+40-45mm offset 17x9” wheel recommendations for 93 cobra

Gichris1983

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Mar 27, 2020
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I’m sure this has been asked plenty of times before. My google skills may just be lacking...

just took ownership of a 93 cobra. It’s in need of some TLC. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what the previous owner had in mind with the suspension setup and whee selection.

long story short, it’s been converted to 5 lug. The Cobra already being wider than other models, with the additional space required by the 5 lug conversion (unsure if mine is just running SN95 spindles and axles or if it was another kit.)

it has FR500 17x9 replicas on it at all corners. With the 5 lug conversion, the modern cobra brakes and the 24mm backspacing, and the lips rolled, I’m still having rubbing issues front and rear.

the car has been lowered with an Eibach pro kit in 1999 with tokico adjustable shocks/struts if that helps any.

I’ve been working with Maximum Motorsports for a while to figure out the best way to fix the problem. (Rubbing problem) Ultimately the best fix for it at this point is to just convert to a 17x9 wheel with +40 -45 mm offset to clear the fenders and be done with it.

I really like the look of the FR500s, or the factory cobra wheels for that matter. But It Seems like there aren’t a lot of original models of wheels for these cars in that offset and 5 lug or even modern mustang type wheels.

therein lies the problem. Has anyone else run into a similar issue and has another solution? Or if it’s easier to just to change to a wheel with a greater offset and move my tires over to them and be done with it, what wheel recommendations do you have? Any pics?

It seems that most of the 17X9 wheels in the 5 lug pattern with a 40-45mm offset are more tuner car types of wheels and just not very “mustang-ish“.

Looking for any wheel recommendations to replace 17x9 FR500 wheels with something that has an offset of 40-45mm for a 5 lug 83 cobra. Color is red.

any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.

thanks,
Chris
 

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67coupe

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Couple things first.

The 93 cobra is no wider than any other fox body.

The FR500 backspace and offset is no different than any other 9” wide SN95 wheels (95 Cobra R, 03 Cobra, 10th Anniversary Cobra, etc).

Sounds and looks like your car has 96 - 04 front spindles, which increase track width about 1/4” per side compared to the 94 - 95 spindles. You could change to those spindles or run a narrower tire up front.

For the rear, sounds and looks like your using 94 - 98 length axles, which are 0.75” longer per side. BTW, these work perfect for 8” wide SN95 wheels. If you switched to fox length 5 lug axles and used North Race Car caliper brackets (need to know if you have GT or Cobra rear brakes), the FR500 wheels will fit fine.


Nice car!
 
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2000xp8

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First thing you have to do is figure out what you have.
You need to know 100% how it's done.
Around here somewhere is the comparison pics of 94/95 spindles and 96+.
Then figure out what axles you have.
Personally, I like 93 cobra's with 93 cobra wheels. Anything else makes it look like a GT with a cobra valence, wing and grill.
Car will likely be more valuable with them too.
Maker's garage is doing a new version of them in 18's, I assume 5 lug.
But you will have to check with them to see if they are a reality or pipe dream.

I'd really be tempted to deconvert the car back to 4 lug. (hurts for me to even say that).
The replacement parts will be cheap and you can recoop money from the parts you sell.
 
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General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
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I agree with the above, back to original for the money, with just shy 5k made they are very collectable.
That said if it already has the 5 lug conversion I would leave it that way,
I am a purist when it comes to rare models but honestly the 5 lug conversion won't hurt the value that much. Depends on what else is non original.
 
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Warhorse Racing

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My 1992 GT has 96-04 Cobra spindles and a 1998 Cobra rear end. I'm running 5-lug 18x9 American Muscle FR500 wheels (+30 offset). I have 245/40/18 Rival S 1.5 tires (it's an autocross car), which tend to run wide relative to other tires. For example, they are wider than the 255/35/18 Nitto NT05s that I had on the car. This setup fits really well, but I do need rack limiters to keep the tires from hitting the sway bar and K-member. It might be worth looking for +30 offset 17x9 inch rims.
 

Gichris1983

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Mar 27, 2020
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Couple things first.

The 93 cobra is no wider than any other fox body.

The FR500 backspace and offset is no different than any other 9” wide SN95 wheels (95 Cobra R, 03 Cobra, 10th Anniversary Cobra, etc).

Sounds and looks like your car has 96 - 04 front spindles, which increase track width about 1/4” per side compared to the 94 - 95 spindles. You could change to those spindles or run a narrower tire up front.

