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2009 Forester XT Limited
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello,

I've been doing a ton of research on what size tires I can put on my '04 XS, and I keep changing my mind. Initially I was going to go with 215/65r16 Geolandars as I've found that is the biggest tire that you can fit with everything bone stock, with no rubbing. However I recently ran across a blog claiming you can run 215/70r16 Geolandars with no issues. I contacted the author and he told me it's tight, but they'll fit. Some pinch weld modification may be necessary but he also said if I want to be sure they'll fit, get some 1" spacers.

Spacers aren't something I'd considered until now, but I've seen other cars with spaced wheels and I do like the look, and if it gives me the added bonus of clearing my spring perches then I'm all for it!

However I've also gotten info saying that spacers will wear out my wheel bearings at a considerably faster rate. Is this something I should be concerned about?

Also, as far as spacers go, I don't necessarily want to cheap out but I can't spend too much on this build either. With everything said and done I'm already looking at around $675 without the spacers, and I want to throw on a 1" lift as well. If I buy cheap eBay spacers will I be "letting Jesus take the wheel?" I off road maybe once a month, and nothing crazy (I'm still at stock everything) so should I be worried about cheap spacers cracking/ wheels falling off/ etc.?

Thanks for any help on this!
 

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'06 FXT 6MT
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I don't have offroading experience with Foresters, but I have done a lot of 4x4ing in other vehicles and spacers are considered universally bad for offroad purposes.

I wouldn't trust spacers on any vehicle that sees the dirt on a regular basis.

Have you looked into just getting a set of steelies with proper offset to fit offroad tires?
 

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2009 Forester XT Limited
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! Would you say it's because you're introducing a weak point into your wheel setup, or because the spacers put more strain on other parts?

I had wanted to wrap my existing rims to keep cost down, but I can look into wheel setups and spend more time saving. I really want bigger tires but I don't want to sacrifice doing unnecessary damage to other parts of my car in the process.

Edit: as far as steelies with proper offset, do you have any leads? I've done a few searches and come up empty so far. I suppose I'd be looking for around 23mm offset (48-25).
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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The wheel bearing are know to fail, even with the stock +48 offset. So if you go smaller on the offset... smaller number, be it with spacers or wheels, you will stress the wheel bearing. :icon_eek:

This is what we're running, which are sized to keep the speedometer reading correctly:

• Son's '03 X, Toyo Proxes4 235/50-17x7' on XXR wheels, +40 offset.
• My '07 FSXT, Toyo Proxes4 235/45-18-7.5" on XXR wheels, +42 offset.

Both setups do stress the wheel bearing. The tires pretty much flush with the fenders. The next time the tires are replace on the '03 X, we're going to drop down to 225/50.

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the info. Still not sure if I'm going for spacers or not, I've talked to a few guys around me and they all seem to think spacers won't be an issue.... I don't think any of them have a car over 200k though lol. Turns out I may not even need them as I've been told now that 215/70 will see a pretty significant power decrease, so I may play it safe with 215/65s.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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I've been doing a ton of research on what size tires I can put on my '04 XS, and I keep changing my mind. Initially I was going to go with 215/65r16 Geolandars as I've found that is the biggest tire that you can fit with everything bone stock, with no rubbing. However I recently ran across a blog claiming you can run 215/70r16 Geolandars with no issues. I contacted the author and he told me it's tight, but they'll fit. Some pinch weld modification may be necessary but he also said if I want to be sure they'll fit, get some 1" spacers.
Wheel spacers (or wheels with lots of offset) are generally something to be avoided. I've used them on front axle of Toyota 4x4 with longer, slightly larger diameter wheel studs. IIRC they were 3/4" thick or there abouts (per side) and were machined of quality aluminum stock. This was to match width of swapped in newer model Toyota rear axle housing. Worked great on/off road with 36x12.50/15 TSL SX tires and air locking differential. Wheels were American Racing 15x8" stamped steel wagon wheels, solid setup. I'm sure it did put a little more strain on bearings and knuckles, but they were all properly maintained.

Still not sure if I'm going for spacers or not, I've talked to a few guys around me and they all seem to think spacers won't be an issue.... I don't think any of them have a car over 200k though lol. Turns out I may not even need them as I've been told now that 215/70 will see a pretty significant power decrease, so I may play it safe with 215/65s.
Yes, you're going to lose power any time you use taller and/or heavier wheel/tire combos. 215/65R16 is probably largest I'd go, there's gotta be some tiny bit of room left for suspesion bushings flexing, chassis flexing, dirt, rocks and sticks kicked up by tires. Don't be afraid to snip (like pie slices) the pinch weld seems, hammer flat and then tack weld to the inner wheel well. I've done this on my Toyota too, along with some wheel off, sledge hammer swinging to modify the floor kick panel area for tire clearance. Just remember wiring, ECU, driver/passenger foot/leg room when doing so. I had very little carpet in this truck (mostly just floor mats to help keep exhaust/engine heat out, don't do that, carpet is good insulation lol. Keep a wet rag and garden hose handy when welding around carpet. :)
 

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'06 FXT 6MT
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Steel wheels are generally rated in the far more useful "backspace" (in inches), not "offset".

Put a board across the flat section of the brake rotor face directly next to the wheel studs, measure out from the center until you get how large your wheels will be (15", 16", 17", exct), from that point measure in to the closest contact point and record that number.

Less than that number is how much backspace you need to run, the number does not change regardless of wheel hoop width (unlike offset), and is actually in inches and doesn't need a conversion (unlike offset).

Really, who the hell came up with using "millimeters from centerline" on wheels rated in inches for width?

Offset needs to die.
 
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