Saturday, August 4, 2007

Rays Engineering Gram Lights 57S Wheels + Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Tyres

OK, I know my BBS RK + Michelin PP2 tyres are only about 7 months old but the more I look at the Slowtra the more I felt the car looked a little bland with silver coloured wheels. Bronze, Gunmetal or Black wheels are seriously required to make the car look less Uncle like. Getting more expensive the more I look at the car.. Midlife crisis again or maybe I should just stop looking at the car?

For a long time I was really again contemplating the SSR Type C to the point that I was going to drive down to Sillypore just to install the rims. Lotsa office work and my house reno prevented that. Then one night I was researching my old Option/Option2 mags for some other thing when the Gramlights 57s ad in the October 2003 issue of Option 2 magazine caught my eye. Love at first sight? More research soon had me thinking these were perhaps the right wheel for me. For one thing The GL 57S (short for Rays Engineering Gram Lights 57S.. phew, the Japs/Rays are really wordy) are cast rims so should prove cheaper though heavier than the Volk Racing TE37s I was also crazilly considering. No kidding. Ask Jacko on that. The 57S is also unfortunately very slightly also heavier than the BBS RK by bout 200 grammes but what the heck! That's not going to make much difference to the Slowtra's performance or lack of. Was also thinking bout shudder the Nismo/Rays LM-GT4 but that was unavailable in the size I wanted nor the Slowtra's fitment. Anyway budget and logic got the better of me and I soon decided I was gonna go for the Gram Lights 57S. It helps when TE37s are on backorder till July and the price for 4 rims would set me back more than 6K! The 57S is only RM4.5K. Rays wheels are definitely not cheap!

I was going to order the 57s direct from Japan but then decided to give my usual tyre guy at Goh Swee Hin a call to see if perhaps he was able to get the 57S. The Gods of branded wheels must have been shining on me that day when he said he could get those wheels. Better still he can trade in my BBS for decent price. Thank you Mr. Goh @ Goh Swee Hin Jalan Dato Keramat! The only downside to all this was that my rims would take bout 2 months to arrive from JDM land.

Again the Gods of branded wheels must have shining on me again when Mr Goh called me a scant 4 weeks later telling me that my rims had arrived. Unbelievable!. Pix below of my 57S still in the box. There are 2 rims per box.

My wheel specs

Pix of the 57S removed from box. Lovely! Quality is simply unbelievable and simply the best even compared to the like of SSR and BBS. Find it hard to believe the 57S is a cast wheel as the quality and surface finish is more akin a forged wheel..

My rims were manufactured on May 9th 2007. Very new..
By this time the poison had really set in deep and I decided I was going to also get myself some new tyres as I could also get a good trade-in price for my PP2s. The PP2s while having excellent grip in the wet had a wee bit too much noise for my liking at low speeds. Plus the sound was getting more after bout 7K+ of mileage. In the end my choice was limited to the following 3 makes as I wanted similar or better performance (ie grip, steering feedback and roadholding) of the PP2s while giving less noise (hopefully):
  • Continental Conti Sport Contact 3 or CSC3
  • Bridgestone Potenza RE001 Adrenaline
  • Bridgestone Potenza RE050A
The Conti CSC3s unfortunately was not avail for my size while Mr Goh doubted the RE001 Adrenalines would be considered an "upgrade" over the PP2 so in the end I settled on the RE050As per his and my Bro from The Star Motoring Anthony Lim's recommendation.

Per Tire Rack on the RE050A:
"The Potenza RE050A features a high grip tread compound molded into an asymmetric tread design, where a continuous center rib, large tread blocks and stable shoulder elements provide responsive handling, high-speed stability and traction on dry roads. Circumferential and lateral tread grooves are aimed to pump water out from under the tire's footprint to minimize hydroplaning and aid wet traction. Internally, the Potenza RE050A features twin steel belts reinforced by spiral-wrapped nylon to stabilize the tread area and enhance handling, high-speed capability and ride quality while minimizing weight. The fabric cord body and hard rubber sidewall filler help blend ride quality with steering response and lateral stability"

Unfortunately each tyre cost Rm650 per tyre for my sizing. Arrggghh! On Bro Anthony's very strong recomendation I bit the bullet, enlarged my wallet and ordered the tyres which dutifully arrived about a week later. Pix below of my tyres.

Closer pix showing the thread patterns and label. Label says "RE050" but tyre sidewall says "RE050A"

Personally I prefer the Conti or Michelin thread pattern to the typical Japanese. Pix below of all the accessories for the 57S. The air inlet/oulet valves are lightweight aluminium anodized black. Sweet! Stickers are DIY. The adapter key is for my Rays lugnuts (not supplied with rims). Centercaps are optional and very expensive (1500 yen/RM44 per cap) but Taukeh Mr Goh ordered for me FOC. Have elected to temporarily not use the center caps as it makes the Slowtra more racecar looking Fnarrrr... There are proper instructions in English on mounting the tyre to rim and maintenance. A first for a Jap wheel manufacturer. Both my previous SSR and Rally Sparco wheels came with only Jap instructions.

