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16" SE -> 17" Sport Wheels

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by benw123, Jul 30, 2006.

  1. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    Since buying my Sportback SE new, I've not really been a fan of the standard 16" seven-spoke wheels. The problem is the high waistline and small glass area of the A3 makes the wheels look small! So I've kept watch on eBay, and last week bought a set of A3 17" Star wheels (with the correct ET56 offset) with no tyres, and then yesterday got some Pirelli P6000 225/45s fitted, filled with nitogen, and put on to the car! :)

    Here's how it was:

    [​IMG]

    And following fitting and quick wash this morning:

    [​IMG]


    As well as filling up the arches nicely, the steering has also changed quite a bit - suddenly there's more feel! Must be the low profiles. The car also changes direction faster too, and its no noisier so a worthwhile upgrade! :D

    (Updated on 20th January 2008: Added a better picture to show the Star alloys more clearly)
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  2. d3fy
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    d3fy Active Member

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    yep and looks a lot lot better
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  3. missviper
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    missviper Member

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    looks good
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  4. Olly_K
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    Olly_K Administrator

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    much better !
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  5. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Well-Known Member

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    Whilst it does look better (I have the standard 7-spokes on my SE) do they really fill up the arches any more?

    I was under the impression that, regardless of the diameter of the wheel itself, in combination with the tyre the total diameter of the wheel & tyre will remain the same, surely? It's the lower suspension on the Sport models that reduces the gap twixt the top of the wheel and the bodywork and thus "fills the arches" better isn't it?

    I've always thought that large wheels with low-profile tyres look very odd when there's still a large gap at the top of the wheel, making the car look like it's on stilts, so to speak.
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  6. cdb2
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    cdb2 Member

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    I did the same on my SE from new, 5 Stars look great.

    Vertigo is largely correct - the overall size between the 16" and 17 " is virtually the same as it needs to be so as not to have to re-cal the speedo etc. However when you put the measurements in on one of those tyre sites, the 17" do have a marginally larger rolling circumference but only by a few mm so is insignificant from the point of speedo etc. I think the presence of more alloy and less tyre is what improves the look significantly.

    You may recall about 18months ago I did some 'research' on the ride heights between SE and Sport in the real world and on some it came down to as little as 5mm and some Sports actually rode higher (gap between tyre and wheel arch) than some SEs!
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  7. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    Filling the arches is all about illusion! The 18"s will have a similar radius to the 16"s and 17"s but because the alloy part of the wheel is greater it they will appear to fill the arches more!
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  8. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, interesting.

    Not sure about worldwide but here in the UK speedometers are not legally permitted to underread as this could have all kinds of legal implications. As a result they're all manufactured so they'll always over-read, eg. if the margin of error in manufacture is plus or minus 5%, they'll target +5% so the margin will range from 0 to +10%.

    Now what you were saying about different wheels and tyres having slightly different rolling circumferences is very interesting as my SE (with 16" wheels and big fat tyres) over-reads by about 10% at high speed. At 100mph indicated I'm actually doing 91mph and the fastest I've ever driven it, 127mph, showed 140mph on the speedo.

    I wonder if this is because my high-profile tyres & small wheels combo has the smallest rolling circumference of any combination? This would make sense as then larger wheels and lower profile tyres would show less speedo over-read.

    Even if they made sure the combination of wheel and tyre always had the same circumference, in actual use this still wouldn't be the case as the higher profile tyres would distort more under the weight of the car, effectively reducing the diameter slightly and thus the circumference.

    Something to ponder :D
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  9. cdb2
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    cdb2 Member

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    I've dug out the link to the site that lets you put in your old and new alloy and tyre size and comes up with the old and new total size and rolling circumference etc and a diagram showing old and new size superimposed on each other, then you can play and compare between 16" and 17" or whatever.

    It's quite fun, from this you can see there is a 2.4mm increase in diameter going from 205/55/16 to 225/45/17.

    The next tool underneath shows this is a difference of 0.4%, meaning the new speedo reading will be 0.4% too slow thus when your speedo reading is 60mph, you are actually doing 60.2mph - shock horror!

    Quite a fun and useful tool don't you think!

    The link is: http://www.miata.net/garage/tirecalc.html
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  10. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    Vertigo - it's not that simple. You need to take into account many, many different variables.

    Speedo's will never be 100% accurate. Different makes of tyres, even though stamped the same size, have a different radius. Also a new tyre is going to be a different size to a worn one.

    Also under/over infaltion, temperature is going to make a difference, cold tyre will be smaller than a hot one (air expands causing less deflation)

    The list goes on...
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  11. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    When I spoke of filling the arches, I was indeed referring to the greater presence of silver alloy and less black rubber. It's simply the impression of the greater wheel size which makes the visual (and most pleasing!) difference.

