Lotus Elan

Zetec conversion -tyre choices

PostPost by: Mark B » Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:17 am

Hi all,

I'm in the process of buying some tyres for the elan. As most of you may know it's a full spyder zetec conversion in an S4. Spyder use a 6 x 14 minilite with a 185/60/14 yokohama A drive or C drive which is a reasonable standardish type road tyre.

I want to use a 185/55/14 as I prefer the 55 profile (less sidewall & slightly less overtyred to look at) and hopefully the smaller sidewall will give a little less deflection on cornering helping clearance, aswell as less "ballooning" in general. I have reasonable clearance in the arches but would rather go on the side of caution.

I've put the figures through a gear calculator so I know gearing/cruising speeds are only fractionally affected & the rolling radius is still slightly bigger than the original 13" tyres would've been anyway.

This gives me a choice of Yokohama AO48's -a good tyre but I'm concerned about stones peppering the freshly painted bodywork with them being sticky. ?76 a tyre

Yokohama S drive -a new performance road tyre but I've never used them. ?57 a tyre

Falken ZE912's -used Falkens years ago but not this particular type. ?39 a tyre

And then Avon ZV3's, the usual pirellis but nothing particularly high performance.

The car will be used for fast road use, and although I won't be purposely driving it in the rain I will inevitably get caught out in it at some point living in britain :lol: so it must be grippy in the wet and dry, give good feedback and be progressive & predictable.

So my question is, does anyone have experience of the above tyres, on an elan in particular, and especially one with 160 -180bhp, and what would you go for and why?

Thanks in advance,
Mark.
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:50 am

Mark,
FWIW, I wouldn't have thought that sticky tyres would make a significant difference to throwing up stones, I'm sure that most of them are caught by the tread.

The problem with recommendations with tyres is that few of us have experience of more than one or two options and then it's usually comparing worn out with new. Scarcely fair! The exception to this is those who race, they go through more tyres and usually know which grip and wear best. However they don't usually care about noise, comfort and fuel economy.

Also, as you point out so clearly, prices do vary a lot. How do we quantify what the the difference worth.

What certainly is worth knowing is what doesn't work. My everyday Alfa for instance, wasn't good on Pirelli P6000s, harsh and noisy and they didn't last well.

My recommendation, listen to those who have had problems and then go for a reputable make at a good price.

Mike
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:09 am

Firstly I'd like to express my surprise that 185/60x14 tyres do fit in the rear wheel arches of your Elan; they wouldn't in my self built Zetec Elan.
I had to go for 175/60x14 Continental tyres with a fair bit of fettling to the wheel arches.
In that size the choice of tyre is extremely limited.
I'm happy with the Continentals but have little experience of wet weather driving.
Aquaplaning on rutted roads is a problem though.
Apart from that every Elan is skittish in the wet (I think) possibly due to the short wheelbase & lightweight.
In the past people on here here have sung the praises of Yokohama's & if I could fit them to my car I would definitely give then a try.
It's a matter of personal taste but I loved the look of my Elan fitted with 185/60x14 Yoko's & was sorry to have to take them off & fit the narrower 175's.
If you don't like the present "over tyred" look why not search around for 175/60's; I think they look good especially with some negative camber on the front dialed in.

Not much help there, was there?
Sorry :oops:
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:00 pm

Hi John,
Interesting comments on clearance. I'm not sure what size to use for my +2 Zetec (mind it's some way off yet). My general feeling is to go for as close a rolling radius as possible to the original and not too wide either (The PO had run tyres that were too wide at some stage and worn through the inner arch). I have 2nd hand 185/60/14s on at the moment to allow me to move it around and I plan to measure clearance using them as a starting point when I eventually get it finished and loaded up. Choosing tyres by fit and by eye isn't very scientific but I suspect it will get me the best answer.

In general, I prefer higher profile tyres to give a more compliant ride on the basis that handling was fine on the original 80 profile tyres. My personal target is a car that handles well on the road with a compliant Lotus standard ride but that's really down to personal taste.

Mike
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:18 pm

mikealdren wrote:Hi John,
Interesting comments on clearance. I'm not sure what size to use for my +2 Zetec (mind it's some way off yet). My general feeling is to go for as close a rolling radius as possible to the original and not too wide either (The PO had run tyres that were too wide at some stage and worn through the inner arch). I have 2nd hand 185/60/14s on at the moment to allow me to move it around and I plan to measure clearance using them as a starting point when I eventually get it finished and loaded up. Choosing tyres by fit and by eye isn't very scientific but I suspect it will get me the best answer.

