sTeeve
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:02 pm
Location: Decatur, Georgia, USA

Re: Spark EV - An affordable electric racecar (my build thre

Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:15 pm

Nashco wrote:I included info on weight reduction earlier in this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=3656&p=14221#p14221

Rear seats, tire pump, emergency charger, floor mats, etc. add up to nearly 100 pounds. If you pull it all out, the car is noticeably louder, but also noticeably quicker and has much more interior volume available for stuff.
EldRitch wrote:A couple of questions:

- What would it do for, or to, the car for enthusiastic road/street use to install the Megan Racing front coilovers, while leaving the rear alone? Would that upset the handing too drastically?

- Got anything for us on the rear seat delete project? I'd really be ready to for that. I love the idea of a cargo area with three doors...
I see no benefit in installing the Megan setup in front unless you're also modifying the rear.

I'll try to get pictures of my rear seat delete setup soon, with measurements of the cargo floor I built. I'm super short on time lately, so commentary will be limited, I'll let the pictures do the talking. I also drilled a few holes into the rear plastics in strategic spots so I can pull the rear speaker pods with a screwdriver in a few minutes (instead of disassembling half of the car!). This makes the rear hatch opening far more usable...enough so that I'm confused why the factory didn't include these access holes for service reasons.

Bryce
Bryce,
Would you include info about your front seat brackets as well? I'm about at that stage of pimping my Spark EV.

-cheers,
-Bob K.
2014 Spark EV

JWSpark
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:07 pm

Re: Spark EV - An affordable electric racecar (my build thre

Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:55 am

Nashco wrote:Wheels and tires

I knew right away that the stock wheels and tires were going to be a pain to improve on. The factory wheels are different width and offset from front to rear, and the factory tires are different sizes front to rear as well. There are probably a few reasons for this, but one of them is obviously because this narrow car really wasn't designed for tires this big. This car comes with 165/65R14 tires in most markets, so the 185/195 tires on the Spark EV are already pushing the limits. The factory took care of fender lips, so there really isn't any easy clearance to gain. I wanted a square setup so that I could rotate front and rear race tires around freely and have matching wheels all around, that was my base requirement as I started figuring out what could fit.

I measured and tested and measured and tested until I finally committed to some wheels. The class I had in mind (SCCA STF) allows up to 225 tires on a 7.5" wheel, but it became obvious that wasn't even feasible when I tried test fitting those sizes. Eventually, I bought some Desmond Regamaster Evo Bright 15x6.5 ET45 wheels (say that fast 3 times!) from a guy in Hong Kong. That was an adventure on a few fronts, but I'm really pleased with the wheels.

These things are LIGHT at only 8.5 pounds each. That's about 10 pounds of rotating, unsprung weight lost at each corner compared to the factory wheels! I tested the BFG Rival 205/50R15s and surprisingly, they actually fit! It's not all unicorns and rainbows in Spark EV land, unfortunately, as the wheels required some caliper "massaging" and some 5mm spacers up front to clear the wheels spokes. The Spark EV bolt pattern is the extremely common 4x100, but the hub center bore is just a touch larger than the typical Honda (56.5 mm vs. 56.1 mm). I bought some of the common 56.1 spacers and kissed the ID with a dremel to make the wheel spacers fit the hubs. I think that wheels with the same width and offset but with wheel spokes that have more curve to them would be a better fit, avoiding the caliper clearancing but still requiring the spacers.

In the first event with the tires and wheels in the front, I had some really minor rubbing and raised the front suspension 10mm, afterwards no rubbing. Considering how narrow the car is and how tight the wheel and tire fitment is from the factory, that's all the tire I can get away with. Last year I bought some 195/50R15 Hankook Ventus RS3 (Version 2) since they seemed to be the best 200+ treadwear tire that I could fit (required for STF). Since then there are some better performers in the 200+ category since I got the RS3 V2, I might trade some increased performance for some minor rubbing when I get my next set of tires and go back to a 205.

The improved wheels and tires really transform the car. With good tires and lighter wheels, the 0-60 times are drastically improved and the car is just all around better to drive, as you'd expect.

