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Q7: Downsizing from 20" to 18" wheels for ride quality

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Old 08-08-2018, 11:37 AM
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Default Q7: Downsizing from 20" to 18" wheels for ride quality

New owner here of a 2013 Q7 s-line without air suspension.

I've been searching and couldn't really find a definitive answer to if downsizing from my 20 wheels to 18 wheel would have any improvement in ride quality. This is my wife's daily driver and the 20" wheels along with California's rough roads lead to some harsh rides. I've seen some used 18" wheels for sale online from older Q7's or Touregs and wondering if it's worth picking them up since the price difference when it comes to getting new tires would probably offset what I pay for used wheels.

Would there be any changes I would need to do computer wise? I already have a vag com from my previous Audi.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 08-08-2018, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by p3tuh View Post
New owner here of a 2013 Q7 s-line without air suspension.

I've been searching and couldn't really find a definitive answer to if downsizing from my 20 wheels to 18 wheel would have any improvement in ride quality. This is my wife's daily driver and the 20" wheels along with California's rough roads lead to some harsh rides. I've seen some used 18" wheels for sale online from older Q7's or Touregs and wondering if it's worth picking them up since the price difference when it comes to getting new tires would probably offset what I pay for used wheels.

Would there be any changes I would need to do computer wise? I already have a vag com from my previous Audi.

Thanks for the help.
I have Air suspension and I also want to pick up some 18's with all seasons.
I just moved from Ca to North Carolina and think all seasons would be better, especially with taller side walls, as my wife and myself have both scuffed these curb eating wheels.
And we will be traveling around the north east this fall and winter.
Dreadlocks runs 17's with BFG's and it looks great, like a 4 wheel drive.
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Old 08-08-2018, 03:30 PM
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I went from 20's to 17's with All Terrains, ride quality did indeed increase substantially.. but that is just part of it, the tires are now much cheaper ($800 vs $1200 for high quality) and last much longer.. Ive got 16k miles on this set of truck tires, and while the road noise has gone up a little they still have another easy 16k miles left on em if not more.. I would not be surprised to get 40k out of this set, good luck getting more than 20k out of a set of 20in+ passanger car tires.

If you go with the same size OD tire there is nothing to adjust w/VagCom, otherwise you can tweak the speedo slightly but not much.

Obligatory Photo Op, because @jbgilbank is right.. battle wagons look as awesome as they function.


Just around town the extra sidewall has saved my wheels countless times, I'm glad I ditched the pristine OEM 20's within days of taking delivery of my vehicle.. I'd of curbed them and lost all the value they had within weeks.. not to mention all the offroading ive done this season that woulda not only wrecked the wheels, but the tires and the spare too, woulda very likely got me stuck ontop of some mountain passes when the snow was several feet deep on the trail with a few thousand of free fall below us.

*edit* found the video of our Memorial Day adventure.. my 2 sons somehow slept through this along with our 2 dogs, hows that for comfort?.. wife gave me a high five after I made it back to dry dirt.. The next day wife was telling the guys at the General Store we went over the still closed pass in an Audi and they gave her a look of shock and awe.. Judging by the amount of snow we had to blaze through I'd say we were the first large truck up there that season, all the tracks were from much smaller Quads.. at the end of this snow I had to go from the outside to the inside and punch through snow up to my windows.. it was alot wider after we went through than before.

Last edited by dreadlocks; 08-08-2018 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 08-08-2018, 04:29 PM
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That's an awesome setup dreadlocks, thanks for all the info! I'll look into the setup you're running (cayenne 17's & grinding down calipers). There's a local set of 18's from a 2010 q7 that I'm eyeing and I need to compare tire prices. Seems like a win/win since I would be improving ride as well as saving some money when it's time for new tires.
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Old 08-08-2018, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by dreadlocks View Post
I went from 20's to 17's with All Terrains, ride quality did indeed increase substantially.. but that is just part of it, the tires are now much cheaper ($800 vs $1200 for high quality) and last much longer.. Ive got 16k miles on this set of truck tires, and while the road noise has gone up a little they still have another easy 16k miles left on em if not more.. I would not be surprised to get 40k out of this set, good luck getting more than 20k out of a set of 20in+ passanger car tires.

If you go with the same size OD tire there is nothing to adjust w/VagCom, otherwise you can tweak the speedo slightly but not much.

Obligatory Photo Op, because @jbgilbank is right.. battle wagons look as awesome as they function.


Just around town the extra sidewall has saved my wheels countless times, I'm glad I ditched the pristine OEM 20's within days of taking delivery of my vehicle.. I'd of curbed them and lost all the value they had within weeks.. not to mention all the offroading ive done this season that woulda not only wrecked the wheels, but the tires and the spare too, woulda very likely got me stuck ontop of some mountain passes when the snow was several feet deep on the trail with a few thousand of free fall below us.

