2019 Jimny wheel/tyre upgrade info

Factory the Australian JB74W 2019+ Jimny wears 195/80-15 highway terrain tyres on 5.5″ alloy wheels. While I quite liked the look of the wheels, it is advantageous to swap the wheels out for more offroad suitable wheels and tyres if you plan to really use the car.


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Some background info on tyres and wheels and my choices

I’ve actually run two sets of aftermarket wheels/tyres on this car, along with the stock wheels and tyres. I first ran steel wheels in 15×6.0″, +3 offset with 215/75-15 BFGoodrich KO2 tyres and presently run alloy wheels in 16×6.0″, -5 offset with 205R16 Bridgestone Dueler D697 tyres.

Upper: 15×6″ steel wheels, BFGoodrich KO2s in 215/75-15; lower: 16×6″ alloy wheels, Bridgestone D697 in 205R16. 2″ suspension lift for both (pic was taken on the same day).

There are benefits and drawbacks to all options for both tyres and wheels.

Wheels

  • Steel wheels are cheaper; alloy wheels are more expensive. I bough the steel wheels new for $75 a wheel; delivered the alloy wheels work out to be closer to $400 once shipping/taxes etc are taken into account.
  • Alloy wheels are lighter; steel wheels are heavier. In this case it’s only a couple of kg, but if you went more expensive forged alloy wheels they would be lighter again. The factory wheels are also quite light, most aftermarket wheels including alloys are going to be heavier than them (but also likely stronger).
  • These particular alloy wheels have exactly the right centre bore to use the hubcentric lip on the front hubs and can fit the rear caps; steel wheels need centering rings to do both of these things.
  • Steel wheels are often more durable than alloy, and if you bend them you can straighten them on an outback highway a lot easier.

I stuck to a 6″ wide wheel as it will be lighter than going a wider wheel. You really only need 7″ wide if you’re going to go a fair bit bigger than a 235 wide tyre, but, to be fully legal you need a 6″ wide wheel to go bigger than a 215 section tyre, too.

If you are looking for wheels, you need to find something that is between +5 and -20 offset if you’re going for full legality in Australia. The closer you keep things to stock the easier it is to keep the car happy, too. Larger offset wheels put more strain on bearings and change the steering geometry.

You need a 5×139.7 pitch circle (PCD), and if you want to easily retain the centre caps for the rear you need a 108mm centre bore. I discuss below how to fit the centre caps with wheels with a larger centre bore, which most steel wheels have. It’s not a dealbreaker but it’s something to consider.

I didn’t need to go a larger wheel for the 215s but I did it partly for the aesthetics, partly for the extra durability of steel wheels, and partly to try them out. I could have kept these and swapped to a larger 15″ tyre but I wanted to trial skinnier taller tyres so got the 16″ alloys as this opens up the possibility of those sizes.

The wheels I went for with the steel wheels were genuine Dynamic wheels in the classic Sunraysia style and the alloy wheels are the High Peak J-01 wheels from JimnyStyle in the UK.

Tyres

  • Some people don’t like KO2s but I found them to be really good: they wore well, they weren’t that much worse in the wet than the stock tyres (and I drove them back to back!) and they are exceptionally good offroad for an allterrain tyre.
  • The D697s despite being a larger tyre are lighter than the KO2s and are significantly quieter and better for fuel efficiency. They also are pretty good offroad but I guarantee they won’t be as good in mud.

There are other tyre choices in both sizes I’ve gone, and you could definitely consider different sizes e.g. 235/75-15 (for 15″ wheels) or 235/70-15 (for 16″ wheels) are basically the same size as 205R16. Tyre size wise the easiest option is going to 215/75-15 tyres. These are a tiny bit taller than the factory ones but not enough that it’s noticeable (roughly a 1% change in speedometer reading). Given the error on the factory speedo calibration that’s perfectly acceptable. Going a 235/75-15 or a 235/70-16 or 205R16 is a ~5.5% speedo change, which tends to put the factory speed reading bang on correct however it means your odometer will underestimate how far you’ve travelled & your fuel economy will appear 5.5% worse.

