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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve seen a few comments on how little wheels there are for tbirds but I’m finding plenty. Is there anything important I need to be looking at when I am buying them I’m thinking about going for either 16 or 17 but I don’t know if they’re gonna rub or even if the bolt pattern is the same. The sites say it is but I’m just wanting to double check.
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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Offset, offset offset. Stock is +39, anything higher the wheels will stick in more and possibly interfere or rub the spindles depending on wheel width, and anything less than about +30mm the wheels will stick out depending on width and possibly rub the fenders. The problem with the 5x108 pattern is it’s much more common with FWD applications and offsets tend to be in the +40 to +50 ranges

IMO if you want 16” wheels find a set of factory SC or sport wheels, aftermarket wheels in that size look like trash. 17”s have a kind of limited tire selection for the ideal height for these cars (26.6”), at least for sport tires.
 

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I like these wheels; off the Mark8's.

Those are BFG G-force sport 225 55/r16 5iresComp-2
Sport
The tire features BFGoodrich's Performance Racing Core (PRC) internal structure that includes twin, high tensile steel belts reinforced by an enhanced ETEC (Equal TEnsion Containment) System of spirally wound nylon that stabilizes the tread area to optimize the contact patch for traction at speed and in hard cornering, as well as g-Control sidewall inserts featuring up to a 40% higher sidewall stiffening structure to improve lateral stability and cornering precision.
*Compared to the original g-Force Sport tire.
the OG version had a 15" version that fit t he standard wheels, but they stopped making them. :(
They're 808 revs/mile, which works with the purple gear.

They're sticky: I like sticky.






42317
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Offset, offset offset. Stock is +39, anything higher the wheels will stick in more and possibly interfere or rub the spindles depending on wheel width, and anything less than about +30mm the wheels will stick out depending on width and possibly rub the fenders. The problem with the 5x108 pattern is it’s much more common with FWD applications and offsets tend to be in the +40 to +50 ranges

IMO if you want 16” wheels find a set of factory SC or sport wheels, aftermarket wheels in that size look like trash. 17”s have a kind of limited tire selection for the ideal height for these cars (26.6”), at least for sport tires.
So I found these with an offset of 40mm I personally like them but I’m not sure if it’ll work. I’m kinda new to car stuff but I’m trying to learn exactly what all this means lol https://m.tirerack.com/wheels/Wheel...oModel=Thunderbird&autoYear=1995&autoModClar=
 

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1994 4.6L, 436k+ miles at time of retirement.
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I used to run that size on stock rims. They look good.
 

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I've looked (not exhaustively) but haven't found what I need in the Tires/Wheels sub-forum. I, too, have a '95 Thunderbird (LX). I am looking into (finally) getting 17" rims for it. I can't stand the look of bigger rims, I currently have 16" rims and they're alright but I would like to change them.

Is there a list, maybe cobbled together from people who have already made the change, of rims larger and wider than stock that fit and also the tires that also fit in the wheel wells without rubbing? Stock rims are 15" diameter, 6.5" wide or 16" diameter, 7" wide, yes? Is there a way to get a list of optimum (least likely to rub inside or outside) rim sizes with offset/backspacing and maybe max tire size? From what I've read in one of the tech articles a 9" wide rim with acceptable tire width will rub slightly in the rear wheel well unless the lip is bent in/up. So I'm not talking about having to modify anything on the fenders, just what will fit without rubbing and, in front, full turning radius.

I'm thinking of 17" rim that is 8" wide, maybe 8.5" wide, so a chart of best backspacing for the typical widths? I get the idea that different diameter/same width affects how wide the tire can be, is this true? Also, I have Eibach springs, I think they lowered the car about an inch. That would obviously affect how wide a tire could be before rubbing. It just gets confusing reading different accounts of what seems to be the same sizes that worked great or didn't.
 

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42916



A list doesnt exist. Idk if it ever will.

My car is sitting on 17x8 wheels with 42mm offset in this photo. The tires Im running are 255/50s. I wouldnt run them again because the fronts were almost touching the upper ball joint. But I did like how the wells were filled.

I never rolled the fenders. With my new build coming up Im going to be running 275s in rear and 245s in front. Those also fit.
 

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A list doesnt exist. Idk if it ever will.

My car is sitting on 17x8 wheels with 42mm offset in this photo. The tires Im running are 255/50s. I wouldnt run them again because the fronts were almost touching the upper ball joint. But I did like how the wells were filled.

