View original topic: "What wheels fit?" The ultimate wheel post. Page: 1, 2, 3 ... 163, 164, 165  Next
Christopher Schimke Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:17 pm

This will be an ongoing post. I will edit the posts as more information becomes available or as I have the time. Please check back now and then as the information will increase as time goes on.

Please take the time to read these posts. I know that the thread is VERY long and may seem confusing. However, if you take the the time to read and understand even half of what is posted, you will be more educated than 90% of the "professional" wheel/tire installers.

Also, I will be adding a list of relevant threads to the top of this thread. See also:

Click here to see the Ultimate Wheel Post - Part Two

Stock wheel sizes've changed your wheels. and used spacers..HOW IS IT?
gowesty 15x7 wheels on a Syncro?
anyone tried the passat steel wheels?
New wheels - Mercedes 450 SEL - Bling! -UPDATE- Lugs w/ pics
New wheels - Mercedes 450 SEL - Bling! - Loogy Help???
Larger/Heavier steel wheel & Stock braking/Clutch Question
What wheels fit - a simple supplement
back to 16's
installed (Syncro): big brakes + Audi 15" Wheels
Anyone Know the Offset of Stock 15" Mercedes e320 Wheel
Wheel/Tire Companies To Install Larger Wheels?!?
16 inch wheel conversions
safe ET for a vanagon
"Stimulus Check "= 17" wheels - Updated
16" AT Italia S5? or 225/70R14?
Aftermarket wheels for T3?
New 16" Wheels for the Westy
15x7 wheel mod help, holes too deep
Why gettin' cocky is BAD!!!
Weitec Sportfahrwerk springs and Bilstein HDs install
Tire replacement question - GoWesty 15" Alloys
Do I need to upgrade to 15" tires?
Rim and Tire Question
Newbie question about 15" wheel upgrade...

Since the Vanagon is one of the more difficult vehicles to properly fit wheels on, I thought that it might be a good idea to have a stickied thread where everyone could post pictures of their wheels along with a detailed description of:
What spacers if any were used
Tire size
How long of lugs/bolts were used
Any other pertinent information regarding the fitment of the wheels
It would also be good to mention if your van is a Syncro, 2wd, lowered or lifted.

If you have ANY information regarding the wheels that you are running on your van, don't be shy, post a picture or least a description. Any information that you have would go a long way toward helping fellow Vanagon owners pick, choose and fit their wheels.

So here we go. My wheel set-up is as follows:
BBS RX 18X8 32mm ET (offset)
225/40/18 front. 235/40/18 rear
No spacers in the front but I did have to clearance the upper control arm just slightly.
18mm spacers in the rear only to push the wheels out to the fender lips. The wheels fit in the rear without spacers, I just like the way look better pushed out.
Front hubs converted to studs using H&R Quick-Safe wheel bolt stud conversion.
Longer rear wheel studs from NAPA (sorry, I don't remember the exact length or part number)
The van is lowered by about 80mm. The only rubbing issues are at full lock when entering a driveway.


Since a lot of the information in this thread is fairly technical and may seem confusing to some, I decided to compile a list of who has done what as far as wheel sizes, offsets and spacers. I'm not going to include any stud information, you can figure that out for yourself. :D I'll list each one as they appear in the thread and keep adding them here as they become available.

By the way, "ET" is the offset in millimeters. All fitments are for 2wd vans unless noted as being on a Syncro.

16x7 ET0 (Ronal R-36 hauler)
No spacers
***Notes*** 215-55-16 tires. Ronal supplies nuts for rear and bolts for front and a inner spacer to take up the slack in the large centerbore of the wheel (TELEK27)

16X6.5 ET30 (Ronal CV-900)
No spacers
***Notes*** 195/65/16 Vanco 8 tires (Wellington)

17x7.5 42mm offset Audi A4 sport
15mm spacers
***Notes*** Wheels sit flush with front wheel opening, not rubbing, Front rim 1/4" away from the upper control arm, 1/2" clearance to the sliding door. 235/45/17 Avon Tech M550 tires (D Clymer)