Pix of tyre mounted on the rim waiting to be balanced.

More rims waiting to be deflowered!

Installation, on-wheel balancing and alignment took about an hour plus. Also took some time to WD40 and clean my Nismo shocks. Pix of the new wheels and tyres on the Slowtra.

Closeup this morning before application of the "Gram Lights" decals

Took me bout an hour plus to apply the 4 decals (one per wheel) and wax the wheels. Rays did not provide any instructions so I used the ad in my Option 2 mag for reference. What do you think? Personally I feel things look less cluttered without the "Gram Lights" decal.

A closer shot

Close up of the lightweight aluminium valve. These valves can be purchased separately but a set of 4 will set you back around RM150 (1260 yen each) depending on the exchange rate. Valve covers alone are RM5 each. Ouch!

Being a motorsport oriented wheel there's loads of clearance for larger multi-piston calipers. Wilwoods here I come! :p

Close up of the center cap which I'm currently not using. Should I?

That's all for now. More writeup once I get some decent mileage on the RE050As..

46 comments:

Uncle Foo said...

Super trick!

*bow bow*

Andrew Saw said...

Kam siah! :P

Sv said...

superb! definitely better than ur prev bbs. why didnt u go for 17"s? i think they'd fill ur arches better. wilwoods, rims, cf spoiler.

return of the crazy mods!!! keep it up!

Andrew Saw said...

No 17" rimslar. It's only a 1.6 Bro!

Eu Jin said...

Nice wheels!! Yea man, should get 17" into those arches. Would looked sweet!

I did consider the Bridgestone Potenza RE001 Adrenaline as well BUT they don't carry for my size till todate. :(

Andrew Saw said...

Cannotlar Bro. Poor car won't be able to move with 17" :P

Sv said...

a good exhaust system and a piggyback might help u run on 17's! =) hehe but neways, ur ride looks real superb now.

Andrew Saw said...

Muahahahaha. And after that it's cams, higher compression, what the heck might as well put in the SR20VE Neo VVL :P I'm currently very happy with my slowmo daily banger as it is. Pls don't expect SP like mod levels..

Sv said...

little bit little bit only ma. =P wait till ur house and all completed. then prolly ud have some spare moolah to spend. =p=p

Andrew Saw said...

Sorry, I'm getting married once I've settled in my house and this is also going to take some moolah :)

Sv said...

but like u said, the modding never stops! hehe all the best!

vincent said...

ehh not nice lar... I think u better sell them off. Cincai la I buy from you cheap! cheap!

Andrew Saw said...

Wahahahahaha! Sorry Bro. Not for sale.. :P

hmph said...

take a pic with the Rays center cap on one of the rims, then we can tell better if should put or not. But looking at it right now, I'd say looks better without it!

Andrew Saw said...

Have done that personally but didn't manage to take a pix. I think I'll stick with having the centre caps off unless there's too much corrosion. This is after all a daily driver..

Sv said...

yea man. ill go with u on not putting em on. ppl might steal em.

Andrew Saw said...

Haha. Funny u mention that. Honestly I'm more worried bout other stuff on the rims getting stolen like the bling aluminium valve cap.

rock_wang said...

hi andrew, my name is rock, im at L.A. rite now. i am super interesting about your mine's spoiler. i looked up the retail prices on jp sites. wondering how much money you pay for the wing +shipping. and i wish if you can give me the information about getting it. what actual site you went to purchase the wing. Thank you so much
my email:findrock@hotmail.com
or you can post a comment here i will check your blog everyday from now on. Again, Thank You

-rock

Andrew Saw said...

Hi Rock,

Are you Malaysian? The Mine's Multi Select Wing cost me 95,000 yen. Shipping was 6500 yen. I paid about RM3K total. You can purchase the wing directly from Mine's Japan.

rock_wang said...

icic.... so that's gota be the only way to get it i guess. i am chinese but i went to malaysia tho.. hah it was fun to see 6 wifes in a car. btw, you said the carbon fiber was just 2 layers top and bottom, inside is FRP. what about the two little thing on the side w/ allen screws. are they just layers of carbon fiber sheet as well? cuz you know the FRP of that spoiler i found is only $200USD around 20,000 yen. im thinking maybe i can do the layers myself? hehe just a thought, would it look nice? or work? THanks =D

Andrew Saw said...

The side plates are moulded frp with carbon for the top and bottom layers. Same as the main wing. No idea on your idea but I doubt you'll be able to get the quality of the Mine's surface with it's perfect weave and joints.

Chooi Yue said...

