Wednesday, August 17, 2016

800 Mile Update: Tint, Paint Protection, and Wheels

I promised some news after break-in, and now there are 800 miles on the Focus RS. We've got various plastic films to report on, plus some new wheels.

The Focus gets really hot inside, so one of my first stops was TNT Tint, for some Virginia-legal window tint. Tint-master Matt Judy applied Madico Charcool film, 35% on the rear windows and 50% on the front. The interior stays cooler and the car looks nice, too. TNT has tinted every Mach V car since the 1990's, and they do great work.

Another treatment I get on my new cars is clear paint protection film, which makes the front of the car pretty much impervious to rock chips and other road debris. DJ Mayo Studios applied XPEL Ultimate paint protection film, and they included a few bonus bits, like putting a piece of clear film in each door cup to prevent fingernail scratches. Years from now the front of the car will be as free of chips and pits as it is today. I figure touching up that Nitrous Blue would not be easy.

The economics of this process are mixed, though. The film application is labor-intensive and the film itself is not inexpensive. For the price of the paint protection, I could probably afford to have the front of the car resprayed in three or four years. But in the mean time the car would be accumulating stone chips, and given the amount of photos I will take of this car, the protection makes sense for me.

Next up was to address those heavy factory wheels. I had read online they were 27 pounds each, which isn't too bad for a 19x8" wheel, but you can certainly do better in the aftermarket. Advanti Racing had a wheel that looked very similar to the factory-option forged wheels, but was supposed to be even lighter at under 20 pounds. (The full name of the wheel is Advanti DST HY Hybris.) Well, we've got a scale here at Mach V, so we ordered up a set. They come in black and silver. I ordered two of each color, because that way I can show each color on the car. Marketing, y'know.

The stock 235/35R19 Michelin Pilot Supersport tires would fit fine on the new wheels, and I'm a huge fan of the Supersports, so I decided to swap them over. The tire pressure sensors fit the new wheels as well, but the stock rubber TPMS-compatible valve stems are pretty much a one-use item. They will tear if you try to remove them from the stock wheels, so plan to have a new set ready if you change out your wheels.

Now to the wheel weight numbers. I've got bad news and good news. The bad news is that the stock cast wheels are even heavier than reported. My calibrated shipping scale says 29.1 pounds with the stock center cap and TPMS valve stem on. Of course, that Ronal-manufactured wheel is built like a brick outhouse, so if you want something that can withstand potholes and other road hazards, perhaps the stock cast wheel is for you. They are nice-looking wheels, in my opinion, and the dark-gray color is nice because it doesn't show brake dust.

The good news is that the Advanti Racing wheels are only 19.75 pounds each. That's darn good for a 19x8.5" wheel. They look great, too. The +44 offset is a few mm less than the stock wheel's +50, so they look a little more aggressive on the car. I thought the black would look best, by I really do like the brighter look of the silver, too. (It makes me wonder what they would look like in white.)

In the next post I'll have dyno numbers and will talk about future performance mods.


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