DIY: Making room for 235/70R15s on 03-08 SG Forester. (Or 28" overall diameter tires)

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When lifting up your Subaru there are many questions to ask… How tall will my lift be? What wheels will I go with? And what kind of tires will I put on it.? For me the tire size question was the toughest when I mulled it over.. which was over 2 years ago. The plethora of data and knowledge that is here today, wasn’t there… Sure there were a few adventurous souls who had taken the plunge and found the maximum tires sizes that fit or ones that rubbed portions of the car until either the tire wore down or the car.

Stock size tire up front 215/60r16 , 225/75 in the middle and 235/70 on the far side

Stock size tire up front 215/60r16 , 225/75 in the middle and 235/70 on the far side

A few tools you will need for this 10 mm socket and ratchet, your favorite box cutter or exacto knife and a hammer that is up for the task. Lastly a piece of sand paper and a can of spray on paint or undercoating paint. And open mind with no qualms about smashing away your poor Subaru.

Getting ready to try them out.. and here comes the trial and error fitment.

Getting ready to try them out.. and here comes the trial and error fitment.

Researching this lead me to two different tire sizes and my ultimate decision which was 235/70R15s. I decided on this size given my wheel choice of a 15” with a 7 inch width. I felt a 225 would work well but a 235 would really fill the fender well up and sit perfectly on a 7” wide wheel. After installing my 2” lift and waiting for my wheels to arrive the big day was here. Would they fit or would I have to make them fit? That answer came quickly.

Placing the wheels on the hubs showed that the first causality of the larger sized tires was the factory mud flaps. They are held in with only two screws and speed nuts. My bolts conveniently broke right off with just a a bit of twisting. So off they went.. never to be heard from again.

It fits but needs some help around the edges during turning.

It fits but needs some help around the edges during turning.

Thanks for your hardwork factory mud flaps!

Thanks for your hardwork factory mud flaps!

Now with the mudflaps out of the way we can get to the modification of the inner fender liner. In the center of the fender liner you will see raised portion that houses the seam weld. You will need to cut back this portion of the fender liner to expose the seam weld. A more patient person could remove the fender liner and complete the next step.. then installing it again for a more stock look.

With the the cutting finished it is now time to take out your favorite hammer or other blunt object to finish up this project. Hammering over the seam weld flat will gain you the largest amount of tire clearance. The sheet metal isn’t too tough and will easily bend to your will. After getting it as flat as you need it, you can place the tire back on and turn the wheel back and forth to double check that everything clears.

Text above says it all. It was too dark to photograph it during.

Text above says it all. It was too dark to photograph it during.

Downward angle showing the cleared out of the way.

Downward angle showing the cleared out of the way.

Lastly now that everything is where it needs to be and your tires can now turn freely. Take a sanding block or sheet and rough up the surface where the paint and undercoating has chipped off during your hammer session. This helps keep rust from appearing and trying to take over yet another location of your car. And with that your work is complete… stand back and enjoy your hard work and go for a nice drive.

Fresh paint with undercoating additive. The line in the middle shows the amount of seam that is folded over.

Fresh paint with undercoating additive. The line in the middle shows the amount of seam that is folded over.

More photos below show just how tight this fitment is in the fender and with the suspension. 28” use every available ounce of space to get the job done.

A visual aid on just how tight this fitment is. The 2mm thick mud flaps actually catch from time to time.

A visual aid on just how tight this fitment is. The 2mm thick mud flaps actually catch from time to time.

Front clearance isn’t much better bit there is no rubbing here.

Front clearance isn’t much better bit there is no rubbing here.

Lastly, here is the inner clearance between the strut. Really making the most of the available space!

Lastly, here is the inner clearance between the strut. Really making the most of the available space!

Dan EngstromComment