I wanted to debut Red Beast at Deals Gap 2005 but after almost sliding into a ditch at home I realized she wasn't safe enough to make the trip. Her last 220,000 miles had been pretty rough on her. There were several problems (brakes, shocks, tires, etc) that made her unsuitable for making the trip and driving on those curvy roads. So, in mid January (6 months before DG2K5) I started the upgrades. The goals were:

- upgrade to KYB AGX shocks with Tokiko HP lowering springs ($304.50 for shocks)
- upgrade to Axxis Ultimate brake pads ($102)
- upgrade to Falken Azenis 195/60/14 tires ($227.94)
- upgrade to Goodwin Stainless Steel braided brake lines
- install a rebuilt brake master cylinder
- paint brake calipers
- paint brake calipers
- paint brake rotor hats
- remove brake dust covers
- road force balance ($40)
- brake and clutch flush with ATE Superblue ($10.56)

When I started doing the work I found that I had almost no brakes (the slider pins were completely trashed on a couple of the calipers) and my tie rod ends were just about gone. I ended up using parts off my parts car instead of buying new stuff. Luckily I had no sold them yet.

As far as the weight of the project the breakdown was:
Old tire/wheel combo = 104#
New tire/wheel combo = 130#
(yes, an incredible 26# difference. That is 6.5# per corner!)

For comparison, my wife's Dunlop SP9000's weigh 60# total and my Falkens weight 80# total.

Old shocks = 16.5#
New shocks = 14.75#

Brake dust covers (removed) = 1.25#

So, there was a net weight gain of 23# for this project. I wish there was no difference but it just couldn't be helped.

For the mount and balance I took the tires to Best One Tire in Charleston, SC and had them use their Hunter GSP9700 balancing machine. The Hunter is supposed to give you a better balance (www.gsp9700.com) as well as telling you which wheel to put on which corner of your car. They only charged me $10 for the mounting and $30 for the road force balance so they probably have my business forever. I did have to drive over 50 miles to get this done but I feel it was worth it. (ask for Clarence if you are in the area and go there - he told me that the red and yellow dots on your tire mean nothing!)

They did manage to find that one of my rims was bent and marked it for use on the Right Rear of the car. I'm not sure of the significance of that placement. Here is the breakdown (more for my records than anything else) of the weights that they used on each tire. Note: 30 grams weighs about an ounce.

LF = 15grams (outside) 15grams (inside)
RF = 20grams (outside) 15grams (inside)
LR = 30grams (outside) 15grams (inside)
RR = 15grams (outside) 15grams (inside)

When installing the tires I noticed that my shocks were leaking oil at the top. Time for a replacement:

Might as well remove the EXTREMELY HEAVY brake reservoir float and switch while I'm in here!:

Here is what a good slider pin looks like beside the junk that was on my car (one was even broken!):

Ugly brake rotor hat and caliper:

Painted brake rotor hat and caliper:

Heavy brake dust shield and old Toyo shock:

No brake dust shield and new adjustable KYB shock:

A 40K mile tie rod end vs a 220K mile tie rod end:

What a mess! I did all this work three weeks before I got my Kwiklift:

My new kwiklift. I should have bought this thing years ago: