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Author Topic: New wheels.. steel or aluminum?  (Read 4115 times)
Darkspeed
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« on: December 29, 2012, 09:18:41 AM »

My plan is to purchase 24.5" wheels to replace my mismatched 22.5" wheels so i can go with 470rpm tires.

My goal is a polished look wheel.

There is a local source of used steel and aluminum 24.5 wheels.

Is it smarter to purchase 24.5" used steel wheels, blast, paint and use polished stainless simulators

or

purchase 24.5" used aluminum wheels and polish them?

I know i would need to re-stud the fronts for aluminum wheels and longer nuts for the rears.

Thanks!

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Todd
4106-1070 6V92T + V730
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2012, 09:41:40 AM »

Some competing things to put into a balance that is right for you:

Simulators cover up the wheel end, you can't see what is going on, when it starts going wrong.

Used rims are "used" for a reason, teach yourself about how to measure rims to be sure they are not worn or otherwise unfit for continued service. Accuride has go-no go gauges to check the wear at the wheel fastening holes. Out of true or cracked rims may not be easily discovered in the scrap yard.

Good used take offs, from reputable sources, may cost more than from the scrap yard, but still saves you money over new. Remember who our competition is: owner operators, just like us, trying to spruce up their already old ride... and they get to deduct the expense!

Polished wheels need to be kept up, either you, or paying someone to do the messy work periodically.

Did you check to see what the slowest tires might be from a few manufacturers? In both 24.5 and 22.5? Don't make decisions based on the generalities of history typed on internet discussion boards. What may have been, may not have really been, and certainly may not be now, if you know what I mean. Call your competing local tire guys and throw out your old time challenge for slowest turning tire and see what they come up with?

Yup, no free lunch, but an economical one may be had for those who look and choose carefully!

happy coaching!
buswarrior



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Frozen North, Greater Toronto Area
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2012, 10:25:39 AM »

Also though into the consideration that Aluminum wheels require longer studs and different lugnuts than steel wheels.

If your bus doesn't have the longer studs it cost a fair amount of $ for the studs and still yet your time or a shops labor rate to install them.

So going aluminum costs more than just the wheels and lug nuts!
Grin  BK  Grin
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RJ
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2012, 11:32:27 AM »

Todd -

Brand new HD Accuride steel wheels will set you back about $100 each, a much better "bang for the buck" than risking used.

And IIRC, with new longer studs installed, new Alcoa or Accuride aluminum will run about $475 - $500/wheel. 

From a safety perspective, new wheel trumps used, cost notwithstanding, IMHO.

BW -

Since Todd has a 4106 with an automatic, he's looking to go to a 470 rev/mile tire to bring the overall rear axle ratio back to that of the manual gearbox coaches.  Most 22.5 tires fall into the 500 rev/mi range, +/- 10 rpm, after reviewing Michelin, Firestone/Bridgestone, Sumitomo and Toyo's tire spec charts.

The T-drive coach folk have a lot more flxibility when it comes to tires and rear axle ratios to arrive at an optimum for their use.  The V-drive crowd are pretty limited.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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Fresno CA
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2012, 11:45:27 AM »

As BW mentions, wheel simulators cover up your wheels, so you can't see the nuts for looseness, and the wheels for cracks, and cannot feel the hub for heat, indicating a failing bearing. It is the driver's responsibility to inspect the wheels during the pre-trip and during travel when stopping, and that is not possible without removing all the chrome ornaments. Refer to the "brake failure=jail time" thread about driver responsibility/liability. On my bus I have the pretty chrome nut covers and the hub cover, which is probably too much, but still allows me to see and feel.

I have had painted steel and polished aluminum, both look good.

JC
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JC
Invermere, BC
1977 MC5C, 6V92/HT740
TomC
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2012, 12:30:44 PM »

The lowest rpm tire is the 11R-24.5, period. There are super singles that are bigger, but I don't think you want to run those tires, and they are only rated to 65mph. Most 11R-24.5 drive tires are around the 470rpm and the 12R-22.5 around 485rpm. Just make sure you have enough room for the bigger 24.5's. I have 11R-24.5's on both my bus and truck, and have no problem with them (they are rated at 75mph).

Aluminum wheels will transmit the brake heat better, cool off quicker, they are lighter and ride better (less un sprung weight). But kiss a curb with aluminum and you're buying a new wheel (don't ask how I know that).
Steel wheels are cheap, can be painted to match your bus (they look great with chrome nut covers), if you hit a curb and bend one, usually can bend them back with a BFH (don't ask how I know this either).

