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teamilluminata HalfDork
4/21/23 11:14 a.m.

We’ve always loved the Michelin TB5 and TB15 classic tarmac rally tires and we have a good track record of rationalizing otherwise half-brained ideas. These two things recently came together around our 911 rally car.

As you may know, we are the US distributor for BRAID wheels and, as such, sell many 15x9/11 Fuchs replica wheels for so called 911 RSR clones. These builds almost exclusively utilize the TB15 tires and we have always wanted to have a set ourselves but never seemed to have a project they would work on. Then we discovered that Audi used them back in the day on their A1 Quattro rally cars so we quickly ordered a set and the appropriate BRAID wheels in the period correct sizes for our Quattro build. That was 2018 and they have been quietly aging out in the warehouse ever since, as that build is taking forever. It’s also the second set of wheels and tires we’ve bought for the car so it seems we like to buy tires like we vote; early and often.

Rather than let them expire we thought we might use them on our 911 rally car. The tires are size 23/59-16 which translates to about 265/40-15 in new money. That’s more tire than we have ever seen on the back of a 911 Carrera such as ours and way more than you can stuff in the front of even a 911 Turbo. Still, we thought it would be a worthwhile public service, no, our duty, to see if we could make them work, On our Quattro they sit on 15x10 wheels but Michelin say they work well on rim widths of 8.5” to 10.5” so we thought we’d try them on a 9”. Trouble is, we didn’t have a suitable 15x9 wheel lying around in a reasonable offset so we did what we do best; we rationalized something. We looked around the showroom and realized we didn’t have any wheels on display in bronze color. So we looked through BRAID’s catalog for their least expensive 15x9 wheel and ordered a Fulrace Maxlight in bronze for display. Simple no? But what offset to order? We’d previously had a 255/40-17 on the car mounted on a 17x9 at ET17 so that was our benchmark. We didn’t know where this tire might rub but knew it would be tight. We did have a bunch of 5x130 spacers and, as this setup would never be driven on, a lot of big fender washers. Also we had long studs on the car so we could stack a lot of washers and still be able to bolt it on, sorta. We ordered our new display wheel in ET35 and waited patiently for it to arrive.

Once it showed up we wasted not time in whipping a TB15 of our Qauttro wheels and slipping it onto our new Maxlight.

With a few minutes of juggling various spacers and washer we quickly concluded that ET18 was the sweet spot. For this tire on a Carrera. Yes, it would work! It sits about 10mm from the oil lines and control arm adjusting nuts and just inside the fender and certainly dominates the space.

OK, now that we know it works how do we justify buying four new wheels and narrower TB5s for the front when we have perfectly good wheels already and some not very old Toyos RA1 tires on the car now? With expert rationalization of course. We remembered that a friend of ours always coveted our 15” setup for his SC but could never justify the cost of new wheels and tires when he had a perfectly good set of 16s already. If we could let ours go for a reasonable price we might have a way forward. There was one big issue though. Our wheels were white! However, we had a cunning plan, when we originally bought them. We realized that nobody but us would ever want a set of white Fuchs replica wheels, even if they were the best available. So we ordered them in the standard finish of black centers with silver anodized outer rims and then Plastidipped them white. Yes, you read that correctly, we Plastidipped them.They had held up remarkably well over the years but now it was time to attempt to remove the Plastidip and see what the original finish underneath looked like. It was easy to remove most of the coating but some parts fought us. However, the wheels underneath looked practically brand new! We would certainly be doing this with our new ones.

Deal done. Now we needed new wheels and two new front tires. But what size. There was really only one available that might work, a 18/50-15 which translates to a 225/50-15. We’d had 225s on the car at et30 so suspected this would be the magic number again but we wanted to make sure. We looked around for a suitable surrogate and soon spotted our gravel rally wheels in the storeroom with, you guessed it, an offset of et30. Now 7” is not an ideal size for a 225 width tire but it will go on.so we ordered a pair of TB5s in that size and waited patiently again. We busied ourselves remove the incalcitrant Plastidip from the remaining three wheels we’d now agreed to sell along with their tires. When the tires arrived we slapped one on a rally wheel almost immediately and eagerly installed it on the car. It fit perfectly. Now we just needed wheels. We quickly ordered a set of BZ in standard finish and six cans of white Plastidip. And again we waited.

