will provide feedback in a few months...check the Continental website. Cheers, Tom.

March 2006: Hey these tires are amazing, but big downfall if your're a guy like me: TRACTION! Scary in the snow...DAMN scary in the snow. I've had these all over the West and great in all conditions except snow. Peace.

[This message was edited by powderhippie on January 14, 2004 at 03:05 AM.]
 
Last edited by a moderator:

tharmon

New member
Capt. Mike:

I've been looking for some time for new tires for my 69 VW Westy (hard top). I'm looking for tires that give me the smoothest ride possible. I came across the GoWesty web site. They have told me to look for a set of 14' steel "original" rims with "wide 5" lug pattern, and ship them to GoWesty. They'll change/convert the rims to 15 inch rims, 7 inchs wide, thereby increasing the tire selection. This is supposed to greatly improve performance... "no reason not to do this conversion". Any comments for my situation/problem? I'm tempted to try this approach.. but it is rather radical and expensive. (I read the previous post/thread from the owner of a newer van). Thank you for your suggestions.
 

n2902c

New member
Capt. Mike,
I have just purchased the 15inch wheel and tire kit from Gowesty and have run into a snag. They sent me longer wheel bolts for the front, but mentioned nothing for the back studs. The stud appears to be too short. It is held on by about 7 threads and lacks about a quarter inch to be flush with the nut. Is this a problem? Here is the link for the kit:

http://www.gowesty.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=gw&Product_Code=GVW-8025&Category_Code=wt-wheelstires

Thanks for the info.

n2902c
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Yes, it's a problem!! A serious problem. This is what you run into when you start substituting wheels made for another application (those are basically MBenz alloys copies). And to gain what? Big tire looks? You sure won't gain any measureable performance without sacrifice elsewhere.

Two things this brings about. One, is you will have to change studs. This is not insurmountable but has a risk. You will have to remove the rear brake drums, have the old studs pressed out (this requires a press -- the old hammer it out method can warp the drum), and then install new studs that exactly match the old spline areas. Again requiring a press. Lastly, this will require you retorque the wheels at 25, 50, 100 and then probably every 500 miles until the first tire rotation. Unless you want a wheel to come off running down the highway. This is because the new studs will still bed for a while. Use of a non-matching stud will cause the stud hole to become damaged, reducing the total 'bite' new, perhaps wallowing out the original hole and allowing the stud to begin rotating within the hole. Then you cant get the wheel on or off.

Second, that the wheel has a different thickness reiterates that the wheel may well have a different offset, from the original designed offset. Unwanted load on bearings & suspension parts. "Fit" does not mean work well.

I repeat the question, why? There are now several excellent tires in the VW OE size. Bridgestone & Yokohama for street, Vredestein for HD tranporter or aggressive off-road snow pattern. And another dozen or so lesser knowns given on the OE tire thread. Is this a need? Or desire for a 'big-wheel' look? Your Vanagon will never detect the difference (if any) in unsprung weight (the original reason for alloys before looks began driving the market).
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred to consolidate same topic.

jerepowers Member posted September 04, 2004 04:29 PM

Tires for the Vanagon have been a major bone of contention for me. The stock VW wheels and tires must have been designed by a utter moron. Never in my life have I seen such a mis-matched set of wheels and tires on anything. As far as I am concerned anything VW has to say about wheels and tires is moot. Stupid is as stupid does -- put those wheels and tires on a 5,500-pound van and anything else you have to say about wheels and tires must be equally stupid. I almost considered getting rid of the Westy simple because of the crappy tires and the related ride problems.

I just installed a new set of wheels and tires from Go Wesy on my 1984 Vanagon Westfalia and let me tell you it is among the best money I have ever spent in my life. It makes the lumber wagon ride just disappear. Gone! I also installed new Gabriel truck shocks that I got from Bus Depot. What a difference! It is so much better that I would recommend this modification to anyone.

The wheel and tire set cost $1,000 and another $100 in shipping. It consisted of four Italian-made alloy wheels with lug nuts/bolts and center caps. They came mounted with four Michelin HydroEdge P215/65R15 tires, new stems and they were balanced. The shocks were $20 a corner plus $10 shipping.

The tires have a rating of 1,510 pounds each. The combined tire rating of 6,040 pounds exceeds the GVWR of the Vanagon by a nice safety margin of 10 percent. I personally think the tire is the real hero here. The wheels just are necessary to mount these tires.