14x 6 ET30 Stock Vanagon Alloys
No spacers
***Notes*** Michelin MXT 205/70r14 tires. Stock alloy lugs (joetiger)

17x7 Porcshe
17x8 rear
25mm thick adapters.
***Notes*** No offsets given. (pete000)

16x6 ET50 front Porsche
16x7 ET40 rear
20mm adapters front and rear
***Notes*** Nokian WR SUV 215/65/16 98H tires (JoshG)

15x7 ET23 AT Ilatia wheels
No spacers
***Notes*** 215 75R BFG tires (DeMinimis)

15x6.5 ET37 Mercedes steel
5mm spacers (see note)
***Notes*** Tires were 205/75/15 with no spacers. Current tires are 215/75/15 which required 5mm spacers. (vanmike)

15x6 37ET 1995 Mercedes C220
No spacers
***Notes*** Yokohama Geolander HT 215/75-15 tires (Unknown)

14x6.5 "Old Style Bottle Cap" looking wheels
No spacers
***Notes*** 205/70/14 tires. Original lugs were used (0to60in6min)

15x7 ET37 1998 benz c280 alloys
15mm spacer front, non rear
***Notes*** Michelin hydro's 205/65/15 (erhoads)

18x8.5 ET32 Audi Avant Garde BBS two-piece
ET32, 6mm spacers front only
***Notes*** 225/45/18 tires (58deluxerag)

15"x7" ET37 '01-'04 Passat 9-spoke alloys
12mm spacers front, non rear
***Notes*** 215/75r15 BFG tires (fuzzymath)

15x6 ET45 Audi 5000 Turbo Rims
19mm spacers front and rear
***Notes*** Michelin 205/15/65 Michelin Agilis tires (misinabottle)

17x7.5 ET53 Porsche Cayenne
20mm adapters
***Notes*** (JoshG)

VW Passat 5 double spoke wheels 16x7 ET45
15mm spacers front and rear
***Notes*** (Adam Kirian)

15x6 ET45 16-spoke Ronals
8mm spacers front, 8mm spacers rear
***Notes*** Goodyear 215/60R15 tires (tencentlife)

15x8 ET24 1983 ur quattro
No spacers on a Syncro
***Notes*** (mcsyncro)

16x7 ET37 '98-'99 Mercedes CLK320
No spacers
***Notes*** Lug holes drilled to 14mm. stock Vanagon lug bolts and nuts (odd todd)

16x7 ET45 '98-'01 Passat
12mm spacers front and rear
***Notes*** Centerbores enlarged, 50mm long front lug bolts, 45mm long rear studs. Centercaps don't fit with 12mm spacers, 15mm would most likely allow centercap fitment (Franklinstower)

16x7 ET45 '98-'04 Audi A6 '01-'03 Allroad
12mm spacers front and rear
***Notes*** Centerbores enlarged, 50mm long front lug bolts, 50mm long rear studs.

Here are some other known combinations from the web. Some are from the Brick-Yard and some are from various other places.

16x7 ET45
20mm spacers front and rear

16x7.5 ET41
20mm spacers front, 10mm spacers rear

17x7 ET55 25mm adapter front
17x9 ET55 25mm adapter rear

17x7 ET52 22mm adapter
17x8.5 ET50 22mm adapter

18x8 ET35 10mm spacer front
18x9 ET35 no spacer rear

16x7 ET65 33mm adapters front
16x8 ET52 23mm adapter rear

16x7.5 ET35 10mm spacer front and rear

16x7.5 ET45 20mm spacers front and rear

15x7 ET45 20mm spacers front and rear

M_atthewanderson Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:36 am

a picture of the wheels from the side i think would be something to add. I have been thinking about what wheels i want. i think this is a great idea. i was thinking of takeing the phone dials off my rabbit and putting those on my van. has anyone put dials on there vanagon?

Petervw Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:45 am excellent idea you have come up with

Christopher Schimke Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:59 am

Petervw wrote: excellent idea you have come up with

Well, it's not 100% my idea (The Brickyard) but thanks.

