Project 5.0 Mustang – Building the Perfect Wheel Set with HRE and Nitto Tire!
by Mike Kojima
Last time we saw Project Mustang, it was off getting some new suspension. With much improved underpinnings the stock wheels and tires were pretty wimpy. Our Mustang came with 255/40-19 tires on a 19×9 inch wheel from the factory, pretty small for a heavy and powerful car. With an improved Whiteline and KW suspension setup we wanted wider and more grippy tires to exploit all that our highly adjustable suspension has to offer.
Despite being almost 2″ lower, our car still had a big fender gap, not looking lowered at all. It was a vast improvement over the stock rally car look but it still didn't look low or sporty. Not that we are that much into looks but hey we like a low and mean looking car just as much as the next guy.
We wanted to stuff as much tire as we could into the stock wheelwells with the caveat that we could not accept any rubbing or cutting of the tire at all. The Mustang is a driver that sees a daily 60 mile commute and this sort of stuff cannot be tolerated in day to day use. Since this car stacks up the miles, it also precludes us from getting some super soft gumball UHP street class time attack tires. We will have to compromise and look at wear as we can't afford to get big tires every few months!
We asked and HRE wheels responded. Knowing that we were going to be picky on our fitment they invited us to their headquarters to confirm that our fitment would work with our lowered car. The first step is of course removing the stock wheels and tires.
We decided to run HRE's one piece FF01 wheel. We chose the FF01 because it uses HRE's flow formed technology. HRE's flow formed wheels are made in Japan. FlowForm wheels are created using a unique casting and forming process that obtains strengths similar to a forged wheel.The process begins by pouring molten aluminum into a mold face-side-down followed by rapid cooling. By doing this, the aluminum alloy is condensed and in turn enhances the elastic strength and durability. After the wheel is formed it is pulled from the mold and placed into the ?ow forming tooling which is similar to the concept of a potters’ wheel. This process stretches the barrel to a de?ned pro?le and thickness, ultimately giving the wheel its ?nal shape . This “stretching” improves the grain structure of the aluminum making it stronger, lighter and more precise than a non-?ow formed barrel resulting in forged aluminum-like strength.
After the initial fit up it was determined that a 20×10.5″ wheel with a 45mm offset would fit a 285/30-20 tire all the way around, off the shelf recommendation is a 9.5″ width and a 255 tire. This is quite a bit wider than the stock wheels and tires! Due to our KW coilovers having a lower spring seat and our choice to run a more aggressive 10.5″ front, we had to run a thin 5mm spacer to gain clearance. Without the spacer we had a barely acceptable 3-4mm of clearance and the spacer got us out to a safer 7-8mm.
Measuring the clearance to the coilovers.
Everything fit with no rubbing so far. The FF01 wheel is a lightweight 27 lbs, a good number considering how big of a wheel it is. The HRE wheels are lighter than the stock wheels which weigh 30 lbs even though they are much smaller.