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Model 3 Performance Version – tweaking and tuning, wheels and tires, etc.

dfwatt

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This thread is for tweakophiles who own the Model 3 Dual Motor Performance Version (I'm in the new 12 step program for Technology Tweaking Addiction and was a founding member:p:p). This thread is for sharing information on upgrading, optimizing, tuning, auto crossing, and all things that tweakophiles might do with their Model 3 Dual Motor Performance Versions. It's also an appropriate place to post your YouTube and other links on racing the M3PV. We are just starting to modify ours. We have two. I think it's the best car in the world, defined in terms of excellence at many things. I'm going to post my own review of the car after 10 days of ownership. Obviously have got a lot to learn about the car and its complexities, but so far it's been a magic carpet ride.
 
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dfwatt

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Is the Tesla Model 3 Performance Version the “Best Car In The World”?

Let’s start with the take home message, after just about two weeks of ownership. The Tesla Model 3 Performance Version is an affordable four-door Ferrari that gets the equivalent of 110+ miles per gallon. It combines amazing efficiency with great handling, performance, and space utilization . . . and it rides pretty decently too. With one person on board, it will get you to 60 mph in just a tick over 3 seconds but with no wheelspin, no engine noise, and no drama whatsoever – in stark contrast to any car within its performance ballpark, where all the racket lets you know immediately just how hard the engine is working. Although Tesla quotes 0-60 in 3.5 seconds for this model, several road testers have beaten this by .3-.4 seconds, consistent with Tesla’s statistics typically being conservative. Nothing costing this little is nearly as quick – only supercars and exotics (price tags from $150-300K) beat its 0-60 time (not counting the ludicrously quick Tesla S). Amazingly, its braking and handling might be just as impressive, particularly in ‘track mode’. It not only offers this BMW M3-beating performance with very little noise, drama or fuss, it might be the easiest car to drive I’ve ever owned . . or driven. It’s basically as quick 0-60 as my ‘bucket list’ sports car – the Ferrari Italia 458. It has even taken that car off the bucket list. Don’t test drive one!!! It will make your expensive BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, Alfa Romeo, or ANY other premium sports sedan feel like a primitive 19th century horse and buggy. If you just bought one of these premium sports sedans, a test drive of the top Model 3 will literally make you sick with regret.

It might even be “the best car in the world” – factoring in price, performance, features and efficiency. Of course there is the ecological equation, where the Model 3 isn’t just way cleaner and better for the planet than any hybrid let alone gas vehicle, but is more efficient than any other electric vehicle, except one (which is only equally efficient and weighs a thousand pounds less). OK, one might ask “How can anyone argue that X is the best car, or the best anything for that matter. Doesn’t it depend on what functional virtues you value most, and also what you are willing to trade off against that?” Well, of course that’s true, but this car comes shockingly close to optimizing everything, and almost violating this technological principle of intrinsic trade-off. What might justify that appellation (“Best Car In The World”) is that the Model 3 strikes such a stunning balance, in which very little is compromised. There are a handful of ridiculously expensive cars that are quicker, more than a handful that might ride better, a very few that handle better, and many larger vehicles that have more carrying capacity. But there are ZERO more economical to operate/ecological vehicles, and none with this exceptional composite competence in performance, utility and comfort. None, zero, zip, nada.

The fact that Tesla has not merely made a fantastic electric car, but very possibly the best vehicle you can drive, achieved in the space of just a few short years of manufacturing fully electric vehicles, plainly documents that Elon Musk has assembled a elite team of world class vehicle designers and engineers. The Model 3 shows that they’ve basically lapped the field, in the space of just 6 short years since the production of the first Tesla Model S. That’s incredibly rare in technological horse races, and merits real recognition. If you drive it, you’ll want it. It’s that good. So whatever you do, don’t test drive it, unless you are in a position to put down a deposit, because otherwise, you might walk out of the dealership wondering what your left kidney might get you on the black market. J

PROS/BENEFITS:

1) As noted above, an incredible overall dynamic envelope of performance, handling, braking, with a pretty decent ride – a fantastic driver’s car, easily the equal of any sports sedan extant, in overall dynamics

2) Equally incredible efficiency and, with heavy free supercharger use, potentially a way lower cost of both ownership and daily operating expense – even without free supercharging, much cheaper to own and operate

3) Comfortable and spacious feeling interior, with seats that are comfortable and supportive without being constraining, (a glass moonroof adds to the spacious feel), with a strong ‘minimalist’ theme (but see Cons)

4) Very good control over wind and road noise, and as mentioned, virtually no engine or transmission noise. (some wind noise over 70 - fix on the way!)