Mercedes, Audi and VW wheels are the most popular wheels to retrofit onto the Vanagon. Although all Mercedes, most Audi and some VW wheels have the correct bolt pattern, some of the Mercedes wheels use 12mm lug bolts and some use 14mm. Since the Vanagon uses 14mm lugs, if you choose a wheels that originally came from a car using 12mm lugs, you must drill out the lug holes to allow the 14mm lug bolt/stud to pass through. This is not a critical area of the wheel, the hole only needs to be large enough for the bolt/stud to pass through. A 9/16 drill bit will work but a37/64 drill bit gives you just a bit more clearance.

To the best of my knowledge, all 5x112 bolt patterned Audi wheels from '96-on used 14mm lug bolts. If some one has more information on this, please contact me so I can add it in.
Again, to the best of my knowledge, all VW's that came with the 5x112 bolt pattern used 14mm lug bolts. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Here is a list of which Mercedes cars use 12mm and 14mm lugs:

190E W201 1982-1993 * Bolts 12x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112
E-Class W124 1988-1991 * Bolts 12x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112
C-Class W202 1995-2000 * 12x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112
C-Class W203 2001-2005 * Bolts 12x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112
CL-Class W215 2000-2005 * Bolts 12x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112
CLK Class W208 1998-2002 * Bolts 12x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112
CLK Class W209 2003-2005 * Bolts 12x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112
E-Class W124 1984-1995 * Bolts 12x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112
E-Class W210 1996-2002 * Bolts 12x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112
E-Class W211 2003-2005 * Bolts 14x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112
M-Class W163 1998-2005 * Bolts 14x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112
S-Class W140 1991-1999 * Bolts 14x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112
S-Class W220 1999-2005 * Bolts 14x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112
SL-Class R129 1990-2002 * Bolts 12x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112
SL-Class R230 2003-2006 * Bolts 14x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112
SLK-Class R170 1998-2005 * Bolts 12x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112
SLK-Class R171 2005-2006 * Bolts 14x1.5 * Bolt Pattern 5x112

Now let's look at the wheel stud and lug situation when installing wheels onto a T3. Keep in mind that all of this information is geared toward the 2wd Vanagon. I don't know how much of it will transfer over as I'm not a Syncro expert but I will add information as it becomes available.

Most alloy wheel upgrades on a Vanagon will require longer rear wheel studs and longer front wheel bolts. These studs and lugs can be purchased from a number of online suppliers. Vanagons use a 14x1.5 thread. Here are a couple of places that carry what you need. They may not be the cheapest but I'll leave it up to you to do the price shopping.

Porsche wheel studs replace the Vanagon studs about as well as anything since they share the same 14X1.5mm thread size and the knurled portion of the stud is very close to the original Vanagon stud. There are a couple of studs available through Dorman and NAPA but the lengths are limited to one or two. With the Porsche studs, you get your choice of five or more different lengths.

***Paragon Products*** is a good source for Porsche wheels studs.

Front wheel bolts can be purchased from many online suppliers as well as most local wheels and tire stores.

***Euro Sport Accesories*** has a great selection of wheel bolts in many different lengths and seat types and so does ***ECS Tuning*** and ***Rad USA Direct***

Ah, seat types. I suppose now would be a good time to mention this. There are basically two different seat types used on modern wheels, tapered seat (also known as conical or cone seat) and ball seat (also known as spherical, round, or radiused seat). There is also a flat seat but these don't normally apply to us. Stock Vanagon steel wheels use a ball seat lug and stock Vanagon alloy wheels use a tapered seat lug.

Photo courtesy of Tire Rack

All tapered lugs for the street are 60. There are some racing wheels that use a 45 tapered seat but we don't need to worry about those.

Among the ball seats, there are a few different diameters. The shape or curvature of the ball shape is the same for all of them, it's just the outer diameter that is different. The smaller diameter ball seat lugs will work in some wheels that are designed for larger ball seat lugs. However, if you try to use a large diameter ball seat in wheel that is designed for smaller ball seats, the ball will not make contact with the wheel in the right area of the seat. Please spend the time to evaluate your wheels and lugs to be sure they are compatible.

