Sunday, May 19, 2013

In a CD Karaoke Bar on the banks of the mighty Bosphorus...

First item of business: My steering wheel adapter.
I got my steering wheel from Forever Sharp Steering Wheels a few months ago. I realized that I would need an adapter so I ordered an adapter from Forever Sharp. A few days after placing my order, I got an email telling me that they didn't have any in stock but that the Grant Steering Wheels p/n 4266 was the same. So I ordered said adapter. If you can figure out how a 3-bolt adapter bolts up to a 5-bolt steering wheel, then mister, you're a better man than I. So now I have to build an adapter for the adapter. Someone needs a swift kick in the pants.

Five bolt holes
On the left, three bolt holes. Also included in the adapter kit were two pills. I kid you not. 
This week I also figured out what size tire and wheel offset I will be able to fit At first I borrowed some wheels. My first resource was Backyard Steve. He had some old drag racing front wheels which were definitely not what I was looking for (26" tall and 5" wide) but I thought I'd throw them on just to seek how it looked. I preferred the 1 inch drop look.

Steve's wheels at stock ride height
Steve's wheels at -2" ride height
Steve's wheels at -1" ride height
 Next, I borrowed a set of wheels from my co-worker, Vern. Vern and I share an affinity for properly rusted things. He has to hear all of my thoughts and schemes for 8 hours a day because he sits across the desk from me. One of the nice things about working for an automaker is that most of my co-workers share my disease. Unfortunately, Verns wheels did not quite fit on my car because the center bore of his wheels was about 1/8" too small, but I shoved them on the best I could, just to see how it would look. I was surprised by how good it looked.
Vern's wheel at -2" ride height.
After trying two different wheels and not really learning anything about what wheel and tire combo I could run, I had a moment of shame. I'm an engineer. Engineers don't have to do things by trial and error. They calculate and measure and come up with clever solutions so that they don't have to do things over and over again. With a new plan (which I ran by Vern on Friday afternoon when actual work was on approximately nobody's mind), I headed to Home Depot for some pieces of wood.

I built a wheel clearance checker as seen below. I attached the main radius arm to the wheel lugs to simulate the wheel mounting plane. I was then able to attach another cross piece to the radius arm. The cross piece would simulate the wheel width, and I could also check for wheel backspacing. I cycled the suspension up and down and turned the steering lock to lock in order to check for any potential clearance issues.

Radius Arm
Radius Arm with Cross Piece attached
4.5" from wheel mounting plane to inner fender lip
 My plan was solid, but the more I checked, the angrier I got. I had been told that I would be able to fit a 24" tall / 8"wide tire in the front, and now it was looking like I would have to run some sort of LA Ghettofab Special 13" wheel on 2 inch spacers just to keep from hitting the frame. After spending most of Friday evening and Saturday morning completely lost as to why wheel fitment was turning out to be as enjoyable as welding class at the nudist colony, I realized that I had never properly aligned this car after suspension assembly. I grabbed Vaughn and we spent about 10 minutes adjusting the toe angle and I checked clearances again. Just like magic, I now had room for a 24" tall / 8" wide tire. Isn't it funny how things work when you do it right?

Now that I finally know what size wheel and tire I can fit, I'll be firing up the ol' debit card again and visiting to spend my real american dollars.


  1. Wait a minute...I thought you said you got drugs in the mail...
    Lookin' good, Noodle. Can't wait to see your rims.

    1. Yeah, I feel like I read this for nothing.

  2. Check the second picture again.