NON standard wheels & tires

Capt. Mike

Go back and read the topic on standard size tires (Guideline #4) to get a full understanding of tires, load ratings, profiles and safety. Suggest you also read the topic on tire profiles. Then you can decide what tire is appropriate.

To retain a close rolling circumfrance, you have to change aspect ratio when you change width. Rule-of-thumb is 5% for every 10mm in width. It's hard to recommend going wider when you are already down to a 60% aspect ratio -- a 235 width would call for 55% aspect ratio and that gets you into the area where rim damage, stiffness, & handling begin to get compromised. That is assuming you have clearance for a wider tire to begin with and it is within the rim's width allowance. Many of us that started with VW's 70% OE tires on Vanagons are being forced back to the other standard size with a 78-82% aspect ratio because of availability. And not finding any signifigant difference in ride, handling or braking. Wider is not always betterer! I don't recommend going back to 78-82% standard profile, but something in the 65-75% could give you a suitable compromise. You'd have to compare actual diameters and also check clearange. A formula I have says that would be 26.63' diameter & 6.97' rolling circumfrance. Tires vary but those numbers are in every tire's spec sheet.

The other thing I would check if your GVWR. My Eurovan Bentley only goes to '99, but back then they used 97-100 load ratings. One recommended tire was rated 102, but GVWR's were the same. VW's OE Syncro tires had a load capacity (for a set of 4) that was 15% higher than the GVWR. You may not need 102 Load Rating (1874#) though it was on the OE tire. Using the same 15% safety margin, that would carry a 6,500 lb. GVWR; I doubt the Eurovan is that high -- that would put it 1,000 lbs. over the Vanagon. I saw lots of 98 load rated tires available which would handle a GVWR of 5,620 with the same 15% safety margin, presuming the same pressure capacities.

But I applaud keeping the same specs for load & pressure. Dealers that sell anything that fits are dangerous, not just unethical.
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New member
Beefier Tire recommendation

My recently purchased '85 Westy came w/ sized P195/75 R14 92S tires. Way too much "floating" and instability during highway driving for my tastes. What size do y'all cruise on? What is the preferred "beefier" size I can switch too?
Thanks, Scott

Capt. Mike

READ the Westy OE & OEM tire topic in this forum!!! Your 195/75R14 tires are NOT oversize. But their load rating of 92 is below minimum standards and unsafe. No wonder they 'float'. The Westy does not need a beefier tire to function at full capacity -- it just needs the correct tires and ratings. :eek:


New member
Help new westy owner


Just got into the Westy world last year. My 1987 westy does not have the original rims. Someone before me put on a set of old Mercedes 14 inch rims. They have a few dents in them and are full of wheel weights. The tires are of a cheap no-name brand. I have read all the posts but it is still a little confussing. Plus alot of the options available to replace rims means ordering from the US and that means high shipping charges and customs to deal with. I have been told by different people " oh go to a Passat wheel it fits ". Does anyone have a list of what other rims will work?



New member
87 Westy with Mercedes Rims

At risk of pissing off Capt. Mike, I will weigh in with my rim/tire experience.

I have an '87 Westy Automatic, that I did a 2.0L I4 VW motor conversion on 9 years (70,000 Km) ago.

3 years ago, I came across a set of 5 mint Mercedes Benz 14" x 6.5" Bundt style wheels for $100.00 CAN. I took them to a wheel machine shop where they machined steel 14mm x 60° flat taper inserts for the nuts to seat on. (replacing the Mercedes 12mm x 60° inserts on the rims stock. Other rims seat the nut on the aluminum. I like the steel seat insert) I can't use the ball nuts the vanagon uses stock.

I then bought a set 1/2" spacer plates, and 10 14mm x 1.5 threaded studs to replace the annoying front bolts, and a set of longer rear studs. Now, I run Nokian Vatiiva 225/70 R14 LT tires with a 98S load rating. (Michelin M/S LTX now only comes in this size and load rating for a 14" rim). I also needed to mod the spare tire pan a bit to fit the larger spare in , but it can be done.

Nokian also makes a heavy duty van tire in 205/70 R15 with a 104/102S load rating. I would run these if I had 15" rims on my unit.

All of this, combined with Addco 7/8" rear & 1" front sway bar kits makes for a world of difference in handling of my van.

I generally drive 60mph on the highway, as the motor conversion has no problems holding this on cruise, even with the larger rolling diameter of the 225/70 tires (~26.4" vs 25.5 for 195/75's) The van is still a brick aerodynamically, but it is much more secure & sure footed in side winds, and there is WAY less body roll during lane transitions, off ramps, etc. Wider tires on a wider rim can only help matters.

My next move is all bushings, ball joints and springs & shocks/struts, as I now have ~100,000 km on the current ones.

