I’ve been trying to ready the MR2 Spyder for an Open Track Day.  I was tempting fate by running front OEM wheel studs which didn’t provide enough nut engagement to be considered safe. The new wheels I picked up have a thicker center section, which meant the front studs were too short.  Fortunately the rear studs were already replaced with some H&R 50mm studs when I installed a set of 20mm spacers.  Those spacers are not needed with the new 15x8ET36 wheels, which in turn necessitated using open ended lug nuts to allow the longer studs to protrude.  This resulted in an all-day Autozone quest around Central Texas to acquire 16 open ended acorn nuts.  That was just enough to get me to the track.  In the photo below you can see just how dangerously short the studs were, not enough thread engagement to give me a warm and fuzzy.

Short StudsSo I hit the interwebs in search of longer studs for the MR2.  Unlike every Honda out there (you know the type with ridiculous anodized aluminum nuts and far too long of studs) there isn’t much available for the low production MR2.  ARP makes some, but they seemed too expensive (hindsight’s a bitch) and of course I knew H&R made some as well.  Others have used Tundra (the older 7/8ths edition) studs, but they net very little length over stock.  A quick cross-check revealed the proper H&R part number, so I started looking for sellers.  Not too many shops peddle individual studs, especially German made ones for a Toyota/Lexus.  I did fine some for, what I thought, was a fair price on eBay.  So I ordered myself up a set, plus extras.  They arrived quickly, but work got in the way.  Tonight was the night to where I had the car inside and up on stands, ready to begin whacking out the old studs.  The first one popped out easily enough, then I held it up to the new “H&R” stud and noticed quite a difference.

Studs side-by-side
It doesn’t take an automotive genius to see the difference.  These clearly weren’t the correct parts, not to mention they had a completely different coloring than the rear H&R studs I already have, which have the same shade of silverish gray as the OEM pictured above.  A quick check with the slide caliper showed the difference was pretty substantial.

Wrong Studs OEM Stud

So here I am, four days away from another OTD, with a bag of useless studs.  Back to the interwebs to ensure I didn’t mistakenly order the wrong parts (it’s happened, don’t ask.)  Nope, exactly the right part numbers.  I’m pretty damn sure these are counterfeit, Chinese knock-offs.  So eBay dispute opened, hopefully the seller is easy to deal with, and the search continues.  I go back to searching for the actual H&R studs, but I’m left with the original seller and one other equally reputable online store.  Then I remember the ARP studs.  Renown equally for both their high strength and high price, they are at least a known quantity and carried by very reputable retailers.  I find that both Summit and JEGS carries them, in stock, with free shipping.  Done deal, despite having to order them in quantities of five (for a four stud hub car.)

At least I can take solace in my new badass garage toy, which happened to be a good eBay purchase:

Snap-on Impact