Dude your wallet size never seeks to amaze me!! Its big like an enlarge prostate of a middle age guy! Anyway, the anchors looks sweet. How lots of fun with them ya >_<

Andrew Saw said...

Excuse me Bro? I think yours (your wallet) is bigger! Hahaha

Chooi Yue said...

Nice Article and Pics BTW :)

Andrew Saw said...

Thanks Bro! How's the Earl's fuel filter conversion kit? Damn I gotta convert some of the Slowtra's hoses to AN fittings :)

Chooi Yue said...

Heh Heh... they are here courtesy from Mugil. SP got a set too! They are bought back from Oz by Mugil.. hint hint ...

Sv said...

hey, what up with the sp? hows it progressing? jack, u know the guy too? do update us!

Andrew Saw said...

Of course Jacko knows Mugil. We're all Brudders! Jacko, when u wanna send me article on your HKS shock fix? Time The SP Files had an update.

Chooi Yue said...

Sv, SP is fine. Got many new parts but owner no time to install.

Saw, let me get them back first la.. :P

Sv said...

ic! jack, u got ur hipers reborn?

in japan? or thailand?

Chooi Yue said...

Swadeekarp!! leh..

Sv said...

did u send it there or deliver em urself? how much did it cost overall?

Chooi Yue said...

Sv, I had to lug it there meself. Overhual cost is as much as a new set of Tein Super Street!

However the new seals, shafts, washers, pillowball bearings, bumpstop and etc etc is worth it... *I hope so*

No meat for the next 6 months. :(

Andrew Saw said...

Veggie not very much cheaper than meat nowadays :P

Sv said...

wow. new shafts and pillowball bearings? im sure thats worth more than any super street.

i have tried the super streets and i think they will be toooooo soft for ur liking.

does the overhaul cost include your 'shipping/running/border hopping' costs?

Sv said...

btw, andrew, i think i asked u this before but i fergot alr...

regarding the ralliart mounts prev on the SP. wher did u get them frm? ralliart malaysia?

may i have their num if u still have it please? =) tyty

Andrew Saw said...

Nope. I ordered mine from Japan. Last I heard Ralliart Malaysia has gone chap lap. Jacko should be able to supply you with the details. Sorry man.. I'm Nissan oriented now.. MUahahahaha!

Sv said...

ic. how much did it cost you? inclusive shipping.

jacko, u out there?

Chooi Yue said...

Sv, yes total cost includes EMS to KL. However, it did got 'tahan' at kastam and I had to drive to KLIA to sort it out. After a few creative explanation I got it cleared without any tax.

Ralliart Msia is still around, their shop atlease, however I think they do not carry any ready stocks anymore. Any order would have to be shipped from Japan once you place your order. So no more year end big discounts and cheaper prices. That is what they told me. They might still have some old stock left.

I have their no at the office and will post it here once I get back on Tues.

There are some R3 mounts out there for a very resonable price. But not as hardcore as the Ralliart ones.. literally. The Super Street being twintubes will definately be softer than the Hipermax. They also do not come with pillowball mounts as well.

Sv said...

wa thanks alot jacko! will be waiting for the number.

wao they even tahan absorbers? tot they tahan suspicious stuff onli...

Darren198712 said...

Andrew Saw"Being a motorsport oriented wheel there's loads of clearance for larger multi-piston calipers. Wilwoods here I come! :p"
I really hope you read this I am from the UK and I am going to Malaysia for a Holiday next year and I am having trouble finding parts for my UK spec N16 Almera Hatchback

as you said you can get wilwood calipers for your car I was wondering how much they were.

E-mail me @
DarrenLim12@Hotmai.com

Thanks

Andrew Saw said...

Hi Darren,

You can get the Wilwood brakes from the US - hht://www.fastbrakes.com

Firefly said...

Hi, I'm running the same Gram Lights 57S rims like you, but mine are 15 inch. If you're not going to use the center caps, is there any chance you would sell them to me? I've been wanting to get a set but have been put off by the prices so far.

Andrew Saw said...

Bro,

Even if I were to sell you the prices are not going to be cheap. These are new caps after all. How much would you want them for?

Firefly said...

The caps you have are black WR type center caps. According to the Rays Japan website they cost 1500 yen each. 4 pieces total would be 6000 yen or approx RM177. Since you got them for free, I'll pay up to RM125 max for them, but then I don't think you'll let go of them at this price, haha. Also, I'd prefer the silver WR type center caps over the black ones that you have, but I don't think you can get them changed and I'm not so thick skinned to ask you to do so anyway. =)

Nvm bro, thanks for your reply anyway. I'll continue my search for my center caps. Cheers!

Andrew Saw said...

No Sir, I didn't get the centre caps for free. The caps were factored into the sale price. RM125is simply too cheap so it's a no go :)