5) Better space utilization than anything in its class, with two trunks, including a useful front one, a ‘frunk’

6) Will charge fully overnight from any house current 240 volt line, and one of Tesla’s Supercharging stations can get you 100 miles of range in 15 minutes, 170 miles in 30 minutes, and 280 miles (90% charged) comes in 56 minutes (hopefully just enough time to do the errands at the mall, and get a bite to eat).

7) Exceptional value for the dollar, esp. if you can get the free lifetime supercharging, and tax credits, that might cut as much as ~$15,000 off the sticker, such that a $75K sticker is more like $60K. Lower operating expenses, lower maintenance, potentially saving another $15-$20,000 over a 10 year ownership.

8) Significantly future-proofed via updates to core system software, and easy updates over Wi-Fi.

9) Very well integrated operating system run through touchscreen control. Menus are reasonably compact, well-organized, and easy-to-understand, and don't have too much depth, but see Con #8.

10) Best autopilot cruise control available – and it’s almost there for full autonomous driving, but this thing is too much fun to hand it over to the computer, however competent that might be!

11) Massive convenience of controlling, starting & locking/unlocking your car without interacting w/ keys/key fobs, via smartphone encrypted Bluetooth connection. Game changer. Why didn’t anyone else think of this first?

12) Premium gear and materials throughout, from Brembo brakes, the touchscreen, seat materials, Michelin Super Sport 4S tires, aluminum body panels, etc. How’d the hell did they do all this for $65-75K? (Note: some items in the interior like the seat rack could use some spiffing up)

13) In addition to the car’s exceptional dynamics, exceptional efficiency, and exceptional value, the car also achieved a best in class result in all five national highway safety impact tests. Its resistance to lateral intrusion impact is significantly better than the second best car, a Volvo. Its touchscreen integrates and displays the location of every car around you, including those you can not see. Therefore it might be the safest car you can buy, particularly with its automatic emergency braking (enabled even if you're not using cruise control).

14) One of the best sound systems in any car – with again an excellent and easily accessed menu of various streaming audio options, Bluetooth audio on your phone, etc..

CONS/CONCERNS:

1) Tesla is being impacted by the incredible demand for Model 3 and the painful transition from boutique to mainstream manufacturing. Questions about production quality control linger and with occasional horror stories about delays in getting parts and rectification of problems on new vehicles. Hopefully, these will be resolved.

2) The new experience of “range anxiety” – you are very conscious that you don’t want to run out of ‘gas’ because AAA can’t just come and bring you a gallon of gasoline to get started, but instead they will have to tow you home or to a charging station (perhaps Tesla should make and market a quick charge battery pack that can boost a car in 5-10 minutes to get you 30-60 miles and home or to nearest Supercharger). Cannot be towed with wheels on the ground without serious damage to electric motor.

3) Possible over-reliance on a touchscreen as control center for the entire group of operating systems, at least for some drivers – why not have conventional mirror controls for example? (answer is likely cost) No physical glove box button? Computer control of the glovebox??? However, this does make the glovebox a secure space.

4) The moonroof isn’t a sunroof, and can’t be opened. Oh well. But it is heavily laminated and very strong.

5) 20 inch wheels on the Performance version are very heavy (32 lbs), why not design a lighter one to reduce unspring weight and improve impact harshness?

6) Combined with seriously short sidewalls from the race car 235/35-20 tires, wheels and tires are both at risk, from potholes, which are unavoidable, and curbs, which are avoidable, but requiring a lot of vigilance. Likely that most owners will be anteing up serious dollars for wheel repair at some point, and in New England, blown tires from potholes. Why not equip the Performance Model with 19 inch wheels and 40 series tires, at minimal to no cost to its great handling, and with a better ride too, at least in cold weather states with rough roads? Or at least make that the base equipment, with an option for the radical 35 series tire and 20 inch wheel package?

