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her name is Miranda ;)
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm hoping you guys can give me some personalized help. I've done some searching on my own, but I still have plenty of questions.

Here's my background info
Car: mirablue stock 2010 3.8 Grand Touring, closing in on 5000 miles after 5 months
Usage: Went to 2 autocross events last year, got hooked, so I plan on going to as many as possible (10 or more) this year. I plan on staying in the F-stock class. Nowadays, I mostly drive my car on weekends, but I still want to keep my car daily driver-friendly.
Budget: As cheap as possible? Sounds stupid, I know, but considering that I'm still just a novice when it comes to aggressive driving, I figure that I don't need the best of the best just yet. Maybe $700 for tires, $700 for wheels, $80 for brake pads? I'm not exactly broke, so I can spend a bit more (which might be necessary for the wheels because most of the sub-$700 rims I've seen disagree with my picky eyes). I definitely don't want to go over $2000 total...I've been saving a lot of money, but I don't want to spend too much of it on this stuff.

Preferences
Like I said, I don't want to get too aggressive with the brake pads or anything because I want to be able to drive this thing on a daily basis in case I end up getting transferred to a different office where I have to drive every day.

For wheels, I have less...flamboyant taste than most, I think :p. I prefer something less insane. I'm guessing sticking with 18" will keep the cost down. I like split-spoke designs...in fact, I really like the OEM 19" Track rims. I like 5-spoke, 6-spoke, and some multi-spoke designs...but split 5-spoke and 6-spoke are best IMO. When it comes to colors, I like darker ones like gunmetal, and I'm definitely considering black. I'm also considering buying a set of used OEM rims to save money, but I'm not in love with how they look.

What I've seen
Stores: Tire Rack, Discount Tire, V/T Engineering and Auto Anything.
Tires: Hankook, Falken
Wheels: Enkei, Motegi
Brake pads: Hawk HPS, Frixa Street
Any recommendations for other stores and brands I should check out?

I realize that most people probably don't want to do my shopping for me, but I have other questions below:
  1. Should I even bother with getting a 2nd set of rims? I figure it would make it easier for me to switch tires when it gets cold next winter, but maybe I should just go to a shop to switch tires on a single set of rims?
  2. How important is the weight of rims? Is there a range I should aim for?
  3. How hard is it to deal with TPMS?
  4. How long will upgraded brake pads last (considering how much autox I plan on doing)? Is it a good idea to keep my current brake pads?
  5. I'm leaning towards the Frixa Street pads, but why are the non-brembo pads more expensive than the brembo ones? Also, I'm a bit wary because some forum posts have noted that Frixa pads get noisy :/ (I guess that's why they're so much cheaper than Hawk HPS?)
  6. Does it matter if I stick with staggered wheels or not?
  7. Is it worth it to go "plus 1"?
  8. Is it common to just upgrade the front brake pads?
...I coulda sworn I had more questions, but I can't remember them right now. Not to mention this post is already going to cause some "TL;DR" so I'll stop here. For now.
 

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GET OFF MY LAWN!
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2,261 Posts
1. Get a second set of wheels for wintertires, for sure. Hell, use the stocks for winters. Switching tires on rims twice a year gets expensive, quick.
2. If you're autocrossing, less unsprung weight on the wheels = faster
3. Can't answer that, as it's not an issue here in Canada :) I'm pretty sure you could just ditch the TPMS, live with the orange light, and check your own pressures.
4. Again, not sure about this one, I'll let the experts weigh in.
5. Haven't done brakes yet myself, but I'm leaning towards HAWK after what I've been reading recently. Sounds like both HAWK and FRIXA are excellent though.
6. Car's designed staggered, I stuck that way, most do. You could run square, a few guys are, but it's not really recommended
7. 19" seems to be optimum, but I know some of the guys who track seriously are going with 18"s for racing, cuz a little extra sidewall can help, and the weight savings going down to 18" definitely do. Again, the experts should weigh in here.
8. Dunno about upgrade, but front pads definitely do 75-90% of the work, so they wear faster, meaning you replace 'em more regularly. That said, if you're racing/autocrossing, that may change a bit.

That should get you started, until the big dogs get involved. :)

Oh, also! $700/wheels, $700/tires (maybe up to $1000 each for wheels/tires) is very realistic unless you're going high-end/ultra-light. Hankook and Falken are fantastic tires, and the Hankooks seem to have the best price point vs performance. Discount Tire was excellent to me, even being an 'international' customer, I can definitely recommend them. The Hankook Ventus V12's should definitely be considered.

Of course, you've asked about wheels now, which means this will turn into a fitment and lowering thread very quickly. ;)
 

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Are you trying to be competitive or just have fun?

AX is not as hard on brakes as the track is. You want a good cold bite pad with consistent modulation. You can get away with street compound pads. AX specific pads will be noisy and dusy.

Staggered fitment is designed to keep the car stable by making it understeer. A square setup will increase oversteer.

Enkei RPF-1s are a good, inexpensive, and light track wheel. Most wheels cheaper than that are not going to be saving you much weight over oem.

18" wheels will be lighter and the effect is greater due to the mass being less further out from the axis of rotation. Tires are also cheaper than 19s and come in more sizes.

You can upgrade to a bitier pad up front alone but you'll change the brake bias slightly. May not be noticceable unless you're at the extremes of car handling.
 

