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Musterion's New Staggered Ride (20" wheels + XPEL wrap + Opticoat + Alignment)

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Musterion, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. Musterion

    Musterion 18h 03m 37s −24° 23′ 12″

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    I've been enjoying this car too much to get this post together earlier, but wanted to share my "new ride" which has now been substantially street tested. The short story is that after driving a loaner P85 and doing some experiments to compare to my S85, I decided that a large part of the handling difference came from the wheels/tires. Following the path of many others here, I decided on the sweet spot of 20" wheels which have a large choice of reasonable tires, and gave me the opportunity to reduce unsprung weight, choose my new look, and add a staggered configuration. As you see from the photos below documenting my odyssey, I did a lot of my own measurements using household tools and assistants to plan the new config, did the research, and settled on a set of extremely lightweight wheels by Motegi Racing (MR126, lifetime structural warranty):

    • Front: 20x8.5, 21.9 lbs., Offset +38mm (Backspacing 6.22”)
    • Rear: 20x10, 24.75 lbs., Offset +38mm (Backspacing 6.93”)
    I chose to couple these with the highly rated Hankook Ventus S1 noble2 UHP tires:

    • Front: 245/40ZR20 99W 500-AA-A
    • Rear: 275/35ZR20 102W 500-AA-A
    The wheel and tire load and speed ratings exceed the OEM wheel specs. In addition, despite the stagger, there is a significant unsprung weight savings: including wheels and tires, this configuration saves about 25 lbs. (10%) unsprung weight vs. the stock 19" configuration, and about 40 lbs. (16%) over the stock 21" Tesla config.

    I did a special order by phone from TireRack to get the right configuration since it is not listed in the database (the closest I found was searching for a staggered configuration for a Camaro SS 1SS). In my PG&E EV Charging thread, PGE EV Rate Timing Chart by Musterion, there is a rendering of the car with the wheels which helped me decide on them and the color, black with milled accents. After they arrived, I was still waiting for some special lug nuts before installing. In the meantime, I took the car to get paint corrected and to do an XPEL Ultimate wrap and Opticoating (thanks Joe at Orinda Motors). So I took the opportunity to Opticoat the new wheels too before installation. Back home, after removing the old wheels at around 3500 miles, I noticed uneven wear on the inside edges of the rears, which triggered my alignment suspicions. I wrote another post on this at Checked Alignment: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly - Page 16 which confirmed and fixed the problem (final alignment posted below).

    I wanted to thank the many members of this forum for the excellent advice and exhaustive feedback on the Model S in general, and specifically all the reports on various coatings, wheel, and suspension configurations. In particular, my configuration geometry (but not wheel or tire type) matches @johnmodels (My new wheel/tire setup, and tint.) and he gave me useful info on tire pressures. Originally I found that 45 psi all around was not so stable and I was experiencing the now infamous floaty feeling of a misaligned car with toe out in the rear. Indeed, after alignment, the feeling was like night and day, and I now run 45 psi all around with a rock-solid grip. I have logged efficiencies before and after the wheel change, and see similar or better efficiency with the new wheels. I will compile these numbers and post them here later after I choose a cutoff date before the recent spike in low efficiency due to the cold weather spell in the Bay Area. Aesthetically, the XPEL / Opticoat is stunning, and the new wheels are eye-popping. You can see in the photos that the rear wheels are now nearly flush with the fenders (about 26 mm further out than the stock configuration). Behold:

    MusterionWheels1.jpg MusterionWheels2.jpg MusterionAlignment.jpg
     
  2. towman26

    towman26 Member

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    Looks sweet. I have the same color and soon will have new rims. Not sure what im going to get but I am staggering them too
     
  3. Dreamin

    Dreamin Member

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    Looks great!
     
  4. Raven5000

    Raven5000 Member

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    who did the mods of camber and tow for you? Was it tesla?
     
  5. Wild_Bill

    Wild_Bill Member

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    Looks good.
     
  6. Musterion

    Musterion 18h 03m 37s −24° 23′ 12″

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  7. Jhall118

    Jhall118 Member

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    These are the EXACT wheels I wanted for my P85+ when it arrives. Cool to see pictures of them on the car. I didn't know they made a staggered (which is even better). Was it significantly more money for the bigger size in the rear?

    Quick clarification- the alignment was needed because of something going on in production, not installing the new wheels, correct? I will definitely get it checked anyways, but just curious.
     
  8. Musterion

    Musterion 18h 03m 37s −24° 23′ 12″

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    The 10" wheel was only $11 more per piece compared to the 8.5". The wider tires were $40 more each (275/35 vs 245/40). Motegi makes all different sizes and in my case was up to me to find the right combination that fit since the databases that contain OEM and optional fitments didn't include this particular one. Note Motegi has other color choices too. I saw in another thread you are getting a white car? You should check out their matte white with milled accents...

