Daniel Groves

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Planvan: Wheel Swapout

Published: 7 October 2018 · Tags: planvan, van

The first change has arrived, and it's a simple one. The van gets new wheels.

The first big change since getting the van has finally happened – new wheels. When I got the van it was specced with black 20” alloys. For me, these were pretty impractical as minimal tyre sidewall meant they got damaged easily on the rough country roads I find myself on most of the time. The big plus side to them was the sheer amount of rubber on the road which did mean the van cornered exceptionally well for a vehicle of its size and weight.

The wheels that I’ve replaced them with are the 17” VW Devonport alloys from the new T6 Highline. These are significantly smaller, and this is reflected in the tyre profile which maintains the same circumference as the old 20” alloys. For reference the original wheels took a tyre that was 255/35VR20, whereas these new ones have 215/70R17 but will be upgraded to the biggest tyre they can take as and when the tyres wear-out, a 235/65R17.

 alt: Old wheels on the van  alt: New wheels on the van
Left: Old wheels on the van, somewhere on Exmoor. Right: New wheels on the van, at home.

These were a straight swap which makes life easy, and still look pretty good in my opinion. After a full wheel-alignment (critical after changing your wheel size) the van drives as well as before, but has much better ride through the bumps. It’s lost some cornering stability, but that’s to be expected when running smaller wheels with a deeper tyre profile.

I ended up going with the Devonport wheels for a few reasons: they’re factory spec, so I can trust the quality; they’re a sensible size; and I could pick up four with brand-new tyres for less than the cost of four tyres for my existing wheels. On top of that I can sell my existing wheels for around £500 which basically means four new tyres only set me back £50 – significantly better than the £800 I was looking at before. Replacement tyres are a somewhat more sensible £100ish a wheel than the £200ish I was looking at before.

Next up is starting on the sound-deadening and insulation ready for the upcoming winter, stayed tuned for that in the next few weeks.