Five weeks later everything came together and this is the result. We couldn’t be happier. Yes, we Plastidipped them. Now we just need to drive the thing. Is it Spring yet?

fidelity101 UberDork
4/21/23 3:28 p.m.

holy cow thats tight for the rubber

davbro Reader
5/31/23 4:00 p.m.

Hey Paul you enter the 911 into the Gridlife Pace Car competition...I think it would definitely win. I think the gingerman event is approaching 

teamilluminata HalfDork
6/15/23 11:39 a.m.

Of course, the 911 has been running great, as usual but it did have a couple of issues, we wanted to take care of before the season got under way.

We noticed a while ago, when swapping our wheels and tires, that the front anti-roll bar bushings were looking a little tired. Not really surprising considering the were OE and the thrashing they must have seen during all the rallycrosses we previously did with the car. The swap looked straightforward enough so we ordered stock replacement bushings from our friends at Pelican Parts and started to remove the anti-roll bar. It looked as if we could remove the two brackets and bushings on the lateral part of the bar and the bar would just slide out of its control are bushings. It wouldn’t. We found we had to remove the control arms as well making the job bigger because this meant removing the torsion bars as well. We hadn’t ordered new control arm bushings but, fortunately, ours looked OK. We plan on a full suspension refurb in the future so were happy to put these back in for now. With everything now off the car all that was left was to replace the four ARB bushings and bolt it back together. We tried really hard to mark the locations of everything before we took it apart so we hopefully wouldn’t have to realign the car. That didn’t work. When we got it all back together and took it for a test drive, we found the steering wheel off center by about5 degrees. Off to Munk’s Motors for an alignment.

We wish we could report that handling and performance were improved to some earth-shattering degree but, alas, our butt dyno did not concur. We’re sure it’s better but we can’t tell. Guess we’re not the sensitive types.

After getting the valve covers back on and taking the car on an extensive test drive, we realised it was no longer leaking! We doubt the previous leak had been from the valve covers and have concluded that the vacuum hose must have caused the oil system to become pressurized in some way and blew oil out of somewhere. Regardless, it doesn’t leek now and that’s good enough for us.


teamilluminata HalfDork
6/29/23 8:39 a.m.


About the same time as our last oil change the car developed a small oil leek that would congregate on the bottom of the engine block and then drip on the showroom floor. It was of a concerning amount but quite annoying sort of level. The problem was we couldn’t figure where it was coming from. 

The interweb suggested two dire possibilities that we thought we had to investigate: broken head bolts and/or leaking rocker shaft seals. Both require removing the valve covers so we put the car on the hoist and did just that. 

Fortunately, all our head bolts were intact and, the rocker shafts, though not bone dry were not exactly wet. This was great news but not very helpful. The decision was made to put the valve covers back on (with new gaskets and hardware of course) and live with the leak till we could take the car out of circulation and give it a good going through, hopefully next year. While we were in there, we did find a vacuum hose that had become dislodged and reconnected that to the valve on the side of the oil tank.


teamilluminata HalfDork
10/5/23 10:16 a.m.

Summer in the car parks

Summer has just flown by this year. They seem to go by faster and faster. Looking through our Flickr album it seems we spent this one taking pictures of the car parked next to other cars, some of which were ours. I’m sure we did more than that though.

Here’s one next to an 85 Carrera, with BRAID wheels, of course. 

Here’s one parked next to a Ford RS200 replica, again, with BRAID wheels.

our Cayenne “Timsyberia” TSD rally car

our Mercedes Sprinter “RALIVAN”.

and an actual 911 Dakar! Unfortunately, not with BRAID wheels.

But surely that’s not all we did this summer. Well, to celebrate Porsche’s 75th birthday we got all our Porsches together for a group hug. Yes, they all have BRAID wheels.

We also took the car to three pretty significant events but more on those later.

The Big Three - No, not the Detroit car makers; events we went to:

DeutscheMarques at the Gillmore Car Museum, the largest all-German car show in America! https://www.deutschemarquesag.com/ 

#properwheels and #properboots

Woodward Rally Cruise (WRC) Part of the largest free car event in the world: The Woodward Dream Cruise (Google it)!