7) Aluminum body panels are easy to dent (but save a lot of weight!)

8) Complex operating system, and almost totally touchscreen-centered, might scare off some people, esp. the technophobic and change-phobic. Some menu diving required to explore the full envelope of car functions and options, somewhat like a big professional camera. Not for everyone.

9) The biggest downer – once you have experienced this, you can’t ever go back to the old legacy tech (ICE).

Indeed, one of my biggest concerns has nothing to do with the car. Rather than any sense that you are getting overcharged, one wonders how Tesla can make money outfitting the Model 3 with a military grade components while charging just over Honda prices – can they survive and eventually make money with this approach? Investors are worried about this issue. This isn’t a concern with any other car manufacturer, but Elon Musk appears to be, if anything, generous to a fault, and one wonders how much longer he can put off showing a profit before the bean counters drop the hammer on him, with negative consequences for Tesla and its financial situation. The continuing drama in the background about Tesla, whether it will stay a publicly owned company, its profitability, etc., may serve unfortunately to distract from the excellence of the Model 3, scare off customers and promote a negative feedback cycle – one can only hope that the technical excellence of the Model 3 carries the day, as Elon has argued it will. Demand for the Model 3 is unprecedented in automotive history – half a million people plunked down $1000 cash, sight unseen and test drive undriven – that sense of promise and potential, and the staggering excellence on display in the premium Performance Version, suggests the promise has been realized and that his gamble will pay off. But Tesla isn’t out of the woods just yet.

DFWatt
 
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dfwatt

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Here's my first tweak – lightweight wheels. I think this is the most obvious and cost-effective upgrade possible for the car. Do people know that the 20 inch wheels that come standard would easily double as boat anchors? They're 32 pounds, and I suspect they were overbuilt due to concern about deformation from impact – after all the stock 235/35 sidewalls are only slightly deeper than a couple of coats of paint. Dropping unsprung weight does several things simultaneously: 1) as its biggest payoff it really improves ride and impact harshness, and handling on bumpy surfaces, again all for obvious reasons; 2) it also improves acceleration, and it may slightly improve your mileage. After all you're not accelerating and spinning up and then spinning down a heavy pendulum just a lighter weight one. Disclaimer: I have no idea how resistant these are to deformation/impact. They're not forged but tire rack claims they're very well made – it's an Advanti 20 x 9 wheel weighing just about 23 pounds which is pretty light for that size and width. These guys have a really good track record including being a maker of Formula One wheels so I suspect it's a high-quality wheel, and certainly to visual inspection seems extremely well-made.
_DSC7203 (2).jpg


First challenge and it isn't a trivial one: jacking the car up safely! Hah!

I assume you guys all know that if you miss the jack hole and hit the battery pack, you're looking at several thousand dollars worth of non-warrantee repair. It's a tiny little spot and the notion of jacking the car up without special equipment that ensures the jack does not slip out of that small opening is just plain dumb. None of the local wheel and tire guys seem to either have or even know about the special 'hockey puck' that you need.

20180927_125107.jpg


Here's what you need to safely jack the car up: available on Amazon.
41-MyuBCLtL._SCLZZZZZZZ__SY500_SX500_.jpg



After wheels, Next Best Tweak is to go to a wider tire, and the most obvious pick would be just to go to the 245/35-20 Michelin pilot sport 4S. But there's some problems with that – discussed in the next thread.
 
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dfwatt

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Just found a major issue. The performance version with the big brakes has a Hub mounting lip on it that does not exist on the other models. So you're going to need a special hub-centric ring to get that wheel to fit properly. I'm calling tire rack right now and trying to get information on how they're going to rectify this issue.
 

SD_Engnr

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Just found a major issue. The performance version with the big brakes has a Hub mounting lip on it that does not exist on the other models. So you're going to need a special hub-centric ring to get that wheel to fit properly. I'm calling tire rack right now and trying to get information on how they're going to rectify this issue.

