Syncro Tire Fitment

What is the biggest tire you can fit on a stock Syncro?
Well, there are many answers to that question I generally say in practice that 29.25" tall should be considered the maximum without doing body modifications to the vehicle.  If you go all the way to 29.25" tall you will have very tight fender clearance at the front of the vehicle.  I have run a Syncro with stock suspension (47cm between wheel hub and fender) and 205R16 (29.2" tall) tires and have not had a rubbing problem at all.  I am running 6.50R16 (29.4" tall) on my Syncro Single Cab and the black 'splash guard' at the back of the front wheel opening rubs slightly under full compression, again there is not a lift kit installed on this vehicle.  Installing a lift kit (~51 to 52cm between hub and fender) will virtually eliminate the rubbing problem with this size of tire if you have the factory splash guards or wheel arches installed.

As a part of my TriStar project, I will be installing 225/75R16 tires (29.2" tall) and the Fast Forward lift kit.  Below is photos of a 225/75R16 being test fitted on our TriStar and a floor jack simulating a lift kit as we do not have this installed as of yet.

225/75R16 on 16x6.5 ET23

225/75R16 on 16x6.5 ET23

Rear trailing arm clearance.
As you see, the tightest location is at the back of the front fender opening where the wheel arch is.  The mud flap will have to go too.

What is the BIGGEST size of tire that you can install on a Syncro?
I have gone larger on my Syncro Westfalia Joker.  Currently I am running 215/85R16 which is 30.3" tall.  In order to achieve this, I had to install modified trailing arms that move the wheel 25mm farther back so that the larger tire will not hit the trailing arm.  I also had to trim the rear section of each of the fender openings so that the tire would not hit the body.  I have test fitted 235/85R16 and 7.50R16 (both are 31.7" tall) - these are on our Syncro Westfalia and they just fit - with minor trimming to the rear trailing arm the fitment would allow for rocks to be caught in the tread.

235/85R16 on 16x8.0 ET5 235/85R16 on 16x8.0 ET5

As you can see from the above photos, minor fender trimming is needed to accommodate tires larger than 29.25" tall.  I would have to say with the 32" tires installed that you would have to do a little more trimming again.

There are a few other factors to consider when running larger tires and the biggest one is the hit on performance you will take.  The bigger the tire the more sluggish the van will feel unless you change you gearing or upgrade the motor with something with more power.  My Syncro Westfalia Joker has stock gearing but the stronger 112hp European 2.1L motor and I have no problems with my 215/85R16 tires.  I have run 29" tall tires with stock 2.1L 90hp engines and have found the performance to be acceptable.

Related information: Syncro Tire Size and Gearing Calculator

If you have any questions or comments or would like to contribute to the information found at, please contact me at
4356 Quesnel Hixon Road
Quesnel BC Canada V2J 6Z3

Phone: (250) 992 7775
Fax: (250) 992 1160

2004 David Marshall