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Fox Body Wheel Selection Guide

Written By: Connor MC

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Picking out a new set of wheels for your Fox Body can be a daunting task, but also one of the most rewarding modifications you can make. Shop our selection of popular performance and drag wheels to find the set that's right for your car.

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For many Fox Body owners, the OEM wheels are not only too small, but also a bit plain Jane. It is no wonder why, then, that one of the first modification a Fox owner makes is to jazz up their ride with some new kicks.

Fox Body Wheel Sizing

  • Upgrading your undersized Fox Body stock wheels can greatly increase aesthetic appeal and the car’s handling
  • While most new vehicles and aftermarket companies supply 5-lug wheels, Fox Body features a 4-lug wheel, which can create some difficulty during wheel upgrades
  • Wheel choices are astounding and finishes are available in chrome, polished, matte, powder coated, regular, or deep dish
  • For racing purposes, superlight wheels on your Fox Body can give you better handling and keep down the total weight of your Mustang 

Late Fox-era Mustangs rolled out of the factory on 15x7” aluminum rims shod with a 225/60 tire – very small indeed, at least by today’s standards. Furthermore, the relatively high riding position of the body only further accented the tiny wheel look, giving an oddly disproportional look to the car. Filling those fenderwells with some larger rims not only greatly increases the aesthetic appeal, but can also improve handling! So, what exactly can we fit? Foxbody Mustangs can accommodate wheel sizes anywhere from 15x7” to 17x9”, with a maximum tire size of 245mm wide. Going with a rim wider than 9” is not possible without modifying the wheel well, otherwise your new rims will possibly scrape against the control arms and fender lips!

Looking for different tire sizing calculations, or just want to see how much those new rims are going to throw off your speedometer? A tire size calculator will help you solve fitment and spacing issues, as well as give you insight into measurements and differences between tires.

Foxbody with BBS Chrome Rims at a Show

4 or 5 Lug Fox Body Wheels?

Another issue to address is the number of lug nuts. The stock Foxbody setup only accepts 4 lug wheels, yet most modern cars, and subsequently aftermarket wheel companies, have moved on to 5 lug wheels. What is the difference, you ask? Well, the difference between 4 lug and 5 lug is simply 1 lug! Who says math isn’t useful? Joking aside, the main advantage a 5 lug setup has over a 4 lug is the availability of wheels. As mentioned, the majority of wheels produced today are 5 lug, thus you’ll have a greater selection looking through the 5 lug pool. If you do see a wheel you like that is 5 lug, you will need to convert your Fox to a 5 lug setup in order to accommodate it (if it hasn’t been done already). Luckily, the conversion to 5 lug isn’t all that hard, and once done lays a great foundation if you ever wish to upgrade the brakes. Despite all this 5 lug talk, there are still plenty of very nice wheels out there that are available in the traditional 4 lug fashion, so you needn’t worry if your car is stock.

Foxbody Cobra R Style 4 Lug Wheel

Fox Mustang Wheel Styles

The amount of wheel options is astounding. Add in the various finishes and the choices become overwhelming! Chrome, polished, matte, powder coated, regular or deep dish – many of the same wheel designs are available in all of these different forms, adding to an already difficult decision. Let’s break it down.

Chrome Finish: Ah, the classic mirror-smooth finish. Chromed-out pieces have been on cars for decades. Perhaps what is even more interesting is after all these years they are still extremely stylish! In terms of durability, a chrome finish receives a mixed review. The chroming process can either be a blessing or a curse. Traditionally, chroming a wheel involved layering nickel, bronze, and chromium onto a prepared surface and that was it. No clear coat. Needless to say, it's easy for moisture and air to seep in, particularly due to chrome’s natural brittleness. Minor stresses during driving can crack or flake the chrome finish because although adhered to the rim, it does not bend or flex as the metal rim does underneath, thus leaving it exposed to the elements. On the other hand, chrome plating technology has evolved and there are now clear coats available that adhere to chrome, giving it a longer life with less maintenance. Maintenance requires careful washing (water & soap) and lots of chrome polish for touch-ups and to maintain that incredible luster. Think of chrome rims as a supermodel wife – she can require high maintenance, but when you take her out, damn does she looks good! And, you know everyone else is looking, too!

