LXXXII. Mounting tubeless tyres on a Żuk

I already described the reasons from switching from original tubetype 100%-ratio tyres (6.50 R16) to tubeless usual ratio (75/80) tyres and discussed new rim choices to accommodate such new tyres: I don’t want to keep original tyres (uncommon so expensive for what it is, rare due to the ratio tyre height = tyre width that made sense on farm roads of the past, not so much on nowaday roads) and any other tyre is bound to be larger than the original, while original 4.50″ rims cannot accept any tyres larger than the original.

Choices of rims: 16″ 6J

The original plan would have been to use Łada Niva rims. I got the rims, painted them in white and understood later they were for the tubetype tyres also, since apparently only since the 2000’s Niva got tubeless tyres.

Not a big deal, a 379 zł/88 € mistake. But I dropped the idea of using Niva rims not to bother checking whether they are tubetype or tubeless. Instead I went for Lublin rims, similarly looking (the same?), FS-compliant I assumed, 16″ 6J width with the required 5×139.7 bolts spacing.

I bought 5 used Lublin 16″ rims. It turned out later that one of them was crooked beyond limits and, as such, could not be balanced, so I had to buy an extra one new (because of time constraints – no time to sand and paint one more).

It gave me the opportunity to think again about rim color choice, thinking that, in the end, the white rims might looks a bit too sporty. While it is usual to find Żuk rims of the same color as the body, it would make more sense with the lower part color than the white. I contemplated the idea of picking some light grey. Finally, I decided that I would stick with the original setup, to keep the van look rough enough: mate black, painted with Hammerite.

Choice of tyres: 205/75 R16

6″ rims are good to mount tyres from 175 to 205 (even larger but just tolerated). The original idea would have to go with something like Continental ContiVanContact 200 205/75 R16 110/108 R C tyres.

With such tyres, we get the following values [original > new]:

  • Diameter: 736.4mm > 713.9mm;
  • Speedo error: 0% > 3.15%;
  • Arch gap loss: 0mm > -11.25mm.

However, I gave some thought about the possibility to buy all-seasons or winter/rain tyres and went in that direction. The logic behind is the fact that I do not expect tyres to be overused, so the decreased longevity is not really the main concern. I don’t want all-roads tyres but I still want good grip. In some countries and seasons, you can be forbidden to pass if not with all-seasons or winter/rain tyre.

I found that cargo-winter tyres Kleber Transalp 2 (brand of Michelin) have good enough ratings and are cheap enough. I dont have a strong opinion on the topic, time will tell. Nonetheless, I acquired 5 Kleber Transalp 2 205/75 R16 110 R C tyres.

The disregarded Einpresstiefe

I did not really paid attention to ET, “Einpresstiefe”, rims offset:

Positive Offset wheels have their mounting face toward the front face of the wheel. Most front wheel drive vehicles have positive ET wheels.
Zero Offset wheels have their mounting face even with the center line of the wheel and are by definition “ET 0″.
Negative Offset wheels have their mounting face toward the rear of the wheel – powerful rear-wheel drive cars often have wheels with negative offset.

Does it matter? It is not clear but it looks like original Żuk rims offset is 30. Lublin 16″ rims offset is 47. So the whole setup would look like:

Yeah, you can guess what the problem is: there is not enough clearance for the front wheels. The internal shape of the rims seems to make it worse. It touches the suspension arm. It seems ok for the rear though. And it reminded me a mention of such issue on LeZuk blog, issue more or less solved by using front parts from Lublin to install disc brakes.

What next? Finding another set of wheels with the proper ET or working on installing disc brakes? According to the calculator, to match original setup, it should be around ET 5 (4.6 to be exact). Finding rims 16″ 5×139.7 ET5 is not so easy. Some Suzuki Grand Vitara I might fit the bill, not even sure, depends of the set. Some custom rims are also available on ebay. Nothing that remotely looks like something that came out of FSC Lublin factory.

There is a third option: using spacers. Some people say it will cause some extra load on wheel bearings. Due to what? Extra weight? Otherwise it is just as if the wheel had this shape. Would that even be noticeable by comparison to the considerable tyre width change itself? To me, the issues are actually: the extra-cost and the extra-part to remove when deposing drum brakes.


Nonetheless, that’s the option I picked. First because I already went too far in that direction. Second because I haven’t anyway seen a single rim that ticks all the boxes (ET, bolt spacing, accommodation of regular tyres, van-type style) and I am not prepared right now to tamper with the front brake system. Also, even if such change would alter the front wheel spacing, then spacers on the rear would still make sense to keep wheel spacing consistent (for the record: 1375 rear, 1368 front).

Picture below shows that with ET47 (blue), almost all of the 40 mm difference (205 – 165) goes toward inside. No surprise it does not match. With ET5 (orange), all of the difference is toward the outside. With ET22 (green), most but not all of it goes toward outside.

So I bought two sets of Eibach spacers (quite lightweight actually) matching the bolt spacing, of a 25 mm width, for the front and the back. Taken as a whole, spacer and rim now match ET22.

It fits, back and front. It is far from touching anything. It is important to note that ET22 might not be enough with 15″ wheels, though.

I think the tyre and wheel change is the most expensive business so far done on this vehicle.

Total cost:

Felgi 16-tki Daewoo Lublin = Lublin 16″ rims (80 zł x 5 + 195 zł)
Hammerite 2.5l (125 zł)
Zwiększenie rozstawu kół Eibach Suzuki = Eibach spacer set (504 zł x 2)
Kleber TRANSALP 2 205/75 R16 110 R C (423 zł x 5)

kosztuje = 595 + 125 + 1008 + 2175 = 3020 zł = 687 €. Żukventure cost so far = 4145 + 687 = 4832 €

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