Combined, the Westy is a whole differet animal -- espcially in the rain. It tracks like a modern car, doesn't swerve back and forth at the slightest breeze and feels so much more confident on a freeway cloverleaf as to be obvious to my 15 year old daughter who has never driven a vechile in her life. A friend who has borrowed the Westy for one long weekend a year just looked at me after I insisted he drive it and his only comment was- "What the hell were those other tires even doing on there?"

If you are serious about going anywhere in your Westy, buy these wheels and tires. Let someone steel your others. They'll be doing you a huge favor.
 

jamesatraincity

New member
I have a 91 Westy with standard alloy wheels (I think 14s) As it is, it just fits in my underground parking space. I'm thinking of getting the 15 inch wheels/tires combination offered at gowesty (I saw them on another van, and they just look great), but as it is, I'm just about scraping the paint on the top getting into my parking space. since the tires I have on now are inflated to 55psi, and the new tires, I believe have a lower inflation psi...does anyone have any idea if running the 15 inch wheels with the Michelan tires actually raises the overall height of the van???? I'd hate to have great looking wheels and no parking space.
 

mrvalu

New member
Hi James....

I have installed the 15" wheels with Michelin HydroEdge tires. I believe GoWesty says the overall height addition is 1/4" as the lower profile tires almost completely offset the larger wheel diameter. It's a very attractive package and I have been asked about them many times. My tire retailer indicated to me that tires are passenger rated and not the optimal choice. GoWesty discusses this at length in their tech section. I find the tire/wheel setup works well for me on Vancouver Island.....no hydroplaning during our frequent rain storms and they corner well along our twisty roads. I run the tires at near max pressure....45psi I think

Good luck with your choice. I'd phone GoWesty and talk to any of their very knowlegeable staff.

Craig
'86 Westy GL
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Tire specs are published by every manufacturer. They usually have a table for each model tire with diameter or rolling circumfrance (Get out your kid's geometry book and work backwards!). If your dealer can't come up with it -- you need another dealer.

Read the "OE & OEM tire" topic about pressures, load rates and sidewall stability. Do NOT use passenger car tires. Period. Safety is NOT just a function of load capacity -- it includes tread stability, sidewall flex (set-up and rollover during a curve), shock absorption and HEAT generation. Unless you're smarter than the tire engineers that designed them and the VW engineers that specified the minimum specs & pressures, assume everybody else is expressing just a "personal opinion" (and I am too, but my tires meet VW specs) and their total research is "I know some guys that used them and didn't have a blow-out."

Also bear in mind when you change the rim size, that whatever tire you chose will probably be out of production by the time you need the next set. Thus the diameter might not be the same next set same size. Michelin is getting terrible at 'designer' tires -- change models and names every couple years. My wife has a set of Harmonies on her MBenz -- that's the 4th consecutive permutation and redesign of the same basic tire and each one has been of less quality and service than the one before. They are probably my last set of car tires from Michelin.

Michelin still makes some good commercial line tires, but their warranty (especially treadlife) isn't worth a damn (40K out of 80K warranty tires is not what you think it would mean -- it means you didn't put the 80K on fast enough for them to honor the warranty -- you have to average about 20K a year or they'll deny it claiming the tires are too old.) Many car tires now skimp on tread. New tires of 10 & 11/32" depth are common compared to the old standard of 13/32" (I got 15/32" on my VW spec Vredersteins).

So when you plop down grand or so for new rims and tires to fit them, ask yourself what you've gained. If it's just some "I'm cool" looks, get a set of spinners and I guarantee you'll have twice the attention. I considered the larger rims in hopes of a better selection of tires, but found that wasn't the case. With trucks & SUV's going 16" and up, there isn't much out there in the commercial level 15" tires either. There are still some excellent 14" VW spec tires out there.
 

mrvalu

New member
Jamesatraincity....

I must update you regarding the GoWesty 15" wheel/tire package you are considering. The increased height of the vehicle will be approx. 1/2"....1" for the wheel minus 1/2" (lower profile of tire). My Westy barely clears a 7' garage door...watch the skylight! I also have KYB shocks....not aware whether that affects overall height vs. OEM. If your parkade entrance is flat the measurement is straightforward, if there is a decline in the ramp you may face a 'high centering' problem with the long roof at the bottom of the ramp....especially if there is a low horizontal support beam for the parkade. Hope this helps and sorry for the previous incorrect post.
I would talk to GoWesty and ask about Capt Mike's concerns in the previous message ie: heat, tread stability etc. For the benefit of all members maybe you could post a synopsis of their comments.

Craig
 

jamesatraincity

New member
I just talked to Bill at Gowesty about the 15inch wheels with the Michelin tires. He said that he has been running this combination on his multivan and has been very pleased. His recommendation to me was that if most of your driving is city, stick with the 15's, and if you do a lot of highway driving, the 16's might be better. Apparently, on the multivan (which may have a narrower wheelwell) the 16's may restrict the turning radius such as when making a U-Turn.

In terms of height, both the 15's and 16's add about 1/2 to 3/8 in overall height to the van. there is very little differentce between the two because the 16's actually use a tire with a slightly smaller sidewall than the 15's so the difference between the two is maybe 1/8 of an inch.

One other issue, he said that you have to change the studs to accommodate the wheels (studs included), however, they have to be retightned after about 100 miles (they provide the tourque requirements, but I forgot what he said). Finally,the lug-nuts are different, and they provide a sleeve-insert to fit in the standard VW lugnut wrench to adapt to the different size. Also, and this was interesting, you can't use one of these combinations as a spare tire (which would be expensive in any event) because it will not fit in the spare tire compartment in front. Also, while you can contine to use the regular 14 inch alloy VW wheel/tire as a spare, you CANNOT use a standard steel wheel as a spare because it will apparently not seat correctly on the new studs. What Gowesty recommended was either getting a standard alloy VW (14inch) wheel to keep in the spare compartment (if you don't already have one), or saving one set of front and one set of rear studs to use if you ever have a flat and have to bolt a standard 14 inch steel wheel back on to limp home.

Hope this is helpful. In any event, I went ahead and ordered the 15" wheels and front and rear Bilstein shocks.

Jim

Warning: You can NOT use the above oversize w/ 14" as a spare on Syncros. You will almost immediately ruin the viscous clutch. You MUST have a matching spare! -- Capt. Mike
 

Joe Cartwright

New member
I thought I would put some thoughts regarding the GOWESTY tire and wheel package. I live in Long Beach, CA. and rode up to GOWESTY with my friend for the wheel package change. It is interesting to just ride as a passenger in a Westy for a change ( I drive a 85) because you feel, hear and sense things a little different than when your actually driving. 250 miles north from Los Angeles, visiting with friends in Morro Bay ( I used to live there), and then driving back to LA the next day with the new tire package was illuminating. The difference in ride and handling was night and day. My friends '86 Westy felt like a passenger car coming home with the new tires. Road stability. especially when semi's would pass, was vastly improved, actually, it was more than that, "vastly" doesn't really convey the improvment. I vowed to change my tires out at the earliest opportunity.
I did just that about three or four months ago on my '85 Westy. From GOWESTY I headed north along the beautiful and rather curvy Big Sur coastline, stopping numerous times to lug out my large format camera and photograph. The handling of the car, the greatly improved drivability, was just a pleasure. When I headed back to Long Beach on the 101 freeway, it was again nice to not be bufetted by large trucks. I have since driven across the desert to Arizona and back and enjoy my van even more. I am curious about some issues brought up on this topic regard stud length, and using the spare, but I will say that the folks at GOWESTY seem very competant, their work shop was clean and well organized, their pace was unhurried and meticulous. So, I've had them both ways...oem and the new package. The difference is very great, I would never go back.
Joe.
 

Jeffrey Vickers

New member
Has anyone tried to fit Eurovan 15" wheels to a Syncro?

Specifically, I'm talking about this style:http://vickersdesign.com/eurovan.jpg

I'm on the hunt for some 15"s and I'd prefer a spoke style to the GoWesty Mercedes style wheel. There are lots of 15" Mercedes wheels out there, but someone has to try them to see if the offset works out and the studs don't need to be changed.
 

wadeY

New member
I am also looking for a 15 wheel for my Wesfalia with the hope a taller wheel and tire reducing rpms on the highway. The EUROVAN from 92-on has 15 x 6.5 5x112 14mmx1.5b. The bolt pattern seems to be the same as the Vanagon. Does anyone know if the off-set and the wheel studs are the same as the Vanagon?
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
NO! Read the post on OE tires & wheels for the Eurovan -- specs are given there and in the Eurovan shop manual. Go to your dealer (Guideline #8) and compare part numbers for studs to see the difference. Then read the rest of this topic and the OE tires topic on the problems changing gear ratios creates.
 

Moby1

New member
So, any of the several people who have waxed eloquent over their new 15" wheel/tire sets from Go Westy had problems with acceleration or turning radius (as warned by Capt Mike)?

I'm tempted by aftermarket upgrades for better performance, but always seem to go back to OEM.

Anyone who wouldn't do the 15" wheels again?

Moby1 87 westy, Portland, OR
 

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