In general, I prefer higher profile tyres to give a more compliant ride on the basis that handling was fine on the original 80 profile tyres. My personal target is a car that handles well on the road with a compliant Lotus standard ride but that's really down to personal taste.

Mike


Hi Mike,

at the time Spyder told me that their wheels ( Two Gates) fitted with 185/60x14 tyres would fit OK in my Elan S4, which they did but would have caused the O.M. clearance problems when loaded with driver & passenger.
Those wheels were what Spyder provided at the time & they were really only in the start up phase on Zetec conversions for the +2 & had no Elan experience.
TTR who set up the suspension for me were the people that discovered the clearance problem.
My Elan has the TTR fast road springs & I also run pretty high tyre pressures, which I think provides a better "seat of the pants" driving experience; not something that everybody driving a +2 would be aiming for.
From all of the past posts regarding +2 Zetecs I do not recall anyone talking about clearance problems associated with the standard Spyder 185/60x14 set up.

Happy new year
John
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PostPost by: Gray » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:50 pm

Hi

185/60/14s with Spyder double wishbone suspension and Spyder wheels did not give enough clearance at the rear on my S4. Spyder machined the taper and face of the rear hubs which has given just about enough clearance, although not tried on the road yet - prolonged restoration!

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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:04 pm

Gray wrote:Hi

185/60/14s with Spyder double wishbone suspension and Spyder wheels did not give enough clearance at the rear on my S4. Spyder machined the taper and face of the rear hubs which has given just about enough clearance, although not tried on the road yet - prolonged restoration!

Regards Gray


Now that's a good bit of lateral thinking from Spyder (amazing considering :wink: )
Please let us know how far inwards the wheels have moved by using this method when you can.
OK guys, yes I know that I can do the sums for myself; nevertheless a bit of a scary job turning those tapers down in a lathe & getting it right first time :roll:

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PostPost by: Mark B » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:33 pm

Hi Mike/John,

Mike, I've used toyo R888's many times & because they're so sticky it does throw more stones than usual at the body. I assume AO48's are the same but I've only driven a car once with them on, they're both the same type of tyre though (ie trackday) so would imagine would bring up the same troubles...I know what you mean about the subjective nature of tyres though, I spent hours yesterday searching various reviews & was more confused after it than before!

John, I remember you saying about not being able to fit 185's on your car so I borrowed a 185/60/14, removed the damper and spring assy and articulated the suspension up and down to test it. It clears ok and as my bodyshell and chassis are both new I have the opportunity to adjust/modify bits to get the best fit. I'm also using all the spyder suspension, sierra hubs etc as opposed to the lotus stuff so don't know whether this makes it easier.
I think the 60 profile looks ok on most cars but saw an early review on spyders 1st zetec elan and the tyres looked huge for some reason, plus the lower sidewall should help inner arch clearance due to less sidewall movement.
By the way you can get a 175 14 inch in yokohama A539's I discovered yesterday if it's any use for the future?

Cheers,
mark.
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PostPost by: Mark B » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:39 pm

This is the one- http://www.spydercars.co.uk/octane_feb_ ... c_elan.htm

Sean has it on the wall in his office at spyder, he commented on how large the tyres seemed to look compared to others they've done since...

Sean did tell me from the outset that 185 tyres may not fit btw, he reckoned most of the s4 elans they've had do fit but not all of them.

Oh and just for you John, 9th down on the list-
http://www.topgear.co.uk/acatalog/14__Y ... _Tyres.php
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PostPost by: Foxie » Fri Dec 31, 2010 7:06 pm

My two cents:

I use the Plus +2S for general use, touring, some track, and hillclimbs.

When I fitted the Spyder chassis and IRS, with the Spyder 14" Minilites (Two Gates) I put Yoko 14 185/60s A520s on them. I was very happy with these. For a better track tyre I changed them for Toyo Proxies (I was looking for Yoko A048s, but they weren't available just then). The Toyos were great in the dry, but were lethal in the wet. I also thought they did not give the best directional stabilty.

So I changed the Toyos for Yoko A021s. They are very good dry, and pretty good in the wet. :D

When I can afford it, I'll get a second set of rims for the Toyos :mrgreen:
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:12 am

Mark B wrote:This is the one- http://www.spydercars.co.uk/octane_feb_ ... c_elan.htm

Sean has it on the wall in his office at spyder, he commented on how large the tyres seemed to look compared to others they've done since...

