Suspension upgrade to save my tires (SL1)

I am considering multiple suspension upgrades to reduce the excessive wear on my tires. My 97 SL1 is stock (and yes, properly aligned) and
went through, Yokohama Avid T4 in 9,000Mi (alignment and suspension items check before and after) and chewed 6/32" off the new V rated BF Goodrich Traction T/A after just more than 1,500Mi (front only, the rears are like new). Yep, quite agressive driving style.
I am considering the following upgrades (in order): 1) install rear sway bar (probably a stock SL2 sway bar from scrap yard) but also thinking of a 16mm 3way adjustable 2) change dampers to KYB GR-2 3) change spring to H&R Sport
My objective is to transfert more weight to the back to relieve the front tires. I am gathering the opinions on the benefit from each of these options in terms of limiting the (front) tire wear.
The solution has to be cost effective otherwise I'd rather change the tires every 10,000-15,000Mi.
The no brainer is to obtain the stock sway bar (and links and stuff) from a SL2 or SC2 (cheap and guaranted to help) but I wonder if it will help "enough".
Thanks for the opinions
Frank 97 SL1 109,000Mi
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I've got Eibachs, KY Bs and the adjustable sway bar on a 97SL2 - only makes tires wear faster because I'm buying softer tires to enjoy the stiffer suspension. (grin)
There a couple of downsides to the lowering... the springs are a stiffer rate which give you a choppy ride (comparatively), and some Saturn's get a non-destructive axle shimmy (mine has it) at low speeds. Also, you drag the air dam off on many driveways do matter how skillfully or awkwardly you approach the driveway.
With the aftermarket rear bar and poly bushings I get a squeak - I've lubed them a couple of times, it doesn't last.
If you're serious about the aggressive style you mentioned, then the fast tire wear goes with it, no? And I'm thinking you SL1 is running fairly narrow tires on 14 inch wheels...
Maybe a factory bar and rubber bushings and a wheel/tire package to start. I've got Bridgestone Pole Positions and they wear fast and are quiet. The previous Bridgestone's became cupped at 9,000 miles and howled at freeway speed. Both models have been 205/55-15's. I've heard good things about Michelin Pilots, they're just a little pricey.
Good luck.

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I would be surprised if those suspension upgrades will do anything for tire wear.
You haven't mentioned what type of wear, or if it is even or odd. Have you tried going to a tire with a much higher treadwear rating? How about getting the alignment checked at a different shop, other than the one you normally go to?
Lane [ l a n e @ p a i r . c o m ]
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Visit my Saturn Car Audio and Performance Page at http://www57.pair.com/lane



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Nice, two replies from people I read often and whose opinions I respect.
I agree: Agressive driving style means accelerated tire wear. Putting 1000$ of suspension upgrade to extend the life of 400$ tire sets may not be cost effective.
I bought 15" steel rims to install 205/55R15. The BFG Traction T/A V rated is rated for 60,000Mi. My other tires were all in 175/70R14 size: Firestone FR-680 43,382Mi (easy driving) Michelin MX4 Rainforce 22,278Mi (moderate at first, agressive at the end) Yokohama Avid T4 8,036Mi (agressive throughout)
In the case of the Michelin and the Yokohama, the thread was worn pretty much equally inside to outside (when measured in the groves), but the side walls were chewed and missing chunks. The tires rolled a lot. The Yokos actually "broke", I couldn't see anything visually but when I slapped the winters on in August, the car felt like it was on rails in comparison.
Installing V rated tires limits tire roll but doesn't eliminate it. The BFG have a L shape line going from the top to the side wall. That line is gone after 1,500Mi but the wear does not go down the side wall as much as on the other tires.
Factory bar... yep. Step 1 was 15" wheel to get wider tires and the V (or W) rating. Step 2 is the junkyard special sway bar of an SL2.
Lowering has drawbacks... thanks for that, I had not considered it.
Alignment... Up to the moment were I replace the outer tie rods, the car had its alignment verified 4 times, all in 3 different shops with the numbers being very close (measurement error?) and within specs.
Thanks for the input. I will report back when its done and I have put another 1,500Mi on the car (I'm holding off on tire rotation to start with the fresh set at currently at the back).
Later,
Frank 97 SL1 109,000Mi

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Frank) wrote in message
I just bought some BF Goodrich Traction T/A H rated 195/70R14's for my '93 Honda Accord based on the reviews I read at the TireRack.com and decided to do a quick search to learn impressions of the tire. Hope you don't mind my jumping in to ask a few questions and perhaps share a comment or two.

You meant 195 above, right? 175 to 205 would be a huge leap. I'm curious though, why did you decide to up the rims so you could fit 205's? Stock on my car are 185's and a knowledgeable tire rep was trying to convince me to go with them as wider tires handle worse in rain and snow as they tend to hydroplane more easily and particularly after wearing a bit. Second, your gas-mileage decreases. But I wanted the wider tire because I thought it looked better, and finally ended up going to a place that would put them on--several of the discount merchants would not fit anything but oem spec. Was pure asthetics the appeal for you as well?

Obvious maintenance, but you do check tire pressure regularly? For an aggressive driver, correct inflation seems trebly important.

How are you impressed with the tires threadwear aside, rain and dry? Used them yet in the snow? Understand that may be their weakness, but considering that's just a few days out of the year for me, I mostly neglected it.
You know that these Traction T/A's are among the first which BFG is offering a 60KMi warrenty on; that is, wear out before and you can see a some or full recovery--check the fine print. Would you consider getting another set based on the performance thus far, or think you'll move on after these are through.
It's difficult to compare tires, because the thing that people remember about their last tires are the sounds of dying bald-eagles making a dump-truck whir down the interstate.
One last question: what should the new thread thickness measure and how do you measure it? I'm assuming grove depth would be the same between a 205 and a 195.

