TireWheel Question

I searched and found lots of post about tires and wheels. But Most I found reference going from 12 inch to 14 inch or more. My old GEM a 2000 825, has stock 205/50 10inch wheels. Can I do the 14 inch upgrade without mods? The stock 205 tires are real hard to find right now, at least in AZ.
Any other options for complete wheel/tire packages other than ride for fun ?

4 lug automotive wheels can work but they have an offset due to the fact every car today has front disc brakes and so not to require different front/rear wheels cars are made with proper rear ends so the offset works in the back too.

What all that means is for a stock 2000-2005(?) with front/rear drum brakes you will need a spacer at every wheel to negate the offset of today’s vehicle wheels. I have 2001 Prius wheels and tires on one of my GEMs and Mini wheels on the other. spacers on the back drums of each but both have front disc.

Issue #1 - It’s not so much the rim size (10, 12, 14) but the overall height and width of the entire wheel package that causes an interference fit. Normally you can go up to about 22~23in without an issue(based on the normal Gem) But I have not measured to see if the small wheeled cars are built different. Best to invite a buddy over with a larger set and try one of his wheels. Then again, since these cars were handmade, there are still differences that may be an issue.

Issue #2 - (getting complicated) by changing to a bigger wheel, you will also be changing the distance per revolution. You need to check what gears and motor you are running.
Just putting bigger wheels on your car will alter performance and work the motor and controller harder.

  • If you are lucky you might have the 10.35 gearset in your car which makes for a speed set of gears if you are next looking at putting in a new motor and a good battery package.
  • Most likely (judging by the tires you have) there may be a chance that you have the 9.8 gear set in there. Putting a 22in tall tire on those gears powered by a stock 3.5 motor and a tired set of lead batteries will make for a car that will have a tough time getting started. Forget about pulling any serious hills.

Issue #3 - Braking will be affected by bigger tires. You thought your car was tough to stop before? This may be actually a Pro vs a Con. Running bigger rims will give you needed clearance for a future upgrade to a front disc brake package later.

Issue #4 - Ride Quality. This could go either way depending on the look you were going for. A low profile tire on a big rim will make your car feel every bump and crack in the road. However, a smaller wheel and a bigger sidewall (given the same tire height) will allow lower tire pressures and therefore a slightly softer ride.

There are quite a few golf cart shops online that put together wheel/tire packages and will ship. There may even be one in your area that you weren’t aware of. Some will even include fancy lug nuts if you tell them what you are using.

You have brought up some very important points. I have decided to stay with the stock 10inch wheels and look for a possible wheel/tire combo. I may consider a move to 12 inch if I need to.

Doesn’t sound like a good invest meant for a 23 year old cart with stock motor.

I’m not sure I’d call it a bad investment.
Putting on a new set of shoes is probably one of the best updates a person can to to improve and personalize the appearance of one’s styling ride.

I just thought I’d point out that it may not be as easy as clicking on a picture and expecting the same results. Most likely there are many things involved in the makings of that ultra sexy thing appear in your driveway.

This “butterfly effect” can affect many other subsystems.
Study up, make a plan, and you will be less likely to be disappointed.

Russians don’t take a dump, son, without a plan.

but it appears Wagner Group does… :wink:

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