Saturday, July 16, 2016

eL Blue Goes Square...

The wheels and tires on the Spark EV are staggered; that is to say, the front wheels/tires are narrower than the rear.

Wheel specs - Factory
bolt pattern 4x100 mm
Center bore 56.5 mm
weight 19 lbs
Part number 95024486
Tire:  185/55/15

bolt pattern 4x100 mm
Center bore 56.5 mm
weight 19 lbs
Part number 95024487
Tire:  195/55/15

TPMS sensors 315mHz; part # 13581558

Tires are Bridgestone Ecopia.  They give excellent range, being LRR (low rolling resistance).  They are not performance tires.

The New Setup:

Kia Wheel Swap:
Kia wheel specs:  17” x 6.5”;

Number of Bolts:
Manufacturer Part Number:
529101W450 or 529101W400
Bolt Pattern:
Rim material:
Rim Width:
Hub Bore:
Weight = 21 lbs
Center Cap = 58mm

Have machine shop open up hub bore to 56.5mm.

Tires:  Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 205/40R17

The tire choice was determined by what would fit and, unfortunately, LRR tires from Michelin wouldn't fit in the front (PREMIER A/S 205/45/17).  The strut spring perch was in the way.

The Pilot Sports are performance-oriented tires; thus, range takes a solid hit...perhaps 20 miles.  Fortunately, here in Georgia, DCFC proliferation is terrific, and Interstate corridors are being connected allowing travel from Atlanta to each adjoining state.  This. Is. Great. News.

I kept the factory wheel/tire set just because.  I have entertained the idea of swapping back to it for extended road trips.  They don't look as cool, but ah, vanity...

                                    Below:  the factory wheels/tires.

One of the things I put high on the priority list for upgrades to this car was wheels and tires.  If you're a car guy/gal, that's always one area where things get personal.

In doing my homework for this job, it became clear that there is a narrow range of fitment for this car.  The reason for this lies in the manufacturing technique of the car itself.  It shares with its gas-fueled cousin some assembly from the front bumper to the rear seat; after that point, things get radically different due to the existence of the traction battery...700 lbs of lithium-ion traction battery.  The rear suspension is different to accommodate the weight, therefore, and this includes Chevy's choice of rear rim specs.

The Spark EV has wider wheels than its gas-car cousin; the wider rear wheels (15"x6.5", ET 54 mm) are thought to address the extra weight.  In addition, the tires can't be rotated in the normal way; the fronts and rears being different sizes, the only "rotation" that could be done is side to side.  Not optimal.

So, when I went looking for wheels/tires, I had some inclination that the search would be...interesting.  And take a looooooong time.

I don't remember how I found the Kia Rio wheels that I eventually chose; I first searched aftermarket, and even purchased a set of Enkei EDR9 17X7 ET 45 mm, but they didn't fit.  7" is too wide for this car.

In the end, I found wheels from the 2012 - 15 Kia Rio (Kia part # 529101W450):  4 x 100 mm bolt pattern, aluminum, 21 lbs, 17" x 6.5", ET 43 mm, hub bore 54.1 mm:

I bought one on eBay and took it to a machine shop to have the hub bore widened 2.4 mm to fit the Spark EV hub, then test fitted it in my driveway:

It fit, no problem.  However, tires would be the deciding factor.  So, I took the wheel to Gran Turismo East, recommended as wheel/tire/suspension experts.
We test-fitted the wheel, no problem:

Then, we mounted a used 205/45R17 tire and test-fitted again.  No problem:

Yay!  Now, I just have to find three more of these wheels!

Little did I know that suddenly the supply of these wheels (used) would go from abundant to out-of-stock seemingly overnight.  And the price went up with it!

Took me a few months to fill out the wheel set.  Bought the first one for test-fitting May 24, 2016.  Installing the full set + tires was not done until July 12.


Ah, well, c'est la vie, eh?  Onward!

The crew at Gran Turismo are, indeed, experts at this wheel and tire business.  Kieran, Chris et al are true professionals.  The tire mounting, balancing and fitting took about an hour.  Chris was lead technician and was kind enough to answer my questions as I made a pest of myself during the install:

                           Loading up the wheels (they've been reconditioned):

                                      Getting ready to go up on the lift:

                                                New TPMS sensors:

                                                      Spin balancing:

                                         A little anti-seize on the studs:

                                                     Almost there...!

                 Final step:  spin balancing on the car.  Old school, they tell me:

                                 Reprogramming the new TPMS sensors:


                                             Et Voilá!  Lookin' tough!

No comments:

Post a Comment