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912 Wheels/tires questions

My '68 912 has chrome wheels but they are not original although they look original. (I purchased the car a year ago and am growing accustomed to numerous little *surprises*).They are 5.5"x15" and the tires are 185/70/15 all around. The inner offset is about 1.5" greater than a stock wheel. This creates a wider track but the tires in front, due to the increased offset, rub the fenders in front when the suspension is loaded (especially tight turns under braking). It is not a bad rub but it is definitely not a good thing.

I am trying to figure out what to do. My options:
1) keep these wheels but change the tires to something with less diameter - (195/60/15) would give me about 13mm
2) get a new set of wheels (probably steelies on my budget) with the correct offset

Any other suggests or solutions?

Thanks, Don
Old 01-06-2011, 11:02 AM
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How about offering up to trade (+ a little $) your two fronts for two 5.5x15 stock chromes. The other guy gets two rears with a wider track, you get two fronts of stock offset. If at all possible, keep those XWX Michelins.
Old 01-06-2011, 02:17 PM
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The 185/65/15 will work without the rubbing. 5.5/15 is correct for a 68. They used a 1/4 in. spacer

Last edited by Jaems; 01-06-2011 at 03:19 PM..
Old 01-06-2011, 03:17 PM
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5.5x15 is definitely correct for a '68, and the date codes may confirm that these were the car's original wheels. You should check those codes to see. The wheels appear to be in excellent condition, and it would be a shame to abandon them. As for the spacers, I was under the impression that factory spacers were used for the rear wheels in '68, but not for the front. Am I wrong about that? (Experts encouraged to chime in here.) In any case, you might try a set of spacers in the front to see if that resolves the problem, before going to the expense of replacing those nice Michelins.
Old 01-06-2011, 07:22 PM
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more info on these wheels

Many thanks for the ideas. I had a nice set of XWXs on the rear but they are worn down on the insides and no longer usable. The fronts are good but I see that they are pretty expensive to replace and will probably put 195/60s on all four. The C of A for the car says it was ordered with chrome wheels but I do not believe these chrome wheels came with the car. The markings on these wheels are as follows:

EMPI AOWX-672 3/71 010457 Made in Western Germany

Anyone know anything about these wheels? I liked the idea of of swapping out two for another set of chrome wheels with normal offset. The wider wheels work well in the rear and do not rub. I'll probably bring them to Hershey in April to see if there is a swap opportunity if nothing arises prior.
Old 01-10-2011, 10:41 AM
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What makes you think that your wheels have a larger offset?

Because it's real strange to find 5,5 " that way.

Some people had their 6"widend or altered, but 5,5 "?
Never heard of that.
Old 01-11-2011, 10:40 AM
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comparing offsets

I did measure these 5,5 chrome wheels with a pair of factory steel wheels. I put a straight piece of metal across the inside diameter of my chrome wheel and then measured the distance to the hub. The distance is 3 13/16". Using the same procedure on the steel wheels the distance is 4 15/16". So the chrome wheels create an extra 1 1/8" per side. When I have the chrome installed it is apparent as the wheels are slightly outside of the wells (F&R). The problem is the fronts will just touch the fenders under load (even with new Bilsteins). They probably would not cause a problem for a '69-'73 where the fenders were slightly flared (mine is a '68 with no flare).

I spoke to an experienced early Porsche rebuilder and he said it was not unheard of for owners to change the offset by cutting out the centers and re-welding them onto the rims to widen the track. I don't know if that was the case with these wheels or not as they look like factory welds on the inside. I know the EMPI is an aftermarket provider. Does it make sense that they made these for hotrod purposes?

Here is a photo where you'll note the front tires protrude an inch or so outside of the wheel wells:
Old 01-11-2011, 11:51 AM
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They will be marked this.


Old 01-11-2011, 02:12 PM
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That's what is stamped

5 1/2 J x 15 is stamped on the wheels. (see earlier post for all markings).

The wheel diameter and width are not the issue. It's about the inset.
Old 01-11-2011, 02:46 PM
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Donald:
Just for the record, on what part of the wheel is Empi stamped? Is there another mfg. stamp on the area visible when the hubcap is removed?
As for wheel widening, in the mid sixties (yeah, I've been around that long) it was common for guys racing/autocrossing Porsches to take their car to a "wheel shop" which made-up and customized wheels, not unlike hotrodders going to a driveshaft shop. These shops could weld-up just about any rim width/offset to the existing center section. This was all pre-Fuchs and options were limited to Minilites, Americans, etc.
If I were to take a longshot guess, I'd say that these rims had something to do with a Speedster kit or with custom VW's. Since Empi marketed a 4 lug VW to 5x130 Porsche wheel adapter, the possibilities are virtually endless.
Old 01-11-2011, 03:47 PM
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EMPI stamp

EMPI is stamped in the hub area near stud holes. You're right, EMPI was a big aftermarket shop for early VWs and there were a lot of hotrodder applications. EMPI is now in the surgical supply business so I may never really know the truth about them. Since they are EMPIs and they are all of the same serial number I'm guessing they are an EMPI product rather than modified product (but that's only a hunch). Anyone know more about EMPI rims for early Posches?
Old 01-12-2011, 11:06 AM
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In the stock factory steel wheels all 4.5JX15 will have the same offset, So will all 5.5Jx15 has the same Offset. The steel wheel will have the month/year, size, and the manufactures stamp. Empi is a VW aftermarket suppler. They made some items for the early 356. For the stock 5 lug steel wheels that started in 64 and ended in 76 only one manufacturer. It was not Empi.