A drawback to larger tyres is that have the potential to rub on things under the car. A suspension lift alone doesn’t change clearance from the wheel/tyre to the body unless you do things like add longer bump stops. Some people report stock suspension do not rub with 235/75-15s, and then other people have had rubbing. It comes down to tyre choice, wheel width and offset choice, how the tyre you’ve chosen fits on that particular rim, and where your car left the factory in terms of caster angle. You can generally get away with trimming a bit of the inner guard and/or cable tying it back a little further, and bullbars cut away at the inner guard enough to help make things fit.

In short:

  • Stock tyres/27.5″ are pretty good – if you can’t afford to change them out then don’t, use them and see how you go!
  • 215/75-15/28″ if you want better choice of allterrain tyres and/or don’t want to have fitment issues
  • 235/75-15/29″ tyres if you’re willing to swap out wheels for wider ones, are willing to deal with higher fuel consumption & potentially deal with needing to cut away at some of the inner guards
  • Larger than that you probably need to do your own research beyond this site!

Tyre size table

This table is designed so ‘larger’ tyres are to the right. It should give the info, at a glance, that are some of the key dimensions. Some of the alternative tyres for that size are not exactly the same size so don’t rely on this for millimeteric perfection. Where there are multiples that I’d class as basically the same size, the calculations have been done based on the first size listed.

215/70-15Stock‘215s’Midway‘235s’30s31s33s
Inch size diameter26.9″27.3″27.7″28.5″29.0″30.0″31.0″33.0″
Usual sizes215/70-15; 205/75-15195/80-15 215/75-15215/80-15; 225/75-15235/75-15; 235/70-16; 205R1630×9.5-15; 245/75-1631×10.5-15 33×12.5-15; 33×10.5-15 also common
Recommended wheel width & permissable range (ETRTO and/or Aus standard)6.5″ (5.5 – 7″)5.5″ (5.0 – 6.5″)6.0″ (5.5 – 7.0″)6.0″ (5.5 – 7.0″)6.5″ (6.0 – 8.0″)7.5″ (6.5 – 8.5″)8.0″ (7.0-9.0″)9.0″ or 8.0″ (8-10″, or 7.0-9.0″)
Diameter difference (% to stock)-1.5%0%1.4%4.2%5.5%9%11.9%17.3%
Crawl speed km/h (idle @ 800 rpm, 1st gear low)
Manual/Auto
2.85
3.15
2.9
3.2
2.94
3.24
3.02
3.33
3.06
3.38
3.16
3.49
3.25
3.58
3.40
3.75
Revs @ 110 km/h (actual, top gear)
Manual/Auto
3495
3395
3444
3345
3396
3298
3299
3205
3255
3161
3134
3044
3034
2947
2848
2766
Available torque @ 90 km/h (top gear) Manual/Auto104 Nm
97 Nm
100 Nm
92 Nm
96 Nm
88 Nm
88 Nm
81 Nm
85 Nm
78 Nm
76 Nm
70 Nm
70 Nm
64 Nm
59 Nm
55 Nm
Available torque @ 100 km/h (top gear)
Manual / auto
127 Nm
123 Nm
125 Nm
119 Nm
122 Nm
116 Nm
116 Nm
108 Nm
113 Nm
105 Nm
103 Nm
95 Nm
94 Nm
87 Nm
79 Nm
72 Nm
Axle height change (lift over stock)-5 mm0 mm+5 mm+16mm+21mm+34mm+47mm+72mm
Will they rub?NoNoNoProbably notNot always, especially with a bullbarYesYesAbsolutely yes
Note: rubbing also depends on wheel fitment. Wider wheels for the same tyre size will generally result in a smaller overall diameter, plus wheel offsets come into it

Centering steel wheels

You see a lot of commentary that you can never get steel wheels balanced or centred correctly. One of the challenges on the Jimny is it has a very very very small centering ring on the front, designed for wheels with a centre bore of 108.0 mm. Most aftermarket wheels in 5×139.7mm stud pattern are for a more common 110.0 mm centre bore. Also note there is no centering at all on the back wheels, they are studcentric only.

