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Project Dark Horse, Part 4 - Performance Tire Install

DWA Shows Us How to Mount and Balance the Right Way

Dick DeLoach
Apr 5, 2006
Photographers: Dick DeLoach
• Part 1 - Exhaust & Header Install
• Part 2 - Supercharger Install
• Part 3 - Lowering Kit Install
• Part 4 - Wheel & Tire Install
• Part 5 - Big Brake Install
• Part 6 - Electric Fan Install
Photo 1/14   |   The Ford has taken on a whole new look with a new set of custom rims and rubber.
Last month, we brought the Dark Horse closer to Mother Earth, thanks to a McGaughy's 2/4 drop kit and the wrenchers at GO-EZ customs. Now, we have to address the rolling stock to complement the new stance. No single thing changes the look of a truck quicker than new rims and rubber. However, it's also one of the more expensive mods we'll make, and if it's not done right (meaning the proper fitment), it can cause steering and safety issues as well.
Naturally, we wanted larger-much larger-wheels and tires, which meant several things, such as backspacing, offset, and wheel/tire width had to be taken into consideration. So, we turned to sales manager and wheel expert Brian Pecen at Lexani Wheel for his advice. He recommended a set of Lexani's new Tezzen ARC 23x10-inch one-piece chrome alloy wheels, which fit perfectly and have the proper offset for the Ford.
Then, with the help of our friends at Nitto Tire, we determined the right tire for that rim and the weight of the truck would be the 295/30x23 NT 555 Extreme ZR radial. By using a racing concept design, Nitto's engineers developed the NT 555 with a specially formulated compound and one of the biggest contact patches available for superior traction, reliable handling, and total vehicle control. Three circumferential grooves channel water efficiently, while the lateral grooves break up the water wedge, reducing the chance of hydroplaning.
This Plus-6 wheel and tire combination retains the overall factory tire height to properly fill the wheel opening and provides plenty of clearance for steering components and brakes. They also look sweet and tuck nicely.
Mounting, Balancing, and Alignment
Obviously, you can't go to just any shop to have 23-inch tires and wheels mounted and balanced. You need to seek out a performance specialist with the proper equipment, such as Direct Wheel Autosports (DWA), in Los Alamitos, California. "We very simply have one thing in mind: to give our customers what they want," said DWA assistant manager Louie Castro. "As a manufacturer-direct retailer of custom wheels, tires, and aftermarket automotive products, our goal is to provide the latest products and services at the most competitive prices around. We thrive on exceptional customer service by listening, understanding, and exceeding your expectations."
DWA's 15,000-square-foot facility is nothing like you have ever seen. The showroom floor displays more than 3,000 wheels alone, along with wheel/tire packages, and hundreds of aftermarket automotive accessories. DWA has three high-tech installation bays to accommodate all types of vehicles from sub-compact to larger trucks and SUVs. Most importantly, DWA has the latest state-of-the-art equipment for as big as 26-inch wheels and tires, including Corghi Artiglio Italian mounting machines and Coats 1055 dynamic spin-balancing machines.
We wanted the tires and wheels mounted and balanced for show, which means the tire brand name is at the top, the wheel logo is right side up, and chrome tape weights are used on the backside of the wheel rim. You can pick up several extra points at shows by having your tires and wheels mounted and balanced this way. So, we asked DWA's top installer, Carlos Juarez, to handle it for us and we followed him as he did the work.
It's also imperative that you have the front end aligned immediately for safety and to prevent a wear pattern from forming on the tires. DWA uses and recommends Anderson's Frame & Alignment in Garden Grove, California. Anderson's Frame & Alignment specializes in custom cars and trucks with aftermarket tires and wheels. So, we went to the shop and had technician Keith Swan check the front end for us. It was out a few degrees, so he set it and we were on our way.
Don't Drive Under Pressure
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that more than 10,000 injuries and deaths could be prevented every year, if more drivers would check each tire's pressure monthly and before every road trip. Under-inflated tires are also the No. 1 cause of tire failure. Properly inflated tires not only save lives, but they reduce tire wear and increase fuel economy. We have found that the American-made TireWise precision tire pressure monitors (, with a visible green indicator for proper inflation or red indicator for under-inflation, work great. They are psi-specific and available in chrome, black, and gold for cars, trucks, SUVS, motorcycles, trailers, and RVS. At 20 bucks a set, they're an inexpensive way to help protect your investment.
For more wheel and tire information, visit,, or


Anderson's Frame & Alignment
Garden Grove, CA
Direct Wheel Autosports
Lexani/Tezzen Wheels


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