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Old 12-27-2005, 03:22 PM   #1
westphalia
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Question 16's vs 17's on WRX: worth it?

I've dug around and haven't seen any good answers to this.

Criteria: daily driver, occasional autox & rallyx

Pros: can fit bigger brakes on 17s, looks nice

Cons: $$ , harsher ride?

Braking performance can be offset by more aggresive pads and since this isn't a serious track car is there really any point? 17's will give a bit more of a contact patch, but is 10% make that much of a difference? If so, why not go to a 215 on 16's to help?

Do this mostly cover it? It seems to me to be mostly a cosmetic decision and I think I would rather spend money on something that matters like suspension or an AP.
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Old 12-27-2005, 04:52 PM   #2
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i sort of have the same situation as you...daily driver, take it to the mountain, plan on doing rally-x. Here is my setup: for mountain and Rally-x (i plan on it atleast) i just use the stock wheels with the stock tires, the re92s get a ton of complaints, but overall, they are fine... not good, not terrible, but fine. For the dry months (i live in oregon, what dry months? i guess "less wet") i have michelin PS2's 225/45/17 on kosei k1-ts.

The pros ofthe 17's/ PS2:
much better handling
Looks better
more fun on the roads
car feels much much better in the performance/handling department (less sidewall flex, larger contact patch, not much heavier than stock)

Cons:
tramline a little (nothing too bad)
a little louder (again, nothing too bad)
$
Dont even think about taking them off the pavement


all in all, its worth having two sets. Get better pads if its a concern, hawks are supposed to be good. Summers for the road and for most of your driving, and stockers for anything else.

money wise, check out subydude, Rota vendor, good looking wheels, wide variety. i think he has tires too.

hopefully i helped a little, i appologize if i just wasted your time
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Old 12-27-2005, 04:58 PM   #3
westphalia
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No, thanks for your input. My RE92s are just about done (20k miles plus 4 rallyx days & 20-25 autox runs). I'm planning on replacing with toyo proxes 4s which I think will do well down here in NC (decent wet performance) since there is practically no winter to speak of in Raleigh.

I'm just debating whether 17s are worth approx $600 or so. I don't really want to have two different sets of tires.
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Old 12-27-2005, 05:44 PM   #4
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Hey, westphalia...consider Pirelli PZero Nero M&S 225/50-ZR16 for stock rims. Just ran them after ~200 mile breakin to southern Indiana and back in the last week. Interstate-77 in WV was a blast with rain, sleet, and snow. They refuse to hydroplane no matter the water depth. Only bugger is flaccid sidewalls due to the 6.5" stock rim width for the 225 tire I got...but once they turn in they are very, very surprising and do not lose bite when it gets really cold. And we all know the winters in Durham are brutal compared to those in Raleighwood [I keeed].

Good luck with the choice. I say buy 17x8's and get a sticky summer tire with 45 series profile and have a ball. I got the same wheels as alpoRS [Kosei K1-TS @ 17x7] and they work fine with Fuzion ZRi's but I am sure an 8" rim width would make turn-in even sweeter.
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Old 12-27-2005, 05:47 PM   #5
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I think the 17s are worth it..I want to upgrade my brakes and I only run the jdm v7s in the summer,so now I gotta get another set.Plus you can run a wider tire,cosmetics,etc.
The ride quality is pretty noticeable to me between the stockers and 17s.But my suspension is kinda stiff.
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Old 12-27-2005, 06:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westphalia
17's will give a bit more of a contact patch, but is 10% make that much of a difference?
Actually, they will not. Tire contact patch AREA is determined by air pressure. Tire contact SHAPE is determined by tire width. The diameter of the rim (assuming the overall wheel diameter does not change) has no effect.

The 17' rim gives you a slightly smaller sidewall profile and GIVEN THE EXACT SAME TIRES, might offer less sidewall flex. However, there are some 16" tires that will be stiffer than some 17" tires.

So, what to do? Have fun.

mch.
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Old 12-27-2005, 09:24 PM   #7
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occasional autoX, i guess u should consider what class u plan to compete in. certain size tyres will move u to a different class iirc.

otherwise, the Rota wheels that u can get a 16x8 size would be an excellent choice and fitting some nice wide s03 wou/d work out well.
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Old 12-28-2005, 12:29 AM   #8
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My plan is to have a set of older RS 6 spoke wheels with UHP all season tires and a set of Rota Slipstreams in 16x8 when the new Falken Azenis 615 tires are avaliable in the size i want.

