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 > Steel vs Aluminum Wheels

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ron.dittmer

North-East Illinois

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Posted: 02/23/19 08:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This topic interests me.

I have a 2007 E350 chassis with stock steel wheels in great condition. I also have stainless wheel covers. I will be replacing the tires before our next big trip and figured it's the right time to upgrade to alloy wheels.

After some research, I am most comfortable with the Alcoa brand, so when it's time, I will be buying that brand. Alcoa offers a few different finishes on their wheels. Since our rig is stored indoors most of the time, and we travel during non-winter salt-free conditions all the time, I will be buying the ones with the Dura-Bright finish HERE, currently priced at $1399.00. Their plain finish wheel package costs $200 less.

I have yet to decide what valve stems to buy. I don't want "extensions", just one-piece valves that stick out only as far as needed for access. I would appreciate any tips on "best valves" to consider for the thicker allow wheel material.

I am buying the alloy wheels primarily for "The Look", but also hope to improve the ride through less un-sprung weight.


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T18skyguy

Eugene, OR

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Posted: 02/23/19 12:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ron.dittmer wrote:

This topic interests me.

I have a 2007 E350 chassis with stock steel wheels in great condition. I also have stainless wheel covers. I will be replacing the tires before our next big trip and figured it's the right time to upgrade to alloy wheels.

After some research, I am most comfortable with the Alcoa brand, so when it's time, I will be buying that brand. Alcoa offers a few different finishes on their wheels. Since our rig is stored indoors most of the time, and we travel during non-winter salt-free conditions all the time, I will be buying the ones with the Dura-Bright finish HERE, currently priced at $1399.00. Their plain finish wheel package costs $200 less.

I have yet to decide what valve stems to buy. I don't want "extensions", just one-piece valves that stick out only as far as needed for access. I would appreciate any tips on "best valves" to consider for the thicker allow wheel material.

I am buying the alloy wheels primarily for "The Look", but also hope to improve the ride through less un-sprung weight.


Ron, E-trailer has a set called Wheel Masters, but there are other good ones also. I had a set on my old rig and they we're wonderful. I have seen them for Aluminum wheels too. When I got mine, the Les Schwab guys had never installed a set before, so I brought my Snap-On inch pound torque wrench, cause I knew they wouldn't have one. There is a rubber gasket that gets cinched down with a nut inside the wheel and the torque is 20 inch pounds. Too little and it leaks, too much and it crushes and cracks it. I thought the weight savings per wheel was more than what's stated in the earlier post, not sure, but would like to have a solid figure for that. I do like the look, and get tired of those silly stainless wheel covers(which are also a PIA). Don

* This post was edited 02/23/19 02:52pm by T18skyguy *


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Hank85713

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Posted: 02/23/19 03:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ron I have alcoas on my rig, they put one steel on the inside on the rears so only 4 wheels are aluminum. Arrow has replacement wheels where I think Both are aluminum, not sure. the spare is the oem spare steel.

As to stems I bought a set from the tire guy out in calif about $200. Have not had them installed yet, but am considering getting in the wheel tire monitors installed and then run extensions from the inside rear (solid not the flex ones).

ronfisherman

SE Michigan

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Posted: 02/23/19 04:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some things to check when putting 2 aluminum wheels on each side of rear axle.
1. Are the mounting studs long enough for the thickness of 2 aluminum wheels?
2 . Does pilot hub of axle stick out far enough to properly locate wheel on center?
3. Will 2 aluminum wheels affect location of outer wheel be offset to far?


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ron.dittmer

North-East Illinois

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Posted: 02/23/19 05:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ronfisherman wrote:

Some things to check when putting 2 aluminum wheels on each side of rear axle.
1. Are the mounting studs long enough for the thickness of 2 aluminum wheels?
2 . Does pilot hub of axle stick out far enough to properly locate wheel on center?
3. Will 2 aluminum wheels affect location of outer wheel be offset to far?
Your list outlines what I always understood, why the inner two rear wheels remain steel when using Alcoa wheels. If another brand can have all alloy in back, then I wonder if the alloy wheel is thick enough for weight of a motor home. I once found pictures of alloy wheels that developed cracks but I can't find them now.

Of coarse with finished alloy wheels, you loose the ability to rotate them, but I don't rotate my motor home tires because I feel doing so does much more harm than good.

* This post was edited 02/23/19 06:00pm by ron.dittmer *

ronfisherman

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Posted: 02/24/19 02:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here is picture of a cracked aluminum wheel.
[image]
Tire was still inflated. Wheel had to be replaced.
My MH had Aluminum wheels. Lot less problems than SS liners.

bobndot

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Posted: 02/24/19 05:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Is the inner steel wheel used as a HUB centric wheel to align the new alloy wheel which is LUG centric ? Is that why its done that way ?

I would think a HUB centric wheel like an OEM wheel would be the stronger option for an rv . Often enough I see aftermarket alloy wheels with cracks and broken studs on medium duty trucks. Maybe it depends on how many potholes you hit and how much weight is carried.

ron.dittmer

North-East Illinois

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Posted: 02/24/19 06:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The Alcoa wheels are hub-centric. That is one of a number of reasons why I will be buying that brand.

The few other brands I stumbled on to, it was not clear if they were hub or lug centric, also not clear about material thickness and material quality. Alcoa has tight quality control standards and processes.

I feel there is too much riding on wheels to consider anything but Alcoa because they are "tops" in the industry. Too much can go wrong with alloys on a motor home.

Big Katuna

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Posted: 02/24/19 08:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Did I miss the forged vs cast discussion?

There are pros and cons to each but I believe Alcoa’s are forged and milled and stronger than cast.


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CharlesinGA

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Posted: 02/24/19 09:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ron, rather than mess with the long stems (yes there is a set made for the Alcoa wheels) and the associated issues (proper torque of the retaining nut, easily torn seals during installation, difficulty in installing the duals without damaging the stem of the inner wheel as you attempt to put the outer wheel in place and get lug nuts started) consider using the standard short rubber 80 psi rated truck stems like you are using now, and use a long stem tire servicing chuck and a long stem gauge. One with a straight end and a angled back chuck would probably work well.

THIS POST Shows what I am referring to. If you opt for the long Borg stems, especially on the inner wheels, be sure and carry a package of spare seals for the stems, a small tube of blue locktite, and a tiny torque wrench and proper socket), as changing a tire on that wheel requires (depending on the tire machine used) removing the stems, then removing the tire, then installing a new tire, then re-installing the stem with new seals, and finally inflating the tire. Again, this depends on the tire machine design, and you never know what you will encounter on the road.

Charles


Need a new owner for my 2007 Winnebago View 523H on a '06 Sprinter 3500 chassis. 30k+ mi, Prog Ind HW30C, Prog Dymanics PD4645, Chill Grille, deep alum trans pan, Roadmaster sway bar.
Replaced by a '08 Thor FS180 travel trailer and 2003 Ram 2500 CTD 6 spd

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