Adventures with Wheels, Tires and Big Brakes
After spending the Winter accumulating new parts for my '97, and most of the Spring doing a garage makeover, I finally got started on this year's round of modifications in mid-June. Have now finished installing a bunch of SCP chassis parts, front and rear big brake upgrade, and new wheels (HRBB HR-99s in 18" x 8" and 18" x 10") and tires (Nitto NT555 Gen 2 in 245 and 285 widths).
I knew there could be an issue with the parking brake cables touching the inside of the 10" wide rims. This was made worse by the larger rear brakes which position the caliper and cable further outboard. My solution was to pull them toward the sway bar with HD zip ties. Since everything looked good, I decided to drive the car to work on Wednesday this week. Got about 15 miles from home and the left rear tire went flat. Like many HRBB designs, the HR-99s place the valve stem on the back side of the wheel. The stems had been hitting the parking brake cables and eventually the left one tore open. I had not considered this possibility, and did not hear or feel it happening!
After limping into a gas station parking lot, and thankfully not damaging either wheel or tire (these Nitto's have very robust sidewalls), I called a friend for help. We removed both rear wheels, took them to a tire shop, had shorter valve stems installed, and stuck them back on the car (all done in hot, humid conditions in work clothes). There was now clearance on the right side, but still none on the left. Pushing on the cable while tightening the zip ties solved that for now. The ultimate solution will be to install a set of the "flush mount" valve stems.
My car looks great with all the updates, but as is so often the case in car crafting, making changes often causes new and unexpected problems.
1997 Thunderbird Sport
5.0L-2V PI S/C
540 RWHP / 492 RWTQ
11.28 @ 123 MPH