As promised, here are some photos and a bit more of a write-up.
My goal here was to move from 15" rims to 14" rims to open up more options for tires. I have successfully mounted 5.5x14 ET45 rims on the front and rear. This required me to use wheel spacers and install longer studs. I went with 12mm hub centric spacers to start to ensure clearance and plan to thin them down with my dad's lathe later this summer. With 175/65R14s up front on 5.5x14 ET45 rims, the spacers as thin as 8mm can be used. Clearance on the rear is not an issue. Rear spacers were used to match the track width of the front with the stock rear rims and tires for now.
1) Wheel spacers: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01CLYZEJE/ref=pe_3034960_233709270_TE_item
2) Studs: https://www.ebay.ca/itm/173864574613
3) Hub-centric rings: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06XKKNT4T/ref=pe_3034960_236394800_TE_3p_dp_1
The front struts had to be clearanced. There was interference between the lower mounting bracket and the inside of the rim. There is not a lot of room for wheel weights on the inside of the wheel. I've had to use the thinnest stick-ons available with the 5.5 wide rims.
To mount the above spacers on the front, the centre bore of the spacers needed to be opened up to 56.1mm to a depth of 9mm.
The inside lip of the rim also had to be ground down to clear the strut. I used an angle grinder while a friend spun the rim.
With the spacers, the stock studs are not long enough to have adequate thread engagement of the lug nuts. Only half of the nut thread was caught by the stud thread. I had to install longer studs. Installing longer studs in the front is a breeze. The old studs can be pressed out with a tie-rod end separator https://www.princessauto.com/en/detail/universal-tie-rod-end-separator/A-p8355828e
. The thin shield behind the disk needed to be bent a little to allow the new studs to be inserted.
On the rear, there is only enough clearance between the back of the hub and the drum brake plate to maneuver a stock-length stud. I had two options: 1) remove the hub (a pain in the a$$), or drill a clearance hole in the drum brake plate. I elected to do the latter. A 3/4" hole is all that is required. I elected to go to a 7/8" so I could seal the hole with a 1/2" knockout plug (https://www.homedepot.com/p/Halex-1-2-in-Knock-Out-Seals-4-Pack-26071/100191724
) and polyurethane caulking. I started the hole with long regular twist drill bits, drilling through the large hole in the hub, and finished with a step drill on an extension. I would have preferred to use a rubber grommet-style plug over the metal knockout plug, but the brake plate was too thick to accommodate grommet plugs from the set I had on hand. They were made for thin sheet metal, which this plate is not.
I'm happy with the results, except that I feel that the wheels stick out a bit too much. The tread of the tires is just barely inside the fender flare. Thinning the spacers by 5mm to 8mm should help.
After I did all of the above, I got my hands on a set of Mitsubishi Mirage 165/65R14 tires on stock Mirage 4.5x14 ET46 rims. With the front struts clearanced, this rim/tire combination bolted up with no issues, no spacers required. I wish I had just started with these! Oh well ... Here are some photos of this combination. Note that regular wheel weights can be used on the inside with no issues.
165/65R14s seem to be used by only the Mirage in North America ... so another "rare" tire, but not as rare at the stock Miev fronts.
I hope this info is helpful to someone else. I now have 4 stock steel rims (with worn-out rubber), TPMS sensors, and hubcaps for sale. If you are interested, PM me.
(edit: I used Dropbox for the photos. It didn't seem to work. Any ideas for alternatives?)
(edit: Dropbox links fixed.)