There should not be any problems using the the Empi wheel. Only if you want to do concurs and they ask you to remove the hubcaps to check for date of manufacture.

As far as tire size, The California, Hotrod, and Autocross set like the fatter the tires the meaner it looks. Also the wider the tire the more torque it will take to get the car going. As far as traction the wider the tire the more strain to the suspension. You have to reinforce the contact points for the suspension for in time they will start pulling/ripping out. The early cars were not designed for the wider tires. I have used the 185/65/15 for years and do not have the rubbing like I did with the 185/70/15.

Only the Fuchs had different offsets depending on the model they went on and year of manufacture.


Old 01-12-2011, 12:09 PM
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possible solution?

Jaems,
Thanks for the info. I was thinking that a slightly lower profile tire would provide enough room not to rub. The wheels look very nice and the car is definitely never going to see a concours. What tire brand/model are you using? Thanks!
Old 01-12-2011, 01:51 PM
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I used the Bridgestone Protenza 960? I haven't looked at them in a while. It's winter here.
Old 01-12-2011, 02:08 PM
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Don, I also posted a response on your thread on the S-Registry, so forgive me for doubling up. After seeing your picture from the front of the car, here's my comment:

First off, your wheel looks like an original Lemmertz or Kronprinz (KPZ), which were the standard wheels sold with early Porsches. I'm pretty certain that Empi never made a wheel with the raised edge around the slots as the originals have (and as seen in your picture). A picture of the stampings under the hubcap would be very helpful, but lacking that, I can only imagine two scenarios: One, the wheels were remanufactured with an aftermarket (Empi) center having a non-stock offset. Two, you have some type of Empi spacer/adapter between the wheels and the car's hubs. I think those are the only ways you could get a 5.5" wheel to stick that far out of the fender.
Old 01-12-2011, 04:34 PM
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(This is a copy of my response to scaroll on the earlyS forum)

Your are correct, there is a "Lemmers" logo on the wheel. There is also an "EMPI" stamping as well so that's a little odd. Also, there are serial number stamping on the hub, I'll try to get a good photo of the hub and indicate the markings as soon as I can. The offset is very prominent. The C of A for the car lists "Ventilated Chrome Wheels" as an option. This is everything written on the wheel center (all four rims):
EMPI AOWX-672
3/71
010457
Made in Western Germany
Old 01-12-2011, 06:46 PM
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Check out this link & scroll about half way down to a post by user: bugjulie who has these wheels for sale (I've pasted the list below.) While none of them are what Donald has, the similar numbers to his show that Empi must have stamped (or overstamped) original Lemmertz wheels or (strictly speculation) might have arranged for the use of original tooling.
sprint stars - VZi, Europe's largest VW, community and sales
Posted by member bugjulie:
numbers on the wheels !!
the all say west germany, empi, lemmertz

4 1/2 J 4 72 empi AOWX-691 lemmertz 1569

4 1/2 J 4 73 empi AOWX-691 lemmertz 1569

4 1/2 J 9 71 empi AOWX-691 lemmertz 1569

4 1/2 J 4 71 empi AOWX-691 lemmertz 1569

5 1/2 4 72 empi 1568 vwx -689 lemmertz 1568

5 1/2 4 73 empi 1568 vwx -689 lemmertz 1568

( the above list is from the poster on the volkszone site)
Old 01-12-2011, 07:48 PM
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Now, that is really interesting. Could it be that Empi simply bought new Lemmertz wheels, repositioned the center, and stamped their name on them to cater to the hotrod Porsche market in the 70's?
Old 01-12-2011, 08:08 PM
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Here we go - this is from the 1971 Empi US master catalog, p.82. On the upper right, I've underlined in orange what seems to be the same part # we're talking about.
Old 01-13-2011, 09:21 AM
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Brilliant find! Yes, that is the correct part: #AOWX0672. Lemmerz was a Porsche wheel OEM and stamped them with "EMPI" (as they did for many 356 applications) probably at the chagrin of Porsche. I assume my wheels had the offset (inset) altered at some point although the welds look like they were not hand done. My wheels have a black painted centers which was customary for Lemmerz wheel centers. I'll try to post a good photo of them later today. Nice detective work WFB!

Wonder where/who changed the offset as the ad specifies "stock offset". Is it possible the stock offset for the '71 (LWB with flared front fenders) is different than for '65-'68 (SWB with no flaring)???

Last edited by Donald T; 01-13-2011 at 09:49 AM..
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