The lack of a spare with the SS has been nagging in the back of my mind since buying the car. I know I have AAA and perhaps free towing to the nearest Chevy dealer. But when you take a trip far from home (like a daughter going to college 350 miles away and friends with mountain cabins) these resources can be an impossible distance away. Not to mention the unlikely availability of a local suitable tire replacement. Even more so with a Zl1 or a 1LE. Be sure to read the horror tire stories posted elsewhere on Camaro5. And for me traveling in a newish car with no worries about the ride is part of the charm.
Then the other day my left rear tire took on a nail. My low tire pressure light came on again one day after it came on the first time. Each time only a few pounds low. This must be a slow leak but I could not find any problems with the tire on the car. So I took the tire off to examine it more closely. There was a small finishing nail on the outside tread of the tire. Aha! A quick trip to Pep Boys for the free plug put me back on the road. Luckily just the weekend before I chose to the wife's Rav4 on a long trip to Ithaca NY. This nail was most likely in the tire even then. Potential disaster averted!
I was now ready for my next mod. I had already researched Camaro5 for SSpare solutions and I knew of a guy who put together spare kits for cars without spares. A resourceful business person filling a need! His name is Randall Maddox from Tucson, AZ. PM me if you want his email address and other info. Randy is great to work with and gives great service and supports his packages. I got in touch with Randy and ordered an SS Kit. He assured me it would clear my roller skates. (Another mod for another day to get rid of those.)
He shipped right away and a few days later the kit arrived.
One thing the kit did not have was wedges to place under the tire when you are changing to the spare. I added a pair from Pep Boys. They are in the pic below. Randy included a really nice tire iron. You will need both of those sockets. They are double sided so they should work on almost all lug nuts. And notice the well made custom spacer. Randy also included helpful instructions. Nice package:
And of course the spare itself:
I decided to try the spare out. This way no surprises in the field. Notice the tire wedges in the back. I out one on either side of the tire. Recently I was taking a tire off the student shuttle Jetta and the car fell over on the jack. Luckily there was no harm done to me or the car but I scared myself almost to the point of losing my fecal retainment capabilities. I was careless and did not have the car properly wedged. Don't let this happen to you. Notice the placement of the jack. The Camaro has four scissor jacking points. See your owners manual. As I jacked up the car I was ready to ditch the scissors jack supplied by Randy. It was very difficult to raise the car. But after I removed the jack I looked at it for signs of stress or damage. It looked fine. Then I noticed the threads were bone dry. Aha! I applied grease to both ends of the threads at the female thread point and worked the jack up and down a few times. Later when using the jack to remove the spare the action was much better. I still have the feeling the jack is a little overmatched by the weight of the SS, but it seems to do the job.
Once you get the tire off you need to attach the spacer. Use the applicable socket and small lug nuts supplied with the spacer to bolt on the spacer. These lug nuts need to be tight. Notice I used the jack handle to lock the free spinning hub in place while tightening the spacer lugs. When taking the spacer off use the jack handle on the bottom of the caliper.
Tada! The spared SS. Note that the spare supplied by Randy is 25.5 inches in diameter. Randy says this is the the tallest spare that will fit in the SS tire well. I am not so sure. This is 2.5 inches shorter than the stock SS SUV tire and wheel setup. So the spare must be mounted only on the front of the car. If you put it on the rear you will risk damage to the differential. So it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out if you get a flat in a rear tire you will need to make two tire changes to swap a front to rear tire and then put the pare on the front. In the future my SS will have a preferred square tire setup. Mod Gods willing.
You know, I kind of like the look of black steelies on the car. If the tire was wider it would look bad ass.
One more thing. If you have not done it already make sure the spare is properly inflated. My tire says 60 pounds is the inflation best practice. It was closer to 50 so I inflated the tire up to spec. I noticed also the tire warns you the max speed with this tire is 50 mph. For more reasons than just the tire you will want to observe this notice. Slow down with the spare on. Enjoy the ride, smell the roses.
So now for the spare driving test. I took the SS out for a short spin to check out the drivability. The first thing i noticed was the light show on the dash. See the pic. All that was caused by the shorter tire. Except for the check engine light. That light is my friend who occasionally reminds me that my rear O2 sensors do not send happy signals all the time. But it really reminds me that I love the wheel spinning power the LTs help provide.
Out on the road the car pulled only a little. This could have been because I chose the driver side tire and the crown of the road helped the car go relatively straight. Perhaps a passenger side spare would pull a little more. So driving with the spare was a pace of cake!. Then I decided to hit the brakes a bit hard. Big time pull to the left. Keep the speed under 50, be cautious and you will be fine.
A side note: Once you put the real tire back on these lights all go out in the first 20 feet of the drive. Except for the CEL of course.
Time to pack everything up. At first i wanted to get a tool bag and keep all the loose part in it. This is not practical since once packed the bag will not fit under the spare. I know I tried. I bought a bag from Pep Boys and immediately retuned it. The elder cashier was so overjoyed to see me again so soon. But Randy's kit does help out here. The cool lug wrench set up comes with a plastic bag which was just large enough to hold all the smaller parts. So I used that and wrapped the jack, spacer, and wheel chocks in shop rage. This way they will remain quiet back there and I have rags at the time of the spare swap. Neat. I tucked everything in as it all fit,
I did have an additional complication with my amp/sub setup and had to move some wires and ground terminal around to get the spare to lay flat.
The spare now fits nicely.
My SSpared Camaro trunk still looks as normal. A successful mod. Now about the weight I added:
Spare Kit total weight: 45 lbs
Stock compressor weight: 6 lbs
So the total weight added was 39 lbs. A small price to pay for peace of mind. I have already subtracted some weight by swapping out the stock mufflers and manifolds. But I added some weight with the sub, amp, sub box, and now the spare. So I probably have added a net weight of 25 pounds to me SS. You can check my inexact math. But I know I can easily shed 39 lbs when I go to the track. One of my planned mods is a lighter wheel and tire setup. So I should be back pretty close to stock weight with good tunes and the peace of mind I get with a spare tire. Priceless.