The secret to getting things centered is to carefully tighten down the nuts, using the taper on the wheel nuts to centre the steel wheels. You should also do this on aluminium wheels, in fact, if you have aluminium wheels off centre e.g. on the back then you can ruin the taper in the wheels themselves.

Start by fitting the wheel up and hold it up just a bit off the studs. You’ll note it’s very much not centred by default with the studs way more to one side of the wheel holes to the others.

Start one wheel nut, and you’ll note how it touches more on one side of the wheel hole than the other. This will help get the first stud centred.

Once you get one nut sort of centred by hand, start an opposite nut; if you work back and forwards between a couple of opposing nuts and are careful you’ll get it all centred.

See how much more centred the stud is to the hole after sorting it out

At that point tighten everything up to an appropriate torque. Remember to retorque the wheels after 100-200 km especially if they are new wheels when they will settle down a bit.


Fitting factory centre caps to aftermarket wheels

The other factor with aftermarket wheels having a larger centre bore than the Jimny runs is the factory centre caps for the wheels need some spacing. I used some plastic centering rings with to go from 108 to 110 mm and fitted them to the caps. This lets me run the factory caps in my wheels.

The grey ring is a centring ring, 108 to 110 mm. It’s very thin walled, and I’m too lazy to paint it.

Painting the ends of your axles

If you’ve been driving around without the centre caps on the back for a while, or even in many cases if they are on, you might find your rear axle ends get a bit of surface rust on them.

This honestly looks worse than it is, it’s just very fine surface rust, but still a good idea to clean it up and treat it and stop it coming back.

A wire wheel is the best way to clean it up.

Then a bit of wax and grease remover and you’re good to go, after masking up the brake drum and other parts of the car to avoid overspray.

Use a good quality rust converter/treatment and then a rust preventing primer first for the best results here.

Then a nice top coat or two. I guess you could colourmatch this to your car if you were feeling fancy, but I went with plain ol’ black.

Peel back the masking tape, give a little clean out of the axle to drum interface with a thing like a sharp cutting blade, and you’re done.

I guess you could paint the drum too but I’ve found people end up with wheels that don’t sit straight when they do this.


Wheel/tyre weights

The weight for the BFG KO2 215/75-15 and also the 15×6 steels wheels comes in at 24.9 kg (54.9 lbs). The internet seems to suggest about 14.2 kg (32.1 lb), so each steel wheel is 10.7 kg on top of this.

Standard wheels and highway terrain tyres come in at 17.4 kg. Harder to find a weight for the standard Bridgestone Dueler H/T tyres but relying on a random person on the internet it seems 9.8 kg might be the number (21.6 lb). That’s based on a call to Bridgestone Australia so I’ll go with that for the moment. Add a comment to this article if you have more info!

Wheel weight
(kg, then lb)
Tyre weight
(kg, then lb)
Stock (17.4 kg)
7.6 (16.8)9.8 (21.6)
Steel wheel setup setup (24.9 kg)
steel 15×6″ + BFG KO2 215/75-15
10.7 (23.6)
[+3.1 kg, 40% heavier]
14.2 (32.1)
[+4.4 kg, 57% heavier]
Alloy wheel setup (21.4 kg)
alloy 16×6 + Bridgestone D697 205R16
Wheel options
American Racing AR62 15×7 (alloy)7.5 (16.5)
[-0.1 kg, -1.3%]
Rays ALap-J 16×6 (alloy)4.8 (10.6)

[-2.8 kg, 37% lighter]
Apio WILDBOAR SR15 (15×6 -5; alloy)~7.6 kg (~16.8)

[same]
EVOCorse DakarZero 15×7″ (specifies only a weight range)8.8 to 9.5 kg (19.4 to 20.9 lb)
[1.2 kg to 1.9 kg, 15-25% heavier]
Tyre options
Toyo Open Country AT2 215/75-1511.8 kg [+2 kg, 20% heavier]
Nankang FT-7 215/80-1513.0 kg [+3.2 kg, 33% heavier]