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Carbon Fiber Question: Is the weight saved worth it?

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Old 04-30-14, 10:07 PM   #1
Sirwannabe
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Default Carbon Fiber Question: Is the weight saved worth it?

Hi all,

This is my first post, so a small intro:

I've been looking for a car in the class for a few months now...my search has been slow and thorough, because I know I have a few more months left to stash up on that down payment before my '03 Sonata falls to pieces out from under me, but the moment I saw this car, it gripped me like the 335i, and the Q50, and the A5 failed to do. I know this is going to be my ride, and that moment is quickly approaching! My questions for you all here, are about the modifications that I am already planning in my head

Now, on to the question.

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with carbon fiber, and could tell me if the weight savings are actually significant enough to invest in, or if people just spend thousands of dollars on that stuff for the good looks! The 2014 model is still too young I suppose, because I've scoured the almighty internets for more information on this topic - for the weight of the aluminum hood/trunk versus the carbon counterpart (I hear Seibon Carbon makes some good stuff)...

and lastly, where can I get some real carbon fiber interior panel inserts (door panel/glove compartment) for this car? You'd think lexus, being all about luxury and quality yadda yadda, would know better than to put faux carbon in a 50k car, but perhaps not.

Thanks for reading. Thanks in advance if you have any knowledges for me!
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Last edited by Sirwannabe; 05-01-14 at 09:53 AM..
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Old 04-30-14, 10:16 PM   #2
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The IS350 has Curb Weight of up to 3,737lbs so no amount of Carbon Fiber Parts gonna do anything (unless every single body panel is make out of CF).
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Old 04-30-14, 10:18 PM   #3
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First, it's not an ISF. It's an IS350 or IS250 F-Sport. It's like the BMW 335i M-Sport so there's a world of difference between the coming (if one is) ISF top level performance sedan and the IS350 F-Sport, the highest current level of performance in this sports sedan.

The "carbon fiber" in the interior for the F-Sports is purely for looks because it's obviously not real trim and it isn't for performance. For your question of if it's worth it, it depends on what you're going to do with the car. Are you going to track, autocross, or make it a show car? In these cases, it's probably worth it to get the carbon fiber pieces because they will lighten the car's total weight. As a show car, naked carbon fiber looks cool and it's"in" right now.

From the factory there really isn't all too much in the way of performance because it's not Lexus' highest level. It's not an F. It's an in between the common IS trim and the F. Seibon Carbon makes some good stuff in general but it's a bit pricey if you're just trying to save a bit of weight. Getting new wheels and tires will be the best performance bet first off.

Just my thoughts or whatever.
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Old 04-30-14, 10:34 PM   #4
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For real lightweight panels you will need dry carbon pieces. They are very expensive and really meant for sponsored race teams. "Consumer grade" carbon like $1000 Seibon hoods are really more cosmetic items. You could save more weight than $2000 worth of aftermarket carbon parts by replacing your spare with a flat kit (not saying you should).
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Old 05-01-14, 12:39 AM   #5
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IMO the overpriced carbon fiber parts are not worth hundreds on each part (hood, trunk etc.)

you're better off having 1/4 tank of gas and save more weight difference
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Old 05-01-14, 01:15 AM   #6
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Put your money in lighter wheels and such instead. That will do a lot more for performance.
I saved about 30 lbs by changing my stock rims to TSWs. Thats more than a CF hood and trunk kombined.
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Old 05-01-14, 05:13 AM   #7
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Some of the best mods are to the driver
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Old 05-01-14, 05:45 AM   #8
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unless you're going to replace the majority of your car with carbon fiber parts, rip out your rear seats, get lighter front seats, rip out your carpeting, noise detonation insulation, panels, etc. etc., you're not going to save a lot of weight. lets call this what it is--any car you see on your everyday road with just small bits and pieces of CF on the hood, trunk, etc., its all for show and less go. it's only significant on the track to save those pounds and ounces and for the quicker 1/10 of second you hope to achieve--but everyday cars (slightly to medium modified) on are everday roads are not tracking are they?
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Old 05-01-14, 05:48 AM   #9
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you can get better weight reduction by getting lighter wheels. Reducing unsprung mass and rotational inertia is more valuable than straight up sprung weight reduction
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Old 05-01-14, 09:52 AM   #10
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Thank you all for the replies! Good point about the wheels being a more significant source of weight - I do plan on changing those out. Baby steps! I was skeptical of how much weight one would actually save by switching to carbon trunk/hood/fenders. Thanks for confirming its probably not worth it for any reason other than cosmetically.

About the interior pieces: my question on that is yes, entirely cosmetic. I just don't want the faux carbon fiber on the glove box trim and wrist areas. Are there any perhaps smaller companies anyone knows of who are replacing these panels with real carbon fiber/wood yet? I reached out to Seibon Carbon, because I know they had those panels replaced with real carbon for their SEMA showpiece, but they haven't gotten back to me. Nor have I seen those interior parts available on the website.

Thx again
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Old 05-01-14, 10:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nayuta View Post
First, it's not an ISF. It's an IS350 or IS250 F-Sport. It's like the BMW 335i M-Sport so there's a world of difference between the coming (if one is) ISF top level performance sedan and the IS350 F-Sport, the highest current level of performance in this sports sedan.

The "carbon fiber" in the interior for the F-Sports is purely for looks because it's obviously not real trim and it isn't for performance. For your question of if it's worth it, it depends on what you're going to do with the car. Are you going to track, autocross, or make it a show car? In these cases, it's probably worth it to get the carbon fiber pieces because they will lighten the car's total weight. As a show car, naked carbon fiber looks cool and it's"in" right now.
I understand I just missed the fact that in a lazy effort to abbreviate the car I was calling it something totally different! Honestly the reason I'm so interested in the CF is about 50% because I think a well made piece looks amazing and 50% to make track days a little more fun. Makes sense it wouldn't do much though, granted everything else is (for the time being) left stock.
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Old 05-01-14, 10:50 AM   #12
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the IS hood feels like its aluminum already, its quite light so going CF hood isnt going to have the gains like removing steel parts will. Biggest way to reduce unsprung weight is lighter wheels and lighter rotors but its pricey.
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Old 05-01-14, 11:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirwannabe View Post
...looks amazing...
Naked carbon fiber does look cool though.
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Old 05-01-14, 11:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhs82 View Post
Put your money in lighter wheels and such instead. That will do a lot more for performance.
I saved about 30 lbs by changing my stock rims to TSWs. Thats more than a CF hood and trunk kombined.
x 2

Lighter wheels, lighter high performance tires (that could save you 50 - 60 lbs in total alone, if you get the best setup). You can easily shave 5 - 8 lbs per wheel with some nice aftermarket wheels.

With reduced rotational inertia, the car will respond a lot quicker as well. You will see a very noticeable difference in the low and midrange.
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Old 05-01-14, 12:21 PM   #15
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Realistically, you could gain much more speed from removing items entirely from any car, like the spare, the back seat. All that unnecessary air conditioning equipment..lol

Adding CF parts isnt going to add any appreciable time to your quarter mile times than say, removing those things for the duration of race day and putting them back in again. Plus, its free!
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Old 05-01-14, 12:21 PM
 
 
 
 
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