And just a couple weekends ago at the Empire Hill Climb

Hopefully this is not all for our plucky 911 this year.

teamilluminata HalfDork
1/11/24 2:28 p.m.


84 911 RALLY CAR: https://teamilluminata.com/blogs/84-porsche-911

Not a lot of work on the 911 rally car this year but we got to drive it quite a bit. The year started out with some new wheels and tires as we upped our game with tire width. Then we replaced the front anti roll bar bushings and fixed an oil leak. We took the car to plenty of cars and coffee events but the standouts were our attendance at the Woodward Dream Show at M1 Concourse with around 15 other rally cars as part of the Woodward Rally Cars (WRC) Group. We were also invited back to the American Speed Festival at M1 where we demonstrated the car’s track capabilities and the Empire Hill climb again. Not a bad year for the little car that can.

83 QUATTRO RALLY BUILD: https://teamilluminata.com/blogs/quattro-rally-build

We are closing in on finishing the dry build phase of this project. Once we get the wiring done, we can disassemble the car and prep the shell for paint. Hi-lights this year include, power steering pump mount, hood pins, A-pillar gussets, handbrake lever delete, radiator ducting, cold air intake, spare tire, intercom, fire extinguishers, map light, dash cover, power wiring and the bumper and hood slot mesh.

85 QUATTRO: https://teamilluminata.com/blogs/85-ur-quattro

This year we got to drive and show the 85 Quattro a few times. We are still chasing some minor drivability issues and the passenger side window regulator is awaiting its third fix attempt but we can now enjoy the car. We got it fully detailed, paint corrected and ceramic coated at Auto Europe early in the year and it has never been cleaner. We really enjoyed showing the car at the DeutscheMarques show at the Gilmore Museum and a concours in Northville as well as numerous cars and coffee events.

89 944 TURBO: https://teamilluminata.com/blogs/89-944-turbo

Early in the year we got a new addition to the fleet. A 1989 Porsche 944 Turbo (951) fully built race car and all its spares. We are not sure what we’ll do with this one yet or how it will fit into our marketing plans but it does look good in the showroom. As it’s not even close to being street legal we haven’t driven it much but we did shake it down at a local autocross in the summer where, despite its wide Hoosier R7 tires, it performed very well and was very easy to drive. The only real mechanical work we have performed on the car is to give it some proper BRAID wheels and more autocross and track day friendly tires. Hopefully we’ll have some opportunities to get this beast out on a track during 2024 so we can see what it can really do in the environment it was built for.

2005 CAYENNE (TIMSYBERIA): https://teamilluminata.com/blogs/timsyberia

The Timsyberia Cayenne continues to fulfill its daily driver and TSD rally roles admirably while keeping us on our toes mechanically. No Cayenne nightmares have appeared and it has never let us down but we have had to fix a small oil leak, and replace the hatch struts during 2023. We gave it some 17” BRAID wheels and Blizzak winter tires recently and some rust protection from Krown as it’s just so clean. We took the car up the actual Sno*rift rally and also used the car to discover Northern Michigan’s trails on two separate occasions. We also participated in the Son of Sno*Drift TSD rally in what passes for winter these days. We were entered for the Press On Regardless TSD rally in the Fall but a back injury saw us withdraw a couple of days before. We’ll be back to conquer that one in 2024 however.

2015 SPRINTER (RALIVAN): https://teamilluminata.com/blogs/ralivan2

Of all our vehicles that actually drive this might me the one we’ve used the least this year. About the only proper road trip we’ve used it for was when we dragged our 911 up to the Empire Hill Climb again. Before we could do that, we had to address the cooling issues it had exhibited the last time we did this. To be sure we didn’t have any more issues about a month before the event we replaced the radiator and viscous cooling fan and give it some new coolant and a transmission service. Other work on the van involved wiring the heating elements of our amazingly comfortable Scheel-Mann seats and installing a bulkhead to separate the cargo area from the cabin. We also took the van to the Mercedes dealer in Novi for a recall and to have the 70mph governor deleted from the ECU. We now can rip at around 85 if we want to!


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