Friday, April 26, 2013


Wheels have been a big focus this month. As I wrote before, I went with a set of Axis XMX wheels. However, I wasn't happy with one small detail, something I took for granted. The VW center caps don't fit after market wheels unless they specifically say so.

I went to my local VW dealer, Dorito Brothers in Walnut Creek, and the parts department was very generous with their time as they tried to fit VW center caps of various sizes on the XMX wheels. The enormous Toureg center caps were close, and I even tried a rubber mallet to get them to fit, but no dice. I ordered stickers for the center caps on Ebay before I realized this really wasn't going to do it for me. I returned the wheels to Tire Rack without any trouble.

Volkswagen OEM wheels are about $450 each, compared to the $175-200 you'll find with after market wheels, but once they're used, the price falls dramatically. With that in mind, and not too concerned with minor curb rash and blemishes (like I have on my Detroits), I found a set of used Mallory wheels that looked like they would fit.

I arranged the purchase and had them shipped. In the mean time, I did even more research, perhaps research I should have done initially, and found confusion. Some said they fit, some didn't. I expressed my concern with the seller, mostly to let him know I would likely re-sell them if they didn't fit, but he assured me they would. Various third party parts sellers sold these and other wheels claiming they fit the GTI, so I wasn't sure why there was confusion. The keyword, it turns out is "poke."

Poke refers to the wheels poking out from the fender. The offset on the back wheels is different than on the front, so although the Mallory wheels fit great on the back, there is a slight amount of poke on the front. This is a style issue for most people, as there's not a lot of down side to some poke, although I've read complains about wheels that poke dirtying up the sides of the car. As a detailing fanatic, that wasn't going to fly with me. So no poke.  I'm re-selling the Mallory's on VWVortex, where I found them, but I'll likely move to Ebay soon, since the original post sat for quite some time.

So what's the solution? When the center cap issue first started, I posted on VWVortex asking for suggestions. Besides the stickers, I was told about a company that tackles the aftermarket versus OEM issue head on. Velocity Motoring (VMR) designs wheels specifically to fit particular cars, including use of the stock center cap. Looking over all the options, I went with the very popular V710's, a wheel so common on GTI's that it lacks exclusivity. I've got no problem with that, I just want something nice, less garish, that fits properly. I do appreciate the clean, stock look for the most part.

I've got VMR V710's in gunmetal on order through PYSpeed. They were helpful as I went through this, including canceling one order and helping me get the proper sizing on the second. Unfortunately, during my vacillation, the wheels went out of stock, so I've got a three week delay. They cut me a deal for waiting, which is fine, since I still have about 3,500 miles left on the original tires. Plus I still need to pay for all that other gear I bought for my 40,000 mile service.

One question that remains is whether the gunmetal wheels will look alright with the stock lug bolts. Lug bolts are about $85 for a full set, so it's not an insignificant expense.

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