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Fr3AkAzOiD New Reader
9/5/13 8:12 a.m.

In reply to Hoop:

Alignment for front left didn't hold back in May and 1.8 of camber dropped to 0.5 and tire rolled onto sidewall. It's only the front left that got eaten up like that. I rotated both fronts to the back and am doing a 1 day at NJMP in October and since I have never run there before I won't be pushing the car hard. I'll have a fresh pair ready for November at VIR.

Sky_Render Dork
9/5/13 9:34 a.m.

This thread is full of win.

And you are seriously abusing those brakes!

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
11/14/13 4:18 p.m.

Mr Bear and I kicking butt in the rain.


Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
11/15/13 12:17 p.m.

Re: The melted caliper dust boot. If the boot looks like that, the piston seal might be damaged. Hopefully, you'll replace both soon or purchase a rebuild.

Storz Dork
11/20/13 6:56 a.m.

Awesome, I've always like the SS wagon version of these cars

4cylndrfury MegaDork
11/20/13 7:51 a.m.
Sky_Render wrote: This thread is full of win.

yes...yes it is

Gearheadotaku UberDork
11/20/13 3:48 p.m.

yeah, brake ducting of some sort sounds like a good idea.

Saw one of these in the junkyard (wrecked) and was surprised at the sophisticated design of the rear suspension.

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
10/4/14 10:53 p.m.

It's been forever since I updated this thread so I will post a recap/update before getting into some problems I have been having that I would like to hear some GRM opinions of solution options.

8/27/2012 After only changing brake fluid to ATE Super Blue and doing a coolant flush I take the Malibu to VIR with 65k miles on it's brakes, 50k miles on 500 treadwear all season tires, and 150k miles on the factory suspension components. Best lap of the day was 2.45.588.

After the weekend at VIR I take the car to Long Road Racing and have it looked over, went to 400 treadwear all season Bridgestone Potenza in 205/65-15 (best tire in stock size), had sports rotors put up front and Carbotech xp10 pads in front and xp8 in the rear. Had camber bolts installed to get up to 1.8 degrees camber up front and running 1.4 degrees in the rear. Also had a dragging rear brake fixed as well as new KYB shocks and struts put in.

11/12/2012 First day VIR full in the rain so slow lap times there. The second day was Grand West course and it dried out for the last two runs. I could tell on those last two sessions that I was cornering a lot harder and it was hard to stay in the bolsterless factory seat. Best lap on Grand West was 3:40.762

After getting back from VIR ordered a Corbeau CR1 adjustable sports seat as well as a seatbelt lock. Seat photo SeatPic_zps06f4c44e.jpg

The new seat and seatbelt lock helped a lot. After a Weekend at VIR in May 2013 and a single day in August 2013 I was able to get a best lap of 2:34.795, roughly 11 seconds faster than my first track day.

In November I posted a 3:31.701 for the Grand West course in 40 degree weather and drizzling, 9 seconds off the lap I set the year before. Used up the last of my Potenzas and this is when I started running into problems with the Malibu.

While the Potenza were not great tires they were pretty good for all seasons. Problem is they stopped making them in my size so options were to either get a less aggressive all season tire and go back to posting 2:38.xxx in VIR full or spend some money on a new set of wheels so I have more tire options.

I went with option B and picked up a set of 16 inch X 7.5 inch wheels on clearance and went with Continental Extreme Contact DW in 225/50/16. 16wheel photo 16Wheel_zps564109e6.jpg

Before I get into the problems that my new tires caused at the same time I got my new tires and wheels I had also went to the larger brake rotor that the Malibu SS uses, it's only an increase of 0.8 inches but I figured between the more open design of my new wheels, a slightly larger surface area to allow cooling as well as the brake pad (which is the same size as before)and caliper being slightly farther out on the rotor would give more leverage for braking.

I also got the front strut tower brace that the Malibu SS uses. STB photo struttowerbrace_zps1b7fdcae.jpg

Back to the tire issues...

I had had problems with my old Potenza rolling onto their sidewall and figured that with a slightly smaller diameter tire and an inch larger wheel that reducing sidewall height by about 0.6 inches would help with sidewall flex.