Bryce
Bryce,

Great thread! I'm new to the Spark EV world but I come from the Porsche community so I'll all about performance modifications. That said my Spark is leased so I don't want to get too carried away. The though of swapping out the wheels to reduce unsprung weight certainly has crossed my mind. I've read conflicting reports about the exact specs of the OEM wheels (diameter, widths, offsets & weights). Since you clearly know your way around these factors, would you mind sharing what you've learned about the OEM wheels?

It occurs to me that we might be able to learn a thing or two from the Miata community since the early model Miatas (1989-2005 NA/NB) used the same 4x100 bolt pattern. I know the Miata guys are all about weight savings and autocross!

One more request a DIY guide with photos of removing the rear seats would be interesting to see.

Cheers,
-Jeremy

Nashco
Posts: 536
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 12:00 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Spark EV - An affordable electric racecar (my build thre

Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:55 am

Unfortunately for me, I have to put my car up for sale because I've taken a job in Europe and can't bring it with me. Fortunately for you, the coolest Spark EV in the world could now be yours!

http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/cto/5717883701.html

Bryce

whomadewho
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:42 am

Re: Spark EV - An affordable electric racecar (my build thre

Fri Aug 05, 2016 2:41 pm

Any more tips for the community, from your wealth of Spark EV modding experience, Bryce? The long anticipated rear-seat delete instructions, perhaps?

Thanks for sharing your story.

Nashco
Posts: 536
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 12:00 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Spark EV - An affordable electric racecar (my build thre

Sun Aug 07, 2016 1:53 am

As I said, I don't have time for instructions, but I took some pictures to inspire you. I couldn't even find my cardboard template I used for the rear seat delete that had the dimensions on it! y

I used 3/4" plywood, and if you've got a friend with a Spark EV you can make two of them out of a single 4x8 sheet of plywood. I made a cardboard template and carefully trimmed it until it was fit well but wasn't a sloppy fit (about 1/2" gap around the edges) so it wouldn't scuff up the interior plastics. This is what it looks like installed:

Image

This is what it looks like removed. It fits *perfectly* through the rear side doors. Just slide the front seats forward, then tilt it and slide it out the door opening.

Image

You can see a seam in the carpet near the top (the rear of the car) because I couldn't find any appropriate carpet that was big enough at the car parts store the day I made it. Since then, I've seen that Lowe's has some small rolls of indoor/outdoor carpet that look similar and come in larger sizes (avoiding the seam) and would have been cheaper to boot.

I used some small spacer blocks in the two rear corners to support the plywood and raise it off the high voltage disconnect/fuse assembly. I also used some junk I had laying around the shop to attach the forward section to the original seat mounting holes, which kept the assembly from sliding forward as well. This wasn't elegant, but was effective and used junk I had around the shop in a matter of minutes. I called the Chevy dealership intending to buy two more plastic clips that are used on the stock Spark EV seat, but they wanted some ridiculous amount ($30 each?). The better way to go would probably be to get some expanding rubber nuts (aka "well nuts"):

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=expanding+rubber+nut

The end result is a significant increase in interior storage volume. More importantly for me, it created several inches more headroom for my big dog, which meant he wasn't rubbing on the headliner when he wanted to get some fresh air. It also created a flat platform, which was very handy for his dog bed or just regular using-a-hatchback-like-a-pickup activities. It was definitely louder than the stock configuration. I thought about tossing a bunch of polyfill or similar underneath of it, but the point of this design was to be cheap and extremely easy to install and remove. As a side benefit, it also sheds about 30 pounds compared to the rear seats alone.

This completely flat setup requires unbolting the rear seat bracket, which has four bolts (one torx, three hex). Unfortunately, the seat bracket sits a few inches higher than this deck height, and since the lowest load floor possible was my goal I opted to remove the bracket each time I installed the cargo shelf. If you just wanted a flat floor and didn't care about the maximum vertical space, you could leave the seat bracket in and just have the shelf a few inches higher. You could also slot the plywood and have the bracket stick above the flat floor if you didn't mind the protrusion.