Speaking of ball seats, some Mercedes wheels use a 26mm ball seat and some use a 22mm ball seat. The shape of the ball is the same, it's just the outer diameter that is different. It is sometimes okay to run a 22mm ball seat in a wheel that originally had a 26mm ball lug in it. The use of a 26mm ball seat in a wheel that originally had 22mm ball seat lugs will depend on the design of the seat itself. If there is enough room to fit the 26mm lug fully onto the seat, then your okay. If the lug seat is recessed into the wheel (beyond the ball shape itself), the 26mm ball might hang up on the wheel before making full contact with the seat.

Audi's and VW's use the 22mm ball seats. Stock Vanagon ball seat lug nuts are 26mm in diameter and the stock ball seat lug bolts (front) are 24.5mm in diameter.

Just be sure that you check whether or not a particular ball seat lug fits the intened wheel properly. Some wheels fit a wide range of ball seat lugs, others are more finicky.

Whatever you do, be sure that you match your new wheels bolts/lug nuts with the type of seat required for your new wheels. If you can't determine which you need, take a wheel down to the tire store and have them help you. Using mismatched seats can allow the wheels to come loose as well as put stress into the wheel in ways that could ruin your day.

Now that you know what type of wheel studs and wheel bolts you need and where to get them, we need to figure out how long they need to be. Let's start with the front because these are the easiest.

The length of a wheel bolt is measured from the base of the taper or base of the ball to the tip of the threads. The stock Vanagon wheel bolts measure 19mm long. The minimum length that I would recommend for alloy wheels is 25mm without any spacers. Since you know that you need a 25mm long wheel bolt for a wheel that requires no spacer, to determine the bolt length with spacers, all you have to do is add the thickness of your spacer to the length of that 25mm wheel bolt. For example, if you needed to add a 10mm spacer, your wheel bolt would need to be 35mm long.

The nice thing about the Vanagon front hub is that there is nothing inside the hub that would prevent you from running wheel bolts that are much longer than you really need. In other words, your better off having front wheel bolts that are too long rather than too short. The only thing to look out for is that you don't run out of thread before the wheel is all the way tight. Some wheel studs are threaded from the tip all the way to the base and others are only threaded for a portion of the shank. It depends on the manufacturer.

Now on to the rear.
Wheel studs are measured a little differently than the wheel bolts. Wheel studs are measured from the base of the head (where it seats up against the inboard surface of the hub) to the tip of the threads. Stock Vanagon studs measure 34mm long. The shortest Porsche wheel stud is 45mm long. This should work just fine for installing an alloy wheel with no spacer. These could also possibly work if you needed to run a thin spacer, say 2-3mm. The same rule applies as the front when determining how long your new rear studs need to be when using a spacer. Just add the thickness of the spacer to the stud length.

It will be more critical that you do some accurate measuring for the new rear wheel studs if you plan on using a closed end lug bolt. You might be better off to order slightly longer than necessary wheel studs and cut them down to suit your needs. The best way to do this would be to press one new stud into the rear hub and install it into your wheel including any spacer that you plan to use. Determine how much needs to be cut off the new studs and press the stud back out of the hub. Now you can cut all of your new wheels studs to the same length using a vise and hacksaw (or whatever suits you best). The point is that it's easier to cut the studs before they are installed into the hub rather than after. If you plan on running upen ended lug nuts, the length of the new wheel studs is much less critical.

One thing to look out for when installing new rear wheel studs is that sometimes the knurled portion of the stud can protrude through the outboard surface of the hub. This knurled portion of the stud is a larger diameter than the threaded portion and could interfere witht hholes in the wheels or spacers. Make sure that your wheel or wheel spacer seats fully flush onto the hub and does not get hung up on the protruding knurls. If the knurls do cause intererence, you can simply use the appropriate sized drill bit to open up the holes in the wheel or spacer just slightly. It is obviously not necesary to drill any deeper into the wheel or spacer than the knurl is high, but it's not going to hurt anything either.

