5th gen 18" Explorer wheels on a 2nd gen Explorer or '98+ Ranger? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

5th gen 18" Explorer wheels on a 2nd gen Explorer or '98+ Ranger?

Hey, unless something happens between now and then I'm going to be picking up a set of 18" 5th gen split 5 spoke Explorer wheels this weekend. I plan to be putting these on my '99 Ranger 4x4 after I convert it to live axle instead of locking hubs, but the wheels fittment would be the same for a 2nd gen Explorer.

--Short Version--

This is the wheel if I can post pictures:


So if any of you have run this wheel on one of these style Explorers/Rangers, what did you use for a spacer and how did they sit on the truck afterwords. Pics are welcome if you want to show off.

--Long Version--

Previously I was leaning towards some 17" Mustang wheel, but then I saw these on a Ranger on Facebook marketplace and the look grew on me. I think they'll be a better style for a truck, or at the very least will get me by until I figure out what aftermarket wheel I might want to replace them with.

Here's the truck on Facebook if I can post pictures:



Same truck, same wheels. Wheels sold separate. I'm pretty certain that the first pic they are plastidipped, because there is another listing by same seller with the black coating still partially on the wheels.

I kind of like them both ways. Might stay silver if I keep chrome on the truck. Might use plastidip on them to try out black if I delete the chrome, which is actually the plan at current. My truck is dark gray metallic BTW. If I liked the black and the wheels for long term, they'd end up painted or powder coated.

This is not the exact set I'm going to buy. They guy was asking 700-1100 depending on the listing, the tires are worn out, and too tall. He dropped one of the listings to $400 today, but I've found another set (wheels only) that are supposedly like new for $200. When the time comes I'll be wrapping them in a 29-30" diameter tire, and the truck will be slightly lowered vs stock.

Anyhow I asked the lister of that truck about the install like I was interested (and I would have been if not for the stupid price) and what it took to fit them. Reasonable question for an interested party IMO since they obviously used some spacer and it wasn't mentioned in the listing. The only reply was that they'll fit and a phone number. Nope, simple question, if you could type that reply you can type a proper answer. Not angry, I wasn't going to buy his wheels any way, but "what did you use" should be such a simple question to answer.

The later Fords that I have read of a wheel offset, are in the 44mm range. The 2nd gen's are evidently under 15mm, stock being just a 7" wheel, and 1st gen's 6" I think. So it's a good bit different, it seems like about an inch.

I have used two different Mustang 17x8" wheels on my 2nd gen's, those are all around 30mm offset, and ideally need about 1/4" spacers. I use one set with snow tires, the 1998 GT split five spoke style you may know of. I hate the current cost of used wheels, they used to be $300 for a nice set, my 1995 Cobra wheels were $325 in 1999. Now people want $100 for a rough used wheel, that's nuts, plus a reconditioned wheel starts close to $150 now. That's even more crazy.

I found a nice set of those 98 GT wheels for my Ranchero, I haven't yet worked out how to space those out. Those cost me about $500 five years ago, two were new take offs and two were fairly nice.

96-98 Mustang GT wheel.jpg

Yeah it's getting redicilous. I was going to grab a set of bullitts to run until I gound something I liked. A few months a go I could pick up a set of them any day for 250-300. Once I started looking for them they disappeared. I've got a set of so-so 03-04 Mach wheels, but those were bought for a First gen Ranger and I'm dead set to get them installed on one some day. They could probably be refinished to look great, but if it turns out like I want the First gen will eventually get wider replicas and the stocks will go on a matched trailer.

Boat load of newer 19-20" Mustang stuff, but I don't want to go that large. Really I didn't want to go 18", but after seeing it on several 2nd gen Explorers with a similar stance to my goal, I've kind of warmed to it. All those larger wheels and most of the 18" Mustang stuff have similar prices to what I wouldn't pay the guy with the truck above. Not to mention that what ever I found I'd only be using the wheels and the tires were almost guranteed to be the wrong size. I'd be buying tires anyway, so for that kind of money I'd buy new wheels to go with.

