15" or 17" wheel? - Vintage Mustang Forums

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post #1 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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15" or 17" wheel?

I know this question has been beat to death, but I'm really struggling with this wheel choice, mostly due to the limited summer tire choice in the 15" size. Car is a '68 FB 302 stock front disc brakes.

Objective: Good handling street car with respectable open track capability, but I am not interested in stuffing crazy wide meats under the car - I don't want to deal with any potential rubbing issues, so I'm trying to limit myself to a 225 width (maybe up to 245 for the 17)

The engineer and hard core racer in me tells me I need to stick with 15" wheel since it clears my brakes, and minimizes rotating mass.

That would be an easy choice, except the only summer tires I'm finding on Tire rack are in the 23" OD range - great short sidewall for handling, but will my relatively larger '68 look completely goofy with such a small diam tire? It is lowered approx 1.5" front and 1 " rear.

Am I missing out on some good high performance 15" street tires in the 24.5" - 26" OD range? I suppose that would dictate a relatively large sidewall which kind of defeats the purpose of the high performance tire.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading and I appreciate any feedback.
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post #2 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 11:16 PM
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I been kicking the tires on this same issue. I currently have TTII's 17x7 on my 1966 FB. I do have tire rub under heavy throttle in the rear and some in front when hitting a pothole. Front Tires are 215/40/17 and rears are 235/45/17. (26.5 OD)

I'll be changing to shelby 10 spoke, 15x7, probably with BFG T/A's that measure 215/60/15 front and 225/60/15 rear and just shy of 26 OD.

But my 66 has less room than your 68 in the wheel well. Good Luck!

1966 "C" Code Fastback, Ford crate 306, T5, 3.80 Trak Lok Rear, Sub-frame connectors, Tri-Y headers, Shelby drop with an empty wallet.
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post #3 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 01:43 AM
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Tongue wheels

Meadow Yellow, go with the 17s. Tire selection seems to suck now for 15 inch wheels ( and thats what I have now ) and methinks it ain't gonna get any better. And yes, your car would look bad with the little 23" tires. LSG
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post #4 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 05:52 AM
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You could look at 16s. They fit better than 17s anyway. Last time I looked there were some decent tires for that size.

I have 15 inch Magnum 500s on mine and run Yokohama YK520 in 215 60 15 and they handle and ride great.


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post #5 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 07:36 AM
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I also went with 17 x 8" on my 67 Fastback. The fronts are 235/45/17 and rear are 255/40/17 with no issues of rubbing or interference. The 17" helps to fill in the wheelwells and give me a more modern look while also affording me good choices of tires. I ended up using the California Ponycars 17" Styled steel wheels (Aluminum).

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post #6 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 09:58 AM
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Go with 17", there are a LOT more options when it comes to sticky tires.

-Mark-

1966 Mustang 2+2

"Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy a race car. And I've never been sad in a race car!"
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post #7 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by tx65coupe View Post
You could look at 16s. They fit better than 17s anyway.
Can you please clarify if you are referring to visual look in terms of 'fit better' or if you are referring to some limitation in the car design preventing 17s from fitting properly?

You know something like "Hey did you know that when you put a 16x8 wheel on the front of the mustang you have a limitation and can only run 4.5 backspacing because anymore than that and the wheel lip hits the upper ball join which limits the max amount of rubber you can put on the car whereas with a 17x8 wheel you can move up to 4.75 backspacing and get a better fit for the same rubber under the fender and maybe even squeeze 1 size up on the tread width if you want to really push the envelope"

Ohh wait.....

And on edit...another good argument around 16/17 centers on braking. With 15s you can fit a certain size rotor/caliper combo, to get something larger I am not aware of anything out there that fits under a 16 inch wheel. AKA all brake upgrades over the stock size kelsey hayes setup require a 17 inch wheel to run. If I am mistaken on this, I would like to be corrected, but I'm pretty sure.

Nick
1965 Fastback 410c AOD - DT
1967 Fastback 347 T5- Cruiser
1968 Fastback 408w T5 - Brute
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Last edited by dodgestang; 06-28-2012 at 10:39 AM.
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post #8 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 10:48 AM
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I think the only disadvantage of running 17" wheels is it makes the tires look like black rubber bands. If you don't mind this look, go for it. Personally, I like the look of 16" and smaller wheels on a classic Mustang. If you're going to be installing big brakes, you'll likely have to run 17" wheels.
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post #9 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 11:32 AM
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With all due respect to the old school community, 17s look and perform much better for even kind-of-high-performance driving. True, increasing unsprung weight has a detrimental effect on acceleration (turning, accel, and decel), but the stiffer sidewall helps to offset the increased rotational inertia. There's a reason high-performance cars have larger rims, and it isn't just for the bling.

Here's an interesting example of the effects of upsized wheels that C&D tested on a WV Golf. As one would expect, straightline acceleration suffered as the wheel size (and weight) increased, but handling and stopping improved.
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post #10 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-29-2012, 05:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dodgestang View Post
Can you please clarify if you are referring to visual look in terms of 'fit better' or if you are referring to some limitation in the car design preventing 17s from fitting properly?

