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#51 Greg Locock

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 01:26

Yeah...I don't know if what I was asking makes any sense. I assume when you say "modern wheels", that implies that steel wheels have not always been made this way. I was asking if the (presumed) change in manufacturing methodology yielded only cost benefits or if the end product is a wheel that is better today than say one made 30 years ago.


Ah, well I only talked about modern steel wheels because they are the ones I used to design. I don't know how they used to make the rims before they developed the welds up to the point where they could withstand the forming process.

Steel wheels are a 'better' product to my mind, at least in the small sizes, than alloys.

Lee- you have to be very careful to differentiate between wheels and tires that are designed for Australian conditions, and those designed for Europe in partiuclar, and even the USA. For example we took a USA 4wd outback, and its poxy tires optimised for rolling resistance all blew within 100 km. Fitted some decent Coopers and no more problems.

Again for wheels both Ford of Australia and Holden have additional strength requirements /way/ beyond overseas markets.

Steel wheels do have a fatigue life at some point they will let go. I'd guess a half a million miles of street use would be a conservative target.

Edited by Greg Locock, 16 April 2013 - 01:32.


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#52 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:37

Ah, well I only talked about modern steel wheels because they are the ones I used to design. I don't know how they used to make the rims before they developed the welds up to the point where they could withstand the forming process.

Steel wheels are a 'better' product to my mind, at least in the small sizes, than alloys.

Lee- you have to be very careful to differentiate between wheels and tires that are designed for Australian conditions, and those designed for Europe in partiuclar, and even the USA. For example we took a USA 4wd outback, and its poxy tires optimised for rolling resistance all blew within 100 km. Fitted some decent Coopers and no more problems.

Again for wheels both Ford of Australia and Holden have additional strength requirements /way/ beyond overseas markets.

Steel wheels do have a fatigue life at some point they will let go. I'd guess a half a million miles of street use would be a conservative target.

Not so sure. In your area. Fiesta with 15" steels. There is almost certainly not a round one in existence. Alloys defenitly live better though they too are often damaged. Too low a profile tyre.
And most modern cars [last 5 or so years] have Chinese wheels. And the Chinese have a reputation of not making things to spec if they can save a few dollars. I have seen cracked VE steels and FG 18s. Though both had been abused.

#53 Greg Locock

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:58

Not so sure. In your area. Fiesta with 15" steels. There is almost certainly not a round one in existence. Alloys defenitly live better though they too are often damaged. Too low a profile tyre.
And most modern cars [last 5 or so years] have Chinese wheels. And the Chinese have a reputation of not making things to spec if they can save a few dollars. I have seen cracked VE steels and FG 18s. Though both had been abused.


Australian Fiestas aren't made in Oz, they are wholly imported (and yes I've munged a few wheels on them). Yes, you can crack any alloy given the right loads. If you drive a Falcon on a non sports wheel and don't drive over kerbs at speed I would be amazed if you damaged a rim without scaring yourself stupid. One test involves a locked wheel stop into a 110 mm kerb at 60 kph, the wheel can bend but not break. It'll rip the suspension out of many cars.

#54 Canuck

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:59

Thanks Greg. I think you've mentioned your preference for steel wheels in the past too - that stuck in the back of my mind as noteworthy given the predilection of car folks to drool on aluminium anything.

Lee - a good friend of mine purchased a set of aluminium wheels for his winter tires with the specific reasoning that they were not as strong as cheaper steel wheels and were more likely to be damaged should he slide into a curb during one of our raining ice storms. Theory being that the aluminium failing would surely be less expensive than a steel that survives and transmits the impact to the control arms etc. Having recently experienced a good ice-related spill on my bicycle that smashed up the aluminium derailleur hanger, I was exceedingly glad to have it as a $30 replaceable weak-point on an otherwise expensive unweldable frame.

Which is to say - all those not-round wheels are saving suspension bits...

#55 Catalina Park

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 08:48

Years ago I played around with a VN Commodore "Group E Production Car" race car. The stock steel wheels (known by the bogans as Chaser wheels") had a nasty habit of cracking around the centre.
The Holden utes of the same era had a thicker centre but the scrutineers were wise to this!

#56 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 11:05

Thanks Greg. I think you've mentioned your preference for steel wheels in the past too - that stuck in the back of my mind as noteworthy given the predilection of car folks to drool on aluminium anything.

Lee - a good friend of mine purchased a set of aluminium wheels for his winter tires with the specific reasoning that they were not as strong as cheaper steel wheels and were more likely to be damaged should he slide into a curb during one of our raining ice storms. Theory being that the aluminium failing would surely be less expensive than a steel that survives and transmits the impact to the control arms etc. Having recently experienced a good ice-related spill on my bicycle that smashed up the aluminium derailleur hanger, I was exceedingly glad to have it as a $30 replaceable weak-point on an otherwise expensive unweldable frame.

Which is to say - all those not-round wheels are saving suspension bits...

a cast alloy wheel will always transmit more load back into the suspension. A steel wheel bends before an alloy, though the alloy often will break.

#57 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 11:11

Years ago I played around with a VN Commodore "Group E Production Car" race car. The stock steel wheels (known by the bogans as Chaser wheels") had a nasty habit of cracking around the centre.
The Holden utes of the same era had a thicker centre but the scrutineers were wise to this!

Yeah the ute wheel have 'ute' stamped on them.
Those std 15s have always cracked. Though usually are ok on road cars. They do it on speedway street stocks and modified sedans. Most use alloys these days.
Modified Sedans with an 8" race tyre on a 6" rim was regularly an accident happening. The local Falcon [EF EL] wheels just buckled all the time, did not crack where the old full size Ford [70s] rims cracked all the time. as they do on the road too.