Mike's Garage

Rear Wheels

In order to fit wider tires out back I upgraded my 18x9 inch wheels to 18x10 inch and purchased a set of 305/30/18 tires for them.  I moved the old 285/30/18 tires up front and now have one fat set of meats underneath my car (for comparison the new Dodge Viper runs 275/35/18 up front and 345/30/18 in the back).  Here's some comparison photos, old rear tires/wheels vs. new rear tires/wheels (or rear vs. front now):


Steering Shaft

I installed a solid steering shaft to both firm up the steering wheel feel and provide a little more room around my headers.  The solid shaft eliminates the rubber "rag" joint in the stock shaft.

Maximum Motorsports Front End (K-member, A-arms, Bump Steer, Coil Overs)

A K-member brace is one thing, but to do it right you really have to replace the whole front end.  I swapped in a K-member from Maximum Motorsports.  The new unit is lighter, stronger, and offers improved front end geometry.  It sets the wheels forward about an inch and widens the front stance by about 0.1" on each side.


In order to replace the K-member you have to support the engine from above.  I used this brace which was welded up following directions supplied with the MM K-member.

Side by side, the view of the driver's side and passenger's side with the K-member loosely installed before I squared it up with the chassis.

Along with the K-member I upgraded to the MM A-arms which shift the front wheels forward another 0.75" for better weight distribution.

No front end would be complete without a bump steer kit.  The kit replaces the stock tie rod ends and allows complete adjustment of bump steer: the change in toe as the wheel moves up and down (0 change is the goal).

Rounding out the front end conversion is a set of coil overs.  The coil over springs and hardware are much lighter than stock springs and offer total ride height adjustment.  You can also use a softer coil over spring compared to a stock spring and get the same (or better) stiffness because of the revised spring location.

Here's a couple shots with everything loosely bolted up before I torqued everything down and put the brakes back on.  You can see the sway bar relocation kit in these pictures.  It was required since the new suspension shifted everything forward about an inch.

Driver's side                                                                               Passenger's side

And here's everything all put together:


In the next two shots you can see the offset from the new front end suspension.  Everything is shifted forward almost 2 inches compared to stock.  (Front of the car is to the left in the pictures.)

Stock                                                                                                                      Forward offset

Because of the forward offset geometry I had to trim out a bit of the plastic fender liner in front of the wheels.  No problem!

Driver's side
Passenger's side

The next two pictures illustrate the 0.1" widening on each side of the front end.  Sure, a tenth of an inch doesn't sound like much, but it's noticeable (to me at least).


K-member Brace (old)

This piece came off when I did the full K-member, but here's the old picts anyways.  In order to stiffen up the factory K-member I replaced the stock K-member cross brace with a 4-point piece from Maximum Motorsports.  You can see the obvious benefits of the new piece in the comparison photos below.



After only a few thousand miles (I'm guessing around 10,000), the Saleen Racecraft shocks/struts gave up the ghost.  I guess this is a common problem with these pieces.  I replaced all four corners with Saleen's N2 shocks/struts, which are re-valved Bilsteins.


Camber/Caster Plates & old Rack Bushings

Autocrossing the car helped me find it's weakest link fast: front end push.  To help the front end bite a little harder I installed some Maximum Motorsports solid aluminum rack bushing and camber/caster plates.  My first autocross after the installation and alignment was very satisfying.  The front end really grabbed the corners and the push had all but disappeared.


Strut Towers


I installed a Steeda chrome-moly front strut tower brace and a Saleen rear strut tower brace to stiffen up the chassis and eliminate strut tower flex during hard cornering.  Both pieces are top notch.



Global west tri-ladder subframe connectors (#929) were added to stiffen the chassis up.  This is an essential improvement for autocrossing and will really help provide a solid base to work from.