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Old 09-15-2012, 01:28 AM   #1
Frankh21
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Default Anyone go from 17" to 16" for improved ride?

Where I live is pothole heaven in addition to uneven road, cracks, and various other deformations. I'd like to get better ride quality and maybe swap out the current 17's(215/45/17) for some standard 16's(205/55/16). I've bent a couple rims in the past due to lower profile tires with stock suspension so it's getting old.

Has anyone done this and was the ride improved significantly?

Thanks
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Old 09-15-2012, 01:50 AM   #2
Patrick Olsen
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A few years back (OK, 7 years ago - man, time flies!) I drove my car cross-country when I transferred from HI to the DC area. I shipped the car to Los Angeles, then drove it across. Since it was December, I put all-season tires on my 15" auto-x wheels. So, I went from my 215/45-17 summer tires to 205/60-15s (as I recall). I was surprised at how little the ride quality changed.

I think in my case the ride quality was probably driven more by the firmer-than-stock suspension and poly bushings, so the change in sidewall height didn't make as big an impact as I expected it would. If you're still on a stockish suspension it might be more noticeable. I would imagine you could find someone in your neck of the woods that would let you test drive a set of 16"s on your car too see how it feels.

Pat Olsen
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:38 AM   #3
Frankh21
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Yeah I'm on the stock suspension so I'm assuming I'll notice a better ride. I've seen a few ads on CL for the 16's stockers bust most have worn tires. I'll prob wait a bit till I find a set with some decent tires and try them out.

Anyone else have any other experiences?

Thanks Mr. Olsen
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Old 09-17-2012, 02:54 PM   #4
chimchimm5
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I regularly go back and forth between my 17's and 16's (mostly for rallyx). I use summer tires on my 17's and all-seasons on my 16's and the comfort difference is very obvious. Actually, another thing that is obvious is the weight difference.

For daily driving comfort (and there are junk roads here) I much prefer the 16's (205/55/16) because they suck up the bumps a lot better. They cause less cabin vibrations too. Yes, they are more vague in the steering. Cornering grip "sucks" with the smaller width and old all-season compound, but with proper driving techniques I can still corner better than most people. On the street, you really don't need the incredible gobs of grip that sticky summer tires provide. My WRX has STI rate springs, groupN strut tops, and the Whiteline comfort ALK. The ALK is the greatest contributor to "discomfort" because of the vibrations it transmits. The spring rate is not as comfy as a camry, but my struts do a great job of controlling them. I also note I click my adjustable struts down 1 click (out of 23) for a more harmonious suspension with the 16's. Still within the grey area matching the spring, but "on the less dampened" side.

Once I use up the set of tires I have on one of my 17's, I'm going to sell the 17's and get a set of Sparco Assetto Gara 16x7's. I'm doing more rallyx than track days now, and I'm finding the road conditions on the street are more aligned with the needs of a rallyx than a track day.

Oh... and go with stock sized sway bars. I have 22mm adjustables sways set at "softest 21.5mm" because I realize just how much suspension independence helps the suspension follow the road. I disconnected my sway bars for rallyx several times and was amazed at how much independence (with the STI spring rate) makes for better rough road ability. You still want some bar, so I think the stock 20mm/20mm would be better suited for me.

On track, I'm no where near stiff enough to be more track oriented. But I don't have a dedicated track car and "track settings" suck big time for DD.

Lastly, I find that the 16's seem to have less rotational inertia than the 17's. I think it has to do with both the lighter/smaller tire width I was using and the fact that the heavy rim width metal is closer to the center. (note that my 17's I was comparing to are 13.5 lbs 17x7.5 rims with 215/45/17 tires, compared to 15.6 lbs 16x7 rims with 205/55/16 tires; so the overall weight is pretty close)

Last edited by chimchimm5; 09-17-2012 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:47 PM   #5
Counterfit
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Yeah, the weight's distance from center plays a bigger role in acceleration than overall weight.
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Counterfit View Post
Yeah, the weight's distance from center plays a bigger role in acceleration than overall weight.
Which is why 18's bog down
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:24 PM   #7
sc00by4life
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chimchimm5

Which is why 18's bog down
Not necessarily. Overall diameter also plays a big factor.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:43 AM   #8
krzyss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Counterfit View Post
Yeah, the weight's distance from center plays a bigger role in acceleration than overall weight.
Yes and it is called rotational inertia.

Krzys
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Old 09-18-2012, 05:03 PM   #9
Ernest
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I think the tire choice has more to do with it than the size 17 or 16. My 16 in winter setup with BFG supersport A/S rides pretty nice, but so does my current summer setup 17" asetto garas with Conti extreme DWs. When I had on other tires like F1 Eagle A/S the ride quality was worse.

The only true way would be to have the same tire in both sizes and check the ride.
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Old 09-18-2012, 05:32 PM   #10
sc00by4life
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest
I think the tire choice has more to do with it than the size 17 or 16. My 16 in winter setup with BFG supersport A/S rides pretty nice, but so does my current summer setup 17" asetto garas with Conti extreme DWs. When I had on other tires like F1 Eagle A/S the ride quality was worse.

The only true way would be to have the same tire in both sizes and check the ride.
Sidewall height resulting from a difference in diameter greatly effects ride quality. So does sidewall stiffness.
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:08 PM   #11
Ernest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sc00by4life View Post
Sidewall height resulting from a difference in diameter greatly effects ride quality. So does sidewall stiffness.
I know but you add the variability of different tires and its tough to say what is causing the change (the diameter or the different tire).

The DW's versus the F1 Eagle A/S in the same size were worlds apart in how they made the car feel, noise and comfort. That is why I feel the same tire but on a different size would be the best test.

Example A - My 16" 205/55 with BFG Supersport A/S are less comfortable but have a better turn in than the 17" 225/45 DW's because the DW is known to have a softer sidewall.
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