Boy was I wrong, what I forgot to consider was that when the Potenza as all seasons overheated they started to grease and slip, very little chunking. Potenza1 photo Potenza1_zps87c59ec8.jpg

But those Extreme Contact DW just gripped and gripped, still running over onto the sidewall and chunking down to the cord. This is after four 25 min sessions at NJMP Lightning during July 4th weekend 2014, two of which were in enough rain to put standing water at several corners for the whole day. The problem wasn't all on the tire though, the Malibu soft suspension heavily distorts any suspension settings during cornering. Continental1 photo Continental1_zps2fb0b643.jpg

SWMBO was less than happy that a $600 set of tires got destroyed over one weekend. Having to also get a set of tires for my daily driver I was in a tight spot until......

205/55ZR16 Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110 on clearance, including shipping, mounting and balancing they only ran me $350. But now I needed to make sure what happened to the Continentals doesn't repeat itself with the Hankoook. Getting the tires in a narrower size should help with sidewall flex, also the tires I ordered are the extra load variant so they have a stiffer sidewall then the standard load version (Continentals were standard load). I am still not convinced that I have done enough so I contact Long Road Racing since they did a great job setting me up to begin with. Lucky for them but unlucky for me two of their race clients have very good seasons and Long Road Racing is now only working with race teams and not track day enthusiasts like myself. :(

However I find Mayhem Motorsports, a company that works mainly with GM cars and drag racing but does have some track day guys in their shop.

I would like to add that at this point I'm looking past HPDE events and the step I'm looking to take next is NASA TT racing. Contacted the right people and got a base rating of TTF** (14 points) and 3200 lbs. Currently I have 15 out of 19 points used before I get bumped to the next class so I'm limited in what I can do to the car. The guys at Mayhem Motorsports figure if I'm stuck with the stock suspension (can do bigger sway bars and stronger end links but I use up 2 points) the best option is to set it up with a ton of camber. They slot the adjusters and say I should be able to dial in between 3.5 - 4.0 degrees camber in the front now.

I already have a 3 year deal for unlimited (ha!) alignments at a local shop so I take the car to them to set it up. Give them some specs asking for 3 degrees up front and a few hours later get called that it's ready. Turn up and the mgr is there to tell me I should have never been sold a 3 year plan and that I'll be limited to an alignment once every 6 months cause my alignments are considered specialty. Also that they got my alignment as close to my specs as possible. Which to them is 2.6 degrees up front.

I'm tired so I just get out of there and head home. I take the right turn onto my neighborhood with a little spirit (maybe 6/10ths) and grinding noise. Of course I'm all WTH but I'm almost home. I then take the left turn into my front street with like 4/10ths and grinding again.

Get home, jack the car up and......

rimcut1 photo rimcut1_zpsab5a704a.jpg

I walk away from the car.

A bonus to having four cars between my wife and I. If one breaks down, or I don't finish working on one in time I can just walk away and use another for a while.

Eventually cooler heads prevail, I still want to throw blame around. Even though it's my car and I'm asking abnormal things from it I would think that either Mayhem Motorsports or Just Tires would go....Hey, I can't dial in 3 degrees (let alone 4 like Mayhem claimed I would be able to) of camber into this thing cause this other thing is in the way.

I find a company selling spacers (7mm) for the Malibu and they are on clearance. Email them to ask a few questions, my main one was will I be able to use my current studs and lugs or will I need extended studs? Was told the factory studs are just fine.

Place an order and wait a week. They took my money but no notice of shipping. Call a few times and finally get someone who tells me that the last set were sold but not taken out of inventory or removed from the website. They will special make a pair for me at the same cost. Of course my order is now of the lowest priority and I do get my item but it takes almost a month from when I ordered it. 7mm spacer photo 7mmspacer_zps1fe09f1d.jpg

This brings us to tonight.

Got the spacer installed and went to check clearance.

wheel spaced photo wheelspaced_zps1e51c1a6.jpg

Take about a 20 min drive and slowly put a bit more into each curve. Being new tires I'm maxing out at about 8/10ths but no scraping or other noise. On the highway no vibrations so I head home.

Back in my garage something starts to bother me. The errors with the alignment and rubbing where I trusted others to catch any problems.

