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Survey - Where the rubber meets the road

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I bought a MY99 Boxster in August 2004. It has 17 inch ContiSportContact tires(N1 rated). I don't know that they are the original set of tires installed at the factory but, the car only had 30k miles on it. Could be the second set.

Regardless, I have put another 5k on the odometer and it's time to get some new rubber between me and the pavement. I did a bunch of research online and even recently started a topic querying fellow 986 owners. Maybe some of you have read it or contributed. In all, I received some very good information which helped me make a decision on what to put on my car. I decided on Michelin Pilot Sport (N2 rated).

In my recent quest for knowledge I thought there should be a place where we can tell each other what we have on our cars and what we think about a particular tire. Well, where better than right here.

I know some people use their 986 as a daily commuter, some use it for weekend cruising and some for autocross racing. Some drive theirs like Miss Daisy and some like Mario Andretti. Also, some may need to swap out sets for winter fs. summer conditions. All of these factors influence tire selection. So as a part of this I thought we should include all of that information so that people can chew on it.

So here's my info:


17 inch wheels


potentially 35ka on this set

spirited driving style (I won't cut you off but I'll pass you for sure)

The current Conoids were great tires while I have known them. 5ka miles ago I could accelerate through a corner in second gear at 30/35mph. The car might raise up a bit but when it dropped back down it shot off like a rocket. I could follow the curve of the line of a left turn lane and it would stick like glue as I accelerate. Now it's like a Zamboni when I try that stuff. The first time my back side slid was pretty interesting. I was waiting at the light in the right lane of two left turn lanes. When the light turned green I pressed onward. I was ahead of the SAVE next to me as I started to track the line only to end up wagging my tail back and forth. It was a little disconcerting since it was dry pavement. So I checked the tires and it's time.

I decided on the Pilot Sport mainly because it rates higher than the ContiSportContact2'sa. I'll comment on the Pilot Sports once they are broken in.

Thanks for participating.



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How did they "rate" higher? All the N-spec tires are approved for a reason and all are equally (give or take) excellent choices. I am just curious because if they rate higher than other tires, then Porsche would say "choose these first, and all the rest of the n-Spec are a good alternative"

Personally, I am going to do the Conti's on my street wheels since I bought the wheel and tire package from Suncoast Porsche that way :)

And for my second set of wheels, I haven't totally made up my mind yet but either track only tires so I have a dedicated set as to not use up my daily set or put on a set of winter tires. I am leaninig more towards track day tires on the second set since the P-Car will probably be a garage queen during the winter anyway.

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Here is a Pilot Sport question.

I have from what I can tell, the same tires front and rear, however the tread patterns are totaly different. The rears have a V type tread pattern yet the fronts ave more of a square block type pattern. The tires seem to have the same tread depth so I am guessing they were installed at the same time from the same place.

Anyone else have their tires set up this way?

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The tires came in and were mounted on Friday evening. They are great! I know I need to break them in for the first 100 miles but they are pretty tacky right out of the box. I'll comment further on them once I pass the 100 mile mark.

LVDell - Thanks for the link to the Porsche tire specs at TireRack.com Here it is for anyone that missed it in the other topic. http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/general/porsche.jsp

Also, I purchased Pilot Sport PS2's, not the Pilot Sport. Sorry for the mix up. The Pilot Sport has a center rib and then a V-shaped tread pattern. The PS2's have straight channels similar to the ContiSportContact tread pattern. I went with them because they rated higher on the TireRack comparison chart and on the Michelin web site.

Here is a link to the TireRack comparison chart -


Here is a link to Michelin about the PS2 - http://www.michelinman.com/catalog/tires/M...retype=3&tire=1

And a link to the Pilot Sport - http://www.michelinman.com/catalog/tires/M...retype=3&tire=2

And sorry about all the typos in the first tread. I used the spell check - bad idea. I would like to see some more input about what people have experienced with the tires they are running on. There are a lot of questions and answers but lets not pass on point of the survey. Let us know your tires - brand, model, performance, handling wet and dry, their personal driving style and what kind of tread life they are getting.

But really this is great. Thank you to all who have read and to those that have contributed. And if you're reading this go ahead and hit the reply button below and let us know.



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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, I've put about 1000 miles or so on the new Michelin Pilot Sports. They are great tires! They hold the road very well. I haven't had them in any heavy rain yet but there has been some light rain and they performed very well on wet pavement.