For the rear, sounds and looks like your using 94 - 98 length axles, which are 0.75” longer per side. BTW, these work perfect for 8” wide SN95 wheels. If you switched to fox length 5 lug axles and used North Race Car caliper brackets (need to know if you have GT or Cobra rear brakes), the FR500 wheels will fit fine.


Nice car!
Gotcha. Thanks for the feedback. As far as the width of the cobra, I’m just going with info I’ve read and what Maximum Motorsports is telling me.

I actually kinda like the FR500s that are on there aside from the rubbing issue.The maximum Motorsports guy also mentioned about the spindles and axles. I guess hearing it from two different sources makes this sound like the most logical thing to do.

I need to put it new ball joints and control arm bushings up front so I’ll need to take it all apart up there anyway. I guess changing spindles to a 94-95 type makes sense here.

Thanks for the advice. I’ll start scouring the Internet for parts to see what all is involved and the $ of it all.
 

Gichris1983

Member
Mar 27, 2020
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1
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Little Rock, AR
First thing you have to do is figure out what you have.
You need to know 100% how it's done.
Around here somewhere is the comparison pics of 94/95 spindles and 96+.
Then figure out what axles you have.
Personally, I like 93 cobra's with 93 cobra wheels. Anything else makes it look like a GT with a cobra valence, wing and grill.
Car will likely be more valuable with them too.
Maker's garage is doing a new version of them in 18's, I assume 5 lug.
But you will have to check with them to see if they are a reality or pipe dream.

I'd really be tempted to deconvert the car back to 4 lug. (hurts for me to even say that).
The replacement parts will be cheap and you can recoop money from the parts you sell.
I’ve strongly considered going back to a 4 lug. But the rest of the car has enough changes and missing original parts that there isn’t the value for originality on this one. It’s high mileage and far from perfect or original. It won’t be one that will be worth a lot for originality. I’m fine with that. It keeps me from feeling to guilty about modifying it.

I do really like the look of the factory wheels. If they came in an offset that would solve my problem, it would be my first choice. If I swap back to a better fitting axle and spindle combo, I’d likely just roll with the current wheels as the main goal is just to get rid of the rubbing issue at this point.

I’ll reach out to Maker’s Garage. I have never seen this concept. If they intend to produce these and will make them with an offset that fits my current setup, I’d do that without a second thought. Those are pretty dang slick.

Thanks!
 

Gichris1983

Member
Mar 27, 2020
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I agree with the above, back to original for the money, with just shy 5k made they are very collectable.
That said if it already has the 5 lug conversion I would leave it that way,
I am a purist when it comes to rare models but honestly the 5 lug conversion won't hurt the value that much. Depends on what else is non original.
I have a great appreciation for keeping these original. Unfortunately this one in particular is just not one that will have a great pedigree. Not a lot of mods, but enough of them and higher mileage to where I would never spend the money or go to the trouble to track old parts to put it back to factory.

One of the reasons I bought it vs a better more pristine example is to reduce the guilt factor of making changes, also it was much more affordable. I mainly got it as a car to just enjoy and not have to worry about desecrating a clean, factory cobra.

thanks for the input.
 
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Gichris1983

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You could run 05+ wheels IIRC they have the offset you are looking for
Thanks for the feedback. Maximum Motorsports also pointed me to S197 mustang wheels. Problem there is that they don’t make many period correct wheels that would be Very appropriate for a fox. And most wheels available for those that I’m seeing are 19 and 20”. Id really like to keep it at 17” so I can re-use my current tires.
 

Gichris1983

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Mar 27, 2020
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Little Rock, AR
My 1992 GT has 96-04 Cobra spindles and a 1998 Cobra rear end. I'm running 5-lug 18x9 American Muscle FR500 wheels (+30 offset). I have 245/40/18 Rival S 1.5 tires (it's an autocross car), which tend to run wide relative to other tires. For example, they are wider than the 255/35/18 Nitto NT05s that I had on the car. This setup fits really well, but I do need rack limiters to keep the tires from hitting the sway bar and K-member. It might be worth looking for +30 offset 17x9 inch rims.
Sounds like a pretty nice setup you’ve got. I figure if I end up on the path of changing to a different wheel, I’d probably go with a different model/style wheel. Also, the additional 6mm from the current wheels to a 30mm offset might be just enough to solve my problem. I’d just hate to invest in new wheels and it doesn’t fix the problem or requires me to stick with more Nittos down the road as they seem to run small on width compared to others.

I may do some calculating to see how that extra 6mm offset would pan out on mine as it would give me a lot more options for wheels.

did you have to roll your front and rear fender lips for that setup?
 

