A while back I posted about ride quality concerns with custom 20" wheels and 285/50's that I had installed and received a lot of great advice. The advice was mainly to go back to the original 18's and call it a day. I've never been good at listening to advice until I've explored all possibilities. Call me stupid, stubborn, persistent, insane...whatever, it's just the way I am.
For those still looking to upgrade to a plus size wheel/tire combo I'd like to share my experience to save you the painful trip down the road I've traveled to get this all straightened out. I believe that I, for whatever reason, have really bad luck when it comes to aftermarket mods on vehicles, but my pain could be your gain, so maybe it's worth it.
While some will recommend that you not #$$% with your wheels and their advice has some great merit, you just can't beat the look of a nice set of 20's with an aggressive tire. Hey, what can I say, I live in So Cal where everyone expresses their personality through their rides. Vanity is alive and well here.
About 2 months ago I went searching for custom wheels. I went to a major tire franchise (conveniently a few blocks away) and met with some great people (I will refer to them as "pros" from here on out) who gave me a bunch of wheel selections to choose from. The first red flag should have been the fact that the bolt pattern on the Path is not all that common according to the so called "pros" (i.e. 6 x 4.5" or 114.3mm). They did find a couple wheels that I liked, ordered them, installed a set and off I went.
The first problem i noticed was the vibration in the steering wheel at 60+ mph. I figured it was a balancing issue so I took it back. I also noticed that the vehicle seemed hypersensitive to bumps but realized after posting here that's what you sacrifice for the larger diameter wheel and lower profile tire.
To make a long story shorter, I took the vehicle back 9 times....9 times! The "pros" switched out the rims for different types 3 times, the tires 3 times and finally figured it had something to do with the centerbore of the wheel not matching the hub diameter (hmmmmm....you think?). So, these guys order a set of hub rings that supposedly fit the vehicle hub while the outer diameter of the ring is supposed to fill the gap in the wheel bore. They installed them and off I went. Guess what, still had the vibration.
By this time the "pros" have just about given up. They send me to a true pro who balances wheels on the vehicle and after an hour drive to them they have an answer within 5 minutes. This real pro tells me that the hub ring isn't the right fit for the vehicle. He says that it doesn't matter how many times they balance my wheels, they will never be true without a perfect hub fit (i.e. either with rings or via a hub centric wheel). I didn't know the first thing about wheel bores, hub rings, etc. but I'm a smart guy so I start taking notes and jot down the hub diameter of the pathfinder (66.1mm) and also have the guy I went to visit call the "pros" to tell them exactly what they need to do which you'd think is standard procedure.
So, I have a lengthy discussion with the "pros" and they say that nobody makes a hub ring with a 66.1mm inner diameter (and that nobody in this area builds custom rings), and that the best bet is to go back to 18's and find a hub centric wheel with a bore of 66.1. At this point, I don't buy what I'm being told so I do some research. Guess what, within minutes of online surfing I find a ring that fits the vehicle perfectly. I find out what wheel distributor this tire franchise uses and speak to a guy there who is very knowledgeable in wheel fitments (there not used to speaking with the actual end customer but was very accommodating) and you know what, within 10 minutes I found a 20" wheel with a wheel bore of 72.6..where they also have a hub ring with an inner diameter of 66.1 up to 72.6 for a perfect fit.
Needless to say, I was numb (beyond angry, just floored) that these "pros" wasted so much of my time (about 9 hours now) for something that, had I been educated enough on this stuff, would have known exactly what to ask when ordering. But that's why we go to "pros" right?
The moral of this story is, when getting custom wheels for your late model pathfinder (or really any vehicle for that matter) don't rely solely on what the "pros" say is a good fit. There are some vehicles out there that seem to do okay with a wheel bore that is slightly different that the hub, but not the pathfinder. Find out for yourself, do the research and make sure the perfect fit is found. And just as a side note, the ride quality, once the wheel actually fits isn't bad at all. Yes, the bumps can be felt in the steering wheel, but the vehicle doesn't stray from it's course and rides just fine.
Thanks and hope this helps.