Best Ride-15 inch or 17 inch Wheels/Tires - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 14, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Best Ride-15 inch or 17 inch Wheels/Tires

Hello all,

I have a 1969 Camaro with 14 in stock Chevy wheels and matching tires.
I wish to change over to either 15 inch or 17 in rally wheels and BF Goodrich Radial T/A tires.

The suspension has been changed by the former owner with new springs and the car sits about 1 inch lower than stock. I believe that either size tire will fit on 7 in wheels up front and 8 inch wheels out back with no rubbing.

The car has stock Chevy disc brakes up front and is street driven only.

Which combination of wheels and tires will give me the most comfortable ride? Will the car's handling be noticeably different from my 14 inch tires?

Thanks for your help.

John T.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 14, 10:59 AM
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Re: Best Ride-15 inch or 17 inch Wheels/Tires

Shorter sidewall will give u more responsive steering due to less sidewall flex. But a shorter sidewall will also give you a stiffer ride due to less flex.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 14, 12:04 PM
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Re: Best Ride-15 inch or 17 inch Wheels/Tires

As far as handling goes, 15's will be better than the 14's, but 17's will be a significant improvement in responsiveness.

15's will handle your potholes better than the 17's. With that said, I run 18's and wouldn't change a thing.

My advice, if you like the look of the 17" wheel, is go for it. Adjust the comfort of your ride with the correct choice of springs and shocks.


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 14, 12:14 PM
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Re: Best Ride-15 inch or 17 inch Wheels/Tires

15" vs. 17/18" is all personal preference based on your goal for the car. Most of my friends have 17 or 18" on their cars yet I chose to stick with 15x7's to give a more old school look. Aside from the shorter sidewall when you go 17 or 18", tires are also available in more sticky compounds. BFG T/A's are not the stickiest tire and I can easily roast mine by just popping the clutch in 1st-3rd gear.

How I decided on 15" with 60 series t/A's was to look at similar 1st gens at a car show so I could see which look I liked better.

Russ (RJ)
The Garlic Capital, Gilroy,CA

(sold June 15,2014) 1968 RS convertible that is not quite stock

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 14, 01:30 PM
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Re: Best Ride-15 inch or 17 inch Wheels/Tires

I went from 14x7's/205's all around to 17x7/225 and 17x8/255 and couldn't be happier with the feel of the car. Much more responsive. The car feels safer as well. Can't speak on the 18's but it's such a drastic difference from 14 to 17 that I'd skip the 15's.

One thing to keep in mind: 17's give you a bit more sidewall. That means more protection from potholes.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 14, 02:09 PM
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Re: Best Ride-15 inch or 17 inch Wheels/Tires

If you're ok with the look,17" will ride best. But if you're willing to go 17", get any one of the spectacular tires that are available in 17" size. Ditch the BFGs and enjoy the 21st century. (From a guy that thinks 1st gens should only have 15" rally's or minilites).

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 14, 03:23 PM
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Re: Best Ride-15 inch or 17 inch Wheels/Tires

Ride quality is kind of subjective and every car is a little different depending on how the suspension has been maintained and even the type and brand of replacement parts used over the years.

That said it may seem like common sense that a 15" wheel with a 60 or 70 series sidewall will ride better than a 17" wheel with 40 or 45 series sidewalls because of the amount of rubber and air on the road. Well there is a lot more to it! Cheap tires can have harder rubber compounds and steel wheels can be more rigid that alloy wheels. Low dollar 17" alloy wheels may not have the same aluminum makeup as more expensive versions too.

From my own experiences, when I replaced the BFG T/A Radials with Dunlop GT Qualifiers on 15" GM rally wheels (FW's) my ride quality greatly improved. T/A's were a few years old, maybe the rubber was starting to get hard, the GT Qualifiers were brand new... Then I went to a set of 17" Budnik wheels with 45 series Nitto 555 tires and the ride quality again improved. I don't know if this would have been the case if I had bought $120 ea 17" wheels, the Budnik wheels were in the $400 - $500 ea range!

In the end; ymmv - your mileage may vary...

...Dennis

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 29th, 14, 09:15 PM
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Re: Best Ride-15 inch or 17 inch Wheels/Tires

Quote:
Originally Posted by wendell View Post
If you're ok with the look,17" will ride best. But if you're willing to go 17", get any one of the spectacular tires that are available in 17" size. Ditch the BFGs and enjoy the 21st century. (From a guy that thinks 1st gens should only have 15" rally's or minilites).
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 29th, 14, 09:17 PM
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Re: Best Ride-15 inch or 17 inch Wheels/Tires

Quote:
Originally Posted by wendell View Post
If you're ok with the look,17" will ride best. But if you're willing to go 17", get any one of the spectacular tires that are available in 17" size. Ditch the BFGs and enjoy the 21st century. (From a guy that thinks 1st gens should only have 15" rally's or minilites).
I am with you, Don't forget the dog dish caps

482 New ZL1 Block
HR 250 @ 50 107 Lobe SEP
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 29th, 14, 09:38 PM
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Re: Best Ride-15 inch or 17 inch Wheels/Tires

I think there is a lot more to suspension and ride than the tire sidewall. On my '67 I went with a Hotchkis front and rear sway bar set up and dropped front spindles to improve the handling but stayed with 15 inch wheels, and I love the combination. I'm going the same route with my second '67 and my '71.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 29th, 14, 09:59 PM
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Re: Best Ride-15 inch or 17 inch Wheels/Tires

I'm old school, but now moving over to 17" Wheels. Front: 17 x 8 (5 x 4.75) with 4.75" Back Space. Tires: Nitto 555's 235/45 17's
Rear: 17 x 9.5 (5 x 4.75) with 5.5" Back Space.
Tires: Nitto 555's 255/45 17's
You can also look at 18's if you like even more wheel in the well. Search on here for a chart of wheel/tire sizes and for pictures with the wheels and tires you are thinking about getting.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 30th, 14, 06:31 AM
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Re: Best Ride-15 inch or 17 inch Wheels/Tires

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCamaro27 View Post
I think there is a lot more to suspension and ride than the tire sidewall. On my '67 I went with a Hotchkis front and rear sway bar set up and dropped front spindles to improve the handling but stayed with 15 inch wheels, and I love the combination. I'm going the same route with my second '67 and my '71.
I agree with you but read the question asked, he's got a rebuilt suspension and is asking about tires and wheels...

I was happy with my car (Hotchkis & Koni's) when it had 15" rally's too but it was like the difference going from a VW to a Porsche when I put the 17's w/ 45 series tires on the car. The right wheels and tires are the single most noticeable handling improvement of any suspension change you can make.

...Dennis

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 30th, 14, 04:47 PM
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Re: Best Ride-15 inch or 17 inch Wheels/Tires

Quote:
Originally Posted by DjD View Post
The right wheels and tires are the single most noticeable handling improvement of any suspension change you can make.
x2


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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 30th, 14, 11:41 PM
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Re: Best Ride-15 inch or 17 inch Wheels/Tires

Just me speaking here, if you want you car to handle get 17's. If you want your car to ride nice, get 17's and some adjustable QA1 coil over shocks. Then you can play with the springs until it is as soft or firm as you want the thing to ride. Remember, "It is only money, you can work for as much or as little as you want"

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