Malibu wagon maximum stock tire size?

Reddzedd

Reddzedd

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Jan 14, 2020
11
3
I'm sure this exact same question has been asked previously, but I've been trying to find concrete answers to no avail.
I'm looking to buy some aftermarket wheels for my '78 wagon. It's completely stock at the moment (no notches, stock ride height, fenders not rolled, stock rear end width, no tubs, etc.), and have been searching around for ideas for wheel fitment.
From what I've gathered, 15x7 with 215/60R15s in the front, and 15x9 with 255/65R15s in the rear should fit fine. However, I can't find solid information about how much backspacing the stock fender wells can handle.
Anyone have a similar build/experience? Any input is appreciated.
 
Blake442

Blake442

Geezer
Apr 24, 2007
6,834
113
Minneapolis
Fronts you'll be fine.
Out back I would go 15x8 with 4" backspace and a 255/60R15 tire.
9" is too wide and a 65 tire will be too tall.
 
Reddzedd

Reddzedd

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Jan 14, 2020
11
3
Fronts you'll be fine.
Out back I would go 15x8 with 4" backspace and a 255/60R15 tire.
9" is too wide and a 65 tire will be too tall.
What about backspacing on the front rim?
 
white85

white85

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Jan 2, 2020
29
13
I have P235/60R15 on 15x8 Corvette Rallies on all four corners of my 85 El Camino, I believe the BS is 4.25 if that’s any help to you.
 
Longroof79

Longroof79

Rocket Powered Basset Hound
Oct 14, 2008
10,806
113
Gainesville, Fl
I use 235/60 x 15 all around on 15 x 7 rims, 4.25" BS. Using 215/65 x 15 up front, I never had any issues. I agree with Blake on the choice for the rears. 255/60 x 15. on 15 x 8 rims. I wouldn't go larger.

Now, how about an intro. Tell us about your car and post a few pics as well. We love pics here.
 
Reddzedd

Reddzedd

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Jan 14, 2020
11
3
I use 235/60 x 15 all around on 15 x 7 rims, 4.25" BS. Using 215/65 x 15 up front, I never had any issues. I agree with Blake on the choice for the rears. 255/60 x 15. on 15 x 8 rims. I wouldn't go larger.

Now, how about an intro. Tell us about your car and post a few pics as well. We love pics here.
Thank you all for the input!

Now about the car itself. It's a 1978 Malibu wagon that I recently picked up. Story says it was predominantly a California car, but moved through Arizona, Missouri, and finally Illinois where I picked it up. It has 95k on the odometer. with the stock 305, TH350, and rear end in it still.

Since it was a (mostly) southern car, it is entirely free of rust, which is rare up here in the northern states. I plan to keep it this way, my rule being it never see snow and/or salt. Right now, the plan is to get everything in working order.

The car is extremely sound mechanically speaking. The 305 has a bit of lifter tick, but that's not too concerning as it's getting swapped out soon enough. The trans shifts quickly and firmly, the plan being to rebuild it to handle a little more power later on.

The gauge cluster has seen better days; the fuel gauge constantly reads full, the charging and temperature gauges don't work, but at least the oil pressure gauge does.

The plan is to get it running soundly and slowly start 'rodding it out. All is up in the air for now, but what sounds good is a mild street build 454, rebuilt TH350, and possibly a 9 inch conversion for the rear.

Here's the best picture I have of it so far, right after some carb cleaner and a new air filter getting some fresh gas. Seems as though it has a rather cheaply done paint job, but a little buffing is proving to turn that around quite nicely.

20191207_164406_HDR.jpg
 
Longroof79

Longroof79

Rocket Powered Basset Hound
Oct 14, 2008
10,806
113
Gainesville, Fl
It looks and sounds like a great foundation/ starting point. Thanks for sharing some back story about the car and some of your future plans....oh, and welcome to the forum. Keep us updated on your progress.
 
Ribbedroof

Ribbedroof

Comic Book Super Hero
Supporting Member
Jan 4, 2009
3,513
113
Wellston, OK
Late to the party, but my avatar has 245/50-16s on first-gen S10 ZQ8 wheels...16x8, and I believe 4.25 on backspace. Same combo has been on 4 different Malibu/Bonneville wagons of my own.

I previously owned (among others) an 83 Bonneville that ran 245/45-17s on 17x8 Eagle alloys with 5" backspace. The rears rubbed on the right side and was very close to the frame on the left.....4.5" would have been ideal
 
I

icr242005

Apprentice
Mar 3, 2018
53
8
Well u r in luck. I just went thru this last summer and about 3 days ago. 1980 Chevy Malibu stock rear end, springs, bluh bluh. A year ago I bought some weld rodlites taking a chance on the backspace, went out and bought Nitto NT555R 275/60/15 street drags and put them on. The tire was not center by a 1/4 inch, I bought 1/4 spacers and that centered the tire perfect. Ran them with 34 LBS and they did NOT rub. However when I dropped the tire pressure down to 28 LBS then they rubbed. So I went to MT ET 255/60/15 street and had/have no problem rubbing. So a few days ago I looked into buying new rims and all season tire so I checked the backspacing and they r 15x8 with 4 1/4 inch backspacing but I have the 1/4 spacer so someone correct me if I’m wrong that should be a 4 inch backspacing. Now I am going back to a 275/60/15 for street tires cause I won’t run them low on air pressure and I should be fine. (Hopefully) (maybe) lol. Now all that being said u r going to get a ton of ppl tell u to do this don’t do that but use all the info u can get and go from there. Good luck
 

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icr242005

Apprentice
Mar 3, 2018
53
8
Oh nice ride man. A friend of mine had one of those back in the day. FYI if u take the spare tire out and line the well with styrofoam it makes a great cooler that the cops can’t see ur beer. Lol. Drilled a little hole to let the water drain.
 
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