Oh boy. Talk about totally dropping the ball. I posted the preview back on May 19th and now it’s already June 1.
While completely unintended, I guess I’ll finally post photos of the latest update to my car! For those of you that follow my Instagram, well you already know the surprise. Ha!
For those not in the know, I’ve been playing with the idea of changing some things around on my car since I haven’t really done anything new to it over the past two years, so I decided to ball out and throw down for something I’ve been wanting for a while.
WARNING: Long anecdotal post ahead.
For the longest time, I’ve been eyeing the new Sonic TE37s/mTE37s, but I kept convincing myself that I didn’t really need them. Part of the reason I kept changing my mind was the fact that they were primarily advertised towards 2016+ NDs. Vendors like Rev9 would mention that they also fit NAs and NBs, but I never actually saw any pictures.
Well, sometimes it isn’t about needing them and this is one of the times I wanted to enjoy my earnings for a bit and try a wheel size I haven’t seen on an NA yet. A few weeks ago, I decided that I’d commit to buying them, but only if I committed to continuing my Miata build or moving onto an ND (same lug pattern, similar fitment of wheels, etc).
Anyway, I was going to wait until I had time to buy some other parts and some body parts for my car (my car’s clearcoat is failing, so it’s time for a new paint job), but I saw a set of mTE37s for sale from a really popular Miata ND on Instagram.
Some of you may recognize the wheels, lol. As soon as I saw the owner post an ad, I sent him a DM and from there it’s was history — I now own a set of great condition wheels. Not too big on the tire stickers, but I wanted to try out Bridgestone Potenzas, so I opted to buy those as part of the package.
For those wondering, I highly recommend buying parts from Raymond if he sells something you like. He’s very transparent about his parts and packages them VERY well (as you can see from the pictures so far).
Before mounting the “new” TE37s, my car was perfectly set up for 14×7 +18 RPF1s on 195/60/14 Falken Azenis RT615 tires. I’m also running the Tein Street Flex coilvers on Tein’s recommended height settings from the manual ( function and suspension travel > form, yo).
Based on measurements shown by WillTheyFit.com, the differences would be minimal for Raymond’s TE37 setup — 16×8 +25 w/ 205/50/16 Bridgestone Potenza RE71R tires. These wheels/tires provided an increase in radius by about 10mm, a total ride height increase of about 20mm, an increase in track by 6mm on the outside, and a large decrease in space in the inside track from the wider wheel.
For some reason I figured, hey, I’ll just throw these suckers on and see where they rub — afterall, the car is gonna be repainted, so let’s go wild. Hahaha. Well, that kind of thinking has gotten me into trouble.
For those that don’t know where I live, I live on the border between the city and a rural, hilly/mountainous area of Northern San Diego County and my driveway/street are ridiculously steep.
For example, I did the same thing with my S14 years ago. I just threw on a set of 17×9 +15 wheels on 205/45/17s (2008 stance lyfe, yo) and just went for a drive. What ended up happening was that when I got down my street to merge onto the main highway, I couldnt turn my front wheels far enough to turn with the car weight loaded to the front from the incline. In order to turn around, I had to dump the clutch and do a 180 degree donut to go back up, HAHAHA. On a sidenote, I forgot how much I loved the Blitz dual clutch I have on that thing….
Anyway, my experience with throwing on the TE37s without any further adjustment wasn’t that bad. I was able to get on the highway and then went for a brief drive around the town. Unlike others who go to town with rolling, hammering, and pulling, I don’t like doing excessive fender/wheel well work. As a result, I wanted the tires to rub where the problem areas were to quickly identify areas to work on; clearly a luxury for a lazy person who knows that the car will be painted again soon. The drive around town did the trick for the most part for steering, but the large increase in diameter made me realize that my suspension travel was now compromised and I was rubbing the top of the wheel well.
Fast forward to the next day — I ended up deciding to fully fatten the lip all around. And unfortunately, I couldn’t find my eastwood roller, so I just found a random copper pipe and my trusty sledge hammer. I also ended up raising the car 20 mm to account for the larger diameter (which added a 1 finger gap 😦 ). But as all of you reading can tell by now, I never really cared about “stance” fitment on this car — ever since starting this build I have been all about practicality while still looking relatively “cool”. To me this means that I will, without hesitation, sacrifice “stance” and “flushness”, within reason, in exchange for the ability to dive into canyon and mountain turns without worrying about hitting bumpstops, rubbing fenders, or that encounter that terrible screeching noise that everyone has to deal with at some point.
Seriously. Who will notice? Only a small percentage of the car community will care, and the ones that do will rarely point it out to your face unless they know you. I’m too busy having fun. Ever go on a drive with a friend who’s car rubs on everything and has to slow down for everything? Yea, not fun.
And after all that work? Here’s the result! Looks fantastic, hey? The new height is barely noticeable, but I’m now clearly part of the 4×4 life now. Brap, brap, brap1!1!!
On an ending note, it looks like I still have more fender work / ride height adjustments to do. When I went for a drive on one of my favorite “test runs,” I discovered that, while my new setup can handle mid to high speed corners and most hairpins, the car suffers in areas where you have sequential TIGHT 10-15 mph hair pin turns with varying elevations in short distances — those who frequent areas between Escondido and Rancho Bernardo will know what road I’m referring to. And if you do know, you know how fun those can be when you don’t have to worry about rubbing or hitting the top of the wheel well 😛
This may be the last photos you see of the car in it’s current form — there’s going to be some new body work, new weather seals, and paint later this year! And yes, there will be aero, but it will still be subtle.