I take one of my spare Malibu lugs and a bent paperclip and start counting the threads on the inside. It's harder than it seems as its a pain to get light in there but I keep getting counts of 9 or 10. I then take my wrench and start to count how many turns my installed lug takes before it comes off. It comes off after 6. Son of a #%*@+!

Obviously I'm not going to track a car with only a 60% hold on the wheels.

So now I'm trying to figure out what to do next and any opinions would be helpful.

I could get extended studs and run my current spacers but I'm not exactly happy about how little space there still is, I could of course back the camber down from 2.6 to 2.2 to give me a bit more room but I'm still worried that it may not be enough camber to keep the tire from rolling onto it's sidewall.

I could get a custom spacer made from someone like http://www.motorsport-tech.com/ in a larger size such as 15 - 20mm since I would need longer studs anyway. But then I run into a possible problem with points for NASA TT. If between camber and spacers I increase my track width by more then 4 inches I end up taking on 6 points and it would immediately bump me out of TTF and up to the TTE class.

I will need to measure where I currently am since I don't know how many inches having my wheels at 2.6 degrees camber are adding to my track width. Though I do know my two 7mm spacers are adding 0.55 inches all by themselves.

Another question. Would taking the 2 points and getting stiffer sway bars and stronger end links with either new rubber or poly bushings help reduce the amount that the suspension tucks in under cornering thus helping to stop my tires from self destructing?

Ok, monster post, kinda got out of hand but that recaps everything considering I haven't posted in almost a year on my build thread. Again, any help on my latest dilemma would be great. I'll hopefully be able to post my track width addition over stock tomorrow night. Headed up to VIR in the morning to show the family around and talk to some friends running there with NASA. Won't be running myself though. :(

4Msfam Reader
10/5/14 9:58 p.m.

First, gotta give you props for using the DD car for drivers days and doing quite well! When I first took our BMW 128i out to autocrosses, the four season tires chunked as well. Haven't had an issue since I changed the tires to Summito HTR high performance summer tires. I think the tread blocks on your four seasons just heated up too much and chunked. The rubber compound probably isn't made for that heat. If you still have issues, maybe shaving the tread to decrease squirm would help.

I'd definitely change your studs to longer ones if you want to run those spacers. Can you just take a grinder and bevel the edge of the struts to gain some room too? Also, is that your abs sensor wire insulation that is cracking so much? You may want to wrap them.

Keep posting! First time I actually looked at Malibus on Craigslist!

Mezzanine Reader
10/5/14 11:33 p.m.
Fr3AkAzOiD wrote: Back in my garage something starts to bother me. The errors with the alignment and rubbing where I trusted others to catch any problems. I take one of my spare Malibu lugs and a bent paperclip and start counting the threads on the inside. It's harder than it seems as its a pain to get light in there but I keep getting counts of 9 or 10. I then take my wrench and start to count how many turns my installed lug takes before it comes off. It comes off after 6. Son of a #%*@+! Obviously I'm not going to track a car with only a 60% hold on the wheels.

I don't remember the specifics, but something like 90% of fastener strength is accomplished if you have a minimum engagement on the threads equivalent to the diameter of the stud. Six full turns of thread engagement sounds fine to me, but I'm curious what the actual depth of engagement six turns works out to be.

Regarding the value of the two points for the sway bars, are you reserving your last four points for something else? I'd say do it and see if if solves your tire trouble. If not, then you can swap them back out.

Storz Dork
10/6/14 7:16 a.m.

Love the updates, keep em coming!

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
10/6/14 8:15 a.m.
Mezzanine wrote: Regarding the value of the two points for the sway bars, are you reserving your last four points for something else? I'd say do it and see if if solves your tire trouble. If not, then you can swap them back out.

I dropped back down to a 205 width tire after destroying the Continentals, was hoping to run a 225 which is two points.

Running a 320 tread wear summer tire now, dropping down to a 140 - 200 tread wear tire is another two points.

Don't actually have the bigger sway bars so would have to wait a while to order them and I'm sure I'm going to pay more then I should for the bars and custom endlinks due to no aftermarket support for the Malibu.

As far as running 225 width tires, should that be fine running 225/45/16 on a 7.5 inch width wheel or should I jump up to a 17 inch wheel that's 8.0 inches wide? Would prefer to stay at 16 due to cost.

bgkast SuperDork
10/6/14 9:13 a.m.