Looking forward to contributing to this thread.

As an FYI, here's a post in a thread with useful information: P3D+ misc info and pics- wheel weight, calipers, suspension

It would have helped you avoid the unexpected "major issue". If those Advantis are hub centric, you'll need to have them machine to fit over the 3mm x 2.25mm liip. If not hubcentric, you'll need a custom hub ring made.
 
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dfwatt

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One of the things that you find out when you dig into the stock 235/35-20 Michelin tire is that it appears to be a one off deal that Tesla worked out with Michelin. First of all it runs at higher than average pressures – recommended pressure 42 pounds, and with a significantly higher than average treadwear number – 500 instead of the normal and pretty decent 300 on the other 4S tires. So it's not 100% clear to me that the 245/35-20 tires are a straightforward swap out. Your range is going to take a hit simply because it's wider, and tire rack does not show that tire as compatible – but there'll very literal minded about rolling diameter – and it's only really one percent difference. I'm gonna talk with them about this as well this afternoon to try to get more information. In any case the 245/35 tire is your best upgrade path, and if you're going to put the car on the track probably the Bridgestone RD 71R in that size. More on that later.
 

dfwatt

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Looking forward to contributing to this thread.

As an FYI, here's a post in a thread with useful information: P3D+ misc info and pics- wheel weight, calipers, suspension

It would have helped you avoid the unexpected "major issue". If those Advantis are hub centric, you'll need to have them machine to fit over the 3mm x 2.25mm liip. If not hubcentric, you'll need a custom hub ring made.

Right you are and that's what I'm talking with tire rack right now about as we speak.
 

SD_Engnr

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One of the things that you find out when you dig into the stock 235/35-20 Michelin tire is that it appears to be a one off deal that Tesla worked out with Michelin. First of all it runs at higher than average pressures – recommended pressure 42 pounds, and with a significantly higher than average treadwear number – 500 instead of the normal and pretty decent 300 on the other 4S tires. So it's not 100% clear to me that the 245/35-20 tires are a straightforward swap out. Your range is going to take a hit simply because it's wider, and tire rack does not show that tire as compatible – but there'll very literal minded about rolling diameter – and it's only really one percent difference. I'm gonna talk with them about this as well this afternoon to try to get more information. In any case the 245/35 tire is your best upgrade path, and if you're going to put the car on the track probably the Bridgestone RD 71R in that size. More on that later.

I don't have my tires in front of me, but I thought the tires that shipped with our cars were of the 300 treadwear variant?

Also, to be on topic: Video of P3D+ on 1/8th mile track
 

dfwatt

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I don't have my tires in front of me, but I thought the tires that shipped with our cars were of the 300 treadwear variant?

Also, to be on topic: Video of P3D+ on 1/8th mile track

I wasn't sure myself, so, I walked out to my car and checked and see if there is something definitive on the tire itself – It states 300. Replacement tire on the tire rack website for sure states treadwear 500. So that suggest either some kind of weird mismatch – the stock should be 300, or simply a typo on the part of somebody entering the information. That's another thing I have to take up with tire rack!! I guess all this stuff falls under the heading of teething pains on radically new cars.
 

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dfwatt

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Great thread. I would however suggest you may want to utilize a forged wheel for durability and especially considering the weight of the vehicle.

Forged is always better than cast, but apparently my contact at tire rack tells me that these are made with a special process that's almost as strong as forging. The other problem is that forged wheels as far as I know are not available in a 20 x 9 size? I think there's some 19 x 9 size wheels but I haven't seen any 20 x 9. There is also the cost issue. These are pretty inexpensive for high-quality wheels at 330 a pop.

I think we could start a whole sub thread on the business of wheels, based on somebody actually owning and running that particular wheel. I will get these on as soon as I can get proper hub centric rings. Tire rack is aware of this special modification of the hub, but obviously that got to get to their suppliers the specification for that inner lip, and then they can get the rings made.
 
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dfwatt

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Good news and bad news. The good news is that the hockey puck arrived, and it's a perfect fit, with a nice rubber band that snug fits into the Jack hole and actually ensures that the hockey puck will not slide out. Also it's got a nice rubber cushion on the top. Highly recommended if you're planning on ever jacking this car up. I'm gonna order a second one.

