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Old 04-24-2003, 11:10 PM   #1
voam
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2003 WRX Wagon

Default new tires vs. new rims and tires

I have about 3K on my 03 WRX Wagon that came with stock steel wheels and RE92 tires. (No wheel package). I have a couple of questions. I was wondering how much of a performance gain I would get with higher quality 16" tires vs. say new 17" alloy rims and 17" tires? For people who have upgraded both wheels and tires how noticable was the difference in the handling of the car? And for people that replaced the RE92s but kept the stock wheels how much better was the ride? Is the benefit of aluminum allow wheels primarily aesthetic given the relatively light weight of the stock steel wheels?

I don't think I will be doing any autoxing -- just spirited street driving so I am most interested in the comparision for regular street driving.

Peoples experiences will be greatly appreciated!
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Old 04-25-2003, 01:09 AM   #2
j-wrx
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2002 Stg.1 WRX Wagon
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Default Deciscions, descisions

I debated this for some time (23K miles to be exact). I just got some Dunlop SP5000 mounted on my stock rims. I also got a fifth OEM rim for really cheap to mount one of my old tires on for a full size spare.

The ride difference is impressive. Not night and day, but I would highly recommend going this route. Save your money and take a trip instead...

j-wrx
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Old 04-25-2003, 01:48 AM   #3
NeoteriX
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Default

You stuck the full sized spare in the spare bay in your WRX? Did it fit ok?
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Old 04-25-2003, 07:56 AM   #4
mch
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Location: still, colder than you, vt
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dirt slvr

Default

You can shoehorn on a fairly wide section tire on the OEM wheel - (btw mine are aluminum alloy). In fact you can run a 225 section (225/50/16). That size would probably be happier on a 7" rim but 6.5" is within the recommended range for most manufacturers. The recommended size for 17x7 rims is 225/45/17 which has the same tire contact patch as the 16" so there is no immediate width advantage in going with a std 17" wheel. (If you are going for significantly wider -235+ you wouldn't be asking this question.)

Three reasons to run 16's:
1. You are cheap. You don't really want to dump $$$$ into rims that are mostly for show and may decrease performance. You'd rather spend that amount of money on significant suspension upgrades that will balance the car and tighten it up. (or put it into your house purchase/repair fund or the kid's college fund...)

2. The stock rims + good rubber are generally lighter than run of the mill 17" rims + good rubber. Lighter wheels give better performance (low unsprung weight helps your suspension a great deal). Really light 17" rims are expensive. See reason #3 for why expensive rims may not be a "good" idea.

3. Bad roads + very low profile tires is an unhappy combination. You live in a rural or trashed urban area. A slightly higher profile (55 or 50 vs 45) will help protect the rim as well as offer some additional (though minor) measure of compliance on gravel and/or broken up roads.


Three reasons to run 17"s:
1. You have money to burn. The car is the most important thing in your life and/or having larger than oem wheels is important to your self esteem and/or you are looking for max performance on tarmac.

2. A 17" 45 series tire will provide better transient response than a 50 or 55 series tire. If you have a lightweight wheel/tire combination, performance is improved.

3. You live is an area with good roads and/or will never drive at speed on suspect surfaces. (no rallying for you...) You have good kidneys, a superb suspension and/or desire a rougher ride.

I'm sure there are more arguements pro and con. All else being equal - go with what makes you happy.

good luck and have fun.
mch.
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Old 04-25-2003, 08:37 AM   #5
fengshui-fu
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Default

I wouldn't agree with mch's # 1 points, being kinda silly, but all things come down with preference. Its nice having more of a contact patch with wider wheels though, and 17"s opposed to 16"s don't make that much of a difference when going over stuff (NJ potholes aside, I avoid these like the plague). Its nice have 2 sets of wheels if you wanted a summer performance tire and then switch to say, blizzaks on the stock wheels, giving you the best rubber for any weather conditions.

cheers,
chris
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Old 04-25-2003, 09:36 AM   #6
mch
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Default

Actually the 16's and 17's (no matter what the section) have the same contact patch on the same car with the same inflation pressure. A narrow tire will have a long, thin patch. A wide tire will have a short, wide patch. (see diagrams below).

/\ direction of rotation in both cases

Narrow tire (good for snow and slush)
__
| |
| |
|_|


Wide tire (good for lateral loads - prone to hydroplaning)
_____
|____|

The area will be the same for tires with the same inflation pressure and supporting the same weight - you see it is the air that supports the car (think psi).
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Old 04-25-2003, 09:49 AM   #7
fengshui-fu
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Default

So keeping the thinner stock wheels and tires with blizzaks would be a good idea since they are more suited to snow and ice, and having a wider summer wheel and tire would be better for having more grip. You can keep both sets at 16" if you want. For what you pay for some serious all season rubber, you could almost get the same out of 2 different sets for winter / summer seasons, since they should last longer since the set will only remain on for roughly half a year or so. And some of the best all seasons like the Michelin Pilot A/S run nearly 300$ a tire. Just a thought.

cheers,
chris
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Old 04-25-2003, 07:08 PM   #8
Chrisnonstop
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Silver

Default It's all about the look, and then some

I compromised a bit. You see, I just don't like looking like all he rest so I knew I had to go with aftermarket rims. I don't have a ton of $$$ to dump into the car either. Also, as if I'm not already asking too much, I wanted to keep the weight as close to stock as possible. So, I decided on a set of Rota rims. I was going to go with the Tarmacs but saw that Subaru was putting the "Real" tarmacs (the rims that the tarmacs look like) on the WRXs as an options package. So that became out of the question. Then I found the Rota attacks. FOR THE MONEY, they're realy light weight (not sure what a stock rims weighs) and sturdy (I don't race). So I got a set of 17" Attacks in Grey. It's a 7.5" wide rim. I'm thinking about running 215's or 225's depending on weight. But the entire package is going to cost me less than $1000. Can't go wrong.
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