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2003-2009 Nissan 350Z

This is why I drive a Z.

Old 02-24-2017, 05:23 PM
  #121  
MicVelo
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Originally Posted by Spike100 View Post
^^ That is a considerable amount of damage.
Indeed it is, Spike. More damage in the most recent storm this week. Flooding - not in the usual Northern Bay Area counties - but right here in San Jose. It's ongoing... people are out of their homes and no telling when some will get back in to salvage their lives.

Where I am, no damage or danger, relatively, but this what the nearby creek looked like three days ago...


Put in perspective, this creek normally is about 6" deep and 8-10' wide at it's widest point in this area. Ummm, this creek got a promotion to "river", yes? However, this creek is one of the spill routes for the reservoirs in the area (one shown a couple of notes above in this thread) so it was designed for this type of flow, fortunately.

On that note, some Z content...

After all of this rain and the damage I'd been hearing about in "my hills" (see earlier post above), decided to shake off my driving cobwebs and take a venture up for a look-see. Also an excuse to continue to work on my "independent tire test" (which I'll post in a couple of months after running a few more sets.)

Uhhhh, well, best laid plans dashed.... guess my main "fun road" (Hwy 9) is still closed.


OK then, how about a run up to the reservoir? Days ago, a new mudslide closed the freeway right at the reservoir exit keeping me from going up to check it out. (Why yes, I'm a water junkie, need a ocean/river/lake fix fairly often. Why do you ask?)

No problem.... no traffic and it looked like nothing had happened at all.

Early this morning, about 30 mins after sun broke over East hills.

The wisps of vapor coming off the water were both cool and eerie.

Beautifully clear but damm cold (especiall for wimpy California boy )


The real reason for my drive (and this post!)

First run on freshly powder'd Volks (which I rarely use due to my not liking the dark color they were.) Now I might actually have to do the rims, with the faces being nice and bright. But for now, just enjoying the "60's NASCAR wheel" look. Laff.





Um, yeah, I'd say we got some rain...

And another storm on the way this weekend, despite how nice it was today.




Only winter change: dialed in more camber on the rear, experimentally. Feels good but it has changed the car a bit - moving it back to fairly neutral from mild oversteer - as was to be expected. May adjust rear roll stiffness to bring it back to oversteer biased but haven't had much opp to really push the car. I'll run it like this for a few months.

Oh, and running these rears down at +12mm offset to test if there's any real behavioral changes. Purely seat-of-the-pants of course but we'll see.



Then, a return to sea level and the normalcy of day to day life.

Psh, who needs an SUV?

Note: These *may* (or not) be the last pics of the car as is. Since the Shiro was destroyed, I've re-prioritized the 2017 work planned for this one and will be tearing into it between work projects. We'll see.
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Old 03-03-2017, 01:46 PM
  #122  
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The current snow pack depth in the Sierra Nevada mountain range is so great that it’s challenging traditional measurement techniques. Yikes!

Hopefully the melt is slow enough to avoid additional flooding this spring and early summer. A good deal of this melting will end up in the ocean, but there could be some accumulation problems.
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Old 04-26-2017, 01:48 PM
  #123  
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With my having no meetings, no imminent deadlines, and finishing full food prep for a party of 90 people that I fortunately didn't need to also serve today, what better than to head for the hills - first time since before the storms that killed my usual roads - to do first "test" of a new-to-me set of tires?

Turned out to be a perfect day to do so! Lower elevation climb was overcast but dry.

But nearing the top, water from trees and HEAVY fog created wet conditions that slowed me down but gave me the perfect mixed conditions of wet and dry in which to test.



The subject tires: Kumho Ecsta PS-91


Specs:

255/35-19 Front, 285/35-19 Rear
AME (Enkei) TM-02, 19x9.5 F & 19x10.5 R, +22 F&R






Rated as Max Performance and while they fared only modestly in Tire Rack tests (compared to Michelin PSS, Pirelli PZ4, Goodyear Eagle F1 Symmetric 3), I'd heard from users that "for the price", they were actually very good.

"For the price" might sound familiar coming from me.... I say the same thing about the Sumitomo HTR-ZIII, of which I've run numerous sets on other wheels. And actually, the Sumitomo is my baseline comparison tire for all others since I have much experience on them (some 4-5 other sets in recent years and currently).


Sumitomo HTR-ZIII, top, Kumho PS91, bottom.


18" HTR-ZIII/RPF1

Without getting into too much detail, I'll just list my subjective opinions of them, bulletized:

PROS

- First thing I noticed is that these tires are much quieter than the Sumitomos, right up there with the Michelin PSS I had. They are not luxo Lincoln Continental quiet but no irritating sound was heard (unlike the opposite extreme, a set of BFG KDWs I once had and gave away after a week on them, they were so horrifically rough and noisy!)

- Along with being quiet, they were supremely smooth riding on all surfaces, street, highway, and even in the twisties. There is a stretch of road down from my house which is just horrible with uneven surfaces, potholes and other irregularities. Smooth as these were, they couldn't tame that 1,000 meter stretch; BUT they weren't terrible and handled that street better than the Sumitomos and about as good as the Michelins and Bridgestone S-04s I run.


