Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hello? Is anyone there?

I apologize for the lack of up dates on this blog, especially since the last time I posted I was somewhere in South Dakota!

We've finished our 6-week road trip across the United States and are now back in Vancouver. It was an amazing trip and we had a really good time. So good in fact that I miss being on the road.

I don't know why I stopped posting mid-trip. I think I sensed that the end was coming and I wanted to savor each moment. Even though our evenings only consisted of trips to the hotel swimming pool and Survivor Man marathons on Discovery, I still enjoyed it. In fact, we got hooked on the Discovery Channel and the Food Network during our hotel stays and we promptly added it to our cable subscription when we got home! :LOL:

I've got lots of new pictures and I plan on uploading them, but I'm not quite ready, yet. That time will come. Hopefully, this post shows that it may be sooner than later :0)

Friday, September 07, 2007

VW R32: Potenza RE960AS

The MkIV R32 came stock with Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3 225/40ZR18 performance summer tires which were great--good grip on dry and wet--except for the soft sidewalls. I don't have the luxury of having space to store winter and/or summer tires so I quickly replaced the F1s with ultra-high performance all-season Pirelli Pzero Nero M+S tires. Today, after almost 31k miles I replaced the Pzero Nero M+S with Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Positions.


The Pzero Nero M+S had good grip on dry and wet, and for the first couple winters worked great in light snow. These tires still had more than 4/32" tread depth and while they didn't stick as well as they did when new the Pzero Nero M+S still had plenty of life. So why did I replace them, now? My reasons were three-fold:

  1. In the span of 3.5 years and 31k miles I've had at least two flats, the first caused by a nail, and the second, who knows. Recently I noticed that I had slow leaks in both my front tires: within one month I lost 12 psi on my driver-front tire and 7 psi on my passenger-front, compared to losing 3 psi in each of my rear tires, the latter in my experience being normal. Instead of wasting time and money verifying then fixing the slow leaks, I thought I should invest that money on new tires.
  2. I was stuck one day in the snow last winter, to my surprise and disappointment. I know the Pirellis were only all-seasons, and I was on an incline with thick ice beneath snow, and there's no guarantee that different tires would have helped, but nevertheless I thought a change would be nice.
  3. Recently I've noticed the Pirellis squealed during certain maneuvers in which they never squealed previously.

The Bridgestones I purchased are ultra-high performance all-season Potenza RE960AS Pole Positions (225/40R18 88W). I picked these because they were in my affordable range, rated #1 in their category by customers on Tire Rack, I recalled reading positive recommendations on VWVortex, and they were in stock (as I mentioned above, I wanted to get them before being forced to repair my leaking Pirellis).

In addition to having the Potenzas mounted and balanced I also had a 4-wheel alignment. My fronts' "Turning" (see R32 stock alignment specs) were set at -2.3 or -2.4, if memory serves. I was told the only way to get them closer to stock specs would be to install control arms. Anywhoo, with this setting I was informed that there shouldn't be any excess tire wear or changes in handling so I left it at that.

The recommended Volkswagen tire pressures are 35 psi in the front, 44 psi in the rear. For the F1s I ran 40 f / 46 r because I was worried about the soft sidewalls and this carried over for a while to the Pirellis. More recently with the Pirellis, and now with the Potenzas, I'm running at 37 f / 46 r. I'll see how that goes. The 500 mile break-in period can't be finished quickly enough. :o)


Update 18SEP2007: If I judge by how much gunk has been coming off the Bridgestones and dirtying up the Aristos then the break in period was over after 300 miles. Still, I'm going to take it easy for another 200 just to be safe.

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