There are a lot of 5 x 112 14" & 15" rims out there (Audi, VW Passat, Mercedes), but special care needs to be take regarding offset & stud length to avoid problems. If you are capable of taking care of ALL areas of concern, then the rims will work fine & look ---! If you don't want to undertake the responsibility of tracking down longer studs, spacers, etc, then stick with stock.

I appreciate Capt. Mike's message that if you don't understand what you are getting yourself into, then stock is best. You need to be qualified to make the decisions whenever you stray from stock, and you need to take responsibility for that decision. Once you do that though, it really is just simple physics. The Vanagon is heavy, narrow & high center of gravity. Passenger car tires are a generally poor choice; however, installing the Go-Westy kit or non-stock rims or tires does not mean your van will immediately flip into the nearest ditch & burn you & your occupants to the ground.
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New member

I have an 88 westy automatic with 2.4 liter Go westy engine and 15x 7 alloy wheels. I have found that my ride is more stable and more comfortable. of course this my own personal opinion(my 2nd westy) but i wouldn't drive it any other way. tire pressure is also critical on this package also. Thanks


New member
Wheel covers

Can you use any VW wheel covers (14") on a Westy? I have a 89 Westy (195/75/R14) and someone told me I could put the 14" 93 Jetta wheel covers on it. Thanks for any help on this matter.
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New member
15 " tires in Canada?


I need new tires for my 83 Vanagon. After having trouble finding suitable 14 inch tires, I finally found some but at $250 each I might as well get setup with 15/16 inch wheels and new tires. That way in the future I won't be stuck with no supplier.

I understand a westy won't take a standard 15/16 inch rim and needs some modifications, like the guys did at gowesty.
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Mike Robinson

New member
14" tires in Canada

You can order 14" Yokohama 370's 8 ply from Kaltire - they work reasonably well.

I moved to 15" rims just to have more options - I wanted off road tires with some snow ability.

There are a number of 15" rim options - GoWesty has a number, it is also worth checking out as they have the OEM South African 15" steel option.

The larger tires usually make the speedometer more accurate, and will not affect the torque/drivability of your westy too much.

Be aware on the larger 15" tires like the BF Goodrich TA KO you may get into some body interference with the wheels if you do not lift the westy with new 2" lift springs.

'82 Westy 1.9TD


New member
I ended up finding the original size'd tires, 185r14 8 ply, from Coast Tire of all places for only $85 each. The truck handles completely different, I'm so impressed.


New member
Wheel cover

I saw these wheel covers on a restored '84 Wolfsburg Westy. I doubt they're VW but maybe. Does anyone recognize this wheel cover. It looks to be on a standard Vanagon 14" steel rim but maybe not. Any info on make, source or availability would be welcomed.


'84 Wolfburg Westy 4spd 2.1 TwoTone


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New member
1966 bus with15" rims

I have a 1966 westfalia camper that I will be taking to Baja and I need tires
I have 15" rims. The rims came with the van and I would rather not have to get new rims to get back to the stock 14". Any suggestions for tire on my 15 that would keep the same size as the stock tires

I know I need a light truck with load range C or D.
I have been told 205/75/R15 and
Also been suggested I use Vredestein 205/65/R15.

I would appreciate any help



New member
Oversized tires for Eurovan

I have a 99 Eurovan camper with standard P205/65R15 tires. Because of the weight of the camper (Winnebago) and the weight of all else, I'd like to put on a little bigger tires and or LT or any other tires to carry more weight and give me greater reliability

ANY HELP !!!!!!

[Moderator note: Do you mean the standard VW camper or the Rialta by Winnebago? The standard VW, though made by Winebago in the US, already has adequate tire size & load ratings.

Warning! P-metric tires are not approved by VW for a commercial van. This is a safety hazard -- use only tires that meet or exceed VW's minimum recomendation.]
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New member
Mike, I installed 205/55/16 on my '82 Westfalia and they are working great. There is enough room between the tires and the fenders. Aside of that I have in all four wheels 1" adaptors that help with the stability of the van.
Armando (appuertorico)
82' Westfalia vanagon diesel


New member
Nokians & 16" wheels

This fall I upgraded my wheels and tires on my '84 Westy. Huge improvement in handling and stability. I went with 205/65/16 Alloys from GoWesty that bolt right on with no spacers or adapters. Adding the Nokian Entyres give me a 7.5" track that holds the road even passing the semis, sure you feel the movement on the body but Westy holds her line and stays in her lane. :D Had add mudflaps to debris off the sides that the 16's spray up and the slider just clears the right rear tire. Totally sweet setup. :eek:


New member
I have an '82 diesel also and am trying to lower the engine rpm at freeway speed. Did your wheel/tire set have any effect on rpm?