One last product that I would like to bring up is the use of conversion wheel studs. Conversion wheel studs can be used on the front of your Vanagon to convert the hub into a stud/lug situation. This makes wheel mounting much easier. Conversion lugs come in a variety of lengths and once Lock-Tited in, they aren't going anywhere. Running conversion studs also means that you can run the exact same lug nuts on all four wheels.

Conversion studs are measured by the threaded portion of the stud that the lug nut threads onto. The stated lengths DO NOT include the threaded portion that threads into the hub or the blank space between the two threaded sections.
See the picture of the bottom of this page to make this more clear.

Conversion studs can be purchased from a number of places. H&R calls their studs "Quick-Safe" studs.

ECS Tuning has them and so does Euro Sport Accessories.

A couple of general things to keep in mind:
Always use the torque specs for the vehicle, not the wheels. The Vanagon requires a torque of 135lb regardless of what wheel is used. If you use anti-seize on your threads, torque the wheel just slightly less (110-120lb) as the factory torque specs are for a dry thread.

Make sure that you have a minimum thread engagement that is at least the thickness of the bolt/stud. For example, if your wheel bolt is 14mm wide, it needs to be threaded 14mm into the hub. Some sources say that 7.5 turns is enough thread engagement for a 14x1.5mm.

The rear hubs have to be removed to press new studs in. It is NOT good practice to use the lug nuts to draw the new studs into the hub. This puts a lot of strain on the threads and can ruin the stud. Use a proper press or even a vice to press the new studs in. Using a hammer to install them can be used but great care has to be taken to ensure that the studs get inserted perfectly straight or it could ruin your hub. Your much better off just pressing them in.

If anyone has anything to add or sees anything that I may have missed, let me know and I'll either correct it or add it. Thanks!

M_atthewanderson Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:02 am


i think this should get sticky

no one can make it if its on page four

Petervw Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:51 pm

a 46mm stud can be gotten from the front hub of a Type2 aircooled van etc...very easy to pull into the vanagon hub because the splines are of the exact type as what comes out of the a little stronger and a more exact fit over the aftermarket ones for me

TELEK27 Thu Nov 16, 2006 8:28 pm

Here are my rims they are ronal 16 x 7 I like how they look but they do rub slightly when opening slider unfortanatly there web site does not mention this there are some other nice rims for vanagons on the site

Ericthenorse Thu Nov 16, 2006 8:30 pm

Except vanagons do not have studs on the front......

1621 Thu Nov 16, 2006 9:37 pm

Ericthenorse wrote: Except vanagons do not have studs on the front......

And yet... there are other options as mentioned above.

loogy wrote:
One last product that I would like to bring up is the use of conversion wheel studs. Conversion wheel studs can be used on the front of your Vanagon to convert the hub into a stud/lug situation. This makes wheel mounting much easier. Conversion lugs come in a variety of lengths and once Lock-Tited in, they aren't going anywhere. Running conversion studs also means that you can run the exact same lug nuts on all four wheels.


Christopher Schimke Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:21 am

So only one other person has non-stock wheels on their Vanagon? (Thanks TELEK27) Where is everybody?

Come on guy's, if we're going to build a database of what wheels fit and what it takes to do so, YOU are going to have to participate in this thread. Since this thread got started, I have seen a couple of people chime in on other wheel threads stating what wheels they are running. It would really help the whole Vanagon community out if those people would post their wheel experiences on this thread as well.

Look at the number of people who have viewed this thread. 550 last I looked. That shows that there are lots of Vanagon enthusiests who could really use your help. PLEASE, if you have installed any non-stock wheels onto your van, help out the people who are still looking to upgrade their wheels. Thanks!

joetiger Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:41 am

I run 14" Vanagon five-spoke alloys. ET 30 I believe, 5x112 bolt pattern with Michelin MXT 205/70r14 tires which are showing sidewall wear and will soon be replaced with Hankook RA08 195R14's from Bus Depot if I can scrape up the cash.

The wheels fit like they were made for it. Oh, wait, they were made for it...

