Well, finally 'got er done'. Or as much as these cars are ever done. New wheels, Tires, ended up with a new steering rack. AND, like I have been anticipating for 16 years now, It drives and runs FANTASTIC!!! I knew that these cars were capable of this but it's been a long time coming. And it's largely because of the help I've gotten on Lotustalk. Thanks tons!
I took the time I had that I was waiting for tires and wheels, to accomplish the stuff I wanted to do. And the day I finished, the wheels and tires were in and ready to mount. Hows that for timing!
I ended up with Firestone Firehawk Indy 500's, 225/45R17 fronts and 275/40R18 rears. I went with a 10 inch wide rear wheel and 8 inch front. Lolo had 11" in the rear. These cars never had that wide in back, even the v8s, and 10 is plenty. FYI for anyone else considering this, I think 225 front is too wide, Lolo had 215 and wanted to go to 225. But 225 brushes the radiator hose on driver side. I had to tie it back a bit to clear. But it handles AWESOME!! and neutral at the limit to my surprise! And the limits are very, very, high now, way high. The other issue that kind of surprised me is the left rear wheel and tire get hot just cruising on the highway. Like 20+ degrees hotter than right side. I wrapped the exhaust and polished the chrome on the heat shield behind the tire but haven't tried it yet to see how it works. Should be fine.
I was prepared for a more harsh ride with the much lower profile tires and much more 'sporting' tire than the all seasons I had on it. To my surprise it rides about the same! I'm really stunned. Awesome tires, very sharp handing great looking, ride great and CHEAP! Compared to others. I had Michelin Pilot Super Sports on another car and very impressive tire handling wise, but very harsh ride and ridiculous price.
In reassembling the dash after the wiring clean up project, I had a bind in the steering at certain places in turning the wheel. (Turned out I had the steering column slid slightly to far onto the first u-joint, Like 1/32 of an inch).In the process of finding the problem I noticed the pinion shaft, of the rack and pinion was moving up and down when changing the direction of the turn. Like 3/16 of an inch! I thought, THAT'S where the slop is! I just knew this cars steering should be sharper than that. But I had never though to look there. What they used for thrust bearing was just nylon that gets cut away by the sector shaft under the pressure of the turn. I ordered a new rack from JAE instead of rebuilding it. To my surprise the new rack is a completely different design. Hopefully much more durable! And it is very, very tight. Now to get the A.C. working. It's hot around here.
Well, Atwell says 'pics or it didn't happen sooooo,
Old on the left, new on the right.