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  1. #1

    Default 20" rims on '03 Suburban throwing off performance

    I just wanted to switch to some nice chrome rims on my Burb and it seemed like people were okay with 20s on them and didn't complain about performance issues. Well, poor braking, wheels following ruts in the road, water spraying all over the sides, overall "jittery" ride (not stiff...jittery) would be performance issues I'm dealing with.

    Rims are 20" Boss 304s. They look smoking hot. But, they aren't going to work for me. I'm going to resell (got them used anyway and shouldn't lose money). I'm guessing that nothing short of a suspension/brake overhaul is going to make these rims work, so I'm looking for advice on something that will look sharp, classy, somewhat "hot rod"-looking. I really like the 2006 LTZ 20" chrome rims, which I THINK is the same truck suspension-wise, and I'm guessing they might be lighter (forged?) wheels that don't throw off the suspension and braking so much, though I would imagine they would still follow the ruts in the roads.

    Any ideas for chrome rims that would perform similar to the factory 16x7s? I'm looking at some 16 or 17" American Racing rims, though they're 8" wide instead of 7.

    Important points:
    - they can't make braking worse (unless I can upgrade the brakes cheaply)
    - I can allow a slightly stiffer ride, but not heavier rims that bounce around on bumpy roads
    - I would prefer that they aren't much wider, or have an easy fender flare solution that would look nice and combat the "water fountain" spraying past the side windows like my 20s do
    - I would like to find used and get what I need for under $1000 (with used tires)

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

  2. #2

    Enkeiavalanche's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Piermont,NY, back in Northern NJ now, But may be in IL soon....


    First off Welcome.. You should be fine with a 20 x 8 1/2 to 9in rim. What tire did you go with? What Sup do you have? Do you have a programer?

    Ok to start off a Bigger rim will be more weight so YES it will take a bit longer to stop. You can get some good upgrades for around $400.00 for Good pads and bigger rotors. I have the SSBC system.. 2nd a bigger rim means a shorter tire height so you will get a stiffer ride (don't tell the wife LOL)and better handeling , Less of a flexing of the tire with a this side wall. I've had up to a 22in rim on my old Av but I drive in NYC all the time and don't like to stop short for every pot hole so I stayed with 20's but have my factory 18's on for the winter..
    08 Z71 Avalanche Mods to date: K&N CAI,Hellwig Swaybars and End Links, Corsa Sport Exhaust, Superchips Programer,IPCW LOF & 3rd brake light and tails, AMI Gas door,Show Hooks and Door locks, Enkei Wheels, with Pirelli tires, StreetScene Bowties, Grant Steering wheel,Muth signal mirrors,SSBC Big Brake kit,Huskyliner Mug gards,Floor mats and Hood shield, McGard Lug nuts and locks, Bedrug, Cervini's Ram Air hood,35watt HID Fog lights, Sylvania bulbs all around ZXE's Highs and Lows, WhiteNight Back up lights,Sirius and HD Radio, SnugTop sitting on deck now Got a Softopper on now,Tempress Boat Hatches.... New Bilstein shocks are on... New Mods coming soon..... X

  3. #3


    I have a 2003 LT without the autoride.

    I don't have a programmer. What is a "sup"?

    285/50-20 tire. I've seen Silverados with the 275/55, but that's not the tire recommended for the Burb from what I've seen. Maybe that tire would be better for the ride but would need the speedo recalibrated? Actually, it seems like my speedo is off a little even with these- like it says I'm going about 1mph slower than I really am instead of being dead on like it was before. I've only driven past one radar speed limit sign, though, which is a crude system for figuring that out.

