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Old 01-10-2013, 02:35 PM   #1
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Staggered vs. Square

I hope this isn't an entirely noob question but it's been something I've been wondering for a couple weeks.

Which is better to maintain the 86's balance, staggered or square wheels/tires?

Currently I'm running the stock 215/45s all around but am wondering where to go from here as I add power to the car. (Thinking Vortech SC, exhaust, and tune for occasional weekend X cross and Willow events) So, if I were to up the rear tires to 245/40 I wonder what I should do with the front, 225?235?245?

Bigger rears should be necessary to handle the power, and as a result, a little more speed into corners might require a more stopping capacity in the front. While turning, the rear will have more cornering capacity so will the staggered setup lend itself to understeer or will throttle modulation with greater power compensate the overall capacity (considering friction circle).

Of course there are other factors, but lets assume we use the same compound at each corner with stock suspension to simplify everything.

I'm sure people have thought of this a lot more than I have and have some on road experience, so what are your thoughts on the matter?
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:03 PM   #2
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I don't have much experience on the subject, but most, if not all, reviews of this car says that the car is extremely well balanced and almost neutral in the corner, with oversteer on command. That being said, I think using the same type of type all around would keep everything the same if that's the only thing you change...going wider in the rear without more power would induce understeer as it would be more grabby.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:34 PM   #3
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A square setup would be the best to maintain the balance for a car that is meant to hug the turns. You can play around with swaybars, tire pressue, etc to get a staggered setup to handle neutral, but is it worth the time and money on a street car? That would be up to you to decide. These cars appear to have a lot of room for wheel/tire, so you can shove a pretty meaty tire up front to match the rears.

Running staggered is great for looks, but you will find yourself more likely to understeer. I currently have a staggered setup on my M3, and I will be switching those out for a square setup.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:06 PM   #4
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I was gonna switch to a staggered setup of 19x8.5/19x9.5 from my 19x8 but then realized the weight gain wasn't worth it.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:38 PM   #5
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Thank you for your input. I think I will stay square.

Was hoping to get some input from people who have tracked a staggered setup and felt that it was awesome/better or absolutely ruined their car. But I guess people may be pretty reluctant to state that they've done the later.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:47 PM   #6
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I think staggered might pay dividends when you eventually got your Vortech SC. Perhaps someone who's running FI can chip in.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:02 AM   #7
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If you are planning on tracking the car seriously, then like chutrain said above, there are things you'll end up doing to get the balance you desire regardless of tire configuration. As soon as you do suspension and tire changes that aren't stock, you're already changing the balance of the car so you really need to consider the holistic effect of everything you're doing against the application that you're putting it up against.

If you're just concerned with street driving, then you really won't see much difference in either setup (all else being equal with regard to tire selection, suspension, power output, etc). For tracking, you'll have a lot to consider - width of rears to handle the power output, width of fronts for steering, width of both for cornering, amount of power available to induce desired oversteer, what effects, if any, your suspension configuration has added, for example.

Bottom line - what are your priorities and what else were you planning on doing to the car? That will determine the path you should consider.
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:26 PM   #8
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Power isn't the only thing to consider. Things like lift and trail braking induced oversteer will be affected by increasing the size of the rear tires. It's very important to consider all of the aspects involved before changing things. Only time will tell what is fastest on the track.

It also depends on your driving style. If you want to go for a more traditional Subaru style, wider tires in the back could help you with the slow in, fast out tons of grip philosophy. If you want to go for something a bit more neutral, it may be better to stay square and sacrifice a little bit of your ability to really put it down out of a corner and increase your ability to rotate the car, allowing you to get on the power earlier and apply power more smoothly.

It's also possible I'm talking out of my ass here. I'm inclined to go with square setups if only for ease of tire rotation and longevity.

Would @CSG David or @CSG Mike like to chime in here? They have a good amount of track experience with this car already and may be able to give some input for those looking to go up in power.
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:24 PM   #9
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Power isn't the only thing to consider. Things like lift and trail braking induced oversteer will be affected by increasing the size of the rear tires. It's very important to consider all of the aspects involved before changing things. Only time will tell what is fastest on the track.

It also depends on your driving style. If you want to go for a more traditional Subaru style, wider tires in the back could help you with the slow in, fast out tons of grip philosophy. If you want to go for something a bit more neutral, it may be better to stay square and sacrifice a little bit of your ability to really put it down out of a corner and increase your ability to rotate the car, allowing you to get on the power earlier and apply power more smoothly.

It's also possible I'm talking out of my ass here. I'm inclined to go with square setups if only for ease of tire rotation and longevity.

Would @CSG David or @CSG Mike like to chime in here? They have a good amount of track experience with this car already and may be able to give some input for those looking to go up in power.
considering the lightness of the car and its weight distribution, i think 225s in the front and 235's in the rear would be what i would do depending on how your suspension is set up and what sway/strut bars you are using.

considering a stock frs with sticky tires already upsets the balance vs stock

a bit more power with the vortech supercharger(using the 7psi pulley) + sticky tires and a brake pad upgrade, should grip very well but retain the fun factor (if track is just recreational for you)

if you are going strictly for competition and you just want to post fast lap times i would do square 245's all around, run more boost on the supercharger, coil overs, and invest in some beefy brakes.

you cant exactly say what is best because you have all these factors
1. suspension tuning
2. amount of power
3. tire compound
4. chassis reinforcements
5. weather conditions
6. track conditions
7. track surface type
8. how technical is a track (average speed/amount of corners/autocross/cuircut/ect )
9. how experienced the driver is
10. what type of driving you are used to (driving sytle)
11. how well do your brakes deal with fade
ect
ect
ect
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by WWEVOX View Post
I hope this isn't an entirely noob question but it's been something I've been wondering for a couple weeks.

Which is better to maintain the 86's balance, staggered or square wheels/tires?

Currently I'm running the stock 215/45s all around but am wondering where to go from here as I add power to the car. (Thinking Vortech SC, exhaust, and tune for occasional weekend X cross and Willow events) So, if I were to up the rear tires to 245/40 I wonder what I should do with the front, 225?235?245?

Bigger rears should be necessary to handle the power, and as a result, a little more speed into corners might require a more stopping capacity in the front. While turning, the rear will have more cornering capacity so will the staggered setup lend itself to understeer or will throttle modulation with greater power compensate the overall capacity (considering friction circle).

Of course there are other factors, but lets assume we use the same compound at each corner with stock suspension to simplify everything.

I'm sure people have thought of this a lot more than I have and have some on road experience, so what are your thoughts on the matter?
This tagging function sure comes in handy... here's my feedback.

Whether the rear tires break loose mid-corner (or in a straight line) is dependent on driver input. If you give the car too much gas, then you'll overcome tire grip. Larger and/or stickier tires obviously increase the amount of grip. Now, keep in mind that even stock, the rear tires can break loose under cornering; I can power-over in 2nd gear, even with 235 R-comp tires on.

Understeer/oversteer balance of the car itself under cornering isn't affected by the power. However, with the added power, it'll be much easier to induce a power-over, aka oversteer induced by excessive throttle input. Even a car that normally understeers can power-over with enough output. The only effect that the supercharger will have on balance is adding weight to the front of the car.

Given that you're keeping the stock suspension, are you planning on adding camber? With track camber, your contact patch is diminished at rest, and thus, braking distances get longer. Larger tires don't really help with this, since with camber, the contact patch won't get any larger.

If you like the stock balance, I would stick to square tires. It'll retain the same balance (more or less) and you get the added benefit of being able to rotate tires too.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:22 PM   #11
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Thank you for all the replies. I am pretty new at this but I wanted to get some ideas since trial and error gets pretty expensive.

Clearly there are many variables to consider. I mention stock suspension and other constants for the sake of simplicity. My initial question is in regard to the isolated effects of a staggered tire setup. I think it's pretty unanimous that a square setup will best retain the overall balance of the vehicle. I wasn't sure.

Still would like to hear from people with some different setup experience. Maybe such a centralized area for that discussion is a fool's dream haha.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:55 PM   #12
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What kind of different setups?
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:15 PM   #13
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I let a buddy who's a fast driver take my stock FRS out to Chuckwalla raceway last month..ran it 100% bone stock, swapped on some 18x9.5's with 265/35/18 tires (nothing special, non r compound, just basic street tires) that a friend had laying around. Went 8 seconds faster a lap. They were very heavy Rota's too. I've been involved with some fast time attack teams, all running square setups on RWD cars..
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:31 PM   #14
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I let a buddy who's a fast driver take my stock FRS out to Chuckwalla raceway last month..ran it 100% bone stock, swapped on some 18x9.5's with 265/35/18 tires (nothing special, non r compound, just basic street tires) that a friend had laying around. Went 8 seconds faster a lap. They were very heavy Rota's too. I've been involved with some fast time attack teams, all running square setups on RWD cars..
How did you manage to fit 265's up front?
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