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Old 08-01-2010, 11:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default I feel so ignorant.

Just when I thought I was beginning to understand some things, a new fact comes up and I realize how much I don't know.

I have a 2006 Forester (LL Bean Edition) and I'm considering getting another set of wheels and tires for the winter. I really don't care what they look like, just that they are in good enough condition to hold air. I don't want to necessarily shell out the dollars for new, so I've been checking around for used wheels and tires. My existing alloy wheels are in pretty rough shape, so I would probably use the "newer" rims as my main ones and use my existing ones for snow tires.

I see no reason to start experimenting with bigger wheels, so for tires I've been limiting my searches to my stock size of 215/60/16. Now when it comes to wheels, I understand 16" x 6.5 and 5x100, but do I need to worry about that 48 offset? And what the heck is 6.5jj? When I find a set of used 16" wheels, what do I really need to be concerned about other than 5x100 bolt pattern?

I've read through most of the tire tech links here, but they just seem to be geared toward folks who want to upgrade to more performance oriented equipment. I just want to pretty much stay stock or close enough that I don't have to worry about speedometer inaccuracy or tires rubbing or whatever else. For example, could I use something like these?
16" Subaru Impreza 2.5RS wheels {5x100mm (5x3.94) bolt pattern.
What else would I have to know to be certain they'd be okay?

Thanks for any simple explanations.
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi

The offset is important and should not be left out of the equation when looking for rims. Your forester is 48mm. However, that may not be the case for the Impreza. It is likely 52 or 55.

Playing with the offset will effect your bearings and also how far out or in the wheel sits.

As for the 6.5jj. Thats your width.

Keep looking for rims. For your tire size tirerack sells new rims for about 80 each.
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Old 08-01-2010, 12:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I appreciate that added info. But what's the likelihood that someone selling rims off their vehicle is going to know what the offset is? Guess I'll have to do research as they come up. I did consider TireRack as that price isn't bad at all, but shipping is a killer.
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Old 08-01-2010, 12:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Check the stickies... this list should help you as far as the selection of wheels go:
Subaru OEM wheels that fit the Forester
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Old 08-01-2010, 12:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
I see no reason to start experimenting with bigger wheels, so for tires I've been limiting my searches to my stock size of 215/60/16. Now when it comes to wheels, I understand 16" x 6.5 and 5x100, but do I need to worry about that 48 offset??
The 48 offset means that the wheel’s inside mounting plane is 48 mm outside of the center plane of the wheel. The spec is usually stated at “48 ET”, where “ET” is an acronym for “einpress tiefe”, which is German for “offset” ("press-in depth"). The offset spec is often molded inside (or stamped on) the wheel.

This site allows you to change the offset and see the effect on the wheel and tire.

I gather than Impreza wheels are usually either 52 mm offset or 55 mm offset. Increasing the offset will move the wheel and tire close in to the suspension and away from the inside of the fender. For example, everything else being equal, increasing the offset from 48 mm to 55 mm will move the wheel and tire 7 mm (~0.28 inch) closer to the suspension. Using 55 mm offset wheels will reduce the car’s track by ~0.55 inches.

My 215 winter tires are mounted on 6.5 steel wheels with a 50 mm offset (from Tire Rack). Since the stock tires are 225’s on 7” rims with a 48 mm offset, the narrower winter wheels and tires have more suspension clearance than the stock tires, even with the higher offset.

Quote:
And what the heck is 6.5jj
6.5jj means that the wheel nominal mounting width is 6.5 inches and uses the “jj” profile. See this site for more info.

Quote:
When I find a set of used 16" wheels, what do I really need to be concerned about other than 5x100 bolt pattern?
If the used 16” wheels’ offset is 55 mm, I’d be concerned about giving up 7 mm of clearance. Instead, I’d look around for 48 mm (preferably) or 50 mm offset wheel. Stock 16” wheels from Foresters are usually 48 mm offset. You’ll also want to make sure that you have the correct wheel center bore diameter (CB on my winter wheels is 56 mm), and the right mounting hardware (conical vs flat), but that shouldn’t be an issue if you can find some used Forester wheels. You’ll also want to determine that the used wheels are true and not bent and/or out-of-round.

