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Tyred of Wheely Problems

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  • Tyred of Wheely Problems

    When I took on my first Cabrio, it had 4 factory supplied wheels, but no spare..and as the boot had a carrier but no space saver or cover, I set about finding a matching wheel. I posted on this forum...I searched on Ebay, I contacted Terry Matthews at the factory...but I didn't succeed in finding either a matching wheel or even the make and type. According to the archive the standard fitment are 6.5 J x 15", 4 x 108 pcd and ET 35. (Interesting as the 4 wheels on my Cabrio were 15" x 7J). In an article in Pitstop, Jeremy Carrington (whom some members may remember) wrote a fascinating article about his Berlinetta wheels and tyres, in which he outlined the almost extraordinary contrast between wet and dry road holding and handling, which he had greatly improved by reducing the tyre size to something more "normal". He also noted the improved steering weight and feel. I solved my problems on the Cabrio when Cameron Furnival advertised a set of 15" Marlin-supplied Berlinetta wheels, which duly refurbished and reshod served me well until John Tootle sold me a set of 16" wheels with as-new tyres, which with appropriate spacers and long studs etc, were also great or even better.
    I now find myself with a similar problem to solve. My blue Cabrio has gone to a new home and I'm trying to sort out my new Hunter. The wheels are (again) 15" x 7J, although Marlin factory supplied, and in need of refurbishment. Again, there are only 4, but there is a space saver on the boot. They were made by TSW, who manufacture in India. I have not been able to find the style name, so as the cost of refurbishment of the old is very close to the cost of buying new, and a new set would at least have a production window long enough for spares to be available if required, I've been looking at options for a new set, starting at the stated standard spec as listed in the FAQ answers on this section of the forum. I have found three different makes and styles which I like, largely similar to my existing multispoke wheels, relatively quick and easy to clean when necessary etc etc. One of the three has multiple drillings for studs / bolts so they would fit various makes and models of car. ...but no cover for the bolts.Off the other two, the "perfect" wheel is no longer available and the last not available in 15". NONE of them are available in 6.5J, and NONE of them with an Offset of ET 35. The best offer I've received so far is 15" x 7J, ET40.
    I admit to being on the very edge of my technical grasp of the theory here. It seems logical that the "best" weight and feel on the steering will be found with the official, recommended wheel and tyre size....which is 6.5J x 15", 4 x 108 pcd, ET 35, running 195 x 65 tyres at about 22-23 PSI. When I'm offered only 7J and ET 40, and the salesman (who sounded about 16) tells me "It won't make much difference" and the cost is going to be several hundred pounds.....I realize I need some more technical advice please!

  • #2
    hi bill,
    i have had a few berlinettas , all gone now and currently have a cabrio, the wheels are 4x108 pcd et35 , i had to replace the tyres last year , it now has 195/65 R15 and the road holding is excellent, i did have to tweak the tracking but it now steers positively and drives in straight line and just feels right.
    my memory tells me on the berlinettas with big wheels and big tyres it looked great , but you really had to drive the car and manege it with enthusiasm to get it to drive properly, it was a constant challenge, it was worse on the cortina version and a bit better on the sierra version , this has all led me to believe that the largest wheel tyre permutation is 15 inch 108pcd et35 wheels with 195/65 tyres to get it to feel right,, i cant see what J the wheels are on them but the receiot says 7 X15 ....good luck with whatever direction you go in.....
    4th Marlin owner


    • #3
      Hi Bill, not sure where your info is from. The Berlinetta wheels as supplied by Marlin was Weller steel in silver grey 15x7 or 15x6 or Compomotive cx 15x6 .
      When the Cabrio became available the build manual stated 15x 6 and recommended the tyre size 205 65 15. with a negative off set of between 23 and 33 The compomotive was still available at this time in 6 or 7. with that off set. Then the compomotive ceased production. Builders used what ever they could find / or liked or whatever. Front wheel drive alloys were available in large numbers . So wheels were fitted with spacers / sometimes the turning circle had to be restricted on the rack to be able to use wheels of choice. Marlin used what they could buy and so on. Then 205 tyres were not so easy to come by. So you can see how this is developing. The early build manual for the Cabrio recommended the tyre size 205 65 15 but stated lower profile tyres would be satisfactory but this would leave a gap around the spare wheel in the well.
      You could of course spend some serious money and go for knock on wires then you might get close to what you want. Perhaps leave what you have on the car if you plan to use it during winter months and perhaps you will have made your mind up by spring.