Then i'll be able to put on the Subaru Factory 4-piston calipers and still have the comfort of 16" wheels.
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Old 12-28-2005, 03:38 AM   #9
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Default Go 15"s

Now isn't it's ironic how those with 16's are looking to plus size, while I'm bummed that my 06 WRX comes with 17's and now I need to buy a set of 16's in order to run some studded Nokian Hakka 2's in 205/55/16.

Do I go with a 16x7.0 @ et+50, or the 16x7.5 @ et+48
I think the tire will better fit the 7.0" wide wheel, while the ET48 7.5" wheel will be a tad bit kinder on the moving parts but strech the tire more

Now if I find some 15" wheels that fit the car I could buy all kinds of Rally tires cheap as hell and have some real fun
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Old 12-28-2005, 09:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoobynew
while the ET48 7.5" wheel will be a tad bit kinder on the moving parts...)
the closer you stay to the stock 17x7 53mm offset the better, so ET50 is better than ET48 from a moving parts (i.e. wheel bearings) point of view

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoobynew
Now if I find some 15" wheels that fit the car I could buy all kinds of Rally tires cheap as hell and have some real fun
whether you buy 15" or 16", if you have an '06 WRX the wheels have to fit over those 4-pot brakes in front.

TireRack sells the ET42 SSR Comp-X in 15x7 that will fit over your front brakes, as well as a few 16x7 wheel choices ranging from ET45 to ET50
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Old 12-28-2005, 10:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westphalia
Do this mostly cover it? It seems to me to be mostly a cosmetic decision and I think I would rather spend money on something that matters like suspension or an AP.
nothing matters more than tires. so what tires can you get for a 16x7 or 16x8 wheel? or would you have more choices if you went with a 17?

17" Pros:
1. potentially wider wheel/tire widths - can run 17x8.5 with 255/40x17 tires - will have to roll fenders to fit, but that's cheap and easy to do. wider wheels and wider tires make for better dry cornering and braking. probably not much difference on the street, but it matters for auto-x
2. wider selection of tires. ST615's not available in 16", nor are PS2's or Neova's. While there are lots of good tire choices for 225/50x16, the more desireable 225/45x16 or 245/45x16 (for a 16x8 wheel) sizes are quite limited - S03 and RS-2 being the notable exceptions.
3. lower profile tires (40series vs. 45 series) have less tire squirm during hard cornering
4. while you can find some good BBK's that will fit under some 16's, you have more braking choices with a 17". then again, I've never heard of a BBK being absolutely necessary for auto-x
5. heavier 17" wheel/tire combo can be offset by selecting a 17x8 or 17x8.5 wheel with 235/40x17 tires. This will have a gearing advantage over most 16" wheel/tire combinations

17" cons:
1. equivalent wheel will weigh a bit more - typically 1/2 to 1 pound more as you go up 1" in size.
2. tires may weigh more as well but you have to compare model for model - lots of heavy 225/50x16 tires out there due to the tall sidewall. real impact of heavier wheels and tires can be found by doing the math here:

http://se30.dyndns.org:8080/SVX/rot_inertia.html

3. lower profile tires typically offer a harsher, noiser ride. but again, this depends upon the models being considered. for example, a 235/40x17 SportContact2 is much quieter and better riding than a 205/55x16 RE92. Amazingly enough, they both weigh 21 lbs. and the Conti offers a 3% gearing advantage as well.
4. 16" combos are cheaper. probably true for wheels, depends upon the tire size being compared.
5. you can get gearing advantages with 16" wheel/tire combos too, like 205/50x16, 215/45x16 - not many tires to choose from, though, and the previously mentioned 225/45x16.

http://www.miata.net/garage/tirecalc.html

it's obvious that you can find intelligent choices for the street in both 16" and 17" sizes, but I think you're going to find most serious auto-x'ers have done the math and they're running 17's

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=845228

FWIW, I went from 16.5 lb 16x6.5 OEM alloys and 21 lb. 205x55x16 RE92's to 17lb 17x7.5 Rota Attacks and 26 lb. 225/45x17 Falken FK451's. The difference in grip was staggering - even when the Falkens were still breaking in. I did not notice the weight difference per se, but I'm sure a timed 0-60mph run would have been about .1 sec. slower. upgrading to a lightened crank pulley would solve that issue - or 235/40x17 tires. I don't miss my 16's, but one is doing very nicely as a full-size spare in the back of my wagon