If you guys want to try and replicate it, I'd ask that you start another thread just for the rear seat delete topic.

Bryce
Last edited by Nashco on Sun Aug 07, 2016 2:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

Nashco
Posts: 536
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 12:00 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Spark EV - An affordable electric racecar (my build thre

Sun Aug 07, 2016 2:03 am

I never did install the race seat. I had bought Planted universal brackets from 425 Motorsports and hacked up some gas Spark seat tracks (removed from a junkyard seat) to adapt the race seat to the Spark floor pan. It ended up being more work than I had hoped for in the end, but worked. The big reason it wasn't "finished" is because I didn't even get the first step on installing a proper race harness. There's no point in using a race seat with stock shoulder harness! There wasn't an immediately easy solution that I could just order up XYZ parts, and I haven't had time to go racing the last several months, so that's when the project hit a wall.

Bryce

Taxman
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 4:51 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Spark EV - An affordable electric racecar (my build thre

Sun Sep 11, 2016 6:05 am

Nashco wrote: I bought some Desmond Regamaster Evo Bright 15x6.5 ET45 wheels (say that fast 3 times!) from a guy in Hong Kong.

I tested the BFG Rival 205/50R15s and surprisingly, they actually fit!
In the first event with the tires and wheels in the front, I had some really minor rubbing and raised the front suspension 10mm, afterwards no rubbing.

I found some of those nice light wheels on eBay, but I don't want to pay that much for them.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Brand-New-Desmo ... 1871100516

So, with the car at stock ride height, 205/50 don't rub at all?
Is there room to increase diameter, or does something get in the way? (mainly for snow tires, I like them narrow and tall, might buy 185/65 if the diameter isn't too much)

And how much spacer do I need to put stock rears on the front with new brake pads, 4mm, 5mm?

Nashco
Posts: 536
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 12:00 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Spark EV - An affordable electric racecar (my build thre

Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:27 am

Click here for a cheaper set of the same wheels that are currently on ebay. Note that I didn't say they were cheap!

I suspect you could go a little bit taller than stock tire sizes if you go narrower without any issues. You might have minor rubbing on the inner wheel wells if you don't go narrow enough, but nothing major. You can put the rear TIRES (or same size tires as the rears) on the front WHEELS and not have any issues. However, you can't put the rear wheels on the front, if that's what you're asking. If you tried that, the wheel spacer required would be so thick that your wheel studs wouldn't be long enough. To replace the wheel studs means replacing the front hub bearings if you follow GM service instructions, so it gets to be a real PITA.

Bryce

Taxman
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 4:51 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Spark EV - An affordable electric racecar (my build thre

Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:27 am

Nashco wrote: However, you can't put the rear wheels on the front, if that's what you're asking. If you tried that, the wheel spacer required would be so thick that your wheel studs wouldn't be long enough. To replace the wheel studs means replacing the front hub bearings if you follow GM service instructions, so it gets to be a real PITA.

Bryce
Rats, that's what I was asking.
Do you know how thick? Is it the same as the 9mm difference in offset?

Used Spark wheels are widely available, Interchange lists them as 6.5" and fitting rear Spark EV and all four on gas Spark. I actually found some EV fronts here in Michigan, if they're listed correctly, but the price on them is twice as much as the rears. For the cost difference in the 'winter wheels', I'd be willing to buy 8 studs and press them in/out and make sure I have nuts that will work with the summer front wheels, but if the studs can't be replaced in situ, that's a problem.

Maybe I should just call up the place listing the Spark EV front wheels, verify the part number, and then offer to trade them straight up for a pair of Spark wheels, because there are maybe 3 cars in Michigan that their wheels fit?

Nashco
Posts: 536
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 12:00 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Spark EV - An affordable electric racecar (my build thre

Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:52 pm

I would guess about 13-15mm of spacers would be needed to install rear Spark EV wheels on the front, but that would leave no thread engagement and lead to certain destruction. As I said, you would have to install longer wheel studs and that means 8 studs plus two bearings plus time and hassle...all of the sudden, the extra few bucks for some wheels that fit better or slightly narrower wheels doesn't sound so bad! ;)

Bryce

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