Warhorse Racing

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Fitting wheels and tires on these cars can be tricky. No two Fox Body Mustangs are the same, and they often have different poke from one side to the other. I have found that 6mm (1/4 inch) can make a big difference. What size tires are you running up front?

Those +30 offset rims were the only ones I could get to fit properly. I tried +20 and +24 rims off of my New Edge cars and they sat too far out to clear the fenders.

As odd as it may sound, these cars like to be higher for autocross, so I use Ford Racing C Springs and Steeda 1/2 inch spring spacers up front to keep the fenders off the tires when the suspension articulates on course. The ride-height doesn't look very cool, but the car is faster that way. I did not have to roll or cut my fenders to get these tires to fit with those parts. Based on the photo, your car is lower than mine.

I'm putting together a video series about the car and the setup. Unfortunately, I'm still working on the tire video. But, the Rival S tires and 18x9 +30 offset rims are on the car in the video link below. You can see how my setup fits in the alignment photos.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HiS-t4_O_w&t
 

2000xp8

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I do really like the look of the factory wheels. If they came in an offset that would solve my problem, it would be my first choice. If I swap back to a better fitting axle and spindle combo, I’d likely just roll with the current wheels as the main goal is just to get rid of the rubbing issue at this point.
Definitely find out what you have so we can tell where you stand.
I pretty much never suggest to anyone to use anything but 94/95 spindles and fox length axles.
They cause the issues you are experiencing and limit wheel choice.
If the spindles are 96+, that should be an easy fix, assuming you can find 94/95 spindles at a reasonable price.
I'm starting to think there is more foxes with 94/95 spindles out there than there is 94/95 cars, lol.
For the rears if you have to fix them, it's also fair easy.
North race car brackets and fox length 5 lug axles.

If the car is setup wider, i would absolutely NOT buy new wheels to solve this problem.
 

KRUISR

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You could try the k-member mod described by Mathis in Mustang Performance Handbook 2, where the lower control arms are relocated about 1/2" back toward the engine. A number of aftermarket k-members already incorporate this change.

According to Maximum Motorsports website the change from 96-04 spindles to 94-95 will move things back 0.20".

Another question, on the front you said it was rubbing. Is that when the suspension cycles going straight or is it hitting the inner fender when you turn?
 

Gichris1983

Member
Mar 27, 2020
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Little Rock, AR
Fitting wheels and tires on these cars can be tricky. No two Fox Body Mustangs are the same, and they often have different poke from one side to the other. I have found that 6mm (1/4 inch) can make a big difference. What size tires are you running up front?

Those +30 offset rims were the only ones I could get to fit properly. I tried +20 and +24 rims off of my New Edge cars and they sat too far out to clear the fenders.

As odd as it may sound, these cars like to be higher for autocross, so I use Ford Racing C Springs and Steeda 1/2 inch spring spacers up front to keep the fenders off the tires when the suspension articulates on course. The ride-height doesn't look very cool, but the car is faster that way. I did not have to roll or cut my fenders to get these tires to fit with those parts. Based on the photo, your car is lower than mine.

I'm putting together a video series about the car and the setup. Unfortunately, I'm still working on the tire video. But, the Rival S tires and 18x9 +30 offset rims are on the car in the video link below. You can see how my setup fits in the alignment photos.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HiS-t4_O_w&t
very well put together video and very nice ride. I love the way those 18's look on there. Very sharp. While I don't intend to do any autocrossing, it sounds like you have a very solid setup, it looks like you've crossed this same bridge as I am currently. These cars can be pretty dang fickle over one single mm at times it seems. I'm saving the setup you mentioned to my notes.

With all the recommendations, I should be able to figure this problem out one way or another.

I'm currently running 245/45/17s up front and 275/40/17's out back

Thanks!
 

Gichris1983

Member
Mar 27, 2020
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Little Rock, AR
Definitely find out what you have so we can tell where you stand.
I pretty much never suggest to anyone to use anything but 94/95 spindles and fox length axles.
They cause the issues you are experiencing and limit wheel choice.
If the spindles are 96+, that should be an easy fix, assuming you can find 94/95 spindles at a reasonable price.
I'm starting to think there is more foxes with 94/95 spindles out there than there is 94/95 cars, lol.
For the rears if you have to fix them, it's also fair easy.
North race car brackets and fox length 5 lug axles.

