Q: 15×7 Rally Rims
I’ve decided to take the step up to 15″ rims to improve handling, but so far I’ve only found two wheels 15×7″ Figure these wheels will be perfect for my rear end. But what should I buy for the front? The junkyard has got 14×6 and 14×7. Did the car have 7 inch wheels as original or will it look to wide?
A: For safe operation, a tire should neither interfere with the control arms or the frame on the inside of the wheel well, nor should it contact the lip of the wheelwell opening, even at full compression of the suspension. Some people like the narrow tire stock look, and others prefer something wider, perhaps much wider.
What fits your car depends on some variables. You might think that it is stock height becuase you haven’t changed the springs, but age and wear can cause a car to settle to a lower ride height. Or perhaps you or a previous owner have lowered/raised the car? Maybe in an old accident the front subframe was bent slightly out of square, so the wheel hubs are slightly out of place in the wheel wells. Or due to age, variation in mfg, the wheel well openings are narrower/wider by .5″ or so.
You should be able to run 15×7 wheels in front as well, but be careful of your front tire choice. 235/60-15 might rub at full lock. Or they might not. These cars came with 14×6 and perhaps even 14×7 wheels as an option. Many of us have successfully run 15×7 or even 16×7 wheels. Some may even be running 8″ wide wheels (as I am, in the rear). Wheel offset and tire size get more critical the larger you go.
Take some measurements and check it out. Measure the backspacing on your 15×7″ wheel. This taken by laying the wheel face down, and laying a straight edge across the back rim. At the middle, measure the depth to the rear face of the wheel center section where it would bolt to the brake hub. This measurement is you back spacing. Then with the front wheel still off the car, put a straight edge on the hub, with the weight of the car resting on a jack sitting under the front control arm.
If you have a tire that is say, 26.1″ tall (235/60R15), the radius of that is 13.05″. If the tire has a 9″ section width, and the wheel has a 4″ backspacing, you need clearance at least 5.5″. Allow another .25″ to .50″ for deflection. Tape a 9″ piece of cardboard to your straight edge, looking like a letter “T”. The top of the T should be offset to reflect your backspacing. Now rotate that T so that you see where it might interfere with any part of the frame, suspension, or wheel opening. Turn your steer- ing wheel to full lock in both directions and measure again. Re- member that as the suspension moves, so will the wheel. Allow for that movement in your measurements as well.
This technique will give you some idea of what tire options will fit your particular car, given the wheels available to you. Sorry for the overly long reply, but perhaps this will enable you and others to figure out for yourselves what will fit, and what choices you have. Plus, many of us will tolerate a lot more changes from stock than others.
Rebuilt Ralley II wheels are available from Wheel Vintiques in a variety of offsets, and sizes. From 14×6 to 15×10. Custom offsets are also available. These wheels use old center sections welded to new rims, and then powder coated and painted in the orginal pattern. The also sell trim rings, center caps, and lugnuts. Pricing through Summit Racing or Jegs is just a little better than buying direct from the mfg.
5468 E. Lamona
Fresno, CA. 93727 (USA)
Summit Racing 1-800-230-3030
Any proposed updates, changes, pictures, and/or corrections, please use our comment section below (may need to click on permalink to access comments feature). Information is subject to change and offered as is without any warranties or guarantees. Please review our Term's Of Use for more information.
Content last modified: January 26, 2014 at 12:46 pm