    It seems like more than just a stiff ride. It feels like the suspension can't handle the weight of the wheels, like it doesn't have as much control.
    Last edited by dnoraker; 12-15-2011 at 09:32 PM.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Red Wing, Minnesota, United States


    I wouldnt toss them aside just yet, like stated with less tire and more rim you are gonna feel the road more, I would alos have them checked at another shop just to make sure they were balanced correctly, if you tell the shop whats going on they may even do it for free considereing the economy and if they do find something wring it may give them your future business over the place that originally mounted them. And for the speedo, i would just get a programmer that can change the tire/rim size, thats all you need, then you can change it on your own if you ever go back to the stock tires or winter rims. taking it to the dealership could be costly instead of just getting the programmer.
    99 K1500 Suburban LT "THE BEAST"
    Hypertech III, K&N, true dual

  5. #5


    There is a little bit of a balance issue with one or two of the wheels that I noticed, but I only detect that at certain speeds. I bought them used with fairly worn tires and didn't expect they were going to be balanced perfectly. I just had the rims swapped, not balanced.

    The ride doesn't feel more firm/rough like driving a 2500 or 3500 truck, but it feels more like the much heavier wheels dance around and the suspension and steering can't handle it very well. I'm getting used to it to some degree, but when I first drove out of the shop it was awfully disconcerting.

    Even if I could live with the strange handling on rough roads and get bigger brakes to compensate for the weight, I have a lot of rutted roads around here and it's like trying to tame a wild horse driving on those surfaces. I don't know of a way to fix that.

    it's annoying when I'm driving my family of 5 around in it and the truck wants to dart around, dance and buck on the bumps and then not stop very well to boot. The truck only has 110k on it, but it sound like it has 300k when things start rattling when I have the big rims on.

    Again, I'm not looking to spend much more money to achieve the end goal.

    Here is the end goal: find some used or new chrome rims/tires that don't noticeably alter the handling, braking, gas mileage, speedo for under $1000. I can maybe get $300-400 for my stocks because the tires are almost new (I just bought the truck that way a few weeks back) if I can find something that would work year-round. I spent $750 on the 20s with very used tires in exc condition and should be be able to get my money back out.

    I was hoping there was a factory 18" chrome from the 00-06 era that would be within spec on the current suspension, but I haven't found one. I found a ton of 20s that were maybe dealer installed, but I don't know if those wheels are still as heavy or if they were lighter, maybe forged, rims that wouldn't make the suspension so whacked. I can deal with a little stiffer ride and maybe even a little wandering on rutted roads if the braking is fine and the suspension didn't freak out.

    Does anyone know if the 05-06 Burb had any suspension or brake mods that would have allowed a 20 more easily? I think the LTZ and Z71 did, but I don't know about the LT.

  6. #6


    The first two pics are my Burb with the new rims. I know it's very dirty (it rained the day I put them on) but you get the idea.

    The next is a truck with American Racing "Fuel" 17s that I think would look nice.

    The Dodge has American Racing "Python" 16s, which my BIL has on his 2000 Tahoe and I've always thought they looked great and they had actually been dealer installed as a new truck and haven't had any chrome peel in 140k miles.

    The last one is the American Racing "Circuit". A 20" is pictured, but I would stick with an 18x8

    There is a thumbnail of a Chevy truck that I tried to delete, but I don't think it worked.

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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails "Ultra" 17" rims on Chevy.jpg  
    Last edited by dnoraker; 12-16-2011 at 11:14 AM.

  7. #7


    I swapped out my Factory 16in's Rims and am now running.....20in" Silverado Alloy Rims with a Tire Size of 275/55's on my Truck(Pictured Below).........

    Regarding your Question........Does anyone know if the 05-06 Burb had any suspension or brake mods that would have allowed a 20 more easily? I think the LTZ and Z71 did, but I don't know about the LT.

