Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - argybargy

My son has a 59 plate Fiesta Titanium. His alloys have become buckled due to the developer not properly finishing the road/ pavement/driveway surface at his new build house, leaving an edge several inches high which he has to drive over to get to his property. He tells me that as a result, vibration through the steering wheel at speeds above 60mph has become horrendous. He intends to buy four steel wheels with tyres, discard the buckled alloys and replace them once the landlord has sorted out the kerb.

My question is this: the wheels he currently has fitted are 16 inch alloys with low profile tyres,and he's been told by a chap at a local scrapyard that 15 inch steel wheels would fit. Is this likely to be true?

Thanks.

Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - bathtub tom

>> the wheels he currently has fitted are 16 inch alloys with low profile tyres,and he's been told by a chap at a local scrapyard that 15 inch steel wheels would fit.

Looks like it.

You'll need more information than just the wheel diameter. PCD, centre bore and offset need to be compatible: www.wheelfitment.eu/car/Ford/Fiesta%20%282008%20-%.../

Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - MrEckerslikefromRamsbottom

The 'standard' wheel and tyre combination for the 1.4 Fiesta is 195/50 R15. As you've found out, 16 inch wheels with stupidly low-profile tyres are practically unusable on today's roads and I have never understood why anyone would want to drive on them.

The 15 inch wheel designation is 6Jx15H2 ET525, The H2 indicates that there's a 'hump' on each side of the rim inside the tyre, which helps to retain the tyre in the event of deflation. ET525 indicates a 52.5mm offset. Other Ford 15" wheels with a different offset sourced from Escort, Mondeo or Orion, will also fit with no problems. I have a pair of 6Jx15x49.5, bought from a scrap yard, which I've usd for winter tyres.

The 'economy' and van versions of the Fiesta are fitted with 5.5Jx14" wheels, using 175/65 R14 tyres. If he was to use 14" wheels with snow tyres, he'll get through the worst of winter and he'll find the ride comfort so much better that he may start to realise that poncy low-profile tyres should only be used on a race track.

Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - argybargy

Thanks to both of you for your speedy responses.

So basically, if we can pick up a set of Ford 195/50 R15s in steel, they'll do the trick until the Spring, by which time the builder will hopefully have sorted out the kerb onto the driveway.

I suppose the term "low profile" has a certain seductive quality for some people; one which far outweighs its practicality in any road conditions you can think of except "perfect."

Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - wrangler_rover

My advice would be to look on ebay or gumtree.

There are always people who want to "improve" their car by replacing the steel wheels with alloys. In such cases, the full set of steel wheels are generally sold with tyres on them which have useable tread left. When I practiced bangermonics, I found it much cheaper to buy a set of wheels complete with tyres than to buy one brand new tyre.

Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - jc2

Just make sure that whatever wheels you buy clear the calipers;15" should be OK-14" doubtful!

Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - MikeTorque

On the latest version of the Fiesta Ford changed the profiles of Fiesta tyres. They will take 195/55 R15s or 195/60 R15s which both help ride over pot holes and bumps in the road as well as improving comfort levels and reducing road noise.

The 59 reg Titanium with 195/45/16s is well noted for breaking and damaging alloys, the tyres fitted are simply too low a profile for rough roads/bumps etc.

Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - argybargy

Thanks again, all.
Would I be right in thinking that if I can locate a set of bog standard Ford 195/50 R15s, I won't have to check suitability by measuring the distance between opposite stud holes before purchasing? My son was advised to do this by a man he spoke to in a breaker's yard. Incidentally, his girlfriend seems to think that the alloys currently fitted are 17 inch wheels, not 16s as I first thought.
Since posting this thread I've read about the experiences of a number of Fiesta owners who have had similar problems with alloys buckling under fairly normal driving conditions, so as you guys have already mentioned, there's clearly an ongoing problem here.
Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - skidpan

Remember that you MUST tell your insurance company about the change of wheels. They consider them a modification (even if they are off a lesser model and steel) and there may be an additional cost. If you don't tell them you could find yourself without insurance when you need it most.

During my 39 years of driving I have flattened 3 wheels by hitting potholes. Two were steel and only one was an alloy. The steels were fitted with 60 profile tyres, the alloy with a 50 profile. If you hit a big enough hole you will bend a wheel. IMHO just changing wheels will not stop you getting damaged wheels, you have to drive at the right speed for the road surface as well.