Note: you can see from this pic why one of my To-Dos this year is to paint the bumper. Huge discoloration of all the plastic parts on the car but this is so patently obvious!

- Into the twisties, at maybe 6/10ths (7/10th at times), I was VERY SURPRISED at how composed they were. No drama. What I appreciated most about them was they did as they were told with steering response easily equaling the Sumitomos and Michelins. And if you've ever read any of my other tire posts/rants, you know that I'd sacrifice ultimate grip for high steering response. I want my tires to "do what I tell you to do right now or go into storage in the garage".

- Ultimate grip, at least at these modest speeds - kept down due to a lot of construction zones, wet conditions, and relative newness of the tires - was quite good. There was no loss of grip (or even a sensation of impending doom) in the dry curves - including dog legs, decreasing radii sweepers, and they handled a particularly difficult-to-drive-fast-180 extremely well. (Said turn has a negative camber angle that scares me enough to just look at it wrong. )

CONS

I honestly couldn't find any real faults to nitpick with this limited testing (both speeds and short duration of ownership.) You can bet I'll point them out if I have any issues down the road. <===bad pun alert, sorry.

I purposely did NOT push them on the wet roads up near the top of Hwy 9. With only about 200 break-in miles, don't think they'll come into their own (full grip in all conditions) for a bit yet so didn't want to risk it. However, the wet weather traction was adequate for the slightly higher than posted speeds I ran them at. Good enough for me.



SUMMARY

I daresay that I'm already convinced I'd buy these again (even without factoring in their low price vis a vis Michelin and even Bridgestone). They did very well for first time out and while I can't say they're "better" than all of my other tires, I'd most certainly put them up there with my Sumitomos and Bridgestone S-04s; and well ahead of the Bridgestone RE040 and RE050s, and any BFGs I've run on this car.

If you drive your car as a daily, you will definitely appreciate the smoothness of ride, even at 40/38 psi at which I ran them today. Put them down to 32psi and I'd almost bet they'd be "soothing". Well.... Hahahaha.

And something I never actually think much about, these tires LOOK good, from the wide grooved tread pattern, similar, actually, to a Michelin "plain look" pattern and out to the sidewalls, adorned with the moulded-in checkered flag sidewall design, these tires look great after being cleaned and dressed.



No comments on tire life, of course, with a grand total of only ~250 miles on them but I'll let you know how they wear; that is, if I ever keep a set on the car long enough to wear them out.

But here, now factor in price (I paid less than $700 for the set shipped, not incl. mount & balance) and I'd rate these as a BEST VALUE given the price and level of performance! People might say I'm cheap to buy these and they'd be right. But I prefer to think of it as getting the most performance per disposable dollar (since the tires are going to get worn and tossed at the same rate as an expensive tire.)

OK, fine, I'm legendarily cheap. I can live with that.

ABOUT THE DRIVE ITSELF

Well, it was interesting to see my usual roads requiring so much work. There were several sections where they had to be one-laned to accommodate crews and equipment replacing power poles, cutting trees, moving detritus. So much stuff removed that many of the wide turn outs on the road were being used as "dump sites" for the trees, dirt, and rocks, awaiting more crews and equipment to tote it all down the hill.


That's a portable stop light they've put up for one of the one-lane sections.

There is still a road closure 10 miles South of the 9/35 junction at the top due to a 100' section of road that washed out and slid down the hill.

But despite all the delays and the overcast wet weather, a day in my Z and driving the hill roads EASILY beats being in the office (at the client site OR home office). You know, that old expression...

"A bad day of driving in the hills beats...."


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Old 04-26-2017, 02:45 PM
  #124  
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^^ Wonderful pictures.

Thanks for posting... showing a problem that is shrinking (mercifully) --Spike
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Old 04-29-2017, 10:45 AM
  #125  
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Thanks Mic for the great review, currently in the market for tires and trying to find as much information as I can, I don't drive my car in the winter often but sometimes if the roads are dry and salt-free (here in NJ) I will take her out so I'm going back and forth between all-seasons or summers.

Your info helps greatly, unfortunately they don't make the PS91 for my Enthusiast wheels but they make the PS31, which is rated lower on Tirerack, but seems to be similar but for small sized wheels.

Great pics BTW!!
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Old 04-29-2017, 12:03 PM
  #126  
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Great job Mic on the detailed write up on these and other tires; nice pictures too!
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Old 05-27-2017, 06:45 PM
  #127  
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Really appreciate the review Mic. I'll be shopping for something in the next couple of months.
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Old 05-29-2018, 08:27 AM
  #128  
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Couldn't think of a better place to put this "Mic'sMeanderingThought".

Over the long weekend, I drove ONLY my half century old Datsuns. Great fun!