    Next to the Z71 Off-Road Suspension Package, there is the Z83 and Z85 Suspension Packages and they come with the Following features,

    .....Z83 – Delivers a solid, smooth ride wth 35mm-piston, twin-tube shocks and a 32mm front stabilizer bar

    .....Z85 – Designed for enhanced handling and trailer towing, wth 35mm-piston, monotube shocks and a 36mm front stabilizer bar

    .....Z71 – Delivers enhanced off-road capability; features 46mm shocks, off-road jounce bumpers and a 36mm front stabilizer bar; the package also includes a skid plate, heavy-duty air cleaner and Z71 decals on the rear fenders,

    .....Next To Tires another part that can Hurt and/or Improve the Ride Comfort and Handling would be Shocks......I went with Edelbrock IAS Shocks......once again a Very Nice Improvement In the Ride Comfort and Handling over the Factory Shock Setup,

    .......On the Brake, as mentioned by Enkeiavalanche and yourself, going with an Aftermarket Rotor and Brake Pad setup will help with stopping when going with Bigger Rims,

    ......I've upgraded to SSBC's Slotted Rotor's and Hawk Ceramic Brake Pads and also installed Russell's SS Braided Brake-lines, going with this Aftermarket Brake Setup, is and has been a Huge Improvement, over the Factory Brake Setup,

    One Other Important Item, and that is......Backspace and Offset when ordering Rims......there are a couple of link's here on the Site, if you do a search, that talk about
    Backspace and Offset.

    Last......This link below will allow you to enter your Current Rim and Tire Size Setup and also allow you to enter a Rim and Tire setup size that you may be looking at......and you'll be able to compare the 2 Rim and Tire setup's side by side,

    Last edited by 99'HEARTBEAT; 12-16-2011 at 02:16 PM.


    5.3 l 3.73 l G80

  8. #8

    Default found a better package

    Thought I would give an update to this thread. It took awhile, as I had my third child and a lot of life happen since then.

    I went back to stocks for a bit, then found some used American Racing "Python" 16" rims that I could swap my stock tires to. Thought I was done. Unfortunately, there was a defect in one of the rims and it wouldn't balance out. The truck vibrated over 70mph. I just sold them today, as I found the rim I always wanted to have on the truck a couple days ago.

    I found a steal on some 20" chrome 5-spoke rims off a 2012 Tahoe LTZ that had been totaled out. The previous owner had bought them from his buddy at the salvage company for $1700 with 2000 miles on them, then was selling his truck and I noticed on his ad that he still had the stocks so I worked out a deal to get these. $900 plus I had to buy some lug nuts. 5000 miles on the rims and Bridgestone Dueler tires. Practically stole them.

    So, these have a firmer ride, but not punishing. They spin round and true up to 80 mph and feel like butter at that speed. I discovered that there were several reasons for my issues with the Boss rims.

    1. my brakes were in much worse shape than I thought. The truck stops just as well now as with my 16" rims, as I just got new brakes a couple weeks ago.

    2. the tracking problem on rutted roads was from the 285 width and 50 profile. There was no flex and the tires just wanted to ride up out of the ruts. The 275s have virtually no tracking problems and I don't have to hold on with both hands like I did with the other tires/rims.

    3. The ride quality was mostly from the crappy tires I had. The tread was low, and it was also an off-brand tire with a hard compound. These Duelers ride smooth and are GREAT in the rain, too. These tires are also 55 profile instead of 50, so that is a noticeable improvement.

    I think the next step is I may be nearing time to replace shocks and I should go with something with a smoother ride that would be more compliant with this rim size.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_8592.jpg   IMG_8593.jpg  

  9. #9


    Looks great!

    2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Z71 Crew Cab "All-Star Edition"

    Line-X'd Bed
    Line-X'd Custom Brush Guard(Heavy Duty)
    5.3L Flex Fuel
    275/65R18 Toyo Open Country AT2's
    2" Rough Country Leveling Kit(want to get the 2.5 RC kit)
    EGR In-Channel Vent Visors
    Exterior PLUS Package
    Interior PLUS Package
    K&N Drop-In Air Filter
    Cat-Back Dual Exhaust
    Black Bowties
    Diablo Sport Predator(AFM Disabled)
    Towing Mirrors
    Next Planned Mods
    Blacked out Tail Lights
    Aftermarket Rims

  10. #10


    x2.....On those LTZ 20's.....Look Great on you Tahoe.....

    Edit.....Also getting an Great Deal on the Rims!!....
    Last edited by 99'HEARTBEAT; 06-16-2012 at 11:55 AM. Reason: Added Infor.

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