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  1. #1
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    Default Advantages/Disadvantages of 17\" vs. 16\" Wheels

    I am considering getting new wheels & tires for my Focus Wagon. My question is what are the advantages and disadvantages of 17" wheels vs. 16" wheels?

    I currently have the stock 16" 6 spoke wheels. I have purchased and will be installing the Eibach Pro-system Plus suspension on the car.

    If I go with 17x7 wheels what tire size should I go with? 215x45x17? 205x40x17? What offset do the wheels need to have 40-44mm? 45-50mm? 51mm+? The 17" wheels with the lower profile tires should make the car handle a little better when compare to using the 16" wheels and 205x50x126 tires correct?

    How will the 17" wheels & lower profile tires effect the car's ride? This is a daily driver that is driven in winter/snowy conditions and it is driven on cross country trips (12+ hour drives). Though I could always mount some all-season/winter tires on the stock wheels for the winter & cross country trips.

    John

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Advantages/Disadvantages of 17\" vs. 16\" Wheels

    the pro kit does not lower the car all that much (1.5) so you have a wide choice of tires if you want 17's :
    205-40-17
    205-45-17
    215-40-17
    215-45-17
    the 45 series will give you better rim protection and handle just as good as a 40 series plus the 205-45-17 is exactly the same overall diameter as your stock 205-50-16. Also stay bettween an offset of 42mm to 49mm to avoid rubbing!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Advantages/Disadvantages of 17\" vs. 16\" Wheels

    The bigger the wheel, the bigger the "blig factor"--but thats about it. A 17 will weigh more both in wheel and tire weight; all of the weight here is 'unsprung' which is bad for handling, accelerating and braking.

    On the other hand, a nice set of 17's looks mighty fine and you do probably have more choices outright for tires--but there are some excellent tires in the OE size to look at like the P-Zero Nero, the F1GS-D3, S03 Pole Position etc.

    It all comes down to what is the priority for you--show or go.

  4. #4
    TEAM Sponsor bustonit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advantages/Disadvantages of 17\" vs. 16\" Wheels

    John,
    I have an infra 02 ZTW with the pro system plus suspension.
    I have run with 17's and 15's with the suspension. On 17's, rolled with 215 40's. No rubbing with 49.5 mm offset 17 x 7 ST200's. The wagon handled it's arse off with this combo.
    However, ride was naturally pretty stiff and the extra weight definately slowed things down somewhat. I've been running around on 15's, rage vigor, and 195 60's. I picked these up last November when my 2 of my ST's got taken out. Handling is no where near the 17's of course, but the ride is much improved...and the low end is better. All this being said, I want to pick up some lightweight 16's. I feel this would be the best compromise. The 205 50's are plenty good enough with the right tire...not the Fstones! You will love the suspension for sure.

  5. #5
    Official [FJ] Distinguished Advisor Z63R's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advantages/Disadvantages of 17\" vs. 16\" Wheels

    plus the 205-45-17 is exactly the same overall diameter as your stock 205-50-16.
    So that's why people use that size instead of the OE 215...which is about .6 inch larger.

    Anyhoo...

    I have been pondering the EXACT same thing:

    16's or 17's? Ride comfort would be nicer with more sidewall. Something to consider in a daily driver.
    But those SVT Euro wheels are so nice!!!

    Another argument for more sidewall is that the tire will give you more warning (in feedback, or feel) of breakaway, as in extreme under- or oversteer.

    Interesting question. I would like to hear more people's opinions on this one.

  6. #6
    Super Moderators GapBoyPCS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advantages/Disadvantages of 17\" vs. 16\" Wheels

    If you're going for daily driver, the 16-inch wheels may be a better alternative. Like others have suggested, the sidewall would be taller on a 16-inch setup allowing for a bit more ride comfort. You'd also get a bit more "protection" when you hit potholes, curbs, expansion joints, etc. during the normal course of driving. I notice a huge difference when I do my winter changeover. It's amazing how a taller sidewall helps to smooth out some of the bumps. If you go long distances, it's nice to have that cushy feeling because you don't always want to feel every single fault in the pavement.

    If you are driving the car in the winter, you may want to look at getting steel 15-inch rims with dedicated winter tires. But if that's too much, then getting winter tires on the stock rims would be okay.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Advantages/Disadvantages of 17\" vs. 16\" Wheels

    plus the 205-45-17 is exactly the same overall diameter as your stock 205-50-16.
    So that's why people use that size instead of the OE 215...which is about .6 inch larger.

    Anyhoo...

    I have been pondering the EXACT same thing:

    16's or 17's? Ride comfort would be nicer with more sidewall. Something to consider in a daily driver.
    But those SVT Euro wheels are so nice!!!

