Monday, August 1, 2016

Tire shopping

Last Saturday I went to Discount Tire to buy some new tires for the Corvette. I wore probably 2/3rds of the tread at Putnam last fall and the front tires were very thin at the inner edges. Over the last few months I had researched what tires I wanted. I was not very happy with the Nitto Invos on the car and I wanted a higher performance tire. The tires I was looking at fall under the "Extreme Performance Summer Tire" category, unfortunately no one makes a tire that fits my car in that category. The TSW rims I have on the car are one size larger in diameter and one inch wider, the width isn't the problem its the diameter. They are actually the same diameters as the C7 Z51 Corvettes, but most of the tires available in those sizes are run flats.

I initially inquired about some 2015 model BFGoodrich Rivals which are very limited availability, and of course they were unavailable. Then I asked him to check on Continental Sport Contacts again they were unavailable. He said he could check with some alternative warehouses on Monday, so before I left I asked if they would put my tires on the spin-balancer and make sure none were bent. I have already replaced two of the wheels for being bent and I found out a few months ago that TSW no longer makes them. If I have any bent wheels that would change everything.

Twenty minutes later they called me out to the shop to show me that both back wheels were out of round. Basically the inner barrel farthest away from the spokes was oval, no damage to the lips of the wheels and the same issue I had with the two wheels I had replaced. These are spun forged wheels and tend to be more malleable than a cast wheel which would just crack. Other than the total suck roads in this area I'm not sure what is causing this. Pot holes usually don't get a back wheel without damaging the front one.

I asked them to put the wheels back on the car and drove home to decide what to do next. Its strange that I could not hear or feel the .5" of run out on the back wheels.

The frustrating part is I really liked the wheels I had and outside of spending 4-5k on a forged set that are custom made there aren't really a ton of choices. I started looking on CL for a factory set, they come up quite often and are generally in the $600.00-$900.00 range for just the C6 rims. Of course there were none listed in the Indy area when I looked. There were a few sets in the Chicago area including a too good to be true price on a forged set. The guy had a bad picture posted of the wheels and a receipt that didn't match the wheels he had pictured.

Now I'm frustrated and ready to step away for a while but decided to check Louisville area first. I got a hit on some C7 wheels in black off a Z51 car, this is important because the Z51 wheels are spun forged. The seller had them listed for $200.00 which is just stupid cheap. I called him and he said he still had them but he had one person on the way to look at them and another he was to call if the first didn't take them. We talked about the rims for a few minutes and I told him he had listed them way too cheap, he agreed and said he didn't think he would have so many calls on them. I told him "It's too bad I can't just offer you $400.00 for them and you tell everyone else they are sold". he said he would have no problem doing that. We agreed to meet at his house and 5pm, so Tania and I jumped in the truck and headed to Louisville.

His house was easy to find and the entire transaction took less than 15 minutes. He had bought a new Z51, didn't like the black wheels so he bought some Chinese multi-spoke chrome replica wheels. He also threw in two sets of factory lug nuts, one chrome and one black. We were about a half mile from his house and deciding wither to eat or head home when my phone rang. It was him calling and asking me if I needed tires too. He said a buddy of his had a set that were almost new and he thought they were those "yoko" tires. We waited on the side of the road for him to drive by and followed him over to his buddy's house.

When we arrived his buddy was in his tiny garage, he had a new C7 as well and the tires were sitting next to it. I looked each of them over they weren't those "yoko" tires but better than that for me they were Hankook Ventis V-12 Evos. They had not patches and the buddy said he had maybe 1k miles on them, he went on to explain they were off his old Corvette. I have had a set of these before and was very happy with them, after dealing for a few minutes I agreed to $400.00 for the set. We had to drive about 8 miles to an ATM because I had only brought enough to buy the wheels.

While we were loading them in the truck, the seller asked me about my Corvette and it turned out he had the same car, same color and the same TSW wheels. He went on to tell me he still had some parts off the car, so we went in his garage to see what he had. He had a stock hood, some chrome and trim pieces I wasn't interested in, a set of TSW chrome wheels and tires and some RPI fuel rail covers that were color matched. I unwrapped one and took it outside to look at in the sun, he told me he would sell them for $100.00 (they are over $300.00 new) I was slightly interested but didn't feel like making the trek back to the ATM and it was getting late. I got his number and told him I would contact him if I decided I wanted them.

I got in the truck and Tania asked me what I was looking at, I told her what they were, how much they cost and what he wanted for them. She informed me that she had taken out $500.00 at the ATM so I thought about it a few minutes and then went and got the fuel rail covers from him.

Here is a shot of the wheels and tires he had put the rims in his replica boxes.

 Here is a closeup of the rim, I painted the Corvette lettering to match the car, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be because the lettering is a very shallow recess. I don't know how well I will like the gloss black versus the flat black the current wheels are. The paint on them is not a real good quality which surprised me, I thought for a minute that these might be replicas but none of the replicas have CORVETTE cast in the lip of the rim.

Here is a shot with the RPI fuel rail covers installed. They purchase new GM fuel rail covers, paint them to match and insert black metal lettering in the recesses. I would have never spent the money on these had the price not been so cheap. I probably should have dickered more on the price since they only made C6's this color for like 3 years and they were low production, he didn't have much of a market. He did throw in the matching oil cap which I guess is a bonus.

It will probably cost me around $125.00 to have the TPS sensors removed from my old wheels, rebuild kits installed and the tires mounted and balanced. Still all in all I think I got a very good deal. Next I want to find some C6 center caps, I don't like the chrome trim ring on the C7 caps and I don't want the C7 logo's on my car. The logo is recessed into the cap or I would just cover them in vinyl.

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