Sunday, July 16, 2017

mini love - part 18

The problem with high performance tires is I cannot get them locally. I have to order and have the tires shipped, then find a local installer to mount the tires onto the rims for a steep fee. Of all the big box tire shops, I would only want to use Costco. However Costco will only mount the tires that they sell.

to prepare for the new tires to be mounted, I remove the stick-on weights from the SSR rims and clean them really well so the new weights would adhere well

as the internal belt structure of two tires have failed I did not want to drive the Mini with them on to get the tires mounted; that means I have to transport 4 sets of wheels with tires on plus the new set of tires; fortunately all fit inside the Land Rover

the tire shop is near the race track and they have a lot of business from words of mouth; there is this Mark I Escort race car being worked on - I gather it is the owner's whom I have talked to about his Escort before and I suspect it is the same car that he is now rebuilding

there are many race/track tires and wheels in the shop

the shop has a pretty new alignment machine

after I drop the wheels and tires off I had to kill some time

it's been decades since I last had Popeyes fried chicken - a rare guilty pleasure that I can indulge in

with the new tires mounted I came home to put them onto the Mini - Mini is on jack stands again

I took the opportunity to test fit the Wilwood big brake kit that I purchase a while ago. At this time I haven't decided if I would actually go ahead with the brake swap as I am concern that the set of stock X Lite wheels cannot coexist with the Wilwood brakes. So the objectives are to test fit the Wilwood brakes against the SSR wheels as well as the X Lites. From my measurement against the dimensional drawing the SSR should fit comfortably, while the X Lites will not. Now let the truth speaks for itself.

I carefully removed the stock caliper and tied it out of the way while keeping the hydraulic line intact

the Wilwood rotor fitted

the Wilwood calipers are shipped with a bunch of shim washers; I followed the instruction to find out how many shims should be used but it turned out it was a waste of time as Wilwood includes the exact number of shims needed; the installation instruction however does not tell you that

there are two sets of shims for each caliper - one for centering the caliper with respect to the rotor (you may call this lateral alignment), and the other ensure the caliper has just enough clearance with respect to the rotor outer edge (you may call this longitudinal alignment)

as expected, there is a comfortable amount of clearance with the SSR rims

also as expected, there is interference with the stock X Lite rims - two of the hex socket bolt heads interferes with the wheel spokes

even the flat surface of caliper body has just a hair of space to the inside face of the wheel spokes

I have read the other owner managed to make the X Lite rims work by adding a wheel spacer; I however would like to avoid dealing with spacers if I can. As the X Lites are the winter wheels for the Mini once the Wilwood brakes are installed I must address the incompatibility before the rainy seasons arrives. I also signed up for another track day so I decided to postpone installing the Wilwood. I want to use up more of the stock brake in the next track day. I put the stock brake back on.

I didn't have the opportunity to weight each of the SSR rims so I weight them with the new tires on. By subtracting the new tires' weight I can arrive a the average weight of the rims.

I only weight 2 wheels - this is the heavier of the two at 34 lb 2 oz

this one is 33 lb 12.5 oz; the nominal weight of the Falken Azenis K615+ tires is about 21.6 pound

I weighed two tires together a few days ago

A rough calculation give the SSR rim weight between just under 13 pounds to slightly above 14 pounds each; I weighted them when they were new but I do not recall or find the record

I am so in love with this little car that oozes with character, and always turn my head after parking it

I also did some rough check of the wheel alignments - toe ins as well as camber for all four wheels

As the Mini drives really nicely and tracks very straight of any cars I'd ever owned I am reluctant to go get an alignment for the fear in the wrong mechanic's hands the Mini could be worst off

I have a K&N air filter in my Amazon's wishlist a very long time waiting to pounce when I see a good price. Then I saw this in Autozone store - a rare deal that I cannot pass off

the geometric distortion of the iPhone lens makes the Mini ugly

the closer you get the worst it is

an unusual point of view

I think the gen 1 modern Mini has some of the best looking gauge dials

shots like this is very challenging even for the excellent iPhone 6S+ HDR mode; this was taken after sunset

The brake pressure bleeders are not that much to them for what they cost. I was all set to make my own out of a $8 garden sprayer. In the end I decided to go ahead and buy one instead of making my own to save $30 (the cost delta of all the piece parts).

I chose the Schwaben as it looks to be a nicer design and quality - this kit comes with an extra billet aluminum brake fluid reservoir cap - the caps should fit all my European vehicles with luck

Today I panic thinking one of the Mini's keys may not function from 12 years of disuse. It is a smart key with built in RF remote functions. The battery is recharged when driving. I have a habit of keeping one set of keys in new condition. I was afraid the battery may have self-discharged completely after sitting around for 12 years. To my surprise the remote functions of the key works from great distance like the other key that I use regularly.

I have been bothered by the geometric distortion of the iPhone lens. It is something that I begun to notice with many of my photos. It is no surprise to me that it has a wide photo lens, but I have notice the non-linear distortion which favor composition that place the subject in the horizontal center. I seldom do that as it is the most boring. For most of my photos that are not intended for documentation, I tend to place the subject of interest off center. The problem is, iPhone lenses are designed to favor the masses who tend to put the subject matter dead center.

this photo illustrates how bad the off-center geometric distortion is - note the size difference between the driver and passenger side headlamps

I have no problem with geometric distortion with wide angle lens; the problem that I have is the deliberate nonlinear distortion that penalizes the off center and favors the boring dead center composition

to illustrate my point, here is one boring smack center composition that has little discernible distortion

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