Side note: The funnest part is every time I drive the roadie, I get comments and questions. Not an ego stroke at all since I didn't build the roadster but entertaining.... Best one of the weekend: "Beautiful car! How much is it worth?" Uhhhh, what? Odd but funny question.

Anyhow, last night I got into the 33 to move it out of my wife's parking place in front.

Wow. Just wow. Getting out of the old geezer cars (I'm the old geezer driving cars younger than me. Laff...) and into my Z was akin to driving my rickshaws and then transitioning into a space shuttle. The difference in everything - from the tight handling, solidity of controls, the lighting out front - is simply astronomical!! And my car's 15 years old!

Keeping my roadster forever to keep me grounded and in touch with my past, YES! But the Z33 is still THE car I'd keep if I had to give up all but one!!
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Old 05-01-2019, 01:35 PM
  #129  
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Default Mount umunhum run

Been quite a while since I took a hills run worth talking about. Was going to take my roadster out and explore a place I've been wanting to visit since I've lived here in San Jose.



But not really knowing what to expect (roads, elevation), decided it best to take "Ol' Reliable" up to the summit of Mt. Umunhum, up in the coastal range just above San Jose. Mt. Um, as locals call it, isn't all that distinctive from the rest of the surrounding peaks but for it's notable structure at the top (which I can see from my house, some 11 miles away as the crow flies.)


This shot is only from about two miles away but the building, known as "The Cube" can be seen from almost anywhere in lower Silicon Valley...

...or as far away as downtown San Jose as seen in the distance here.


History note: The Cube is an 8.5 story structure that served as a radar outpost for some 22 years, mostly during "The Cold War". Up until about 2009, the area immediately surrounding the building was closed to the public due to hazardous waste and, as folklore would have it, "hidden missle silos". Haha. Pretty far from the truth, that last bit (or so we believe). The entire peak area is now open to the public and under the auspices of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. The building was going to be torn down but it was saved by it being designated a historical landmark.

Seeing The Cube up close for my first time was magnificent!





That big ol' concrete block I've been seeing for so many years from far away is now ingrained in my consciousness as being "real", much like other iconic structures like the Eiffel Tower or the Roman Coliseum are now that I've seen them "up close and personal".

So, about the drive...

Interesting that to get there, one drives along common streets I drive all the time. Big, bustling roadways lined with strip malls, a Home Depot, fast food joints. Then take one turn off busy Camden Avenue onto Hicks Road and immediately, the scenery does a 180-degree turn into countryside winding roads surrounded by nature!




Those white flecks in the middle of Guadalupe Reservoir (note the dam in the background) are birds.

The road is small/narrow, very twisty and the meandering sections of the road are interlinked by posted-20mph turns. And once the road starts climbing, the hills are steep! Made me glad I brought the Z instead of the roadster! Oh, the Datsun would have made it up the hill no problem; but I'd have had to really pay attention - lots of shifting, muscling of the wheel, etc - whereas in the Z, it was pretty much 3rd gear all the way up with a few very tight switchbacks that required 2nd gear.




To give an idea of how steep it is up to and immediately surrounding the summit area...


That incline, above, is consistent all the way up the hill (only made easy by winding the road around it) , and the "hiking" consists of steps built into the hillsides, below.



As an aside, I encountered a number of cyclists climbing (and descending) the road up. That's serious cycling. Not for this kid. Hahaha.

Now about the car itself.... well, the title of this thread IS "This Is Why I drive A Z" and my 33 was totally in its element. No fuss, no drama, it just pulled happily up the hill, the car - as set up - is amazingly agile and responsive with no lean or unpredictability. I could put it anywhere on the road I wanted, when I wanted. Granted, I was pretty much just going the speed limit as I learned the road, maybe a little faster in sections where safe and road visibility far out enough; but still, I don't think there'd be as much joy driving up Mt. Um in, say, our Highlander. (A reasonable handling vehicle for what it is but not the same, of course.)

There was only a minor bit of drama that couldn't be attributed to the car, the driver, or others about. Nope, the road itself. While the road is paved and in good shape, there was a segment that I came upon quickly (at speed limit, no gonzo!) that looked sketchy and even though I was able to gear down and slow the car, it still bottomed out where there was both a negative dip and a positive bump (above road level) coming out of the dip! Double whammy probably put a good dent/scrape on my S-Tune resonator even with it tucked up as high as it could go. Hahaha. Oh well....



So, as I've been saying for the last few weeks.... "It's great to be alive..." and I'll add to that, "...to be driving my Z."


I recommend this short drive if you're in the area!

WARNING (as always): Be careful on this drive as parts of this road are inhabited. No hooners need apply. And PLEASE, SHARE THE ROAD! There are many cyclists that use this road so watch for them both going up and down. Elsewise, enjoy it! I certainly did.

Last edited by MicVelo; 05-01-2019 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 05-03-2019, 07:38 AM
  #130  
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Great write up Mic...

Isn't it nice to be able to get lost now and then in the revs and handling of our Zs?!
I'm looking forward to hitting our Texas Hill Country hills soon. Weather is hitting the upper 80s daily now......
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