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Old 12-02-11, 10:55 AM   #1
mconlonx 
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Car modding...

Big topic, specific question.

We have a 2002 Mazda Protege5. Love the car, but not the best winter car... because of the tire size (195/50R16). Some kind of performance, vaguely low profile setup going on there. All season tire available, but no studded snow tires in the size we need, not even a dedicated winter tire. It sucks in the snow with the wide, low profile tires.

When I talked about getting a different set of rims--maybe 15"--to accommodate studded snow tires, I was told that it wouldn't work because of interference with the brakes.

1) Is that right? No 15" steel rim that would work with current brake setup that would get me into a snow tire? Anyone tried to go with a 15" rim on a Protege like this?

2) Brakes need work anyway, so it's certainly within the realm to consider even giving up some brake performance by downgrading to smaller disks/calpers in order to make the car useful in the snow. Anyone know what, if any, Mazda parts would swap right over? What it entails? Ideally, I'd be buying someone's older stock setup off ebay, but I'd also entertain a budget performance upgrade.

Also be interested in any forum where this might be more appropriate. Yes, I'll be looking around, but if any of you into cars knows some oft-overlooked but insanely useful site or forum, please chime in...

Thanks!
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Old 12-02-11, 11:03 AM   #2
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I've heard good things about Mazda247.com but seldom go there. I have Dunlop Winter sport 3-D's that are ok in snow but wish I had gone a bit narrower. I also bought a second set of rims and downsized from 17 to 16". Check with Tire Rack to find something appropriate.

I have an 07 Mazda3 HB.

Last edited by skijor; 12-02-11 at 02:40 PM. Reason: correcting smartphone isn't so smrt
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Old 12-02-11, 11:39 AM   #3
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Yeah.... find a message forum for Mazda3s and ask there. You'll probably get 8 viable options.
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Old 12-02-11, 12:01 PM   #4
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Mazdas 24/7 forum is a good forum. When I owned a Mazda 5 for four years I was on there. There's a dedicated Protege subforum in there for you.

good luck.

btw, I'd be surprised if you can't go down one rim size without interfering with the calipers. Maybe buy one 15" rim from TireRack.com or from a local salvage yard and test the fit? Then go from there.

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Old 12-02-11, 12:16 PM   #5
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http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires....omCompare1=yes
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Old 12-02-11, 12:28 PM   #6
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Just take it to the tire shop and ask them to change from summer air to winter air in the tires. You should be good to go.
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Old 12-02-11, 12:36 PM   #7
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You may have to change up to a 205/50R16 to get a winter tire.
Having the same problem with my Escort lx wagon(protege platform).
You just have to watch the clearance between strut springs and inside of tire.
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/TireSe...50&diameter=16
My lx wagon has 1 inch larger front disc's than standard escort, which negates the use of smaller rims.
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Old 12-02-11, 12:40 PM   #8
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Just take it to the tire shop and ask them to change from summer air to winter air in the tires. You should be good to go.
After he follows your advice will you be able to sleep nights when he slides off the Burma road to his death?
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Old 12-02-11, 03:22 PM   #9
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15 may not clear the caliper. But why are you going down in wheel size? Are you lowered? With studded will you be able to go down in wall size? Mine is 35.
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Old 12-02-11, 03:24 PM   #10
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You may have to change up to a 205/50R16 to get a winter tire.
Having the same problem with my Escort lx wagon(protege platform).
You just have to watch the clearance between strut springs and inside of tire.
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/TireSe...50&diameter=16
My lx wagon has 1 inch larger front disc's than standard escort, which negates the use of smaller rims.
He may not rub depending upon bs and os of the wheel. Why so wide? How wide are the rims?
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Old 12-02-11, 03:40 PM   #11
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Native southerner and never lived anywhere where there's much snow.....but would chains be an option?
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Old 12-02-11, 03:47 PM   #12
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Where is the OP?
http://www.tirechainsupply.com/tire-chain-laws.html
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Old 12-02-11, 03:49 PM   #13
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Chains are a short term solution, not for all winter long use. Limited max speed and wear out quickly.
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Old 12-02-11, 03:54 PM   #14
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He may not rub depending upon bs and os of the wheel. Why so wide? How wide are the rims?
It is not so much the width of the rims, it's that the tire manufacturers are no longer making tires for certain size/aspect ratio applications.
I have always bought American Mfg. tires for my cars. Only exception was Michelin tires for my truck as they are the only 8 ply actual's I could get at the time.
Fourth set of tires on my escort are now Sumitomo's, because BFG, Goodyear, Uniroyal, General and even Cooper no longer produce a tire in the OEM size.

Added:
Even if you were able to change out calipers and rotors front and rear , from an escort zx2 s/r to get to 15" wheels, now you have to worry about the drivetrain management computer, sensing wrong road speed for engine rpms and whatever else it senses.

Last edited by catmandew52; 12-02-11 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 12-02-11, 05:07 PM   #15
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15 may not clear the caliper. But why are you going down in wheel size? Are you lowered? With studded will you be able to go down in wall size? Mine is 35.
Supposedly no snow tires that will take studs work with stock rims. So next best thing I was thinking was different rims to take 15" tires. Win-win -- leave the snows on the rims in the off season, then I can change them myself seasonally.

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Native southerner and never lived anywhere where there's much snow.....but would chains be an option?
To get home on a snowy day, sure, but not for general use where there might be black ice, and a PITA to mount any time I need them.

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Added:
Even if you were able to change out calipers and rotors front and rear , from an escort zx2 s/r to get to 15" wheels, now you have to worry about the drivetrain management computer, sensing wrong road speed for engine rpms and whatever else it senses.
What?!? Dang...

OK, off to mazda247. Thanks!
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Old 12-02-11, 05:23 PM   #16
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Even if you were able to change out calipers and rotors front and rear , from an escort zx2 s/r to get to 15" wheels, now you have to worry about the drivetrain management computer, sensing wrong road speed for engine rpms and whatever else it senses.
As long as you change to tires with similar circumference, size of the wheel shouldn't matter.
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Old 12-02-11, 06:17 PM   #17
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Total circumference.
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Old 12-02-11, 08:43 PM   #18
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I downsized from 17 to 16" cuz I wanted to improve ride quality. Too many cars today have that low profile crap. I'm not ready for my Buick LeSabre just yet, but sheesh!

Tire Rack was helpful in assuring that caliper clearance and whatnot would be kosher with the size change.
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Old 12-03-11, 12:58 AM   #19
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FWIW: I "upgraded" my Toyota Matrix with 17" aluminum wheels off a Scion TC. I kept the original 16" wheels and had studded snow tires (205/55 R 16) mounted on them.

Talk to a couple different tire dealers if you can. They may be able to order the correct size tire for you.
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Old 12-03-11, 01:56 AM   #20
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Why don't go all the way and put tracks on the mazda?

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Old 12-03-11, 03:16 PM   #21
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Chains are a short term solution, not for all winter long use. Limited max speed and wear out quickly.
But, a set of chains or cables will get you out of a situation.

http://www.truckntow.com/t-tirechain...FRDHKgodkAzrLA

They do have a set of 205/16 Universal cables here at this link ^^^^
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Old 12-03-11, 03:18 PM   #22
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Or, there are these tires.................

http://www.nextag.com/Goodyear-EAGLE...14/prices-html
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