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Old 09-03-2016, 07:00 PM
max attack max attack is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Informative guide for Street Stud tires and studs

I was asked to write up an informative guide on Street Stud class tires regarding what to look for in a tire and how to stud a tire so here it goes.

One of the most important factors when it comes to tires is that the tread block with the pre-molded stud hole have a solid rubber puck around the hole and that the siping doesn't encroach too close to the hole. Siping close to the hole weakens the tread block allowing the stud to move too much usually tearing the rubber and the stud eventually is lost. Once a stud comes out it's a waste of time to try and re-stud as the stud will simply come out again in short order.

The next thing to look at once the above situation looks ok is the number of stud pockets(holes)per foot of tire circumference. Rules allow a maximum of 19 studs per foot. If you find a tire that holds more than that you're in luck in that you can stud right up to the 19 per foot maximum. The unused holes can be used in the future if a stud is lost to maintain the maximum stud count.
If the tire is only molded for say 15 or 16 studs per foot look elsewhere as the difference in grip is enough to become very frustrating as the other cars drive away.

As an example, a tire like the Hankook 419 has shown to have the above qualities so have a look at those as a guide. Pay attention to the size you want to use for actual stud counts and try and find the size you want in stock so you can verify the number of stud pockets.

As an alternative to studding tires yourself or having a shop do it for you this year you have the option to purchase a purpose built ice racing tire they are custom built to our specs by the Black Rocket rally/ice race tire company in Finland and the only pre-studded tire that is accepted.

That takes us onto the studs. This year you will have 2 choices in stud types one being the #13 TSMI street stud we've been using for many seasons and the 12mm rally stud from the Black Rocket company. Both insert in the tire using the same equipment and methods.

Testing last season by myself and a couple others show the Black Rocket studs to be far superior with regard to stud retention, stability in the tire, no dulling of the stud and the tire itself held up better with no tearing/cracking of the rubber around the stud in direct comparison to the TSMI stud. These improvements come at a cost however in that the studs themselves are considerably more money.

My personal choice after seeing the dramatic difference is to move all my tires to the new stud type. It's improvements mean I have to buy, mount and stud less tires so the additional cost up front saves cost down the road.

My recommendation for all fwd cars is at the minimum to use the Black Rocket studs for the front tires. The TSMI stud is simply too overstressed to stay in the tire. If the budget is tight the rear tires could be studded with TSMI's but the savings will only buy a couple McMindens so.....

The easy button to ensure a trouble free SS season is the new pre-studded tire. It's not cheap but it will last on the front of a fwd car. I put 30 races(full season)on my test set last yr with 0 studs lost. The design of the tire allows for 2 complete re-studs before all the holes are used.

So unlike a production tire that needs to be tossed once enough studs are lost to be useful, these can simply have studs replaced. Based on my use I see the tire lasting a minimum of 2 full seasons on the front(suspect it'll be closer to 3)before being worn to the point of moving to the rear for perhaps another 3 seasons.

Moving on to how to actually stud a tire. The tire will need to be mounted and inflated before being studded assuming you don't have a fixture to hold an un-mounted tire. The equipment needed is an air compressor and a stud gun. I take it a bit further to prep the tire by using a small diamond encrusted dremel bit in a cordless drill to ream the stud pockets. I dip the bit in liquid TSP degreaser before each hole.

Does it help?,hard to say but it only takes 5 minutes a tire so I do it. I let the tire sit overnight to let the TSP dry completely to not foul the glue. With regards to glue I will say I've had VERY limited success with either the Blackmax 380 or Permabond 731 I've used. However, I will continue to use the 731 as an install lubricant with the Black Rocket studs.

If your using TSMI studs I sandblasted mine to rough them up. You can buy a dollar store pasta strainer or sneak the one out of your kitchen that's up to you. Simply sandblast a small quantity in the strainer. If you use the Black Rocket studs there's no need for that step as they're purposely rough in texture.

If you use glue a dish of acetone should be kept beside you while studding the tire. I've found it best to load a dozen or so studs in the gun and when its empty stick the nose of the gun in the acetone and swish it around while firing the plunger 3 or 4 times to clean the fingers.

Installing more than that dozen or so between quick cleanings ended up a bigger mess and the gun needed to be pulled apart to scrape dried glue of the fingers usually by the end of each tire.

To insert the stud is quite an easy task. Dab the glue in the hole so it's about a 1/3'ish filled(I do maybe 6 ahead) and jam the nose of the gun into the bottom of the hole with firm pressure while pulling the trigger. Maintain pressure as the stud inserts and the gun backs out of the hole. Too much pressure can set the stud at an angle and not enough pressure usually means the stud isn't seated to the bottom of the hole.

That's about it. Repeat approx 100 times per tire.

It's important to seat the studs for as long as possible prior to going all out on the track. This is a very difficult task as you CANNOT drive the tires on anything other than ice or seriously hard packed snow. The TSMI studs will be ruined in less than 1 km of EASY driving on an asphalt road. Don't ask how I know this.

The SS practice includes 5 slow laps under caution flags to do this seating.....its nowhere near enough with the TSMI studs in my opinion. The base flange is simply too dull to cut a ring in the rubber. The Black Rocket stud has a sharp flange edge and hour glass shape among other improvements that greatly minimize the time needed to seat the studs.

I believe that's the high points regarding a successful Street Stud tire campaign. Feel free to contact me with any questions. I'm far from an expert but I will do my absolute best to give honest advice and the class is in a far better place than ever before with the new stud and pre-studded tire options.

My email is tsmith011@sympatico.ca
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