Slow Car Fast
December 4, 2008 - Of course, what I really wanted to know what how the wheel looked on the car.
Would my painted Miata wheels suit it? How far would it stick out of the fender well?
The answer is that it looks good. I like it. The tire diameter is 23" instead of the stock 24" on the MG, but I can probably live with that. I can run a 205/55-14 RA-1 (or some similar R-compound) to give me good traction without having to use a ridiculous tire size, and a 225/45-15 is a future possibility. The fact that I have a set of the RA-1s on these wheels in this size already is just icing on the cake.
entry 92 - tags: suspension, tires, wheels
December 4, 2008 - The tire does stick out a bit.
About as much as I'd expected based on my measurements, which is reassuring. A rough test fit shows that the Rabbit fender flare covers it almost perfectly. I'll pull one of the RA-1s off and test fit with that as well, but I have a good feeling about this - as long as I stick close to the stock +45 wheel offset, anyhow. I should probably make sure the +30 wheels with 205/50-15s fit, as that's what half of my race tires are.
The fairly radical camber is because I assembled this suspension out of spare parts and everything's just finger-tight. No attempt at alignment has been attempted!
entry 93 - tags: body, flares, wheels, tires, suspension
December 4, 2008 - Okay, I should stay away from that combination.
A +30 offset wheel with a 205/50-15 sticks out 3/4" further from the body. As the math says it should - there should be 20mm more when compared to a 195/60-14 on a +45 wheel. The flares don't quite cover them with room for wheel movement. That's okay, I can run a greater offset. We'll see exactly where the flares end up when they're welded in.
I pulled the rear axle off as well. There's a lot of room under there now!
entry 94 - tags: body, wheels, tires
October 26, 2009 - I stuffed the rear axle under the car and lifted it into place, just to see how everything fits.
This was a reward to myself at the end of the day, so I haven't actually crawled under to discover what's liable to give me fits yet. I know there will be something. I realized today that the battery I was planning to use - a big burly Optima - won't fit in an unmodified battery box. So I'll have to do something clever down there. Anyhow...
The wheels look good! I'm very happy with that. There's loads of room inside, and I'll probably stick a coilover in there so they don't hang down as low as they do on Masters' car. These weedy little 195/60-14 tires will fit quite nicely under the Rabbit flares too. If I do decide to go fatter - say, a 225/45-15 on a 15x8, which would be a very logical thing to do - I'm going to have fender clearance problems. Maybe I'll just use very good tires and acknowledge the car will be woefully under-tired. I should be able to run a 205/50-15 without trouble if I'm clever with my offset choices. Still, these are +45mm wheels. You don't tend to see too many that are higher than that. I could always get the housing and axles shortened if it comes to that. For now, we'll build for a 205 tire.
You can see here how much trimming the stock fender will need here.
entry 200 - tags: wheels, body, tires
November 30, 2009 - The weekend wasn't completely without progress.
I got all itchy to do something productive so I figured out how to mount the Panhard bar and also welded the brake brackets on to the axle. One step closer. I'll do the messy fabrication work for the bar this week and get it all put together.
I also took advantage of a Black Friday sale at Discount Tire Direct and picked up some new tires for the car. The eventual plan will probably involve some 15x8 wheels in the rear with 225/45-15 tires, but I'll probably have to shorten the rear axle to do that. For the initial build, I'll stick with my current setup of 14" wheels with 195/60-14 tires. Yes, miniscule by modern standards and the skinniest tires on any vehicle I own when I think about it. But I have the wheels, they look appropriate on the car and I have the wheels. The tires are a set of Falken Azenis RT-615s, and I got the full set for $176 delivered. Can't beat that for value. They might be small, but they're pretty sticky for a street tire.
I also just ordered the shocks. Things are moving along. I'm thinking the Christmas holiday will involve the dissection of a certain Camaro.
entry 219 - tags: rear axle, suspension, tires
December 16, 2009 - The new tires arrived as well.
Falken Azenis RT615s, nice and sticky. Not the latest and greatest ultra high performance street tire and cursed with a pretty stiff sidewall that wreaks havoc with ride, they're about the hottest thing you can get in the small 14" size I'm using. I could also go with Toyo RA1s, but I'd rather not have yet another car that runs R compound tires on the street!
entry 230 - tags: tires
January 18, 2011 - Time to play with tires.
When Janel drove the car on Saturday to see how the various modifications were improving things, she discovered quite quickly that the existing tires were poor. A serious liability, actually. The car's like a loaded gun, with an extreme power/weight ratio and some pretty poor tires. That's the current tire on the left - it's the Falken Azenis RT215. The 215 was discontinued years ago, and while this tire appears to have lots of tread it's actually been heat-cycled to death so it's a little black rock. They hold air, that's their biggest redeeming factor.
The middle tire is a Toyo RA-1, a race tire that can be run on the street. It was pulled off my Seven, which is sitting in the trailer. It's mounted to the same wheel as my Falkens, but is a slightly wider 205 instead of the previous 195.
The right tire is another RA-1 with a little more wear. That's off the Targa Miata. These tires actually last an amazingly long time for a race tire. I pulled it out because it's mounted on a 15" wheel with a different offset, and I wanted to see how it would fit. Also, it was in my way.
entry 538 - tags: tires
January 18, 2011 - Here are the 14 inch RA-1s installed.
The left rear is the most problematic tire, and it's not quite tucked into place here. The others are fine, with a perfect fit up front. Really, I should have made that rear axle about 1-2" narrower so I could run bigger tires in the back. That may be a future project. For the time being, I want to see how this setup works, as it's a simple bolt-on that doesn't cost a cent.
On the street, the car is far better. It'll still overwhelm the tires, but only under real duress. I'm not sure it's considered socially acceptable to light the tires up all the way through second gear, but it's in the name of Science!
A nice side effect is that the ride has improved considerably. The Falken Azenis has a sidewall that is slightly stiffer than concrete. The RA-1 has a stiff sidewall as well, but it will flex. So I'm quite happy with this.
entry 539 - tags: tires
July 13, 2011 - So how did the new spring setup work?
Beautifully. I'm not sure what's changed from the first time I had this combo on the car, but the car has a beautiful fluidity over bumps and a well-controlled ride. It's as if I've discovered some secret suppleness setup. It's not perfect yet - the car is a bit disconcerting on turn-in. It's almost as if the rear takes a moment to catch up to the front. I think part of the problem is very responsive steering and too much power assist. If the steering had a bit more heft to it, it would be more in line with the way the rest of the car works. This is something that's been on my to-do list for a while. Soon!
I also beefed up the front sway bar while I was working on things. Since I can't figure out how to package my rear sway yet, I figured I'd let the front do the work. That seems to have worked out nicely.
I also changed rubber. The RA1s that were on there were really just temporary, but they helped the car stick to the road. But I'd picked up a set of Azenis RT615s a while back for a killer price, and they were just sitting in the garage. I'm not a huge fan of the Azenis as I find they heat-cycle too quickly and have a very stiff sidewall. But that's based on my experience with the original RT215, and I had these just sitting around. They certainly look better than the well-worn Toyos and the 10mm narrower width means they fit the flares perfectly. Is this where the change came from? No matter, I'm a happy camper right now.
entry 630 - tags: tires, suspension