    Regarding alignment, yes, the car was misaligned since production (was a factory pickup, so even shipment cannot be blamed). The "old wheel" 19" photos above and in my wheel alignment posting proved that since they were on since delivery, and showed the uneven inside-edge wear on rear wheels even at 3557 mi. So the new wheels had nothing to do with the bad alignment, except I think with wider rear wheels, the extra grip made especially the toe-out there more obvious. Also my camber and front toe were out of spec. The camber adjustment required a new adjustment bolt discussed in the wheel alignment threads.
     
  9. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    Looks great!

    What did you use to lift the car and keep it up? Jackpoint stands? "Commercial" lift?
     
  10. Musterion

    Musterion 18h 03m 37s −24° 23′ 12″

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    I saw your other thread on the jackpoints and watched the Jay Leno video on their site. They look like a great idea although pricey. I'm going to keep an eye on them if they make the custom adapter. To answer your question...

    I have several hydraulic floor jacks lying around and the best workhorse has ironically been a 3-ton "Black Jack" I bought at Wal-Mart. I use it with its included extension on my truck (which is a cousin of the Model S, having been manufactured at the same NUMMI plant, but I digress). It works perfectly on the small lift pad of the Tesla, the jack having a circular lift point of < 2 in. diameter. As was mentioned in the other thread, you can use the jack without stands if you are doing something quick, or I usually try to place a safety stand somewhere but not touching a weight-bearing part of the suspension. The jackpoint stands would be perfect if you want to jack both sides of the car, due to limited jacking point surface area. In all cases I use wheel chocks for safety.

    Finally in the pics I posted above, you'll see a rubber (harder to find than plastic) tire wedge. I use this to wedge the tire while the car is still jacked to tighten the lug nuts in star pattern to full torque. In this way the wheel is absolutely centered on the hub and lug seat cones before putting any weight on the wheel that may shift it.
     
  11. gimp_dad

    gimp_dad Member

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    #11 gimp_dad, Dec 21, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
    Musterion, great looking setup and one of the best write-ups I have seen. I'm one of those trying to learn how best to enhance the tires/rims and don't have time and energy to experiment as some others have done. :)

    How did you decide on the front offset? The performance 21" setup has 35mm offset up front. I did +25mm offset with 21x9" rims and 245/35/21 stock sized tires in Hankook V12s. I initially got some rubbing when the steering wheel is cranked in one direction and car is in reverse. The edge of the tire on my setup appears to be somewhere between 10 and 16mm outbound compared to stock and maybe too far. I would love to figure out the effective limit for how far to go. I must be very close given the fact that it stopped rubbing after less than 200 miles of driving. Seems we differ by somewhere in the range of 13+ mm. It's hard to tell exactly how much my 12.7mm wider rims contribute to tire width but 13mm is just the difference between where we have set our center line for our respective rims.

    Do you have any opinion on this key metric based on all the great work you did figuring out what sizes you wanted to choose?

    There are probably others who would like to figure out how far outboard to go as it looks nice to push them out a bit as long as they don't get pushed out past the fender (in my opinion). I plan to keep what I have and try a few different tire selections but would probably have gone slightly less outward if I started over (or maybe just used 21x8.5" rims instead of 21x9").

    Thanks again for your great work.
     
  12. Mayhemm

    Mayhemm Model S P85+ "Lola"

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    Could one go with 255/40R20 tires in the front instead? My tire of choice (Michelin Pilot Super Sport) does not come in 245/40R20.
     
  13. Sunfishsolar.ca

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    Yes you can fit 255/40/20's and 295/35/20 on the back.

    Here's a pic of my car. just waiting for the 10 inch rims for the back. Not enough traction with the 255's.
     

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  14. Mayhemm

    Mayhemm Model S P85+ "Lola"

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    Very nice!

    I guess I'm not the only one who thinks the PSS is a good fit for the Model S.
     
  15. Musterion

    Musterion 18h 03m 37s −24° 23′ 12″

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    Gimp, thanks, and the short answer to your questions is "it's complicated" -- as such I suggest we meet at a local cars-and-coffee sometime and trade notes and measurements in real time.