Finally, should you want to consider buying new, the Firestone Winterforce appears to be a very good but inexpensive winter tire for driving in snow. However, while I’ve not tried them, their aggressive tread pattern suggests they’ll be rough and noisy on cleared roads.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
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Old 08-01-2010, 04:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Wow. Lots of great info. Thanks. I guess this is why there are companies whose entire business is wheels and tires.

On a side note, I seem to be losing air in at least one of my tires. Is there an easy way to be certain whether it's the tire itself or perhaps the wheel is in worse shape than I thought?
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Old 08-01-2010, 05:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Check the valve by applying some spittle to the end and see if it bubbles. The valve insert may need to be tightened. Alternately, you could take the entire tire and wheel and throw it into a big ol' tub of water and check for a leak...

Also, check out this post in the forum's "For Sale" section.

HTH,
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Old 08-02-2010, 04:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Okay, just a little follow-up. For the heck of it, I just went to the Discount Tire site and plugged in my car's info to see what kind of pricing I might be looking at for wheels and tires. Aside from the fact that there's no location near me and I'd have to have them shipped, when I try to search the only results I am given for wheel/tire packages are for 17" or 18". This is after they (correctly) note than my OEMs are 16". If I want to stick with 16s, are my only options plain steel wheels...from somewhere else?

And at a local wheel place, all the 16" wheels are 7" wide or wider, rather than my stock 16.5". What am I not understanding here?

-edit-

Just checked tire rack. They have 16" custom wheels in addition to the steelies. But only one type is showing as a 48 offset and they're the most expensive ones. The steels are 50 offset.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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And at a local wheel place, all the 16" wheels are 7" wide or wider, rather than my stock 16.5". What am I not understanding here?

going a half inch wider isnt a big deal. i have a 17x7 inch wheel on my car with a 51mm offset. thats roughly where you want to be for a 7" wide wheel.

idk if you have an alternate concern but my car is lowered with sti suspension and i dont have any rubbing. if your concerned about something specific let us know lol
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I don't really have any concern other than making a wrong decision that will impact how the car rides and/or wear and tear. I just figured it would be easier and safer to just stick with what was put on at the factory in terms of size. I guess the Gemini in me can't handle too many choices.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
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lowering the car will change the angle of your suspension and wheels. but if your not lowering it you wont have any concerns.
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:34 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Finally, should you want to consider buying new, the Firestone Winterforce appears to be a very good but inexpensive winter tire for driving in snow. However, while I’ve not tried them, their aggressive tread pattern suggests they’ll be rough and noisy on cleared roads.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
I had a set on my wife's Altima. I was disappointed in them. Terrible ride on dry road and not that good in the snow. The Hankook W404's on my Civic were much better and only 2.00 more per tire.
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Old 08-06-2010, 04:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Just an update and a couple more questions if you don't mind.

The good news is that I found a set of new Legacy steel wheels with wheel covers on Craigslist. The funny thing is that when I replied to the ad, I got a reply back from my dealer! They were the ones who listed them. So I'm going to end up getting the set for $75. They should be a great match with my Forester. 16", 5-100 bolt pattern, 48 offset.

Now, here's my question. Since my OEM alloys are is pretty rough shape after 100k+ miles, I was originally going to use the new steelies as my main wheels and keep the ratty alloys and maybe find some used snow tires to put on them for the winter. Or is that a stupid idea? Would I be better off putting snows on the new steel wheels and keep the alloys (as crappy as they look) as my main wheels? Frankly, I'm less concerned about the look than the fact that I seem to be losing air in my tires that are on the alloys now, and I don't see any obvious leaks, so I'm wondering if maybe it's just the age and wear on the alloys that's causing the pressure loss. New steel wheels would eliminate that factor.

Any other advice?

Oh before I forget, and maybe I should post this in its own thread, but what are your thoughts on Firestone FR710 tires? I found a set with low miles that I can get a good deal on. My Geolanders will probably need to be replaced within the next 10k miles. I've been through three winters with them, but if the Firestones are better in light snow than the Geos, maybe I can skip dedicated snow tires again this winter.

Thanks again for your thoughts.
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Old 08-06-2010, 07:54 PM   #14 (permalink)
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getting snows for the OEM forester wheels would be smart if you have the room to store a set of wheels. a good summer tread and a good winter tread.
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