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I'm sorry to seem like a jerk, but I have to ask. Might your aggresive driving not be appropriate for the street with other traffic who aren't as skilled as you, and may do something stupid because they don't know what you're doing? You might really enjoy SoloII or something along those lines - a great way to channel the 'aggresive' energy in a controlled and relatively safe environment: www.scca.org

I'm by no means a tire expert or anything close, but over-inflating your tires a bit will help keep the sidewalls from rolling under. Unfortunatley, by doing so you're stressing the tires and changing the handling characteristics signficiantly. From the SoloII handbook:
"Tires: [Before racing] ... you should put an extra 10 to 15 psi in your tires. The reason for this is to keep your tires from rolling under during hard cornering. But how much is too much? Put chalk on the edges of your tire, in three places around the diameter, and you can see how far over the tire was going during your runs. Bleed out a little if the chalk is still showing on the tread, or add a little more if the chalk has been worn off down the sidewall. The line of worn chalk to remaining chalk should be right at the corner of the tread and sidewall. Keep notes on how many psi you ran, and where the chalk line was, for your next event."
-rj 98SL2
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Richard,
Don't worry, I don't think you're a jerk, I think your concerns are valid (based on what you read).
When I wrote "my driving style is quite agressive" I meant towards my tires, not towards other people/drivers. I never do agressive maneuvers towards others such a cutting off, tailgating, drag racing/nagging. I don't even speed except for the on/off-ramps where I have "fun" when alone (I'm the guy parked on the shoulder waiting for traffic to clear). I have "fun" always in the same (known) places. I drive like my grandma when the wife and kids are in.
Funny thing is that my (48Mi round trip) commute to work has: one 80mph 90deg right turn, one 55mph 90deg left turn, one 35mph 90deg right turn, one 55mph 270deg right turn maybe 5 "starts" (no tire spin, just very close to it though)
I have a "clear track" say 4 times a week on average and I had those tires for 8 weeks now. That's the cause for the 6/32" loss in thread.
Overinflating... it's a thought (that and changing the camber) and although I am considering it, I don't want to affect the braking distance (since it's still a family-mobile).
I did do SoloII activities and took my car on a race track. I just can't shake that need for on/off-ramp fun.
Not that this post would help you at all (or change your opinion of me), but I did want to address the commentary on my person.
Best regards,
Frank 97 SL1 109,000Mi

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205 an error?... nope. I wanted to get the 195 and there were not in stock at BFG (odd size and the production of another was not even scheduled yet). I got he 205/55R15.
Why change rims?... My stock wheel were 14"x5". Too small for the 195s (and 205s) says Tirerack, plus I believe I had not many choices in V rated tires in 14".
Handling in rain... I could comment when the tires are more worn but so far I have amazed by the cornering with these tires under yet conditions. No hydroplaning incident yet.
Handling in snow... I will never know.
Gas mileage... like you I was concerned about it... this might interest you (I note everything): Firestone FR-680: 31.3mpg Michelin MX-4 Rainforce: 28.8mpg Yokohame Avid T-4: 31.8mpg BF Goodrich Traction T/A V: 29.9mpg These numbers are over the entire life of the tires (except for the BFG... 2000Mi only).
Esthetic... not an appeal for me at all. My goal was to reduce sidewall roll.
Tire pressure... you bet ya.
Next set... I was hesitating between the Khumos Ectas 712 and the BFG. Next set will probably be the 712.
Tread depth... check the manufacturer website. I use a micrometer to measure it.
Later,
Frank 97 SL1 109,000Mi
uphill snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (uphilldoggie) wrote in message

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Frank) wrote in message

Hi- I believe you misunderstood my inquiry and possibly the re-reading of your own initial post: I was not asking if your interest in increasing the width of your tire to 205 mm was an error, I was asking if your original tire was truly 175 mm as you wrote:

which prompted me to remark:

Sorry, I'm not sure how I can explain that any more clearly. Again, please refer to your original post and my reply. Thanks.

Yes, I'm familiar with tire sizings, the BFG Traction T/A line and why you had to change rims (though I did ask about the instrument you used to measure your grove depth), I was merely asking why you decided to increase the tire width to 205 mm as it was a pricey proposition--you had to change your rims. And you answered that.

Great. I've experienced hydroplaning on even narrower tires--175/80R13--on an old Topaz, but it was a lighter car. I was concerned about my decision to increase to a 195 mm from the OEM spec and was interested in your experience. My current car, a '93 Accord, is too light for 205 mm tires: its curb weight is 2,866 lbs. Also, I think those tires on my car would look out of proportion to the size of the car.

Interesting, thanks. I've yet to keep mileage stats, but I should consider it. I wonder how accurately such mileage charts can be attributable to any one implementation. That is, even assuming driving habits and patterns stay relatively the same, a car which expended a certain gas mileage at 30 Kmi may not get the same gas mileage at 80 Kmi five years later, even with regular oil changes. And this assumes no other fuel altering modifications: a change in oil/lubricant, removal/addition of luggage/sports equipment racks, etc. And of course, the stickiness _and_ the width of a tire will affect mileage. So many variables, that such specifically attributable comparisons seem almost meaningless. I'll have to think about this a bit more..
Regards.
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I would tend to agree with Lane on all points. Why don't you just buy tires that are rated longer? I burned up Dunlop SP Sport A2 as well as BF Goodrich Comp TA HR4's in around ~20,000 miles. Now I got some Pirellli P400's, they're lasting forever and they stick good too.
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