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75 Super Beetle Convertible TIRES - Max size?
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tcartner
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2021 6:52 pm    Post subject: 75 Super Beetle Convertible TIRES - Max size? Reply with quote

Hi folks,
I'm happy to be part of this forum. I just picked up a swanky '75 Super Conv with a spankin' new engine rebuild, brakes, etc. Rides very nice, but the tires are looking old. So, after much searching on here I still have questions.
Let me start by saying that I have stock rims. It seems the stock tires for this car were 155SR15. Those are pretty thin. I'm not a die hard "classic look" person and want to get the best performance tire for this car, which means a wider tire and better tread pattern than the thin 155SR15. Many recommend 165/80R15, and there is a larger variety from various manufacturers. But, the question is, can I actually go even wider with the tire, maybe 195 on this rim and not hit the stock fender wells? I've read that the convertible sits lower in the back than the sedan, for example, so less room in the rear fender wells for a wider tire. Has anyone done a definitive write up on this? If so, I can't find it. Please help.
Thanks,
T-
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Matt Wilson
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:19 am    Post subject: Re: 75 Super Beetle Convertible TIRES - Max size? Reply with quote

The best 'performance' for a daily driver with stock suspension driven on roads would be a stock tire size, with the proper inflation.

If you want a big rear tire you could safely go 185 or 195 I would think, without rubbing too much. Keep in mind if you change to a wider front tire, the steering may be limited.
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Boble
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2021 3:55 pm    Post subject: Re: 75 Super Beetle Convertible TIRES - Max size? Reply with quote

My 1976 convertible, sold in the German market, came from the factory with 175 tires and 5.5 inch ET34 rims. 155 with 4.5 rims was for the lower end beetles here in Europe at that time.

Anyways, I have tried wider tires on the car but changed back to 175. It behaves far better with those, I would recommend it.

Not sure how to describe the feeling with wider tires, it tends to be oversteering and "climb", if you see what I mean. Lots of opinions on this, I guess.

I can only speak for myself, but when I chose wider tires it was for the looks. Glad I changed back to the originals, it drives better.
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tcartner
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 5:14 pm    Post subject: Re: 75 Super Beetle Convertible TIRES - Max size? Reply with quote

Boble,
Thanks for the input. Can you tell me the other numbers on the tire?

175 (80?) (15?)

I'm still reading and forming an opinion. Anyone else with a stock super beetle willing to chime in?
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Beeble1
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 5:31 pm    Post subject: Re: 75 Super Beetle Convertible TIRES - Max size? Reply with quote

tcartner wrote:
Boble,
Thanks for the input. Can you tell me the other numbers on the tire?

175 (80?) (15?)

I'm still reading and forming an opinion. Anyone else with a stock super beetle willing to chime in?


165/80/R15. That’s the size I’ve run on my super beetle ever since I got it 21 years ago. A few years ago I replaced all the tires with these:

https://www.jegs.com/i/Coker-Tire/257/568741/10002/-1

Been very happy with them, they sort of have that “retro” look.
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Glenn Premium Member
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 5:47 pm    Post subject: Re: 75 Super Beetle Convertible TIRES - Max size? Reply with quote

The rim width is a limiting factor. On a 4.5" wide rim a 165-15 is about as big as you can go. if you want to push it then a 175/70-15 can get put on.

If you get 5.5" rims than you open things up. I have 5.5x15 Porsche alloys and run 195/55-15 front and 205/60-15 rear.

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Tvättbjörn
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:21 pm    Post subject: Re: 75 Super Beetle Convertible TIRES - Max size? Reply with quote

With a stock engine I would not go larger than 175 tires. 165 tires on 5-1/2 rims looks fat / big too and keeps your MPG good.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2021 7:43 am    Post subject: Re: 75 Super Beetle Convertible TIRES - Max size? Reply with quote

Glenn wrote:
The rim width is a limiting factor. On a 4.5" wide rim a 165-15 is about as big as you can go. if you want to push it then a 175/70-15 can get put on.


^^^^this^^^^

The front track of late Superbeetle is also a limiting factor of tire size. While not generally considered safe, a 195/65 tire will physically fit on a stock 4.5 rim, but it’s going to rub on the fender/spring depending on which 4.5 stock rim is on it. All of the common aftermarket 4x130 5.5 width rims have shallow offsets, making them stick out past the edge of the fender. You could have a stock wheel center mounted in a 5.5 wide rim with a custom offset inward, and get a smaller diameter strut spring. About the widest tire you could fit on a stock 4.5 rim without interfering with the fender/spring for a late Super is a 175/65/15.
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Boble
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:35 am    Post subject: Re: 75 Super Beetle Convertible TIRES - Max size? Reply with quote

tcartner wrote:
Boble,
Thanks for the input. Can you tell me the other numbers on the tire?

175 (80?) (15?)

I'm still reading and forming an opinion. Anyone else with a stock super beetle willing to chime in?


Sorry for late reply. The European market convertibles had 175/70 x 15 on Lemmertz 5.5" ET34 steel rims.

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The same wheels were provided with the VW 1303S Big (super beetles) that were sold in Europe in 73-75. The other models at that time (standard bugs, Jeans beetles, sparkäfer, etc.) normally came with 4.5" rims, although the configuration varied from country to country.

As I mentioned, I personally feel the car handles better with the original tires.

Also, a nice thing with using the 175/70 tires is that the speedo shows the correct speed as it came calibrated for that wheel diameter. If you go for 185/65 it will show 5-10 miles per hour higher speed than you are driving.

It is technically possible to have 185/65 tires on a 4.5 rims. I've done it, however it's NOT ideal - balloon shape, may touch the struts, and impacts the turning radius.

You say:

Quote:
"I've read that the convertible sits lower in the back than the sedan, for example, so less room in the rear fender wells for a wider tire."


This is new to me. In any case, the rear height is fully adjustable by twisting the torsion bars (a science in itself...), so that shouldn't be a problem. There is enough room back there. However, in any case the tires shall not stick out from the body, at least according to my country's vehicle regulations.
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FlyAU98
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:00 am    Post subject: Re: 75 Super Beetle Convertible TIRES - Max size? Reply with quote

I just put on a set of Nexen SB802 tires, 165/80R15.

Made in Korea. Seem to be nice quality, ride well, look good.

Discount Tire was able to order them for me (they don't show on the web site).

I previously had a mixed set of Nexen and Nankang tires on it that were also aged. My spare was a Continental from 1974 or so. 165/80s wouldn't fit in my spare tire well (the nankangs probably would have with less air in them), so I bought a smaller BF Gooodrich 155/80R15 that fit.

There aren't many other options in the near-stock size...and most of them are China-imports.

I'm happy and considering a set of Nexens for my other car now..
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Lemons 4 Gigi
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:25 am    Post subject: Re: 75 Super Beetle Convertible TIRES - Max size? Reply with quote

I don't know about MAX, but I love the 165 R15 BFG Silvertown radials. A classic look that never goes out of style IMO.


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Matt Wilson
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2021 10:03 am    Post subject: Re: 75 Super Beetle Convertible TIRES - Max size? Reply with quote

Glenn wrote:
The rim width is a limiting factor. On a 4.5" wide rim a 165-15 is about as big as you can go. if you want to push it then a 175/70-15 can get put on.

If you get 5.5" rims than you open things up. I have 5.5x15 Porsche alloys and run 195/55-15 front and 205/60-15 rear.

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I mean we do run 235's on stock rims for Class 11... Some tire shops won't put them on, but many will. Just don't underinflate them, or you can drive the tire off the rim!
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