Project 5.0 Mustang - Building the Perfect Wheel Set with HRE and Nitto Tire!

by Mike Kojima

Last time we saw Project Mustang, it was off getting some new suspension.  With much improved underpinnings the stock wheels and tires were pretty wimpy.  Our Mustang came with 255/40-19 tires on a 19x9 inch wheel from the factory, pretty small for a heavy and powerful car.  With an improved Whiteline and KW suspension setup we wanted wider and more grippy tires to exploit all that our highly adjustable suspension has to offer.

Despite being almost 2" lower, our car still had a big fender gap, not looking lowered at all.  It was a vast improvement over the stock rally car look but it still didn't look low or sporty.  Not that we are that much into looks but hey we like a low and mean looking car just as much as the next guy.

We wanted to stuff as much tire as we could into the stock wheelwells with the caveat that we could not accept any rubbing or cutting of the tire at all.  The Mustang is a driver that sees a daily 60 mile commute and this sort of stuff cannot be tolerated in day to day use.  Since this car stacks up the miles, it also precludes us from getting some super soft gumball UHP street class time attack tires.  We will have to compromise and look at wear as we can't afford to get big tires every few months!

Read more about project Mustang!

We asked and HRE wheels responded.  Knowing that we were going to be picky on our fitment they invited us to their headquarters to confirm that our fitment would work with our lowered car.  The first step is of course removing the stock wheels and tires.

We decided to run HRE's one piece FF01 wheel.  We chose the FF01 because it uses HRE's flow formed technology.  HRE's flow formed wheels are made in Japan. FlowForm wheels are created using a unique casting and forming process that obtains strengths similar to a forged wheel.The process begins by pouring molten aluminum into a mold face-side-down followed by rapid cooling. By doing this, the aluminum alloy is condensed and in turn enhances the elastic strength and durability. After the wheel is formed it is pulled from the mold and placed into the flow forming tooling which is similar to the concept of a potters’ wheel. This process stretches the barrel to a defined profile and thickness, ultimately giving the wheel its final shape . This “stretching” improves the grain structure of the aluminum making it stronger, lighter and more precise than a non-flow formed barrel resulting in forged aluminum-like strength.

After the initial fit up it was determined that a 20x10.5" wheel with a 45mm offset would fit a 285/30-20 tire all the way around, off the shelf recommendation is a 9.5" width and a 255 tire.  This is quite a bit wider than the stock wheels and tires!  Due to our KW coilovers having a lower spring seat and our choice to run a more aggressive 10.5" front, we had to run a thin 5mm spacer to gain clearance.  Without the spacer we had a barely acceptable 3-4mm of clearance and the spacer got us out to a safer 7-8mm.

Measuring the clearance to the coilovers.

Everything fit with no rubbing so far.  The FF01 wheel is a lightweight 27 lbs, a good number considering how big of a wheel it is.  The HRE wheels are lighter than the stock wheels which weigh 30 lbs even though they are much smaller.
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Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 11:20 PM
Really liking the way this is coming along. I would suggest a vinyl accent like a couple pinstripes to go with the wheel color, but I'm afraid people would mistake it for track day painter's tape!
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 3:53 AM
There is something i don't understand here.

You had the wheels made to your specs ... Yet you chose to order ET45 and use a 3mm spacer.

Why didn't you order ET42 wheels and get rid of the spacers ?
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 4:07 AM
Since these wheels fill the arches better they must be a larger overall diameter. What has the effect been on the acceleration and the speedometer reading?
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 5:00 AM
@Crousti: The flow form wheels are 1 piece and not made to order. Almost all other HRE's are 3 piece and allow for completely custom fitment.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 6:33 AM
How much droop travel does the car still have? Judging by the pictures at ride height versus the pictures where the wheels are being removed, it only looks like an inch or two. Is the back (which needs lots of droop travel due to the live axle) the same way?
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 7:26 AM
The car now needs a sky blue GT350-esque aesthetics package to go with the wheels. Will the car be regeared at some point now? I believe stock is a 3.31, a 3.55 or 3.73 would cover up any effects the wheels have had. If the gaps have been filled, then the MOI has increased regardless of the 3# drop in wheel weight.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 7:29 AM
@Crousti: besides, you wouldn't be able to rotate the tires with different offset wheels.
Nick B
Nick Blink
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 7:39 AM
@Supercharged - The gearing in the rear is 3.73 already from the factory (ordered as an option). We've also been discussing "accent" packages but it just looks so clean with it being all white and the wheels have this "pop" to them now, don't want to over do it and become tacky.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 8:47 AM
@Rockwood: why?! :S