I never rolled the fenders. With my new build coming up Im going to be running 275s in rear and 245s in front. Those also fit.
That's a nice look and I'm not even a fan of black rims (I plan on repainting my car a dark color so maybe that's why).

I looked at my tires and they're 235 60R16 on an Ultra rim. No rubbing at all but I don't know what the rim width or offset is. I will have to see if I can find that out next time my tires are rotated.
 

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My car is sitting on 17x8 wheels with 42mm offset in this photo. The tires Im running are 255/50s. I wouldnt run them again because the fronts were almost touching the upper ball joint. But I did like how the wells were filled.

I never rolled the fenders. With my new build coming up Im going to be running 275s in rear and 245s in front. Those also fit.
Ok, got my tires rotated. The tech couldn't find out much about my rims except to say that they're 16" rims, 7.5" wide. He looked up rims for my car in that size and they tend to have a 40mm offset though I think those were all 7" wide rims. But that seems weird to me, I thought, from reading on this forum, that our rims should have a negative offset? You say your 17x8s have a 42mm offset, I assume that positive?
 

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They are positive, meaning the mounting surface is outward from the centerline of the wheel.
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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Most wheels have the offset number cast into the inside of the spokes along with height and width. Negative offset looks like this

43067


positive offsets look like this

43068



Personally I think offset matters more than diameter or width or the wheel design itself. If it sticks too far in (too much positive offset), no matter how nice the wheel looks or how good they look from a straight side view, at certain angles the car looks tippy toed like that rail truck. I firmly believe +30 is optimal with an 8” wheel and +36 on a 9” wheel on these cars. My current wheels are late model Mustang 19x9” track pack wheels with a +42mm offset, and I had to use 1/4” spacers to get the effective offset where I think they look right

43070
 

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17x9 +36mm here. I run 255/45 on the front and 255/50 on the rear. I haven't tried 255/50 on front but like WEC said it's pretty tight against the upper ball joint.
 

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Personally I think offset matters more than diameter or width or the wheel design itself. If it sticks too far in (too much positive offset), no matter how nice the wheel looks or how good they look from a straight side view, at certain angles the car looks tippy toed like that rail truck. I firmly believe +30 is optimal with an 8” wheel and +36 on a 9” wheel on these cars. My current wheels are late model Mustang 19x9” track pack wheels with a +42mm offset, and I had to use 1/4” spacers to get the effective offset where I think they look right
I agree with you, though I would include suspension height, if these cars aren't lowered like an inch then the tires look small even if they aren't. I think it's weird being able to see the shock absorber behind the wheel, I've never liked that look on any car.

I will check into that 30mm offset for 17x8inch rims with I assume 245 tires, although Wile E. above has a 42mm offset and those wheels don't look bad at all.
 

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97 Ford Thunderbird LX Sport 4.6L V8
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Personally I think offset matters more than diameter or width or the wheel design itself. If it sticks too far in (too much positive offset), no matter how nice the wheel looks or how good they look from a straight side view, at certain angles the car looks tippy toed like that rail truck. I firmly believe +30 is optimal with an 8” wheel and +36 on a 9” wheel on these cars. My current wheels are late model Mustang 19x9” track pack wheels with a +42mm offset, and I had to use 1/4” spacers to get the effective offset where I think they look right

View attachment 43070
Are those 1/4" spacers hubcentric (and without lugs I presume being 1/4")?

I always use hubcentric with 4 bolt wheels but was told with the 5 bolts there's sufficient clamping so you don't need the hubcentric rings/wheels/spacers. Ran them this way for years on my GM 5 bolt cars and never had issues.
 

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Are those 1/4" spacers hubcentric (and without lugs I presume being 1/4")?

I always use hubcentric with 4 bolt wheels but was told with the 5 bolts there's sufficient clamping so you don't need the hubcentric rings/wheels/spacers. Ran them this way for years on my GM 5 bolt cars and never had issues.
Nope, they’re just flat spacers, 1/4” isnt thick enough to have a hubcentric lip. I’ve had no issues though, no vibration at high speed and the lugs haven’t torn off in any spirited turning, but I have considered going down to 1/8” spacers instead to get more hub engagement for peace of mind or getting a different set of wheels all together(these were kind of an impulse buy)
 
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