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her name is Miranda ;)
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1,191 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
1. Get a second set of wheels for wintertires, for sure. Hell, use the stocks for winters. Switching tires on rims twice a year gets expensive, quick.
...
Of course, you've asked about wheels now, which means this will turn into a fitment and lowering thread very quickly. ;)
- How much does switching tires on rims cost?
- No lowering for me! There are too many speed bumps and potholes where I drive. There's a parking garage I have to use about once a month that has ridiculous speed bumps. Not to mention: lowering might affect my car's classification?

Are you trying to be competitive or just have fun?

AX is not as hard on brakes as the track is. You want a good cold bite pad with consistent modulation. You can get away with street compound pads. AX specific pads will be noisy and dusy.

Enkei RPF-1s are a good, inexpensive, and light track wheel. Most wheels cheaper than that are not going to be saving you much weight over oem.
- I'm trying to not die. The last time I did autox, on the final sharp turn of my final run, I overheated the brakes. It was pretty scary. That said, I plan on getting street pads. Racing pads would definitely be overkill.
- Are the Enkei RPF-1s worth it? At Tire Rack, they are $1200 and 73.6lbs. Motegi SP10 are $600 and 76lbs. I'm going to keep looking, but it's annoying that Discount Tire doesn't show weights for wheels.
 

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Are you running oem brake fluid? If you are flush it out with something like ate typ200. The oem fluid fades quickly. Just switching fluids makes a big difference. Do you know for sure if your pads overheated? Did you look at them? The front pads take heat a lot better than the rear pads. I suspect this may have to do with the solid rotor.
 

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her name is Miranda ;)
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't know for sure that the pads overheated. I just assumed they did based off of what I've read. What should I look for when I inspect them?

And yes, I'm running OEM brake fluid. The whole car is stock except for the windshield wiper fluid ;)
 

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If you haven't bled your brakes yet you need to do so if you experienced any brake fade at all. This would be the time to flush the fluid with some quality Dot4.

When you bleed your brakes, examine the color of the fluid coming out of the bleed port of the calipers. If it's dark/blackish/contains air bubbles then you know your fluid overheated. Fresh brake fluid is usually a golden piss color unless otherwise colored by the manufacturer (Ate blue for example.)

To tell if your pads overheated, take a look at them.

Do they look burnt like below?



or do they look more like new?



That's a severe case.

The front base pads actually help up pretty good compared to the rears. I'm not sure if that's because the front brake rotors are vented, have more mass, or because the compound if better. The rear discs are solid non-vented and suffocated by the dust shield.

This is what the front pads looked like after a couple track days. You can spot the burning/blistering/glazing. I doubt yours look this bad yet. AX is not as hard on the pads because you're not doing continuous braking from 100mph to 30mph again and again lap after lap. You typically have a run that lasts at most a couple of minutes with ample time for brakes to cool down. If you rode the brakes too much then perhaps you have some fluid fade.



 

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her name is Miranda ;)
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1,191 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
hmmm...those are some really helpful pics. Once I buy a set of tools, jack stands, etc, I'll test them out by inspecting my brakes.
 

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GET OFF MY LAWN!
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- How much does switching tires on rims cost?
- No lowering for me! There are too many speed bumps and potholes where I drive. There's a parking garage I have to use about once a month that has ridiculous speed bumps. Not to mention: lowering might affect my car's classification?
Switching tires on rims is... well, it varies a lot. However, you're talking wear'n'tear on both the rims and rubber. Everything I've heard/read suggests NOT doing the semi-annual swap. At the very least, everytime you swap those tires, you run the risk of gettin' them scratched.

And there are distinct advantages, beyond convenience, to having a set of 'winter' rims. Not the least of which is sliding around in the snow/cold means higher chance of banging those rims off something. If they're dedicated winters, you'll care a lot less.

As for lowering, Ottawa is a 'winter' city, for sure, and there's a lot of road heaving. I've had ZERO problems with the mild drop that is an Eibach Prokit. You don't have to drop it to the rails, by any means.
 

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FUNCTION OVER FORM
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Boozy & Vox, excellent info & advise, esp on the pics Vox.

WhatsDone, My dealership charges $20.00 to mount & balance a wheel. So multiply that x4 every time you wanna switch, but like Boozy said, taking a chance on scratching every time you switch..
 

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her name is Miranda ;)
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1,191 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Yeah I really appreciate the help.

I've been looking at 18x8 wheels. Stock wheels are 18x7.5 in the front, 18x8 in the rear. Do I have to do something to make 18x8 fit in the front too?

Does any one have any opinions on Motegi wheels? Tire Rack only has 2 user reviews. Maybe I should just make another thread...
 

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her name is Miranda ;)
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1,191 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Oh crap. Bought some tools, but I clearly need to buy more. What size sockets/wrenches do I need to do basic stuff like bleeding brake lines, changing oil, etc?

I just discovered that my socket set doesn't go large enough for the wheels' bolts. :wtc:

edit: I downloaded the Shop Manual from this forum and it looks like I need to cover 5mm and even numbers 6 thru 24mm.
 

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her name is Miranda ;)
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1,191 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
bump.
any takers?
I've been looking at 18x8 wheels. Stock wheels are 18x7.5 in the front, 18x8 in the rear. Do I have to do something to make 18x8 fit in the front too?

Does any one have any opinions on Motegi wheels? Tire Rack only has 2 user reviews. Maybe I should just make another thread...
Do 225 tires fit on 18x8 just as easily as 245 tires (different tires widths on same rim width)?
 
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