[200q20v] Re: Suspension Upgrades-coil overs

Linus Toy linust at mindspring.com
Tue Aug 15 19:04:13 EDT 2000

At 07:48 AM 8/15/00 -0400, John Petersen wrote:
> > 3.  Wheels.  Your biggest bang/buck in terms of enhancing your handling,
> > but IMHO, should be second to brakes.  As you noted, make sure what you
> > will fit over your brake upgrade/plans. Most 17" will fit over just about
> > any kit out there, while a few 16" will fit over a few of the kits.  I
> > don't know of anyone with 18" wheels on these cars, but having tracked my
> > car with 15" 16" and 17" wheels/tires, bigger is mostly better, especially
> > since I have the springs/shocks noted above :)
>There isn't reason to go to larger wheels than you need, there are penalties
>in unsprung weight, ride quality, reliability (of the wheels, cracking and
>bending and the such). what "do you need?" whatever fits the largest brakes
>you plan for the car. If you actually plan on 380mm brakes, then you need at
>least 18" wheels, otherwise avoid them like the plague, they will hurt
>handling and quite noticably your wallet every time you change tires.

Good points.  (I did say "mostly")  In the context of a type 
5000/100/200/V8/A6/S4-6, these are very heavy (3700-4000#) cars with a 
front weight bias.  Smaller wheels/tires up front tend to roll over too 
easily.  Agreed--for a daily driver, street-only cars, I would not consider 
an 18" rim. Audi has delivered these cars with anything from 15-17" 
wheels/tires (though no 17s in the US)--I'd look first at those sizes 
(which, in fact, is what I've run).

If you plan to upgrade springs, then stock 15" wheels/tires may not be 
enough--BTDT.  As the taller, narrower rubber is now the "weak" point in 
the suspension system, it quickly gets overloaded, rolling over the 
shoulders, and squirming about much more than before.  One of the problems 
I had was in getting the car to take a "set" in a corner (say, a freeway 
on/offramp).  While the springs would hold up their end (sorry, bad pun) of 
the corner, the tires would squirm about making the car feel nervous and 
jittery.  Moving to 16" or 17" helped get rid of that.

FWIW, I ran the original forged BBS RG 15x7.5 with 215/60-15 Michelin 
XGT-V4 and Dunlop D60A2 (about 40#/corner), stock '92-94 S4 5 spoke forged 
16x8 with 225/50-16 Dunlop SP2000 (about 45#/corner), and cast BBS RX 17x8 
with 235/45-17 Dunlop SP8000 (about 50#/corner), so yes, there is some 
significant weight disadvantage.  recently, someone figured out what this 
really means in terms of effect (rotating mass) and it turns out, although 
greater than a 10# increase/corner, it is not as much as has been made out 
in the past.  sorry, don't have the old discussion thread.  The older tech 
tires in 17" are now "reasonable" while the 15" tires are downright 
cheap.  choose your weapon!

>This is why I laugh every time I see a honda civic with 18" wheels on the
>street... stock rotors (and drums in the rear).


*  Linus Toy                      Insanity is doing the same thing   *
*  Mercer Island, WA              you've always done and expecting   *
*  linust at mindspring.com          different results                  *
*                                      - Roger Milliken              *

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