I'm not 100% sold on these Explorer wheels, but I do think they look good on that truck. When I spotted them for $50/wheel I knew I better jump on it. I'd be hard pressed to buy a set of steelies for that these days, not that those were ever considered. If it turns out to not be the right choice I imagine I'll be able to sell the wheels for what I have in them.

Well that escalated quicker than I expected.


I did get the wheels. After talking to the seller I found out that they were practically new. It seems that the original owner purchased aftermarket wheels for his Explorer with around 1000 miles on the odometer and had his original tires swapped over. This appears to be somewhat confirmed by the condition and the boxes I got the wheels in. It looks like original owner put them in the boxes for the new wheels for storage and a shipping date I found on one is August 2018, these wheels would have come on a 2011-2018 Explorer. The seller for some reason didn't check lug pattern compatability before buying these to put on his late 90s F-150. Once he figured out they were the wrong pattern he decided to go with something else and sell these. If he liked them he could have run an adapter, but then I wouldn;t have gotten them.

That's one piece of the puzzle down, next step is dropping the truck down and fitting tires.

Yeah, about that last part...


Well, after I got home from picking up the wheels yesterday morning I popped back onto Facebook. A few weeks ago I'd seen a set of 255/55R18 tires for sale on there. Figured I'd see if they were still there. No bueno, but these were near the top of my marketplace listings when I searched tires.

"Free Tires....Come Get'em"

You had me at free. They're 245/60R18 which is taller than the 255/55, but shorter than the 30s I have now. New they would have been somewhere in the middle. Now they were free for a reason, they're nearly bald, at or near the wear bars. That's actually great for my purposes though. Being that worn they are closer to the 255/55R18 diameter, which will let me see if I can get the suspension low enough to like a 29" tire. If it works out they'll be perfect for driving to get an alignment then new tires installed. If that size doesn't don't work out they'll do for getting the truck to the alignment without destroying my current tires, then I can use them for making other projects mobile in the yard until it's time for tires on the truck again.

I saved the guy the headache of figuring out how to dispose of them and at most I'm out a few bucks to get the tires mounted. I may be able to get them mounted for free if things work out right. I have a friend that has a one man automotive shop in another town and has a tire machine, but it's a 2 hour round trip in the wrong direction. Good excuse to go visit for a few hours if I can find the time (and I probably can this week), but I also don't want to intrude on where he makes his living.

If mounting them myself works out, I'm out nothing since GA charges a tire disposal fee with purchase of new tires whether you had old tires or not. We can thank all the people dumping old tires on the road side for that one. The fee is kind of like a tax to help clean up and disposal of the illegally dumped tires, or atleast that's what I was told by a few people in the business.

Here's the loose wheel and tire sitting on the ground beside the truck to give an idea of what it might look like after install. I should have found a block or something to set the wheel on, but use your imigination. If I get them mounted soon I'll post a picture of that by the truck or maybe pop one on the rear if it'll fit well enough, without a spacer. To satisfy curiosity I'll also weight a wheel/tire from each set to see the actual difference.


FWIW I've got about 4 inches I can easily take out of the back suspension between the explorer springs and the lift shackle. Or I may go the other way with an spring under explorer axle and keep the springs and shackles. We'll see what the front allows before I make that decision.

Forgot I posted this thread. Haven;t gotten the work done and wheels installed on my ranger yet, but...

Here they are on my dad's 2000. He wanted to test out to see how his truck would respond to a smaller tire and I wanted to figure out fittment so it worked out to put them on his for a while.


To make it sit right with the body (IMO) it needed a 1" spacer in front and a 1.5" in the rear. Think they'll fit better on my truck once it's been lowered a bit. Running an Explorer axle is also going to change the spacer needed for the rear, but I'll figure that out when it happens.

Considering how they look on there I'd let him keep them and find something else for mine, but he does not want 18s on his truck. They've been on there for a few months now, but he's ready to bo back to 15s or 16s with about a 30 inch tire.