since 2001, the WRX has been sold everywhere but here in NA with 17x7 wheels and 215/45x17 summer tires. The whole 16" wheel/all-season tire thing is not what this car was about - save 'em for the snow...
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Old 12-28-2005, 02:48 PM   #12
westphalia
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Thanks for the feedback. 255 width would be overkill for me, I think I would be happy with 215 or 225.
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Old 12-28-2005, 03:23 PM   #13
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IMO, if you are just talking just performance, and not esthetics (many people want drop/no fender gap), then stay with 16s. I know a few guys who are migrating back to 16 from 17 for better performance in auto-x. Plus, with 17s one tends to run 45s which have stiffer sidewall and with it increased NVH. You can still run 45s or less w/ 16s on track days but you will not have the same rotational mass as a 17s. You can get Rota subzeros in 16 for ~150.00
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Old 12-28-2005, 03:28 PM   #14
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Assuming the 17" rim and tire combo is heavier than the 16" rim and tire combo (often a safe assumption) the 16" set's lower [unsprung] rotating weight can also offer better braking and acceleration than the 17s.
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Old 12-28-2005, 03:56 PM   #15
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However if they're lightweight forged 17" wheels then that's a whole different story.
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Old 12-28-2005, 05:17 PM   #16
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^^^
get some 16 TE37s then.
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Old 12-28-2005, 05:30 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psydotek
However if they're lightweight forged 17" wheels then that's a whole different story.

Well then their car will be TONS fast4r because their wallet is so much lighter!

Actually then it comes down to which combo puts the most weight the farthest outboard and makes my head hurt and someone else with too much time on their hands can do all the math.
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Old 12-28-2005, 05:39 PM   #18
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Which Impreza looks the best off the showroom floor? STi, of course! So go with 18's like an OZ Superleggera and enjoy the look of your ride!
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Old 12-29-2005, 01:47 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nemocity
Which Impreza looks the best off the showroom floor? STi, of course! So go with 18's like an OZ Superleggera and enjoy the look of your ride!
STi's get 17's off the showroom floor...
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Old 12-29-2005, 03:05 AM   #20
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Stay with the sixteens. I can almost buy two sets of 225/50/16 for the price of one set of 225/45/17.
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Old 12-29-2005, 07:02 AM   #21
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The cost isn't the tires, it is the rims.. and all the really nice ones seem wicked expensive.
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Old 12-29-2005, 08:19 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westphalia
I don't really want to have two different sets of tires.
It's not easy to find a tire that is a good compromise between rally-x, auto-x and daily driving. Having two (or more) sets of tires can help your car do everything better. I chose a 17" wheel for autocross, because of the tire choices available. Although for winter tires, I chose to use the smaller skinny OE wheels. If you are limiting to one set, then you need to decide which activity is more important. I would let the tire decide which size wheels to use.

If the budget is limiting, look in the local forum for used wheels & tires. OE WRX wheels w/ OE tires can be found dirt cheap. Forged lightweight 17's can be found for less than half of their original list price.
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Old 12-29-2005, 08:42 AM   #23
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I am going to test for myself going from 16x7 rs wheels with a 225/50/16 falken 451 to a 17x7.5 rota wheel with a 225/45/17 with the same 451 and see the diff. I feel the initial high speed squirm when I enter a turn and I'm thinking it maybe the higher sidewall so ill see how much of a diff it makes because I'm really from the 16in wheel camp.
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Old 12-29-2005, 12:24 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooby Freak
It's not easy to find a tire that is a good compromise between rally-x, auto-x and daily driving. Having two (or more) sets of tires can help your car do everything better. I chose a 17" wheel for autocross, because of the tire choices available. Although for winter tires, I chose to use the smaller skinny OE wheels. If you are limiting to one set, then you need to decide which activity is more important. I would let the tire decide which size wheels to use.

If the budget is limiting, look in the local forum for used wheels & tires. OE WRX wheels w/ OE tires can be found dirt cheap.
^^^Yup!

I have one set of stock WRX rims with 205/55 BFGoodrich KDWS for all-weather/rallycross (they are still very good in dry, though); and
for autox/dry street one set of stock rims with 205/55 old school Falken Azenis -- the Azenis were dirt cheap, ran quite wide for their "size" and they had very stiff sidewalls so it was like getting a lot of the benefit of a 17" combo without the drawbacks.

I don't know what I'm going to buy now that the Azenis are worn out and no longer available ... maybe 205/55 Hankooks?
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Old 12-29-2005, 12:53 PM   #25
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I just recently switched from the stock 16"x6.5" wheels with 225/50/16 BFG gforce KDWS tires to 17"x7.5" Rota SDR's with 215/45/17 BFG gforce sport tires. My rims were well worth the little bit of extra money because Rota SDR's can fit big brakes under them, I still get the same 0-60 and 1/4 mile times with my 17's as I did with the 16's, and the difference in handling is awesome! The stock 16's are still sitting in my garage and I don't think they'll ever get used again.

If you want Rota's I would recommend Subydude.com (also check out his eBay auctions) and I used Tirerack.com to get my tires for just over $100 each with shipping.
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