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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

After reading many (MANY) posts on recommended tires I went with the Goodyear F1 GS-D3s on non-LSS wheels (195/45/16 for fronts and 235/40/17 for rear). My car is more a daily driver and while driven hard now and then, I need longer tire wear more than 10/10ths performance.

So far, they're fine but like many (MANY) others I've noticed a vibration around 80 miles an hour that wasn't there before. The general consensus on the boards seems to be a tire balance issue. Two quick questions:

1) If I can live with the vibration (it's not too bad), is there a need to balance the tires? My feeling is any small imbalance will cause the vibration and I can spend a lot of time/effort trying to correct something that may not be correctable.

and

2) Should the Goodyear's be inflated to the pressure recommended by Lotus (i.e. inside the door panel)? If not, what do various members advise?

Thanks so much,
e-man
 

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I had the same issue when I switched to Toyos. It was slight but it annoyed me to no end. I took it to another tire shop and they did road force balancing. Problem has been solved since. Not sure about the tire pressure.
 

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Ditto on finding a shop with a Hunter Road Force balance machine. No tire or wheel is ever perfectly round, and the RF machine accounts for the imperfections in tire and wheel to give you the "roundest" possible solution.
 

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It's probably best to correct any out-of-balance condition with a first-class balance job since the vibration you are feeling can lead to uneven wear patterns on the tires, which, in turn, are very hard to correct after the fact.
Manufacturer's recommended tire pressures should be viewed as a starting point--some adjustment for load, driving conditions, and ride quality can be made from there.
 

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I had the same problem when my Exige was new. I loosened the wheel nuts and then tightened them back in a star pattern (tightening the opposite side at a time) and the problem went away.
 

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re: balancing - I'm not sure where you live, but if you're in SoCal, Beverly Hills Lotus works with a race shop to do their balance/alignment. They do a fantastic job. My car went from pretty bad to silky smooth after a balance.
 

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I chased the 80 MPH wheel shake for about 4000 miles.
It took a new set of tires and a road force balance to get rid of 70% of problem. I drove this way for another 1000 miles and then when changing the air filter noticed that the wheel lug nut breakaway torque was over 150 ft-lbs. I could not get them off with an air impact wrench. Had to use a breaker bar. The dealer had over torqued them big time. When I reset them all to 77 ft-lbs, the shaking was almost completely eliminated. Finally I experimented wiht tire pressure and found that it was a bit smoother still with front and back set about 1-2 PSI over the door sticker recommendations. I think it's a combination of factors that affect shaking in the steering wheel. You may have to adjust more than one "knob".

2006 Elise Sport #46
 

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What everyone else said - balancing and lug bolt torque. I re-torqued my wheels after getting my car back after a tire change, a few bolts were torqued to >200 ft-lbs - I know because I had to use my weight and even some more to budge them.

To add, if your problem is within the first few minutes of operation, the tires may have somewhat flat-spotted while the car was dormant. I had the problem with the same tires on my TT, but don't recall them on my Elise.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Follow-up Report

All,

Just wanted to say thanks for the feedback here.

I had a road force balance done and the wheels carefully remounted at 77 lb.ft of torque. In addition, the tires were inflated to 1 psi over recommend levels.

That seems to have cured about 95% of the problem. There's still a little vibration but I attribute that to just the natural amount of feedback provided by the car. It's certainly much less scary at 80mph!

Thanks again for everyone's kind responses . . .
 
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