Its not just the stud centres, its the offset that is just as important. Get that worng and the wheel/tyre could hit suspension or braking components and well as the body on full lock. Sometimes steel wheels use different bolts to alloys as well so you need to make sure you get compatible bolts.

Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - argybargy

Good point about telling the insurance company, and about the bolts, thanks.

So again--and here, I know I'm repeating myself--if we go out and buy a set of Ford steel wheels from the list included in the link posted above, can we be confident that the offset and stud centres will be compatible; or do we need to take a tape measure with us?

Edited by argybargy on 08/12/2013 at 11:14

Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - jc2

Yes,You should measure.I had a Cortina that pulled to the right on braking-nothing obvious but eventually found out that one of my front wheels was from a Capri-1/2" diffferent offset but it looked the same;worked OK on the back.One of it's previous owners must have damaged a wheel and bought what he thought was a correct replacement.

Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - gordonbennet

From my experience you can never be completely sure till you bolt a front wheel on, and drive it on full lock, the rears don't normally cause a problem so long as the offsets and PCD as linked to above a right.

Don't forget to check the wheelbolts for fit and length, these are often different, though on some cars with steel spares (some Pugs) the alloy wheelbolts are fine because the steel spare has collars welded into the bolt holes to accomodate the longer bolt.

I too would be sourcing a spare set of alloys from the usual auction site.

Been lucky i suppose, never damaged any of my wheels like this but tend to take it easy over lumps and bumps, kerb scraped one or two mind...usually immediately after i've teased SWMBO for scraping yet another...;)

Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - argybargy
Thank you once more. Before I realised that there was more to this wheel swapping business than meets the eye, the plan was to take a tour of local breakers/ tyre dealers tomorrow morning, (without the car in question, because its in use this week), pick up a set of wheels and tyres purely on recommendation and fit them at the weekend when the car is available.


I guess that we're going to have to ask a lot more questions about the suitability of anything that we happen to be offered than I originally thought, rather than simply accepting that the people selling the wheels know what they're talking about. One guy suggested that would be OK to change only the front wheels for steels, which to me sounded like really bad advice. Surely its basic common sense to have the same size wheels front and back?


I really don't want to end up buying a set of wheels that turn my son's Fiesta into a slightly shinier version of Fred Flinstone's runabout.
Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - argybargy

Update, simply because someone might find our experience interesting if they have the same issues.

A local tyre fitter suggested that we put the front wheels onto the back and vice versa, then took the car on the motorway to see whether the vibration was still as bad. Didn't have the car with us at the time, but later on my son took his car along and in the course of taking off the wheels the fitter advised (and showed him) that yes, the front wheels were slightly buckled but more crucially, that he had "eggs" in both front tyres. So with luck, new tyres will solve the problem.

With hindsight, he told me that he ran over something on the motorway a few weeks ago, but somehow it didn't occur to us that this particular incident might have been responsible for the issue rather than ongoing contact with the kerb at his house, or any chronic problem with the alloys fitted to a 59 Fiesta.

Thanks to all who contributed; I've learned a lot over the last few days about wheels, and tyres.

Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - FP

"...he had 'eggs' in both front tyres."

Which presumably means visible damage to the sidewalls - of both front tyres.

Potentially a very dangerous situation, I would have thought. It just underlines the need for regular inspection.

Edited by FP on 10/12/2013 at 12:39

Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - argybargy
Indeed so, though just to add he was told that the bulges were in the tread pattern which is in contact with the road rather than the sidewall; so although not impossible to spot, not immediately obvious upon cursory inspection.

Still a lesson to be learned, most definitely.
Ford Fiesta 1.4 59 plate - Swapping alloys for steel wheels. - MrEckerslikefromRamsbottom

Just make sure that whatever wheels you buy clear the calipers;15" should be OK-14" doubtful!

14" are OK and are one of the three options. A plate inside the passenger door gives the three (14, 15 & 16 inch) recommended wheel and tyre combinations and the recommended tyre pressures for each. In practice, I find 35psi all 'round is a good compromise in case of unexpected passengers - both on the 14" and 15" options. Still can't see why anyone would want to drive on 16"!

 

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