You know something like "Hey did you know that when you put a 16x8 wheel on the front of the mustang you have a limitation and can only run 4.5 backspacing because anymore than that and the wheel lip hits the upper ball join which limits the max amount of rubber you can put on the car whereas with a 17x8 wheel you can move up to 4.75 backspacing and get a better fit for the same rubber under the fender and maybe even squeeze 1 size up on the tread width if you want to really push the envelope"

Ohh wait.....

And on edit...another good argument around 16/17 centers on braking. With 15s you can fit a certain size rotor/caliper combo, to get something larger I am not aware of anything out there that fits under a 16 inch wheel. AKA all brake upgrades over the stock size kelsey hayes setup require a 17 inch wheel to run. If I am mistaken on this, I would like to be corrected, but I'm pretty sure.

I know that some 17 inch wheels will work and that backspacing is critical for tire fitment, sometimes more so than others. I also know that for high performance tires, 17s are pretty much what you have to go to.

It just seems that ill-fitting 17s are way too common. At the local cruise nights or car shows quite often someone will tell me their 65 or 66 has tire rubbing issues. I get it with 67 and 68 too but not nearly as much. Anyway, The first thing I do is see what size wheels they have, and its usually something along these lines.

If its to fit brakes, then 17s are the way to go. If not, I just don't see the point. I hardly ever hear of anyone with 15s or 16s and fitment problems, unless they just have a really wide tire.

For what its worth, I don't really consider 17s to be bling, but anything bigger definitely is.


1997 Cobra Convertible (stock)
1965 Mustang 302, T5, 9 Inch
http://forums.vintage-mustang.com/me...-100-1108.html

Last edited by tx65coupe; 06-29-2012 at 06:42 AM.
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post #11 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-29-2012, 07:34 AM
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I went with the newer mustang "bullit" wheels which are a 17x8. Some days I look at it and love the way it looks but some days I look at it and it looks to big. I think the next set of wheels I get will be 16's, still bigger than stock but not TO big. This probably only makes sense to me but its my 2cents worth.

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post #12 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-29-2012, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tx65coupe View Post
It just seems that ill-fitting 17s are way too common. At the local cruise nights or car shows quite often someone will tell me their 65 or 66 has tire rubbing issues. I get it with 67 and 68 too but not nearly as much. Anyway, The first thing I do is see what size wheels they have, and its usually something along these lines.
People have been making poorly informed decisions about the backspacing their wheels should have since April 1964....13, 14, 15, 16, 17 inch and more....but that doesn't mean 17s have problems fitting the car. It means any wheel with incorrect backspacing will have problems working on the car.

Nick
1965 Fastback 410c AOD - DT
1967 Fastback 347 T5- Cruiser
1968 Fastback 408w T5 - Brute
1991 GT Hatch - Fauxbra
1996 Dodge Viper GTS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LUK2D0GjdY
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post #13 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-29-2012, 02:20 PM
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i have always prefered 15" tires with the taller sidewall for roadracing. however the only good tires in 15" are racing slicks. 17"-20" tires started being used to meet federal cafe laws because they have less rolling resistance. all the newest technology has ben put in these sizes. i reluctantly went to 17" back in the 90's. i know a few guys that had 18" and went to 17" for better ride quality and they said the car seemed to handle better. several years ago the ford mustang came with 18" rims and soft springs to give a good ride. the next year they switched to 17" with stiffer springs and the ride was still good and handling was much better. since your not going very wide and unless your going to pushing the car to the limit in the turns i would stay with 15" or 16" rims. if you want maxium cornering 17" with nitto nt05 tires is the ticket for the street.

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post #14 of 50 (permalink) Old 07-01-2012, 08:03 AM Thread Starter
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Last sanity check

Thanks for all the feedback on this question - it has been interesting reading.

Right now I'm leaning toward two options (both in anthracite):

AR Torque Thrust M 17 X 7 , 4" BS, 235/50 R17 all 4 corners

OR

AR Torque Thrust M, 17X8, 4.5" BS, 245/45 R17 all 4 corners

Based upon my research, these should be a slam dunk for fitment, although I've seen 17X7 4.25 & 17X8 4.75 suggested.

Does anyone think I should expect any rubbing problems with either of these? 1968 FB, Global west front (with 1 3/8" upper arm drop - lowered around 1"), stock rear lowered 1".


EDIT: I'm going from 205/75R14 on the front now, and the car drives very nicely - should I expect much change in bump steer, or a tendency to follow ruts in the road (paved roads - like where semits travel alot asphalt their tires tend to make ruts)?
Thanks again,

Andrew

Last edited by Meadowlark Yellow; 07-01-2012 at 08:10 AM.
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post #15 of 50 (permalink) Old 07-01-2012, 10:03 AM
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i have 17x9 rears and 17x8 fronts on my mustangII. I'm thinking of going to 15" rim n tire setup because the look that i'm going for is of the vintage Trans Am days. They didnt have 17's back then. Just my .02
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