If the car is setup wider, i would absolutely NOT buy new wheels to solve this problem.
Yeah, that's next on my list. I need to look into the guides and figure out exactly what is installed and pick up from there. I'm hopeful that it has the 96+ spindles on it. At least if that is the case, I feel pretty comfortable that I can put some 94/95 spindles on and most likely be done up front. At that point, I guess the main issue will be locating some at a reasonable price. The car was put together in its current form in 1999 from the looks of it. I wonder if folks just didn't consider the clearance issues back then with the differences between 94/95 and 96+ spindles. Maybe it was just what the magazines were pushing at that time...

It seems the proper fix will most likely be as you said, to rollback to those spindles and find some fox length axles (assuming I can pinpoint the current axles to being longer).

I'll check in on those North race car brackets for the rear.

Thanks for the info!
 

Gichris1983

Member
Mar 27, 2020
9
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Little Rock, AR
You could try the k-member mod described by Mathis in Mustang Performance Handbook 2, where the lower control arms are relocated about 1/2" back toward the engine. A number of aftermarket k-members already incorporate this change.

According to Maximum Motorsports website the change from 96-04 spindles to 94-95 will move things back 0.20".

Another question, on the front you said it was rubbing. Is that when the suspension cycles going straight or is it hitting the inner fender when you turn?
Not sure if I have the appetite for messing with the K member or upgrading it just yet. I really just want to fix the issue with the tires rubbing for now and hopefully do it the right way and preferably not be too big of a project.

Hopefully that .20" on those spindles will take care of the problem up front.

The rear tires are rubbing sidewalls on the inner fender lips. I've rolled them pretty well but not all the way just yet. That seems to be the only rubbing issue out back.

The front tires are a different story. They are rubbing the inner fender lips on occasion but mainly if I go down a hill or if the road dips or changes level, it sounds like the tires are hitting the inner fender wells. I'd rather not go beating on those if I don't absolutely have to.

Front suspension is Eibach Pro springs kit, bumpsteer kit, tokico illumina struts (matching shocks in rear). obviously 5 lug with currently unknown spindles which i'll need to figure out, modern cobra brakes.

To throw another wrench into the story. It's been converted from quad shocks in rear to single tokico illuminas. The adjustment on the top of those shocks in the rear are long gone. The springs are most likely Eibach but I can't find a stamp or anything to indicate such. Also, it's running factory upper and lower rear control arms.

Front springs are stamped 05/99 so it looks like they were produced in the fifth week of 1999, so I can assume all the suspension parts and work are about 21 years old. Not sure if it's just time to replace those shocks at all corners, convert to coilovers, upgrade the rear lower control arms. The car also needs new bushings on the front control arms as well as needs new balljoints.

I suppose it may just be a good opportunity to do a full refresh on the suspension...

This thing is turning into a money pit, but I suppose I knew what I was signing up for when I brought it home...

I mainly just want it to stop rubbing, ride and perform well, be safe (i have small kids that like to go on rides), and look the part.
 

2000xp8

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I'm pretty sure the general agreement is that it's 8mm difference from 95 to 96 which is about 1/3 inch
Some guys report wider track width just going to 94/95 spindles from stock. I believe the actual spindle width is the same, but how the strut attaches coupled with camber adjustment can push the wheels out a little.
If you combine both going from fox to sn95, then to 96+, that last 1/3 of an inch may be what's putting it over the top.
 

Warhorse Racing

Active Member
Feb 10, 2019
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very well put together video and very nice ride. I love the way those 18's look on there. Very sharp. While I don't intend to do any autocrossing, it sounds like you have a very solid setup, it looks like you've crossed this same bridge as I am currently. These cars can be pretty dang fickle over one single mm at times it seems. I'm saving the setup you mentioned to my notes.

With all the recommendations, I should be able to figure this problem out one way or another.

I'm currently running 245/45/17s up front and 275/40/17's out back

Thanks!
Thanks! I hope the video was helpful. The car has only done one autocross in its current configuration (I just finished the rebuild in February), but it surprised a lot of people at the first event of the season.

MPS Auto Salvage in Georgia might have 94-95 spindles. If you are willing to pull them yourself, LKQ often gets 94-95 V6 cars that have the same spindles. They charge very little for spindles (about $35 each).

It's also a good idea to weigh the cost of changing the spindles, axles and brackets against the cost of 17x9" rims that fit the car. My rims cost about $125 each, so you might get more bang for the buck (and have to do a lot less work) by swapping rims (provided you can find the right offset and reuse your tires).

I can also say for sure that 94-98 OEM Tri-Bar Wheels and 99-04 OEM GT wheels will fit with 96-04 spindles and 94-98 axles. You can run a 245/45/17 square setup with those rims and they don't look out of place on the car.
 
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