    One of the reasons for upgrading to 17" from 16" is that I knew the rolling radius would be virtually identical, and as expected, there's no real harm to the ride or noticeable difference to the speedo. These 17" 5-spokes were offered as a £750 option new, and I've now got the same for less than half the price - and that's even before I try to sell the old 16s!
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  12. cdb2
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    cdb2 Member

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    You've done the right thing Ben, I love my 5 Stars and they are so easy to clean.

    Let us know how much u paid on ebay and how much the tyres came too - may be of use to others. Were the alloys new? They look very shiny!
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  13. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    I also preferred the 5 Star alloys over the normal Sport wheels. It's a classic design but they look special.

    I paid just £165 for the wheels! They were virtually brand new; the wheels came off a delivery mileage car and the tyres put on to a different set of 17s before going back on the car. So yes, they are totally mint.

    The tyres are actually part-worn Pirellis, also sourced from eBay, for £200 fitted. They have between 5-7mm of tread, and no puncture repair or damage. Ordinarily, I would always buy new tyres but I had a budget to stick to! The guys were great - fitted the tyres to my rims, filled them with nitrogen (has economy and low wear benefits to tyres) and even swapped them on to my Sportback.

    Once one of my old 16" wheels has been refurbished, I'll put them on eBay. I doubt they'll fetch a great deal, but will offset the cost.

    Overall, I'm well-pleased with how it all went - got exactly what I wanted! :D
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  14. cdb2
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    cdb2 Member

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    All u need now Ben is some fogs - I had them put on my SE at factory, makes a big difference to the look. If they are hard to wire in, you could always just put the lamp units in just for the look!
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  15. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    That's exactly what's top of my list! In fact, I've already sourced the correct light switch (the SE doesn't have the front fog light setting, obviously) from Germany. This was also from eBay, and because no-one in Germany would have any need for a RHD A3 light switch, I won it for about £1.20! Although postage was about £15 ...

    The fog lights themselves seem easy to fit, with the different grills that go with them, but I'm not sure if the loom is already present. You would think it might be, given that it would be difficult to fit as a factory-fitted option without tucking lots of wiring in the car, but no-one seems to know - I did make a post about this before with no luck.
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  16. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Well-Known Member

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    Made a point of having the fogs factory fitted on my SE, they make all the difference in the world to the look.

    Incidentally, with regard to the plastic mouding that surrounds them, I had one of them put through by stone a year or two back (yes put through - was a gaping hole the size of a 50p piece! - glad it didn't hit the paintwork!) and the dealer wanted about £18 for that bit of moulded plastic alone!
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  17. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    Agreed! It would look particularly good on my SE as we have Xenons. Dealers are prohibitively expensive (as with all parts), so I'll have to continue to look elsewhere.
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  18. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    Just to quickly update my thread, I sold my old 16" seven-spokes on eBay on Sunday and the winner collected them today (they're going to be fitted to a VW Caravelle!).

    The great thing was I got £250 for them (quite a surprise!), so including all the eBay and PayPal fees, the upgrade to 17s - virtually new alloys, part-worn tyres - cost me around £130. Not bad when you consider those Star alloys were a £750 option when I bought my SE new! :)
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  19. ahaydock
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    ahaydock Member

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    Looks good, but what do you use on your tyres to make them shine like that?
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  20. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    Turtlewax tyre shine but most people these days recommend Meguiars Endurance High Gloss Tyre Protection Gel. The Turtlewax is okay but does attract brake dust quite easily.
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  21. ahaydock
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    ahaydock Member

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    Thanks - Is that the Gel or the Spray and how do you apply it? I use the Turtle wax gel (in the bright green bottle) but mine never look like that :mad:
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  22. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    Mine is the spray, and to be honest in the picture at the top of this thread, I did apply quite a lot of it. Trying to use it all up to buy some of the Meguiars! :)
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  23. ahaydock
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    ahaydock Member

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    Do you just spray it on or rub it in?
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  24. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    Actually I do both. Spraying it on doesn't apply it evenly, so I use either a cloth or even my fingers to spread it around the tyre wall. The fluid tends to run slightly until it settles, and spreading it around the wall prevents this.

    Also, I have a couple of tissues handy to wipe the overspray from the alloy wheel - this attracts brake dust very quickly.
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  25. ahaydock
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    ahaydock Member

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    Thanks, so is Meguiars the dogs?
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  26. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    Apparently yes! If you search this forum, others have commented how good it is. A work colleague runs a Leon Cupra TDI and has shown me the Megs gel on his car. He says it lasts a lot longer on the tyre than anything else he's tried, so as soon as my Turtlewax is gone, I'll be ordering some! Only £5.99 plus delivery from eBay.
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  27. ahaydock
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    ahaydock Member

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    Thanks may have to try some myself.

    Let us know how you get on with it...
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  28. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    Will do - my car needs a clean real soon so it's a good excuse to buy some.
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