Joe T.

r39o Mon Nov 20, 2006 12:16 pm

mattography wrote: i think this should get sticky

Petervw Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:36 pm

would you know what the tire width would be...thanks... TELEK27 wrote: Here are my rims they are ronal 16 x 7 I like how they look but they do rub slightly when opening slider unfortanatly there web site does not mention this there are some other nice rims for vanagons on the site

joetiger Mon Nov 20, 2006 2:24 pm

Does anybody have any experience with these guys?

Several of these wheels look like they would fit, if the centers are wide enough. I emailed the seller to find out the center bore but haven't heard back yet.

Joe T.

wbx Mon Nov 20, 2006 6:47 pm

loogy wrote: Come on guys...

Well, you were calling out for non-stock wheels, which technically mine are not. I have the 15" South African "Carat 2" wheels that seem currently unavailable in N.A.. You could easily get the same look off an Audi A4 or something like that.

I'm sorry to say that i don't know about ETs, and the like, but fitment was a non-issue (aside from longer studs/bolts) since they are made for vanagons. I also have an almost matching spare wheel that is apparently also made for a vanagon.

Sorry for the bad picture... i'll try to update with something better later on.

TELEK27 Mon Nov 20, 2006 8:09 pm

It's in the shop getting a rebulit engine in I will post the tire size when I get it back hopefully soon starting to go into withdrawl and it's only been a week

[email protected] Mon Nov 20, 2006 8:13 pm

This thread reminds me of the "Brickyard" site :D

Tele's gpt the same wheels but I have more info on them:

Ronal R-36 (hauler)
et: 0
no spacers
Ronal supplies nuts for rear and bolts for front and a inner spacer to take up the slack in the large centerbore of the wheel.

These are actually wheels that Ronal pumped out for some special edition GM Tahoes, The center caps actually have GM stamped on the inside them. I don't think they fly off the shelf so Ronal drills another set of holes (as you can't see whats unerneath that cap) in this case 5x112.

The wheels "fit" but not ideally, they stick out too far in the front and rub a little at the slider. I originally tried 225-60-16's on them and had rubbing issues at the top of the wheel wells, the slider rubbed as well.

they are on a:
2wd 1988 westy full camper
H&R 45mm springs
Koni shocks (Note: I cannot trim the front bumpstops with these tires/wheels, so ride quality is slightly diminished, stock height they are fine)

[email protected] Mon Nov 20, 2006 8:36 pm

Heres another wheel I tried:

Mercedes benz S 500

et 46mm

14mm lug holes
( I can't remember the center bore, but they are large enough for the V-gon allthough not deep enough to fit the stock cap back on!)

The required spacers/longer studs-lugs all around to fit, so i sold them off for more than I paid and moved on :D Heres a link to how far I got with them:

r39o Mon Nov 20, 2006 9:04 pm

OK, now I have to say something! Those ET46 Mercedes are the wheels I am dealing with. (I got 5 perfect ones for FREE (thanks Klaus) and my brother has them squeezed on his single cab and I like them.) I am "this" close to finalizing what I am going to do to get them to work. I have located a few NEARBY (!!!) big wholesale vendors (makers) of spacers, adaptors and even blank center caps so I can put a VW logo on.

I am fairly sure I am going to use a 20mm adapter. Not a spacer. Spacers mean long threaded fasteners which I do not care to deal with. I read 13mm (1/2 inch) is about as much as you want for a spacer. Plus in order to keep the scrub radius right (so I am told) you want to run an ET in the mid to low 20's for those 7.5 rims. GoWesty uses ET23 on their 16x7.5. I met someone who let another custom adapter vendor make adapt\ers and they made them 3/4 inch or 19mm for this same ET46 wheel. PLUS with that, the center cap should fit. So my ET will be 26.

Where do I buy those sticky round black and silver VW emblems?????

BTW: I am going to use 215/65-16 tires on my raised Westy which sits at 18.25 inches.

Wadda ya think??????

pete000 Mon Nov 20, 2006 9:54 pm

Here are the 17 X 7 and 17 X 8's on my Carat. I am using 1" adaptors. Fit perfectly, but sliding door bairly clears the rear.

I think the Vanagon can hold some really wide tires on back. I tried some 10's and they fit, but the opening door is the deciding factor.

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