Foxbody Chrome Pony Rim

Painted Finish: Gone are the days of boring metal rims. With advances in paint technology, there is a plethora of colors and finishes available. Gloss, matte, powder coating – these are three of the most popular (and common) finishes. Starting with a prepared rim surface, painted rims are first hit with some primer, then several layers of automotive grade finishing paint (color & style varies), and completed with a protective clear coat. Maintenance is virtually none apart from the occasional wash. Dealing with curb rash, however, is a bit difficult. If some of the finish has rubbed off you can touch it up yourself, but chances are you won’t be able to get a perfect match and blending, thus leaving an off spot. Seeing as the initial paint took a very specific process, a seamless finish will require the whole wheel to be sprayed again. Fear not, however, as this is the worst case scenario. Besides, who goes about bashing into curbs anyway?!

4 Lug AmericanMuscle Painted Black Rim

Polished Finish: A polished rim is a bare rim that has been buffed with increasingly softer materials to give it a high metallic shine. In terms of durability and maintenance, polished rims are less fussy then the supermodel chrome variant. Like chrome, polished wheels can come with or without clear coat. The clear coated varieties are definitely easier to maintain as the clear coat will seal the metal from moisture and air. Unsealed rims will need to be washed, waxed, and buffed to keep oxidation and rust at bay. It is best to wash them with a non-abrasive, non-acid cleaner solution/water mix.

Deep Dish Wheels: If you know what a deep dish pizza is, then you know exactly what a deep dish wheel is. Pretty much the same concept, except one tastes better than the other. A deep dish wheel is essentially a wheel that has a recessed face, meaning that the design or pattern of the wheel (i.e the spokes) is not flush with the outermost edge. Instead, it is inlayed by several inches. There are no performance or durability gains but rather it is solely a stylistic choice (well, I suppose an inlayed design cannot technically hit the curb, you would only scrape the edge).

Deep Dish AmericanMuscle Mustang Rim

Effect on Handling Characteristics & Weight

Bigger wheels are going to give your Fox better handling and a better ride, but they are also going to pack on a few pounds. Depending on what size and material of wheel, overall weight can increase by as much as 100 pounds! If you are into racing, this probably is something you want to avoid. Cue superlights.

Superlights are a class of wheel that, well, are very light. Most notably used in drag racing (Weld draglights being the most popular), their lack of pounds can have some adverse effects when cruising the streets. There have been cases where bumps, pot holes, hard cornering (like in autocross) have bent and disfigured super light rims. Not to say they are insufficient, but it's logical a lighter wheel made of the same material as a regular wheel (aluminum) won't have the same load capacity. For drag racing, the weight advantage will certainly give you an edge.

15x10 Weld Racing Draglite Foxbody Rim

A Muscle Car Look For Your Mustang 

There is no doubt about it, an aftermarket wheel and tire package can really spruce up your Fox. If you really want to go after that muscle car look, consider using a staggered wheel setup. What this means is the front and rear wheels are different widths with the rears wider than the front. Iconic of the 60’s, a staggered setup alludes to a more aggressive look. To summarize, by throwing a new wheel/tire combination on ye old Pony not only gives it a great look, but can add ride comfort, road handling, and traction. In this case, you get both show AND go. It’s hard to beat that.

Foxbody Convertible Setup for Drag Racing

Why are My Center Caps Not Working on My Foxbody

You might run into an issue of center caps popping back out of the wheel when you try and mount them to your Fox. It's because of the hub dust covers; these covers protect the hubs. This is problem is usually seen on 90-93 models where the dust covers are larger than 79-89.

Common resolutions to this issue may include the following:

  • Take a ball-peen hammer and lightly concave the dust cover as it is made of thin metal. This will create the clearance needed
  • Replace the dust covers for 79-89 dust covers
  • Completely remove the dust covers as the center caps should protect the hub sufficiently
  • Add thin, 5-8mm wheel spacers
Fitment includes: 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, GT, Cobra, LX, SVO