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A Different Spring Mountain Review

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Old 02-09-2018, 06:23 PM
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Gearhead Jim
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Default A Different Spring Mountain Review

Just did the Owner School Jan 29-30 (Mon-Tue).

My first difference is that I'm a retread, did the school (Bragg-Smith at that time) on my own dime in 2001 after we bought our new C5.
Back then- no dark exteriors or black interiors because of sun/heat.
No automatics because of overheating problems. They started trying to run in the summer just after I finished, not sure how well it worked out. Only one track layout, no tunnel for entry. No restaurant or accommodations. Billboards along the highway advertising the local cat houses. But the instruction was almost identical (good!).

My second difference is something that I fortunately did not experience back then- car trouble, on our own personal Corvette. This time we drove out from the Chicago area on new Michelin AS3+ runflats from Discount Tires, straight south into Arkansas because of a blizzard in the Midwest, then I-40 toward Las Vegas, arriving on Friday. On Saturday we decided to tour Death Valley, drove about an hour and stopped for gas outside the park. Walking back to the car, I saw the right-rear tire had a split near the bead. It was still holding air but obviously not safe, so we got on the phone and discovered the nearest Discount Tires was near Las Vegas, so phone-ordered a new tire from Big O tires in Pharump, to arrive on Tuesday (last day of school). We drove carefully back tp Pahrump, expecting we would need a rental or taxi for the next few days.

My wife suggested we stop at the track and see if they had any advice. It's now a membership club with a gate, so while I was explaining our situation to the guard, it just happened that Frank Carlson (Track Supervisor) pulled up behind us and got the story. Without hesitation, he said "Follow me!" and we saw him talking on his phone as we drove in. By the time we got to one of the shops, they had a C7 Z51 jacked up and ready to pull one of the wheels with a AS3+ they'd used for some event! Frank said he'd be happy to sell us the almost new tire for a good price, but it turned out to be a non-runflat version. So they put their wheel/tire on our car as a loaner, removed our damaged tire from its wheel and inspected the wheel (not bent!), and said they'd take care of everything while we were in class next week.
Come Monday, Chief Driving Instructor Rick Malone was teaching our first classroom session, and during the break I explained our situation and asked how we would get the new tire over to the track and installed in time for us to leave Tuesday afternoon. He told me to pay Big O by phone with a credit card, and the school would take care of the rest. He wasn't kidding.
Tuesday morning they sent someone to pick up the new tire. While we were in class/track they mounted & balanced it, pulled the car into the shop (same building as our classroom!), switched the wheels/tires and trained the sensors. When class was over, we hopped in and drove away!
The charge from Spring Mountain? $0.00
Wow, what a great bunch of people!
Yes, I gave tips but never felt like anyone was looking for that.

BTW, I had purchased the road hazard coverage from Discount Tires when I bought the AS tires. Stopping near Phoenix, the DT store there reimbursed me the purchase price I had originally paid (slightly less than what I had to give Big O which was still a reasonable price) and charged me ~$50 for another road hazard coverage on the new tire. All in all, I ended up being out of pocket by about $75 which was a pretty good deal under the circumstances.
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Last edited by Gearhead Jim; 02-09-2018 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 02-09-2018, 07:02 PM
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What a great story! Thanks for sharing. Reading about all of the positive experiences is seriously making me want to go.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:33 PM
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I have a similar story. On a club drive to Barrett Jackson in Scottsdale a club member noticed in Death Valley that the front tires on the car I was riding in had cord showing. We had planned to stop at Spring Mountain so when we did, my friend talked to a rep in the gift shop and SM agreed to sell him 2 new run-flats and install and balance them. The tough part was SM figuring how to sell to the public which they don't normally do. My friend said the price was competitive with what he could get elsewhere. They are truly good people.

(And I had a fantastic time at SM after I bought my GS).

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Old 02-09-2018, 09:16 PM
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Glad to hear it all worked out .

Just curious, but how far did you drive on that?

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Old 02-09-2018, 09:29 PM
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I have seen that type of sidewall damage many times... on my 550 BMW. Pot hole damage every time, but my Vettes have never suffered this fate. You must have felt the impact that caused that damage through every bone in your body. And "yes".... the Spring Mountain folks are first class!

​​​​​​​Al Engel "Save the Wave"
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Old 02-09-2018, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by owc6 View Post
Glad to hear it all worked out .

Just curious, but how far did you drive on that?
I don't know, but probably it was a long way.

From the time we noticed it until removed, about 75 miles at 50 mph, the appearance did not change during that time.