    More details. For deciding on the offsets, I got under and around the car and measured the clearances mainly from the back of the 19" stock wheels and tires and whatever was closest, when the car was in the "normal" ride height (firmware 4.5). I used pieces of wood to get readings (see my first photo as an example -- there showing 34mm clearance in the rear between top of tire and the suspension arm, which is huge). The front had <10mm (thumb's width) near the top. The reason it is complicated is that I realized when changing the wheels in jack mode and when the wheels move downward, that there are some clearances below the wheel on the rear to the wheel well that are smaller, and this could be relevant going over bumps on high ride height, or even on normal ride height on uneven terrain. And the front, as you've heard from others here, is a dynamic thing which depends on which direction the wheels are pointing and what you are doing at the time, even the direction you are moving. My conclusions were that the front was finicky and the rear had a lot of room for expansion. So I chose a conservative option of not changing the front tire width (increased the wheel width by 0.5" since within allowed range for the new tires) and planned the larger wheel and stagger in rear to clear. For front and rear I used calculators here (Car Bibles : The Wheel and Tyre Bible Page 4 of 4) to find overall width given different tire geometries and to calculate rolling circumference and speedo error.

    Regarding offsets. I used a conservative rule of thumb that ~ +/- 5mm ET from stock would be OK and not significantly change the suspension loading and steering dynamics (the site above quotes 5-7mm as a safe range). If your goal is to fill out the front fenders more, i.e. have the outer edge of the tires closer to the fender, then I would say the safer thing is go with smaller offset than your 25mm and larger wheel/tire width. Personally I wouldn't change the offset by as much as 10mm (think lever arm and the MS weight) without expecting significant alteration of the steering behavior and the loading on the suspension components. So by safer I mean to go closer to stock in offset and then you have to check carefully the clearance on your wider wheels. There is not much room to do this on the car, and I see others have done 255 OK. In some cases tire choice my dictate your choices here too as others have posted. This is all just my opinion. Note that there are others on this site clearly a lot more experienced than I am, e.g. Dreamin who posted above and has a great writeup here (New 20 Tires).

    Merry Christmas!
     
  16. gimp_dad

    gimp_dad Member

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    Your thoughts make sense to me. Overall, I agree that it makes sense to be conservative with the fronts. Getting together sometime to compare notes and wheel tire solutions sounds great.

    Thanks again for sharing your experiences.
     
  17. Musterion

    Musterion 18h 03m 37s −24° 23′ 12″

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    @sunfish, nice -- did you powdercoat these? By the way, I think your signature needs updating...
     
  18. Musterion

    Musterion 18h 03m 37s −24° 23′ 12″

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    I got a few offline inquiries on how my new wheel/tire configuration affected energy efficiency, so I thought I would post here after accruing sufficient data.

    Before
    With 19" stock wheels and tires, over 3548 miles:
    1207 kWh total
    340 Wh/mi

    After
    With 20" new wheels and tires as described in 1st post, over 2227 miles:
    730 kWh total
    328 Wh/mi

    Driving is mainly commuting including mountain roads with sea level to 3000' elevation changes each way, and some highway driving.
    The latter run even includes cold weather, so I think I can safely say there is no efficiency hit (and in my case is a bit better).
     
  19. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    #19 yobigd20, Jan 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
    This rims from Motegi Racing are really starting to grow on me. And considering they are 25 lbs lighter than OEM 19s and (10%) lower unsprung weight with now those Wh/mi results...that may have just sealed the deal for me. They look great, AND they improve efficiency...it's hard to argue against this. I may go with the exact same setup. Just need to figure out what's going to look best on black. MR126 comes in 'white' and 'black'. What color are the OEM 19s and 21s? "silver"? "hyper-silver"? "white"? "brushed satin?" ?? I'm wondering if the MR126 "white" is the same finish as our OEM 19s...

    MR126_black.png MR126_white.png

    these also look pretty good:
    MR120_matteblack.png MR120_silver.png
     
  20. Musterion

    Musterion 18h 03m 37s −24° 23′ 12″

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    Personally I would think the same ones I bought (MR126 gloss black with milled accents) would look the best with your black car if you haven't blacked out your chrome trim. The 'white' MR126 is actually painted matte white and has milled accents. See Motegi Racing for some better pictures and the spec sheets showing sizes available (click on "Wheels" there -- I didn't have much luck with their search by car). I think that white color would look odd with anything besides possibly a white car. The MR120s you have posted are called "Techno Mesh S" by Motegi and have more color choices: Satin Black, Chrome, and Silver. The Chrome is really eye-popping chrome and not my style. The Satin Black or Silver would probably go with the black car, and I think Silver is closest to OEM silver. However the downside of the MR120s is that they are considerably heavier (6 pounds more each) and they max out at 20x9, so you cannot do the staggered configuration I achieved with the MR126. I hear some others are buying the same wheels I showed so maybe you'll see their pictures soon here. Hope this helps.
     

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