Although the wheels are lighter, with bigger tires how did the overall stood? :)

Way better than before... Nice!
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 10:58 AM
The rear is around 2", that's all it needs,
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 11:14 AM
So the plan is to daily drive/commute on a 285mm 20" setup? I'm assuming you're not paying for rubber...? Or just really, really rich?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 1:31 PM
Don't hate us because we are beautiful!
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 1:35 PM
The link to read more about Project Mustang takes you to the grey one.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 1:44 PM
The car certainly looks faster with the new suspension and wheels compared to the off-road-ready stock look. I still think 20s look huge, and the stock 19s are plenty big, but it looks good anyway. Would love to see how the performance compares to to some other cars now, get that thing back on the track.

Did going to the 20s hurt the ride in a noticeable way?
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 5:51 PM
@martin: I hope you are joking. The 285/20 nt555 has a good tread wear rating and is comparable in cost to any standard high end tire from Yokohama or Michelin I a 225/17. Anyone who puts halfway decent tires on their cars should consider these a steal.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 8:41 PM
UTQG is like 300 I think or twice that of the NT05 or most of the good UHP summer tires of any brand for that matter. Although it isn't going to win street class time attack, the 555 is a great, long lasting daily tire.
Thursday, February 13, 2014 10:25 AM
I really dig that wheel color!
I ride 18" on mine with stock height and the car looks like a monster truck! The wheels combo and ride height on this one looks perfect!
How does the car ride with 30 profile tires and coilovers suspension?

Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, February 13, 2014 10:38 AM
The car rides really well. For instance it rides smoother than a stock GT-R, or EVO. It's firm and not wallowy. However it's not harsh. The car shuld have been like this from the factory. It's KW's signature control without harshness feeling.
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Thursday, February 13, 2014 12:18 PM
The Grey Mustang also uses NT555s for daily driving purposes. They are a great summer tire that is still top notch in the wet and even in below-freezing temperatures.
Friday, February 14, 2014 10:33 AM
Anymore reasoning to pick the NT555 over something like say, a Yokohama S.drive or Hankook Ventus V12? I've been looking for summer tires and a lot of comments on the NT555 were its an old design and can't keep up with newer tires.
Saturday, February 15, 2014 2:45 PM
For those asking about the ride quality, it's fantastic. When everything came together, it made for a very comfortable, daily-drivable experience! It's very smooth, quiet and absolutely no rubbing.

The only downside has been losing the ability to switch lanes on the road, due to people next to me asking questions. ;) overall, this is a great combination of parts and wait till you see what's next for Project 5.0 (the white one) !
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Saturday, February 15, 2014 8:15 PM
Of course the 555 is not going to compete with stuff like the RS3, NT05, 615K, Pilot Sport etc but it will go head to head with any of the long wearing summer tires while outlasting the sticky tires 2 to1
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 2:05 PM
The Nitto Motivos (UTQG 560) on Project TDI have a little over 40k miles on them and have BARELY worn through the first of three alignment check dots. I'll probably run out of time before I replace them (5 years is my max unless the sidewalls start checking) instead of wearing them down to bald. That would be the first time in my driving career that's ever happened, and I'm not super nice to these tires.

Since UTQG is supposed to be consistment among tire choices from one manufacturer (but not to each other), I'd guess on 40k miles out of these tires as long as wheelspin and abuse aren't too bad. Not bad at all, considering.
Monday, April 18, 2016 8:30 PM
I am also in the pre stages of building my own 2014 Project Mustang (White), and have been closely looking at the same wheel set up. I had liked the HRE FF01 in Tarmac, but now sort of gravitating to the IPA. I am also toying with what profile tire I should run front and back. I would have never thought putting a 10.5 rim in the Front but you guys made it look so easy and it looks awesome.

Can you guys send me a detailed set up of all that you did so I can follow as well for my set up? I would greatly appreciate it as it would ease some of the grey areas in the decision making process.

Thanks much.

Houston White 5.0
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