Bad news is tire rack appears completely unaware of this special alteration in the hub and thought that all of the Dual motor versions have the same hub. That's not true it seems, and they will not have hub centric rings until their supplier gets the specs on this inner lip. It's kind of a strange thing given that it's not clear it serves a purpose, but it was somehow part of the Brembo package.

This means no tire rack aftermarket rim will fit the car properly until these hub centric rooms are available. Can anybody out there confirm that the Brembo brakes also preclude even the most generously sized 18 inch wheel? That's what tire rack says, but they were wrong about this other issue of hub centric adapter, so I'm wondering if they're wrong about that as well. Anybody with personal experience with this on the Brembo all-wheel drive performance version?
 
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SD_Engnr

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Forged is always better than cast, but apparently my contact at tire rack tells me that these are made with a special process that's almost as strong as forging. The other problem is that forged wheels as far as I know are not available in a 20 x 9 size? I think there's some 19 x 9 size wheels but I haven't seen any 20 x 9. There is also the cost issue. These are pretty inexpensive for high-quality wheels at 330 a pop.

I think we could start a whole sub thread on the business of wheels, based on somebody actually owning and running that particular wheel. I will get these on as soon as I can get proper hub centric rings. Tire rack is aware of this special modification of the hub, but obviously that got to get to their suppliers the specification for that inner lip, and then they can get the rings made.

The draw back is that while the barrel is strengthened through the roll-forming process, the face and mounting surface are not. Also, there's the added weight of a partially cast wheel .

Check this thread out: Group Buy Poll for Mono-Block Forged Alloy Wheels by Titan 7
Maybe you could drum up some support for the 20" size?
 

SD_Engnr

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Mar 24, 2016
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San Diego
Good news and bad news. The good news is that the hockey puck arrived, and it's a perfect fit, with a nice rubber band that snug fits into the Jack hole and actually ensures that the hockey puck will not slide out. Also it's got a nice rubber cushion on the top. Highly recommended if you're planning on ever jacking this car up. I'm gonna order a second one.

Bad news is tire rack appears completely unaware of this special alteration in the hub and thought that all of the Dual motor versions have the same hub. That's not true it seems, and they will not have hub centric rings until their supplier gets the specs on this inner lip. It's kind of a strange thing given that it's not clear it serves a purpose, but it was somehow part of the Brembo package.

This means no tire rack aftermarket rim will fit the car properly until these hub centric rooms are available. Can anybody out there confirm that the Brembo brakes also preclude even the most generously sized 18 inch wheel? That's what tire rack says, but they were wrong about this so I'm wondering if they're wrong about that as well. Anybody with personal experience with this on the Brembo all-wheel drive performance version?

Short story - most 18's will not fit. I think Unplugged performance or TSportline makes an 18" wheel that fits. You need a wheel that has an inner barrel that is larger than 16.75" (I think that's what it was from my measurement).

Also, that additional lip is not there to serve a purpose that I'm aware of. It seems to be a byproduct of the rotor hat being thinner than on the standard cars.
 

dfwatt

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Short story - most 18's will not fit. I think Unplugged performance or TSportline makes an 18" wheel that fits. You need a wheel that has an inner barrel that is larger than 16.75" (I think that's what it was from my measurement).

Also, that additional lip is not there to serve a purpose that I'm aware of. It seems to be a byproduct of the rotor hat being thinner than on the standard cars.

Thanks for those clarifications SD_E.
 

Shizzrock

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The 20" tire/wheel combo have been weighed by several people at 52.5 pounds, so I think the stock 20s are around 29 pounds. The 18s have also been weighed by several people at 49 pounds, so that's a delta of 3.5 pounds, not exactly enough for a boat anchor.
 

dfwatt

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The 20" tire/wheel combo have been weighed by several people at 52.5 pounds, so I think the stock 20s are around 29 pounds. The 18s have also been weighed by several people at 49 pounds, so that's a delta of 3.5 pounds, not exactly enough for a boat anchor.