What tire pressure are you running?

Harvey Reader
10/6/14 10:31 a.m.

Can you shave the tires down? Maybe that might help? Running full tread depth anything is not the best in that situation. Extreme performance summer tires give you a much lower tread depth initially to avoid such an issue, not to mention a different compound obviously.

failboat UltraDork
10/6/14 11:06 a.m.

Any reason you can't just take a dremel to that very small portion of the strut and just grind it a little for clearance? I would much rather do that than spacers in this instance and for your intended use.

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
10/6/14 11:57 a.m.
bgkast wrote: What tire pressure are you running?

Was running up to 46 hot trying to get the Continentals to survive njmp.

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
10/6/14 1:24 p.m.
failboat wrote: Any reason you can't just take a dremel to that very small portion of the strut and just grind it a little for clearance? I would much rather do that than spacers in this instance and for your intended use.

Could, and probably will. My concern is doing that and then still rolling onto my sidewalls and needing more camber. I also want the tire away from the strut more. I know spacers are going to kill my hub bearings but what other downside is there?

failboat UltraDork
10/7/14 10:38 a.m.

I believe the next step other than spacers is an adjustable top strut mount. trying to get one that fits or modifying one to work.

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
2/25/15 9:51 p.m.

Been a bit so giving this an update even though not much new as I have been working on the house and other cars.

Got custom 18mm hub centric spacers for the front and threw the 7mm spacers I had in the back. Installed a set of ARP extended wheel studs. Should have been a simple job of knocking them through a notch and hammering new ones in but thanks to GM I had to take the whole hub off with an axle puller.

Car had a bit of a vibration from 55mph - 80mph but I figured it was just the tires flat spotting from the rear tires sitting with the front jacked up for a couple of months. Have put a good 500 miles on the car and vibration is only noticeable between 65mph - 75 mph now and vibration is significantly milder then before. Haven't taken the car to highway speeds since getting an alignment this evening as it was snowing. Will see if it was an alignment issue.

I am now up to the 3 degrees front camber that I have been after. Signing up for the March VIR HPDE with NASA and will see how everything goes.

Did email Addco about sway bars for the Malibu since they made a rear one for the Pontiac G6 and we are both Epsilon platform and I would need custom front and end links as the thicker Malibu SS front sways are unobtainium. I never heard back, will try again after the March HPDE depending on results.

One thing of concern. I noticed if shifting from first to second (automatic with tap shift) and while it is changing gears I give it more gas it seems like the car is holding back on putting the power down for a second. Engine revs go up but I can feel the car isn't putting it all down. Only lasts a second and doesn't do it if I'm already in gear and just stomp on the gas or when shifting from second to third or fourth.

Not sure if some torque management system or my fear that the transmission is going south. Well, AAA will do one free tow a year and VIR to my house/shop is well within range. Guess I should call around and prepare for the worst.

Kenny_McCormic PowerDork
2/25/15 10:24 p.m.

How big of a trans cooler did you install before tracking a stock midsize GM sedan?

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
2/26/15 10:23 a.m.

Not running a trans cooler. Asked Longroadracing a couple years ago and they said for what I was doing I wouldn't need it.

I have a feeling in was given poor advice. If trans goes out I will be getting a cooler on the next one.

Kenny_McCormic PowerDork
2/26/15 1:48 p.m.

Properly installed, either with a thermostat or putting the stock oil-water cooler downstream of the oil to air unit, you can't really overcool a automatic transmission. I'd recommend a trans temp gauge too.

Knurled UltimaDork
2/26/15 4:38 p.m.

The trans will throw a code for long shift times long before it becomes a shoeleather-mode issue. Could it be that you're getting faster enough as a driver that you're noticing the car more?

If the coolant is cool, the trans is cool. Your Malibu probably has the 4T40 so you can't really check for fluid quality since it's got no dipstick.

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
2/26/15 6:25 p.m.

In reply to Knurled:

4T45-E transmission

Yea, no dipstick, sealed transmission I think. Radiator coolant temps have always been good.

mbruneaux New Reader
2/26/15 8:44 p.m.

I would agree a trans cooler is cheap insurance at the least, P/S I have found gets pretty hot too.

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