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Old 08-24-2005, 01:51 PM   #1
endeavor
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Default Staggered Wheel Size

Anyone want to explain exactly how staggering wheel sizes, with the same tires on all four, affects handling? I've heard of a few people on here running slightly wider rims in the front and that it apparently makes the car handle as if the front has a bit more grip.

What got me thinking about it was an article in Sport Compact Car about the Cusco STI demo car (not their JGTC car) that has 17x9 w/53mm offset in the front and 17x8.5 w/48mm offset in the rear with 235/45/17 tires all around. I assume that Cusco knows what they're doing, so I'm surprised it's not a more common practice here... problems doing tire rotations aside.

I presume that the wider rims will affect the sidewall stiffness? If so, then what's the rule of thumb? I.e. what's the optimal width of tire for a given width? I think people generally assume that putting the widest tire on the wheel that still fits is the way to go, but I've been reading some things lately that really seem to contradict that. With Subaru widening the OEM wheel width on the STI a while back they seem to think the same. 235s on 9 inch rims seems to be a lot smaller than what the general wisdom on NASIOC would suggest (for what that's worth ). At what point does going wider get TOO wide?
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Old 08-25-2005, 04:54 PM   #2
endeavor
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Bumpage... Anyone have any ideas? Or am I wasting my time even considering this?
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Old 08-25-2005, 05:57 PM   #3
ripvw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by endeavor
Anyone want to explain exactly how staggering wheel sizes, with the same tires on all four, affects handling? I've heard of a few people on here running slightly wider rims in the front and that it apparently makes the car handle as if the front has a bit more grip.
see this recent thread:

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...hlight=stagger

Quote:
Originally Posted by endeavor
I'm surprised it's not a more common practice here...
I'm not. it's an extreme way to deal with the issue of increasing front grip - and IMO totally unecessary for driving on the street. if you're serious about it, then you should first exhaust all other "normal" methods of increasing front grip, i.e:
- max performance summer tires at the proper pressures
- larger front and rear sway bars
- ALK
- camber/caster plates or another set of front camber bolts to get at least -2 degrees of static camber up front, camber bolts in rear to adjust rear camber to be less than the front and take care of cross camber issues

after you've done all that, if you want to run staggered to see what else you can gain I say go for it. If you aren't willing to do the other stuff first, then I think it's purely for affectation, i.e. "I'm cool, I'm running staggered".

Quote:
Originally Posted by endeavor
...what's the optimal width of tire for a given width?
2 schools of thought as you noted:
1. run the maximum width tire that you can stuff on the wheel to get more tread on the road
2. a tire will always perform better in the dry if you maximize the contact patch width. a wider wheel will let you do that. 215/45x17 on 17x7.5, or 225/45x17 on 17x8, 235/40x17 on 17x8.5, etc. a wider rim will favorably impact sidewall stiffness, but you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. if you want a stiff sidewall, buy a tire that comes with a stiff sidewall

of course, when it starts raining a narrower contact patch would come in handy, so there is no such thing as an optimum width tire and wheel for every situation. and as often as I've preached to people about the wisdom of getting wider wheels and tires, most of the time it simply won't matter on the street. just buy a quality tire - look at test results, not opinion polls.

the one exception is running smaller diameter "under-driven" tires for their gearing advantage. 205/50x16 on the stock 16x6.5 wheels, for example, or 235/40x17 on 17x8 or 17x8.5 wheels. since you own a WRX and not an STI, you can gain quicker accleration in all gears by going to one of these underdriven sizes. On the other hand, some STI owners have posted that running the normal diameter 255/40x17 on 17x8 or 17x8.5 wheels is a better idea since the gearing of the 6-speed does not benefit from an underdriven tire.
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Old 08-25-2005, 10:33 PM   #4
endeavor
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That all sounds reasonable.

However, with regards to tire/wheel sizing... I have to wonder what the point of Subaru increasing the STI wheel width by half an inch, while keeping the tire the same, if it's relatively insignificant.
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Old 08-25-2005, 11:24 PM   #5
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....if your car does not have 275+ whp....yer wastin' yer $$$ doing anything other than a 17x8 and a 235/40, IMO
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Old 08-26-2005, 12:53 AM   #6
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I bet a stock WRX with a pair of little spares mounted on the back wouldn't push as bad at the auto-x. (I bet it's actually be a ridiculously fun thing to drive. No FTDs... but fun!)

I've considered running my 8.5's with Advan stickies on the front and my 7.5 w/Azenis on the back for auto-x. But even then... just at the track. On the road, I don't think loosening the rear would be too smart. But daily driving and track setups are nothing alike.

Also, for normal driving, if you didn't get diameters just right it'd probably be a slow and steady death for the center diff too.
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