Dry traction and handling is excellent. Accelerating from a stand still seems much quicker. I seems like I'm springing forward as though I were being pushed from behind. Impressive (wish I had a higher HP engines from one of the more recent model years). When cornering, the tires seem to reach out and grab the road. Like the car is trying to pull itself through the turn. Sticky, sticky, sticky. I love it.

I would highly recommend these tires. Thanks to all who participated in this survey. Happy motoring to all.

Having lots of fun in SoCal!



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I currently have 17 on my boxster. They came with the Michellin PS rib. I have about 2000mi on them. They are excellent dry weather tires. they just stick to surface. You just cant go worng with them. but the problem is the ride is really harsh(expected) with these. In wet conditions they perform pretty good. But you cannot do sudden maneuvers. I once did that trying to avoid some drunk driver one rainy night and the car just spun like a top.

compared to Yokahama's N rated tires that came with the 16's I had the ride quality is something that's better left unspoken. But the handling of the car on the PS rib's is simply remarkable and I would say its the best way to go as long as you dont mind the harsher ride

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Funny you mention the ContiSportContacts. They are easily one of the worst tires I've ever had on any car. Although my OE Contis were N-rated, they had practically zero traction, terrible tread life, noisy, and rode stiff. There's a reason they got some of the worst tire ratings of any tire on TireRack. Which leads me to my other set of OE N-rated PZero Asimms. They had good traction, but poor tread life, and a stiff ride for what you got back in terms of handling. Since these tires, I've put on Bridgestone S-03s, RE750s, and Dunlops SSRs (R-compound). The Bridgestones outperform the N-rated tires in every category. I would even say that my RE750s were comparable in traction to my PZeros and they ride much better, last longer, and are much cheaper. There is no contest between the S-03s and my N-rated tires. Similarly, there is no contest between my R-compounds and any of my other tires -- as long as you only consider performance ;)

I've got a whole file on tires, and based on my and others' opinions that I've collected, I would venture to guess that the PS2s are the best all around street performance tire followed by the S-03s followed by the PS1s. If wet weather is a high criteria, then the Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3 (dumb name) gets good marks as long as you don't track it. For cars that put on a lot of miles, for a slight reduction in performance, I would say that RE750s or AVS ES-100s are the top choices. There are also a few newer tires such as the Fuzion (?) which I believe are Bridgestone "private label" RE750s and would fit in the same grouping.

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I'm getting all four of my tyres changed next week, Michy Pilot N1s. I swear by them, I've always used them because I feel that they outperform most tyres in the wet. (I have them on my Golf GTi, A4 1.8T Sport and my Boxster S)

Incidentally, how much do you guys pay for a 265/35 ZR18?

Prices here are roughly £250 each, thats about $500 (with the current exchange rate) each for a Pilot N1.

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Good write-up. My experience agrees with what you said:

ContiSportContacts - sub-par traction, terrible tread life, noisy.

Pzero - good traction, poor tread life, very noisy after 3K miles, poor in the rain

ES-100 - traction similar to PZERO, poor tread life(but less expensive), QUIET, excellent in rain

PS2 - never tried 'em. Probably the best street choice, but I also like my ES-100 because I need the wet traction in my daily driver.

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  • Moderators

I should not have looked at this thread. I had to jack up the RR to replace the oxygen sensor. I have not been paying attention to my tires. Fronts are fine but that is the usual situation.

I got 20k miles from the Sumitomo HTR Z II. Did not look like that when they were new. Not much interested in the N rating.

I wanted to try Kuhmo 712 this time around.

4 years ago I paid $484 for the Sumitomo from Tire Rack. It is now $344. Kuhmo cost more.

4 years ago I was told Sumitomo was good bang for the buck, not good in the wet. This has proven to be true in my experience.

So, it looks like I will be contacting Tire Rack for a repeat.




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aloha jeff

did you look into whether or not there was a replacement for the tires you had

it seems to me for a tire to be that much cheaper, there is probably a newer model that supercedes what you own (which is now 4+ year old technology)

or there may be newer compounds/technology that you can take advantage of

in the meantime, be careful driving on those rear tires :)



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Here is a Pilot Sport question.

I have from what I can tell, the same tires front and rear, however the tread patterns are totaly different.  The rears have a V type tread pattern yet the fronts ave more of a square block type pattern. The tires seem to have the same tread depth so I am guessing they were installed at the same time from the same place.

Anyone else have their tires set up this way?

there are two versions of the original pilot sport; the "V" tread and the "Rib" (square block tread)

both of those are available in "N" and non-N versions for standard boxster sizes.

the new pilot sport 2 seems to not be available (yet?) for the standard size 17" wheels i.e 205 front and 255 rear. someone please correct me if you have seen them.

and a note about the "N": it is not a "rating" per se but rather a "homologation" by porsche. in theory a non-homologated (no "N") brand X could possibly be better than a homologated (with N) brand Y. it's just that porsche hasn't worked with the tire mfg to approve it.