The stock wheels are also heavy, so I'd have to disagree that adding ~ four pounds to an existing rather heavy and hardly svelte setup doesn't qualify as optimal. And the tire actually weighs an uncertain amount (several weight values on line, and I haven't dismounted and weighed), but the most credible weight value appears to be 21 lbs, or perhaps if you want to split the difference between various values, 21.5 to 22 lbs. This leaves a wheel weight of 30-31 lbs, which gives you a lot more weight than the Advanti setup might.

If you think that saving 7-8-9 lbs per corner of upsprung weight is nothing more than window dressing, I'd have to disagree, and so would virtually every single racing suspension and wheel engineer, where unsprung weight is seen as necessary evil to be religiously minimized. Those folks are continually trying to shave weight from wheels and suspension parts without losing too much strength and impact tolerance.

But like a lot of variables, YMMV. I'd suggest that you should reserve judgment until you drive the two setups back to back. Or better yet, if you can't tell the difference, don't waste your money.
 
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Shizzrock

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The stock wheels are also heavy, so I'd have to disagree that adding ~ four pounds to an existing rather heavy and hardly svelte setup doesn't qualify as optimal. And the tire actually weighs an uncertain amount (several weight values on line, and I haven't dismounted and weighed), but the most credible weight value appears to be 21 lbs, or perhaps if you want to split the difference between various values, 21.5 to 22 lbs. This leaves a wheel weight of 30-31 lbs, which gives you a lot more weight than the Advanti setup might.

If you think that saving 7-8-9 lbs per corner of upsprung weight is nothing more than window dressing, I'd have to disagree, and so would virtually every single racing suspension and wheel engineer, where unsprung weight is seen as necessary evil to be religiously minimized. Those folks are continually trying to shave weight from wheels and suspension parts without losing too much strength and impact tolerance.

But like a lot of variables, YMMV. I'd suggest that you should reserve judgment until you drive the two setups back to back. Or better yet, if you can't tell the difference, don't waste your money.


There's a youtube of that guy who has tried out different setups, one of them being a lightweight forged wheel that saved him 12 pounds per corner, and got him .02 seconds faster 0-60. So maybe you'll get a hundredth.

I don't have to reserve judgement because this is empirical evidence. I never said lighter wheels aren't better, I said the 20" wheels are by no means boat anchors compared to the 18s. Especially when you consider the weight is closer to the center on the 20s where it's closer to the edge on the 18s. But you just want to confirm your own choice, which is fine. If you can tell the difference, waste your money.
 

dfwatt

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There's a youtube of that guy who has tried out different setups, one of them being a lightweight forged wheel that saved him 12 pounds per corner, and got him .02 seconds faster 0-60. So maybe you'll get a hundredth.

I don't have to reserve judgement because this is empirical evidence. I never said lighter wheels aren't better, I said the 20" wheels are by no means boat anchors compared to the 18s. Especially when you consider the weight is closer to the center on the 20s where it's closer to the edge on the 18s. But you just want to confirm your own choice, which is fine. If you can tell the difference, waste your money.

I actually said that the principal benefits would be ride and handling on rough surfaces. And I never said they were boat anchors compared to the 18 wheels!!! :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: I guess you know more than the engineers who aim to minimize unsprung weight. Do you have an engineering background?
 
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Shizzrock

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And I never said they were boat anchors compared to the 18 wheels!!! :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

So do you think the 18 inch wheels are boat anchors? I guess I just think it's silly that people keep calling these wheels boat anchors and by saving 6 pounds on a corner they're gonna have a race car
 

dfwatt

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So do you think the 18 inch wheels are boat anchors? I guess I just think it's silly that people keep calling these wheels boat anchors and by saving 6 pounds on a corner they're gonna have a race car

Nope, wrong again about what I stated. I said that 32 lbs of unsprung weight is undesirable, esp. if you can cut it down significantly. And I certainly never remotely argued that dropping unsprung weight makes the M3P a race car.

Bigger problem than our disagreement is that when you distort and caricature someone's position to discredit it as a debating approach, you discredit yourself instead of the opposition. Something you clearly haven't figured out.
 

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