17" Modified WS6 Rims & Wheel Wells

In my quest to have a well performing, yet as-stock-as-possible looking car, I have decided to go to the 315/35ZR17 rear tires. For my new tires, I chose the BF Goodrich g-Force T/AKD. These are supposed to be the new bad boy on the street, providing "near R-compound levels of grip". Adding that much tire isn't easy, and since I absolutely love the looks of the stock WS6 rims, I wanted to continue to use them.

The first order of business then, was to have the stock rear rims widened to accomodate the wider tires. For this, I turned to Erik Vaughn, the proprietor of Vaughn Machine (626-358-6413) in Monrovia, CA. The plan was to cut off the stock inner rim piece and weld on an aftermarket one. Erik uses Budnik inners from their 3-piece wheels.

Erik immediately recognized that my rims tapered from front to back, with no step, and realized that he would have to use the largest inner available, raising costs a little. He then cuts off the stock inner, heats the wheel face, and welds the new inner in place. He cut the weld tops for balance, then added a silicone coating to the weld to prevent leakage. His turn around time was quick too, and he did an awesome job for only $225 per rim. That's about the same price as a set of aftermarket rims, but I want to keep the car looking stock.

Modified Stock Wheels

Modified Stock Wheels

Modified Stock Wheels

Here's the finished product
after Erik got done. The
modified wheels ARE
a full 11" wide

Just behind the front lip
you can see where he added
the Budnik rear piece. That's
a very nice weld.

And Here's the the rim
from the back. The stock
rim was tapered, but the
Budnik is stepped.

New 315's beside old 275's

New 315's beside old 275's

Here's the new 315/35ZR17
BF Goodrich g-Force T/A
next to the stock 275/40ZR17 SZ50s.

Here is the tire mounted on the
new rim, next to the stock size
tire on a stock rims for the front.

New vs. old

Here's a view of the modified rim and tire combination (left) and the stock rim and tire (right).
It's difficult to see, but the new combination is definitely much deeper.

In order to get these larger wheels in the stock wheel wells, we had to make a few modifications. Hamilton Restorations (602-495-1656) in Phoenix, AZ cut out the stock jounce spacer and moved it to a position above the lower control arms. This piece is structural, so they had to weld in a flat plate to replace what they removed. Then they "messaged" the inner fender wells to clear the monsterous new tires. That is a heck of a lot of work for $425!

Because the stock lower control arms are 2-1/2" in width, we had to run an extraordinarily large 1" spacer. Once I get the Global West lower control arms in (I'm having them build a set custom, using a smaller tubing for more clearance), I'll be able to drop to a 5/8" spacer, which will keep the tires completely within the wheel well, and look stock.

Stock Snubber Location

Snubber Location Removed

Here is a stock inner fender well, with the
snubber in the stock location. You can just
see the aluminum of it over the brake rotor.

Here is my modified inner fender. You can just see the
outline of the new plate, and the dark outline is where the
"messaging" went on. After their work was done, they
re-undercoated the wheel wells.

New Snubber Location

Here is the new location of the rear axle snubber.

In order to clear the wheel wells, I needed to have the wheel well lips rolled or cut. I went with having them cut, because rolling can sometimes crack the paint, whereas cutting doesn't.

Stock wheel wells from the side view.

Modified wheel wells from the side view.

On the left are the stock wheel wells. On the right are the modified wheel wells, once they were cut. Here you can see the difference in space to the wheels, and the quality of the job that was done. The modified wells need a slight touch up on the paint of the bottom side, but you can't see that looking at the car, so it's no big deal.

Stock wheel wells from the bottom view.

Modified wheel wells from the bottom view.

Here's the rear view of the car before (top) and after (bottom).

Rear view of stock size tires

Rear view of 315's


Here you can see that going from the stock 17x9" rims with the G-Force 275/40ZR17 tires to my widened 17x11" rims with the same G-Force tires, but of a 315/35ZR17 size, netted a loss of 3.6 horsepower and 3.5 lb-ft of torque. Hopefully that will be more than made up for with the gains in traction.