*edit* found the video of our Memorial Day adventure.. my 2 sons somehow slept through this along with our 2 dogs, hows that for comfort?.. wife gave me a high five after I made it back to dry dirt.. The next day wife was telling the guys at the General Store we went over the still closed pass in an Audi and they gave her a look of shock and awe.. Judging by the amount of snow we had to blaze through I'd say we were the first large truck up there that season, all the tracks were from much smaller Quads.. at the end of this snow I had to go from the outside to the inside and punch through snow up to my windows.. it was alot wider after we went through than before.
https://youtu.be/M_YRx-ShwkY
Thats some craziness in that video!
What dash cam do you use? That is awesome video!
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Old 08-08-2018, 04:53 PM
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yeah go with 18s if you find a set you like... I was in a situation where I had already bought the wheels, and really really liked the looks of em.. so my will to make them fit was stronger than my sensibility.. taking an angle grinder to your new expensive luxury vehicle is definitely not for the faint of heart, I'm pretty sure my wife wanted to murder me when she saw what I was doing.

Next up I'm installing a ham radio in the Q7, ever drilled a hole through the roof of an $80k vehicle? yeah neither have I.. almost want to hire someone to do it just so I dont have to watch.

@jbgilbank, camera make and model can be found in lower right hand corner of the video.. of course right after I installed it they released a newer model with a much better sensor.. I now want to move this to the wife's car and get one of those.. I got it for the cloud capability, it gets on the AudiConnect WiFi and I can view it live over the internet.. nice for those times when wife's running late or she's out in bad weather.. I also ment to write a program to download all the new video off it every time it comes home, I figured out the technical details but have not found the time nor the desire to work on it further.

Last edited by dreadlocks; 08-08-2018 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 08-08-2018, 05:14 PM
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What's the deal with the big wheels? Besides the issues already raised, on my '94 S4 I have 16" summer wheels and 15" winter wheels, and the darn thing handles better with the 15s. Dreadlocks, about 10 years ago I accidentally drilled a 1/2" hole through the Sprinter cab on a motorhome. Didn't realize what I had done until I pulled the drill out and saw daylight through the hole. Spent a lot of time in denial, followed by some really careful patch and paint work.
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Old 08-08-2018, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by dreadlocks View Post
Next up I'm installing a ham radio in the Q7, ever drilled a hole through the roof of an $80k vehicle? yeah neither have I.. almost want to hire someone to do it just so I dont have to watch.
Is using a front fender or rear bumper an option? There seems to be so little space on the roof in case of a mishap because of all the glass.

Also an interesting tidbit, our calipers (Brembo 18z & 17z) are quite popular retrofit in the tuner scene with adapters.
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Old 08-08-2018, 05:34 PM
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Form > Function has been a problem with vehicles forever, thats why I like German cars so much.. but sadly they are not immune either.. Big useless wheels look cool I guess.. 90% of the big white trucks in my neighbor hood all have 20in+ wheels too, and the'd all get stuck in wet grass because owners ride em bald at $1500+ a set..

What gets me is our roads here are total crap, I suppose I could had been considered a wheel ***** once when I was young and dumb.. even had a very expensive set of 3 piece BBS wheels that were for car shows only, but even those got damaged only driving too and from shows so I gave up, and then felt enlightened when I realized smaller wheels ride better, survive better, and are cheap as hell.. wth was I thinking and why is everyone else have a blind spot for cool wheels? Driving like you have parkinson's because your afraid to loose a wheel is too damn stressful.. I much prefer the bring it on attitude when you see a big hole in the road.

@p3tuh, The metal seams are folded too thick for me to get a standard lip mount on either the hatch or the hood.. I could mount one to my trailer hitch, but then I'd have to leave that on all the time and its a knee basher for sure.. The only good alternative I can come up with is a FrontRunner slim line roof rack, and @ $1200 thats tough to swallow.. Ive got to drop the headliner now to fix the sunroof drains so I got a NMO mount that uses a smaller hole (3/8" instead of 3/4") and am thinking of punching through back by the factory antenna.. Though now that aftermarket TCM tunes are coming out for the TDI, I might just take it in and get the fix.. use the money to delete DPF, tune ECM/TCM, and buy me that roof rack.. I got a full size spare 17in tire sitting in back yard I'd love to slap on the roof permanently.. the moment my contract turns into a permanent job I'm taking off for Alaska so all my disposable income is getting dumped into outfitting my trailer.

Last edited by dreadlocks; 08-08-2018 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 08-08-2018, 07:28 PM
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@dreadlocks, damn good to see someone modifying and pushing the envelope on the Q7. Once the wife moves onto her next ride and I get passed down the Q7, I will also probably start modifications towards the go faster route since I have a problem with that. I take it that you are a developer? Looking forward to seeing your totally outfitted rig in Alaska.
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