As you may have spotted in some previous posts, I have changed the suspension, wheels and tyres on the van for something a little chunkier. I must admit it was a tough decision to make, as I really like the lowered look with 18 inch alloys, its part of the reason I bought it after all.

But now, about 2 months into ownership of the T4 van, it was starting to dawn on me that the lowered look and alloys might not be the best choice for the way I use the van. You see, I spend a lot of time travelling down Devon and Cornwall lanes to either surf spots or climbing venues on Dartmoor, and the state of the lanes are, at times, absolutely shocking.

It seemed that a fair few T4 owners are fed up with the state of the roads in England, and are opting to for a bit more comfort and strength by fitting larger side-wall tyres to standard 15 or 16 inch wheels. So I bit the bullet, and decided to raise the suspension and run some all terrain tyres on standard 15 inch VW steel wheels.

15 inch steel wheels

I was pretty lucky, I managed to pick up 4 steel wheels for Β£50 locally and Kwik Fit removed the old tyres for free.

I was then able to refurbish them myself using an angle grinder with a wire brush attachment to remove the old paint and flakey rust. If you're going to do this, remember to wear gloves and eye protection, those little wires fly off everywhere!

Next came the paint which was just normal rattle cans found at any motor factors. I started with a few layers of red primer, and the following day it was on the "wheel silver" paint.

It wasn't a show winning finish, but more than adequate for my intended use, especially when trundling around the local lanes with mud, horse poo and pot holes!

All terrain tyres

When it came to sourcing the tyres, I did some research online and found that 215/75/15 are about as big as you can go without having to grind away parts of the bumpers at the front and rear.

So I started to compare tyre prices online, the BF Goodrich All Terrain was on my list, but was a just a bit to expensive for me. So coming in at second best for me was the Falken Wildpeak All Terrain tyre for just under Β£60 each. Another option was the General Grabber, but the good reviews of the Falkens swayed my decision.

So tyres were ordered and arrived in a couple of days. They looked pretty awesome in the flesh, much better than the online catalogue photos! It was straight down to Quik Fit, where the lads put the tyres on the newly painted rims, fitted valves and balanced them up. The price for this? A Β£10 donation to their coffee break fund! It seems the guys were really interested in the ability to fit all terrains to a Transporter, so did it on the cheap!

Raising the suspension

Raising the suspension was just the reverse of the lowering process. It involves jacking the rear of the car up, securing on axles stands, removing the shock absorbers and lowering the trailing arms until the springs come out.

I bought brand new standard height springs and shocks and had the rear changed over in a couple of hours. Raising the front end was just a case of winding up the big nuts on the end of the torsion bars. Luckily they hadn't seized, which made the whole process painless. Its wise to soak the threads in WD40 or a similar penetrating oil for a few days before you want to do the job.

For reference:

REAR: The rear of the van sat at approx 420mm from the centre of the wheel to the lip on the wheel arch on the standard springs.

FRONT: When adjusting the front torsion bar, moving the nut 10mm on the bar, adjusts the van height approx 25mm


The ride is great, much softer, less crashy, and it soaks up pot holes and bumps in the lanes with ease. Despite this, I still like the look of it lowered on the 18 inch alloys! πŸ˜‰

Related items for sale

Summer Tyre 215 75 15 100S DUNLOP ZO AT3 WL
Summer Tyre 215 75 15 100S DUNLOP ZO AT3 WL
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  • Hi, I really enjoyed reading this post and it was extremely helpful as I’m intending to put a higher profile tile on my t4 “Ol’ Greeny.” Personally I prefer the higher ride look than the lowered – kinda makes the van look prouder.

    Does anyone have any more pictures of T4’s on higher profile tyres with standard suspension and rims?

    All the best,


    • Hi, just a quick follow up the subject of fitting bigger tyres to your T4. What size did you keep for your spare? I notice that not much space is available in the spare wheel rack for an oversized tyre.

      • I just kept a normal size tyre for a spare. Didn’t have any problems, but the spare is only there for emergency use! πŸ™‚

        • Thanks Matt, I thought that’d be the case. Many modern vehicles have space saver spares just for emergencies as we know.

  • Love you blog. Quick question. Mt T4 is set at standard ride height. Will the tyre size you quoted fit my van without me having to raise the suspension?

    • Yes, the 215 tyres went on with no mods to the bodywork. It’s close, but got a couple of centimetres of clearance either side.

  • Hi, Great post πŸ˜‰ quick question!…… I have a T4 (not lowered) …can i put the size tyres you put on yours without any suspension or break mods? Really love the chunky look!!!

  • Hi,
    Thinking of doing this on my T4
    18months later how have ther faired? Any noticeable difference in road noise/fuel/handling etc?
    My van has not been lowered

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