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  • 1 month later...
  • Moderators

To finish my part of this thread, I did a repeat. Second set of Sumis put on today. So I will get out my chalk and put N11 on the new tires. Wheel Tech presented our tech sesion in January, so Tom the tire installer put on this set just like he did for the first set of Sumis in 2001. He said there is going to be a version III so that is why the price may have dropped. I got my money's worth.

Jeff, the co-owner of Wheel Tech, showed me these short valve stems they have been using. That is what was put on.

Shortly after the first set of Sumis were new I had a flat repaired with a stem patch on the LR by Custom Alignment. After that tire was remove by Tom I took a picture of the head of the patch. Looked fine to me and I survived for 20,000 miles on that patch.





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Toolpants, that's some really ineven wear on your tires !!!!!! Is that normal and what if the wear pattern was reversed (more on the outside) though not as much as what you've got

I swear by the Michelin PS rib. Simply amazing. Only that the it wears like butter. The fronts on mine still look brand new and rears are down 50% after only 3000 fast miles

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You are right, that is uneven wear. I forgot to ask the tire guy why. On both rear tires the insides were bald, but the outsides looked fine so I did not know it was time to replace the tires until I looked under the car. When the first set of Sumis were put on I had a 4 wheel alignment done to factory specs and I have not hit anything. The original Contis when the car was new did not wear like that. So where are the tire experts?

This is a front which has even tire wear.

In any event I will need to replace my power steering rack in the near future so I will at least need a front wheel alignment. I will have a 4 wheel alignment done again and see how the second set of Sumitomos wear.


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Just done an all round tyre change on my 986S with Pilot N1s. The rears showed exactly the same kind of wear as Tool Pants' tyres (although they were still legal [sheez Jeff, that was an oversight on your behalf :huh: ]) so I had an alignment check at the OPC.

Everything was in spec, so I presume the correct setup is to have negative camber on the rears (top of the wheels inclined inwards - for the non familiar) so the contact patch of the tyre is flatter in heavy cornering.

(p.s. You guys appear to be spelling 'tyre' incorrectly :rolleyes: :lol: )

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On another topic (uneven tire wear) that I posted, someone mentioned something about the big range in the allignment settings to still be in factory standards (-0.8 to ~-1.5). It does make sense that the inner edge wear faster with -ve camber. But like I said in the other thread ... suprisingly my rears show exactly the opposite. Not by a lot but you could notice. the difference in the tread depth may be less than 1/16" (approx). The service guy at the dealership told me that it could happen if I cornered a lot at high speeds even with -ve camber. Right now really not that concerned as the difference is negligilble. I don't drive much on freeways, just city roads and as fast as possible there (as long as the cops are not around, which is most of the time)

But wanted to know what you "porsche pros" think on this absurd wear pattern? <_<

Edited by the_lonely_guy
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Not really absurd. Almost all manufacturers' alignment specs are so wide that basically if the wheels are pointing forward, they will be "in" alignment. To say that your car is within spec isn't saying much. This is especially true with our high performance cars and low-profile tyres :) The camber doesn't have to be off by much for your tires :( to wear unevenly. When I say "off" that is also subjective on how you drive and your preferences for handling versus tread wear. As a rule of thumb, you want more negative camber for improved handling. When your car leans in a corner, the additional negative camber will help keep the tire's contact patch in the correct orientation. The trade-off, of course, is when you're not in a corner, the insides will wear more. You can go even further than what is needed to keep the contact patch in correct orientation when cornering. This will further accelerate inside wear to counter-balance extra wear on the outside if you regularly take corners fast. Another problem shows up if you have too much negative camber and you have a lead foot. Your acceleration/braking will suffer in a straight line. As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider, so there is no one "right" alignment. The best advice would be to go to a "precision" alignment shop that will align your car to your driving habits and expectations. All this, and I haven't even started talking about toe. As a generalization, Tool Pants could probably stand to run a little less negative camber if tire wear is a concern. the_lonely_guy could probably stand to run a little more negative camber in the rear. Jeff, do you have a lead-foot?

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In response to the lonley guy's problem, even if you have negative camber, if the toe on the rear is set for too much 'toe in' - this will wear the outside of the tyres. This is because both wheels are trying to steer inwards, thus scrubbing the outer edge of the tyres.

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