2013 Scion FR-S: Wheel Selection Conundrum
July 16, 2012
Use of parts-bin componentry makes the 2013 Scion FR-S affordable. And frustrating when it comes to aftermarket wheels.
For Project FR-S' replacement wheels, we're sticking with 17" diameter in order to have some sidewall for bump absorption, keep unsprung mass gains low and to retain access to a variety of tire choices. What we'll be doing is stepping up to an 8.5" or 9" width (up from the stock 7-inchers) to really take advantage of wider rubber. 245/40 is the likely bogey. Aftermarket 17x8.5- or 9-inch wheels are a dime a dozen. Easy peasy. Right?
The FT86 twins use off-the-rack Subaru suspension bits including steering knuckles and rear upright assemblies, and Subaru likes to use 5x100mm pitch circle diameter (PCD) for its wheel studs. And so it is that the FT86 is plagued with an oddball PCD. Much more common for 5-lug wheels is a 114.3mm PCD (which also allows for a larger wheel bearing than a 100mm PCD, but I digress). The FT86's 5x100 PCD requirement narrows the field of aftermarket wheel options.
And though there are cars out there with 5x100 PCD, they're almost all FWD and hence employ relatively low offsets. Aftermarket wheels originally made for these front-drivers could in theory be used on an FT86, but it's generally best not to stray too far from the stock offset (48mm in the FT86's case) if you like the way a car's steering feels. And in the FT86, it's pretty darned good.
I consider wheels safety equipment, and so I'm trying to stay away from cheap, crappy offshore wheels and instead sticking to reputable brands. Some of those reputable brands are Japanese, which you'd think would have a big headstart on FT86-specific wheel fitments as the car was released to them well in advance of the rest of the world. However, many of these FT86-specific fitments have not yet made the voyage overseas from Japan to Americaland.
So it turns out that as of yet there are few suitable aftermarket wheel FT86 fitment options that fit our admittedly narrowly-defined bill. But we're working on it.
And we haven't even considered aesthetics yet. Oldham likes a lot of dish in his wheels. I like simple-spoked designs; function over form, that kind of thing.
What about you -- which aftermarket wheels have really resonated with you over the years?
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor