H-Street or STF plunge? - Mazda3 Forums : The #1 Mazda 3 Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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H-Street or STF plunge?

Hello All,

2011 sSport 2.5L 6MT hatch

I am battling it out internally on whether to try and run H-street or STF. This mainly pertains to getting some wheels/tires to get off my all seasons. Right now I'm on a combo of OEM 17x7s (22lbs?) and Kumho Ecsta 4x (21lb-ish).

This debate is largely academic as the biggest influence in the next few years is likely to be me, but I would find it satisfying right now to get off of 420 and onto 200 UTQG.

My goal is to keep tire/wheel no heavier than the combo I have now...and since I will unavoidably be going up to a heavier tire, it would be nice to save as much weight as possible close to the hub (barring absurd $$$).

H-Street?
My dilemma is that there are very limited options for a set of 17x7s with a >45.5 offset (assuming the proposed 7mm bump over 6.35mm goes through...though there are so many 45s on the market, if I wonder if shaving 0.5mm is possible/safe) and even more limited 205/50-17 tire selection. The original RE-11 was all that I saw. I could try and pinch a 225 on there, but they are big and heavy...and it's a pinch.

There are a few 16x7 options that can take a 205/55-16 or 225/50-16, but they are also very heavy and typically represent some down-gearing. I've hit the limiter a few times, being capped at 55 in 2nd, but that's largely been due to wheelspin during newbie sprints.

Looking at my region, I think I could be lower to midpack here, and that would give me good motivation to improve.

STF?
This would let me go up to 17x7.5 and flirt with 225s and maybe less of a gear penalty, but then again I'd be down the rabbit hole of springs and tunes and camber plates and all that...and that might be a bit too much, too fast. I'm in an apartment right now so mucho mods are tough. Plus, even if it's for fun, I'd like to avoid prepping myself into dead last every time, if I can avoid it. The idea of a 205 stretched onto the 7.5 sounds interesting from a grip point of view, but I don't want to cook anything either.



I'm guilty of reading a lot of info that's quite beyond my appreciation right now, so I'm probably overthinking this. I'm happy to invest in a quick set of h-street wheels now and then maybe get some STF at a later date, that I can grow into, but maybe with a set of tires I could take with me? 225?

I can't make it to the next few local events (personal stuff + the NEFR), but I'd like to have "real" tires and my Racing Beat rear bar on by the next that I do attend. We'll see how long the stock endlinks last. I also have a set of their springs...not hard enough to make much of a difference in STF I'm sure, but would probably represent a bit of an improvement over stock as far as rates and COG, though I hear it's a rear rake. My stock dampers are probably ready to replace anyway...so the RB springs could go on with some str.ts or something. (It's my DD/the roads here suck/my ass is delicate/etc.).

Going to H-street also means finding some OEM brake lines and getting them on the car. I got some freebie SS way back when, and they class me up right now. Hawk HPS front and rear currently. Plan to keep those for the foreseeable future.

Oh wise sages, I am humble before thee.



P.S. the other option is of course to just miserably shred the all seasons and eventually try and work toward something like a focus st..but I can't see those recaros being comfortable on a spontaneous road trip from MA to Lucas Oil Dragway or something.

2011 Graphite Mica Mazda3 sSport 6-spd MTX

Last edited by c_thur; 07-17-2014 at 12:49 AM.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c_thur View Post
I wonder if shaving 0.5mm is possible/safe)
.5mm is 1/64" or .01965" or basically a third of the thickness of a dime. I'd think you could almost grind that off with a flapper wheel on a side grinder. If you are just running locals, I sure as hell wouldn't worry about 1/64 of an inch of wheel offset.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 11:05 AM
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STF.

This gets a reasonable amount of rubber under the car. Don't worry about the legal mods for ST, just drive and slowly build up the car.

As the famous quote goes, "Work on the nut behind the wheel before you start fixing bolts on the car"


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanHolton View Post
.5mm is 1/64" or .01965" or basically a third of the thickness of a dime. I'd think you could almost grind that off with a flapper wheel on a side grinder. If you are just running locals, I sure as hell wouldn't worry about 1/64 of an inch of wheel offset.
Completely agree with everything you said above Ryan.

Taking the mounting pad down some is a completely acceptable method of increasing offset and doesn't compromise the integrity of the wheel if common sense is used. In most cases at least a few mm can be safely removed. .5mm is not very much at all.


Here's a set of some old 16x6.5 Rota wheels I used in H-Stock. I had a machine shop remove 2mm from each one. Cost me $100 IIRC

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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One extra, somewhat unrelated question:
How critical is it that there be dust boots/covers on the shaft of a damper? I suspect it's quite helpful toward the long life of a shock or strut, but none of the koni strut images seem to show a lip for a dust cover. I'm not even sure a cable tie would be snug enough to keep one on. I live in New England, so there are abundant amounts of dust, sand and salt.
Thanks.

2011 Graphite Mica Mazda3 sSport 6-spd MTX
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 11:33 PM
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Stay in Stock. Just use your stock wheels. Stop worrying about the wheel weight.

Yes, shaft boots are important. Mainly to prevent scratching the chrome on the shaft, which will allow rust and eventually kill the damper seals. You can usually reuse the stock boots. There are also covers available from summit or Amazon, etc.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-03-2014, 04:53 PM
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Stock or STF

With my first MZ3 ('08 Hatch S) I spent a year in H Stock, learning about how it handled, what it's characteristics were, it's strengths and weaknesses, essentially establishing a baseline for performance potential.

I learned a lot.

For this current MZ3 Sedan i, what I learned from the H Stock car is coming in handy as I try to assemble the pieces that will compliment what the car does best for me.

Note that Adam, Dave, myself and others all have different driving styles, preferences, and especially set-ups. One size does not fit all. You must spend some time evolving what works for you, for your personal style.

So, my suggestion is to stay in H Street for about a year, and see what your car does well for you. THEN decide what to do next.

Scott Meyers
2006 Mazda 3S Sport - Making it the best that it can be
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-03-2014, 05:59 PM
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Basically what I told the OP (Chris) when we exchanged PM's. I'm really glad I spent quite a while in Stock first. Figuring out how to drive well is hard enough on it's own, why complicate things by messing with car setup ect.

I'd just get a good set of tires, go learn and do as many events as possible. After some time then do the usual stock stuff like (Sway, shocks, and alignment).
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-05-2014, 12:41 AM
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I'll say this...I HATED how the 3 drove stock. I tried it in stock in 2008 and it was one of the least fun cars I've ever autocrossed. LOL...so I'd say go to STF. Buy some wheels and tires and a suspension and that's about it. Just stick with that and drive for now.

FWIW a good used suspension, wheels and tires can be had for under $2000. And the car will be a LOT more fun than it will be in HS. AND the tire wear will be cut in half or more. So over the course of two years you'll pay for the parts you just bought in savings

Plus the 15" tires are $80/set cheaper than the 17s.

David Hedderick
08 Mazda 3s Sport - new STF car (sponsored by BC Racing NA and BFG)
2013 MS3
92 Miata - SSM light project
(formerly 2011 STF Mini Cooper)
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-06-2014, 06:25 PM
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HS or STF

And there you have your answer.

It's.........subjective.

The final answer, for you, lies within.

It has to be what "floats your boat".

What do YOU want? What are you looking for? How much money do you have available, or want to spend on this?

We each have found our answers. Good luck. Either decision can be a good one. Success will vary.......

Scott Meyers
2006 Mazda 3S Sport - Making it the best that it can be
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