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84-87 Tires Pt 2

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Jan 10, 2001
CenCoast CA
71 04 12 19
I began another thread on early C4 tires (http://www.corvetteactioncenter.com/forums/showthread.php?t=105512) which asked CAC member opinions on 255/50ZR16s. Based partially on that info and a similar question I posed over on the CF, I installed a set of Dunlop SP Sport 8000s in 255/50ZR16 on one of my cars.

The other reasons I decided to look at the Dunlops were: I see a lot of exposure for the Goodrich T/A but not so much for Dunlop. I was curious about this "dark horse".

My tire installer, Tucker Tire Service Co. in Covina CA sells tons of different brands of tires, including all of the ones mentioned by you guys in the earlier thread, including Dunlop. The service manager there, Dave Dixon, told me that Dunlop makes a quality tire. He also told me they cost more than some of the bottom feeders like Falken but you get more in quality. He also said Dunlop's performance stuff tend to be a bit sticky, which I like for handling, but that stickiness tends to decrease their tread life a bit. In this case, on a car that gets driven several thousand miles annually, maybe the treadlife issue is, well...not that big an issue.

The tires we took off were a set of Goodyear F1 GS (the non-EMT version of the C5 tire) which used to be available in 255/50ZR16 and which had been put on the car back in 1999. They still had legal tread depth but that they'd been on the car almost ten years was a little disconcerting, so I decided new tires were a good idea. It's too bad GY no longer makes that tire in the early C4 size because they worked very well. In fact, another reason I picked the SP Sport 8000s is that Goodyear owns Dunlop and I'd hoped there was some technology transfer from Goodyear's Eagle F1 line to Dunlop's SP Sport tires.

I was present when Tucker installed these tires and I noted that three of the four took one to one-and-a-half ounces of weight to balance. That's very little weight and a sign that the tire is very well maufactured. One of the four took three ounces, which is still not bad. I also was able to check "roundness" (some call it "out-of-roundness) and Dunlop's SP Sport 8000 are very good in that respect.

The car has only had the Dunlops on for a day or so and, obviously, no issues so far. I did notice that they are quieter than the Goodyears I took off but, I would expect that from brand new tires compared to 9-year old tires that were 70% or so worn.

I'll report more later but, for now, it seems like the Dunlop SP Sport 8000 was a good choice.
I'm now 6 weeks into my subjective test of these Dunlops.

What I said previously about noise certainly holds true. These tires are quieter than what I took off.

As for steering feel and handling, the Dunlops are noticeably better than what I took off, but...that's really something I'd be surprised about, if it were not the case--the old tires were near 10 years old. That said, when I put the old F1 GSes on, I recall there was a huge improvement over what I took off which were a set of the old General XP2000Vs, a tire popular back in the early-90s.

I'd say the new Dunlops are as good as those F1 GSes were when they were new and maybe a bit better in the noise department.

My opinon at this point remains the same: The Dunlop SP Sport 8000 is a good choice for an early C4 using the stock tire size.
Well, I'm back with the final installment of my subjective evaluation of the Dunlop SP Sport 8000 for early C4s.

I've had a little over four months to try the Dunlps out and, with some street miles under my belt, the feel of these tires under aggressive driving conditions is about the same as how the previous tires (Goodyear F1 GS non-EMTs which are no longer made in the early C4 size) felt on the car when they were new. The Dunlops' limit seems about the same as the F1 GS They also felt reasonably predictable at that limit.

I think all the comments I made earlier about steering feel and noise still hold true.

The only thing that's hard to evauate is treadlife. Admittedly, though I've had them on the car since June, I've only driven them a couple thousand miles and can detect little if any change in tread depth at this point. Based on that, my guess is they'll do pretty well as far as wear goes on most early C4s.

I think the Dunlop SP Sport 8000 is a good choice for an 84-87 which uses the orginal tire size, 255/50ZR16, if the driver wants a good mix of high-performance in the dry, good treadlife, low noise, good wet performance and is willing to pay a higher price for all those features. And...that brings up the Dunlop's main weakness: price. For buyers willing to compromise on quality and performance, there are other choices in 255/50ZR16s, some of which cost significantly less.

But, you get what you pay for and I'm willing to pay for a Dunlop SP 8000 with performance and quality at least as good as what I had with the tires I took off.
Excellent write-up. I have recommended the Falkens because i have used them before. I had actually forgotten about dunlop. Thanks for the info.
Tire selection is a bit harder up in Canada but I ended up with Sumitomo HTR Z tires. Works pretty well where I am (lots of rain) and is confident going through water pools at high speeds. Even driven it on highways with a very light skiff of snow (though much slower). They're $76 a piece which is a lot cheaper than the OEM Eagles.

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