Topic:Performance tires for SC400
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T O P I C     R E V I E W
SwoodI recently replaced a 94 Corvette and 95 Aurora with a 97 SC400. What can I do to inch the SC's handling characteristics (cornering, mainly) towards the Corvette's? (I don't expect to duplicate it. Just maybe get it a little closer.)

It uses 225/55 R16's. So I'm first interested in the best cornering 225/55 R16's. But, also, I just read a post from someone who had what sounded like close to the Corvette tire package on an SC400. It never occurred to me to change to 17 or 18 inch wheels. How practical/expensive is that, and how seriously would it affect the ride? (Using the fat tires would be too radical, but I could possibly be talked into 17inch 225's). --sw

donfromnaples17" rims and tires will not improve the handling on your SC400. they will look better and give you a firmer, harsher ride but no improvement in acceleration, braking, or the slalom. In fact, all will be down, compared with your 16" set up. I recommend the Bridgestone RE 730 for an aggressive handler that also lasts for a little while too. It ranked first at for ultra high performance tires. Another decent tire that is close in comparison is the Goodyear F1 GS. As far as price goes for 17" rims, try over $1200 for the set compared to just about $400 for 16" tires alone. No need to get the 17".
JosephI don't know where Don comes from (other than naples)or what business he's in (obviously not the performance aftermarket or tire business)because he is giving out very bad information.

Going to a 17" or 18" wheel & tire package would be the single biggest modification you could do to your SC400 to improve/increase the handling performance characterisitcs of the vehicle. There are many other things that can be done as well, on their own or in concert with a wheel/tire package to effect the handling. Like springs(stiffer or shorter), anti sway bars ( additions or larger), bushings, performance struts/shocks, strut tower bars to name a few.
Although you indicate you are not looking to go that far. That said, again you could move the handling towards that of you intention with no other single change than a plus one tire/wheel package. All with out completely sacraficing the ride quality. Yes you will firm up the ride, but come on you came out of a Corvette and were not talking about duplicating that here.
245/45-17 would be good option. You would see an increase in bracking, acceleration and handling(slalom!). You can find good quality 17" wheels for well under $1,200 a set.($700 - $900)Although you could also spend +$3,000 as well depending on your tastes.
As far as particular tire choice, the previous options mentioned are both good ones. If your interested in accomplishing your first stated goal, we can discuss 17" tire choices.

SwoodI was chatting about this with my manager at work, who races cars as a hobby. He suggested doing exactly what I was thinking about doind: upgrading to 17" summer tires and using what I have (P225/55 R16) for snow tires.

Tirerack displayed three sizes of wheel/tire combinations for my car: the normal 16", 225/50 R17's and 245/40 R18's. I think the 18's would be too radical a change to the esthetics. What kind of an change to the feel do you think I'd experience going with the 17" option? And are there other practical options?

Do you know of a way I could try them out without necessarily committing to a purchase? (I don't expect to find such an option.) --sw

donfromnaplesi don't need a personal attack when i offered my best advice on the subject. the onsprung weight of 17" tires diminish acceleration. It will create longer stopping distances. It will not improve handling over 16" rims. Several prominent magazines tested this theory. Motor Trend ran a BMW 528 with 16", 17" and 18" rims. The worst slalom times occured with 18" rims, then 17" and finally the best times occurred with 16" rims. I would believe that this test is comparable to a SC 400. By the way, the same tire was used in 16", 17" and 18" sizes for this test. Many people are mistaken to believe that larger rims improve handling. The limit is determined by weight of the rims, weight of the vehicle, suspension geometry, and firmness of bushings, struts/shocks, and springs. I agree that a 1.3" to 1.5" drop spring will increase your handling noticeably. Firmer shocks/struts like Bilstein, Edelbrock, Tokico 5 way illumina are all excellent upgrades and help a lot in the handling department. Save your money for tires, shocks/struts, and springs. You will be thankful you did.
donfromnaplespractical considerations involve a jarring effect over bumps and potholes in the road that can not be absorbed with the smaller sidewall of a 45 or 40 series tire. cost of one tire will increase by about $30($120 a set) over 16" tires. resale may not be higher if someone is looking for a stock unmodified example of an SC 400. my e-mail is if you want to discuss it any further.

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