    Another argument for more sidewall is that the tire will give you more warning (in feedback, or feel) of breakaway, as in extreme under- or oversteer.

    Interesting question. I would like to hear more people's opinions on this one.
    SVT put 17" on the Focus. That was enough reason for me. I'm using 205/45/17's. It also helped fill the fender gap without dropping my car to the ground.

    To fill that gap with 16" would have taken an 80 series tire.

  8. #8
    No Cause For Alarm MichaelXi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advantages/Disadvantages of 17\" vs. 16\" Wheels

    Phillip,
    The RS Focus has a couple of things done that are "Bling Only", so I don't buy the "If SVT did it..." line.
    Auto companies do some wierd things sometimes.

    For me, wheel size comes down to a compromise between looks, function, and practicality.
    On a Focus, for MY uses, 16's make the most sense.
    Here're a couple of points...
    On a Larger wheel, more weight is moved further from the center. This increases the gyroscopic effects of the spinning wheel, making it harder to get started moving, harder to get it to Stop moving, and more resistant to turning.
    Yes, some Touring Cars use giant wheels and itty bitty profile tires, but look at a Formula 1 car....
    The argument for a larger rim is to decrease the amount of the entire combo that is prone to flex.
    While I think 14's are too small, I'd prefer 15's or 16's with a stiffer sidewall.
    If you put a 16" combo and a 17" combo on an axle, side by side, same circumference, it would take more energy to push the 17 up to speed, and more to stop it.
    If it were possible to hold each end of a stick in front of you, with a wheel/tire spinning on it, (Assuming you were strong enough to hold it straight in front of you with arms extended forward...), it would be harder to turn the 17 left and right.
    Going with TOO small a rim would demand an impossibly stiff sidewall to get the same effect as a 16 with a realistically stiff sidewall, which is why I don't recommend 13's or 14's for their weight properties.
    Of course there's the rim-protection issue...
    40 and lower profiles offer very little protection from potholes, etc.
    Another BIG factor is that 16" tires are Much cheaper than 17" tires, and tires are an ongoing expense, not a onetime purchase.
    17's can be OK, but you asked for a preference.
    Just PLEASE don't think about 18's or 19's!!!
    If you can get a 17 that's a fair bit lighter than the OEM 16's, and can afford the rubber, that would be a decent option as well.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Advantages/Disadvantages of 17\" vs. 16\" Wheels

    yeah i was thinking of keeping my stock premium rims and just wraping them in lower profile performance tires. The thing im mostly concerned about is the wheel gap. I have a 1.2" 1.4" eibach pro kit lowering and even now there is a lot of gap between.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Advantages/Disadvantages of 17\" vs. 16\" Wheels

    My 17" wheels weigh less than 12 pounds each. Most 16's weigh 5-10 pounds more, so in *my* case, I'd say I haven't given up anything performance wise.

    The 'problem' (IMO) with 16's on a Focus is that unless you have it slammed 2 or more inches, it looks like a damn 4*4. I have a small drop (1.5" H&R) so a 17" wheel helped fill the gap without going to a big fat ugly profile on 16s.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Advantages/Disadvantages of 17\" vs. 16\" Wheels

    My 17" wheels weigh less than 12 pounds each.
    What would those be?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Advantages/Disadvantages of 17\" vs. 16\" Wheels

    He has Centerline RPMs. I love those wheels I just wish I could afford them. If you dont mind me asking how much did you pay for them?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Advantages/Disadvantages of 17\" vs. 16\" Wheels

    I think I paid $276 (or maybe that was MSRP?) a piece for my Centerline RPMs (17x7). They are sitting in a pile in my garage and I am back to running the OEM 15 inchers. 17s are not practical for hard driving on anything but smooth roads, plus comfort and drivability diminish.

    My $.02, if you intend to build a real driver, do yourself a favor and skip on the big wheels.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Advantages/Disadvantages of 17\" vs. 16\" Wheels

    The original poster said nothing about racing.

    Both of us (WeldingRod) bought them during the Centerline group buy. Cost was about 275 each.

    Rod, you have forged alloy wheels "sitting in a pile"? Why not sell them?

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Advantages/Disadvantages of 17\" vs. 16\" Wheels

    Phillip - The wheels are in a pile right next to my lowering springs and dampers (Cup Kit) that I took off.

    All of the wheels have pretty extensive cosmetic damage, plus one has a small dent along the inside rim, and another suffered a pretty good dent along the inside rim - though I hammered it back to where it is not too noticeable.

    Hard to sell wheels with a description like that - I tried once.

    BTW, I wasn't part of a group buy - at least that I was aware of.


 
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