We bent a different rear wheel and different tire on the car by hitting a protruding manhole cover at about 5k miles, it was a severe impart and I was sure something had been hurt. But it turned out that the rims (edges) of the wheel, and the tire itself, were ok. There was a slight "hop" when spun on a balancer caused by distortion in the barrel of the wheel. Slight enough that the wheel insurance insisted on straightening instead of replacing, and our very experienced tech said he had no worries about continuing to use the straightened wheel.

We had just driven about 2,400 miles from Chicago to Pahrump. Everything was ok when we started, and although we did hit some potholes along the way, none of them seemed particularly bad. Certainly, not as bad as many many others we had hit in the preceding 200k miles we've put on the other 'vettes with no damage.

We had two medium-large people in the car and a lot of luggage, but I had the tires set at 32 psi dead cold back home, usually they were around 36-37 driving along the road.

I'm wondering if the initial damage was not visible but opened up during the long drive. Or possibly the tire was defective or damaged during the initial mounting and opened up later. Or some combination.

During the drive toward Death Valley, I had considered making a brief high speed blast. Very glad I didn't.

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Old 02-09-2018, 10:14 PM
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Welcome to the High-milage ZP Club!
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Old 02-09-2018, 10:23 PM
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Jim, I'm glad you're safe. Great story. I would expect nothing less from the Spring Mountain Car School on getting involved and pitching in in your time of need.

It's also a blast to hear about Discount Tires in Phoenix, AZ., stepping up! I like these guys (Discount Tire) more (almost) everyday. The Discount Tire store 0.4 tenths of a mile from my Chevrolet dealer in Houston, Texas, was very unaccommodating right after I bought my new C7 in November 2017, but, I don't hold that against the entire company. A couple of jacka**es at that particular Discount Tire store I ran into when trying to change out tires......,
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Old 02-09-2018, 10:25 PM
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That was awesome how well they treated you! That's really going above and beyond to help out someone.

Can hardly wait to see and experience the place for my class in early May, especially after all the stories I've read on the forum.
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Old 02-09-2018, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by owc6 View Post
Welcome to the High-milage ZP Club!
Thanks, though I'm not sure this qualifies since the tire pressure stayed normal.

You'll recall my C6 story about doing the Tail of the Dragon on a totally flat ZP, that too may not have been a record but it certainly was an adventure!
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Old 02-09-2018, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Gearhead Jim View Post
During the drive toward Death Valley, I had considered making a brief high speed blast. Very glad I didn't.
Jim, does your C7 not have TPMs on all 4 wheels and tires, so that you'd know of the tire pressure drop?
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Old 02-09-2018, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Gearhead Jim View Post
Thanks, though I'm not sure this qualifies since the tire pressure stayed normal.
OK, now I'm thoroughly confused.......
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Old 02-09-2018, 10:29 PM
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I remember that story, but I didn't realize it was you. You definitely qualify because of that!!!!

I had to look at that pic again, because I assumed that it was all the way through, but I see now, it wasn't. Wow.
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Old 02-09-2018, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Skid Row Joe View Post
Jim, does your C7 not have TPMs on all 4 wheels and tires, so that you'd know of the tire pressure drop?
Although the picture looks like the damage goes all the way through the sidewall, apparently it didn't because the TPMS showed the tire holding normal pressure all the way to the tire shop at Spring Mountain. When they went to dismount the tire, they removed the valve core for quick deflation and a normal amount of air rushed out.


"Amazing But True!"

You can bet that during the drive to the track, I had the tire pressures up on the display and kept a hawk eye on them, because I wasn't sure the tire would stay on the wheel if it went flat.
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Old 02-09-2018, 11:37 PM
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My experience says it probably would have stayed put if it was "flat." These are some tough tires.
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Old 02-10-2018, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Skid Row Joe View Post
OK, now I'm thoroughly confused.......
Joe, the inner case stayed intact so the tire lost no air pressure, even though the outer sidewall ruptured somehow. ZPs are very tough.

Last edited by Foosh; 02-10-2018 at 12:15 AM.
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Old 02-10-2018, 12:15 AM
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OK, so the C7 gets driven at over 100 mph out in Death Valley on a lonesome 2 lane highway. When does the driver realize that something's wrong with the tire? This above possibility, is something to be aware of before doing high speed anywhere!
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Old 02-10-2018, 01:00 AM
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Joe, even new tires do fail on rare occasion, as a result of manufacturing defects. This tire "failed" but caused no harm, and that's the beauty of ZPs. You can keep going w/ zero psi or a ruptured sidewall w/ normal pressure. If low or zero pressure, the TPMS will alert you to slow down.

You worry way too much.

Last edited by Foosh; 02-10-2018 at 01:11 AM.
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Old 02-10-2018, 02:07 AM
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Hard to beat that kind of treatment by Spring Mountain.
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:32 AM
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Excellent story, glad it worked out. In our crazy world good news it always appreciated.

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