Sean did tell me from the outset that 185 tyres may not fit btw, he reckoned most of the s4 elans they've had do fit but not all of them.

Oh and just for you John, 9th down on the list-
http://www.topgear.co.uk/acatalog/14__Y ... _Tyres.php



Top tip Mark, thanks a lot.
I like the look of the tread pattern & after googling the reviews it appears to be a pretty good tyre.
It's good to have you guys around; I was beginning to think that the 175/60x14 size was going the same way as the Dodo.

Cheers
John
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sat Jan 01, 2011 12:57 pm

Hi Mark,
I can only comment on using 2 of those tyre choices on my +2 zetec, the 185/60/14 yokohama A drives were fitted as standard when the car was first converted and then I started using another set of wheels for track days fitted with 185/60/14 Yoko AO48's.

The A drives are okay on the road, but they have a habit of breaking away suddenly on heavy cornering especially on a slightly damp or cold surface, I haven't totally embarrassed myself but they have taught me respect for the opposite lock school of motoring on a couple of occasions. The wear rate is minimal over 10,000 miles and I still have over 6mm of tread in the rears, this sort of tells the story that they are not ideally suited to the car or it's performance.

The AO48's are in a different league, massive grip and totally predictable on track or on the road. The first time I used them was last year at the Club Lotus Trackday which anyone who went will tell you was appallingly wet and miserable with standing water and driving rain throughout most of the sessions, I was a little apprehensive about using the AO48's in those conditions but one of the instructors on circuit told me I would be fine so long as I had plenty of tread, so off out I went and ran rings around everything in sight having an absolute ball of a time. The one dry session I got left me totally gobsmacked at the level of grip. I left them on the car for 3 months and ran them almost daily, the only slight downside is that they are a little bit noisy due to the tread pattern, think Landrover tyre noise and you will get the idea. I'm going to use AO48's on my S4 when it's finished, being a convertible the extra noise won't matter.

Regards
Kindest regards

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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Sat Jan 01, 2011 1:56 pm

Spyder fan wrote:Hi Mark,
I can only comment on using 2 of those tyre choices on my +2 zetec, the 185/60/14 yokohama A drives were fitted as standard when the car was first converted and then I started using another set of wheels for track days fitted with 185/60/14 Yoko AO48's.

The A drives are okay on the road, but they have a habit of breaking away suddenly on heavy cornering especially on a slightly damp or cold surface, I haven't totally embarrassed myself but they have taught me respect for the opposite lock school of motoring on a couple of occasions. The wear rate is minimal over 10,000 miles and I still have over 6mm of tread in the rears, this sort of tells the story that they are not ideally suited to the car or it's performance.

The AO48's are in a different league, massive grip and totally predictable on track or on the road. The first time I used them was last year at the Club Lotus Trackday which anyone who went will tell you was appallingly wet and miserable with standing water and driving rain throughout most of the sessions, I was a little apprehensive about using the AO48's in those conditions but one of the instructors on circuit told me I would be fine so long as I had plenty of tread, so off out I went and ran rings around everything in sight having an absolute ball of a time. The one dry session I got left me totally gobsmacked at the level of grip. I left them on the car for 3 months and ran them almost daily, the only slight downside is that they are a little bit noisy due to the tread pattern, think Landrover tyre noise and you will get the idea. I'm going to use AO48's on my S4 when it's finished, being a convertible the extra noise won't matter.

Regards


Good of you to share your experience with us Alan; I love good evidence/facts.
I'm wondering where the above mentioned Yokohama A539's fit within the range of driving qualities mentioned?

Cheers
John
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PostPost by: Foxie » Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:20 pm

I'm wondering where the above mentioned Yokohama A539's fit within the range of driving qualities mentioned?



I have 15" Yoko A539s on one of my e21s. They are excellent all-round, wet or dry. :D

I have 13" A021s on the other, more grip than the 539s, but wearing faster :roll:

Though neither in the same league in the dry as the A048s, which are really street-legal slicks :mrgreen:
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PostPost by: Gray » Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:34 pm

John

The combination of machineing the taper and the face of the hub gave about 10mm additional clearance if I remember correctly. Spyder did this for me a long time after I bought the wheels, chassis and suspension, etc. I think they charged about ?45 per hub. I had to send the complete RSC upright and stub axle so they could lap the hub onto the stub axle and check all OK. My only concern is the flange is thiner and hope its still stong enough. I'll keep an eye on it when I eventually get the car back on the road.

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