I have aluminum wheels on both my truck and bus and love them. Can polish them once and it will last a year with the right polish and sealer. If you can afford it, I would go with aluminum. Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
wayne
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2012, 08:14:38 PM »

Aluminum wheels are not lighter. They are stronger ( crush strength) but use much more material to get the strength which makes them much thicker and heavier.
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TomC
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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2012, 09:44:40 PM »

I'm sorry Wayne, but you're 100% wrong on the weight issue. These figures are lifted directly from the Accuride catalog, since they make both steel and aluminum wheels.
On a 22.5 x 8.25 wheel, steel is 70lbs, aluminum is 45lbs. For example on an 18 wheel truck you'd save 450lbs. At the end of the year that can mean several thousand dollars more in hauling revenue.
On a 22.5 x 9.00 wheel rated at 10,000lbs per wheel, steel is 103lbs, aluminum is 62lbs. So you see if you have a bus running 12R-22.5 or 315/R-22.5 with 8 wheels, you'd save 328lbs of unsprung weight.

Please go to Accuride.com and look it up yourself. Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2012, 09:43:08 AM »

It all depends on the manufacture Wayne TomC is using Firestone (Accuride) a lot more manufactures of wheels beside Accuride
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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2012, 11:00:32 AM »

Here is an article from Alcoa:

New Alcoa Truck Wheels to Cut Weight, Fuel Costs

NEW YORK, N.Y., March 20, 2009 - Reuters - Alcoa Inc's launch this week of new lightweight aluminum wheels for trucks and buses will cut 600 to 1,300 lbs off total truck weight compared with steel wheels, which means fuel and CO2 emissions will be cut and tire wear improved, the head of the company's wheel division said.

"You really get two benefits: You improve fuel economy and tire wear, plus you reduce the overall weight of the truck so you can increase your load or cargo," said Alcoa Wheels and Transportation Products President Kevin Kramer.

The new wheels, called Alcoa LvLONE (level one) wheels, are the lightest weight wheels available and also cut about 50 lbs off of a truck using aluminum wheels.

Speaking to Reuters by phone, Kramer said the lighter wheels offer an average one-year payback when factoring in the 3 to 5 percent fuel savings, depending on truck and load type.

Because trucks traveling on U.S. roads have weight restrictions, Kramer said the lighter wheels lower the total weight of the truck and trailer, allowing them to carry more product or cargo in their bulk containers.

The forged wheels, made using a process that presses the wheels out in one piece, also improve tire and brake wear.

Not only does heat dissipation with aluminum wheels give better tire wear from lower heat, but the single piece of forged metal means less air escapes than with the two welded pieces typical on steel wheels.

The less air that escapes from a tire maintains its air pressure, increasing fuel economy and improving tires wear.

In addition, a shiny finish on both sides of the new wheels will also lower inventory costs.

"Aesthetically, they look great, and that's important to truckers," the executive said.

Wheels have previously been finished on only one side, meaning customers need to keep more types of wheels in stock for 18-wheel rigs or when wheels get rotated.

"With this process both sides are finished so you can turn them inside out and you don't need to keep several kinds of wheel in stock," he added.

Alcoa will sell the new wheels to truck, trailer and bus manufacturers, but Kramer said they created a calculator to help bus and truck fleets figure out fuel and weight savings.

Kramer said Alcoa will sell the wheels globally, noting that the company expects bus fleets to continue increasing over the next 20 years throughout Asia and Europe, where fuel costs and potential savings are higher than in the U.S.

About 75 percent of trucks currently use steel wheels and 25 percent use aluminum wheels in the global market. The North American truck, trailer and bus market employs about 40 percent aluminum and 60 percent steel wheels, he said.
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Gary D

USBUSIN was our 1960 PD4104 for 16 years Ustruckin' is our 2001 Freightliner truck conversion
belfert
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« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2012, 11:29:09 AM »

I'm assuming Alcoa is comparing a vehicle with steel wheels to one with their aluminum wheels when they claim a one year payback?  A 50 pound weight savings over a truck with other aluminum wheels really isn't much in my book.

I've decided to stick with steel wheels after considering how much just the studs would cost for aluminum wheels.  There is a company locally that will powder coat steel wheels, but they charge $100 a wheel.  (I haven't checked with other powder coaters.)  I could buy new steel wheels for a little more than that $100.  Powder coating would hopefully last longer than paint.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
usbusin
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« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2012, 12:33:04 PM »

Brian, I believe that is 50 lb. per wheel; 600 to 1300 lb. off total truck weight.

Reducing the un-sprung weight also gives better ride quality.
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Gary D

USBUSIN was our 1960 PD4104 for 16 years Ustruckin' is our 2001 Freightliner truck conversion
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« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2012, 12:55:44 PM »

Brian, I believe that is 50 lb. per wheel; 600 to 1300 lb. off total truck weight.

I am totally confused here.  TomC says the Accuride aluminum wheels weigh 45 pounds each.  The Alcoa press release states "The new wheels, called Alcoa LvLONE (level one) wheels, are the lightest weight wheels available and also cut about 50 lbs off of a truck using aluminum wheels."

If each Alcoa wheel weighed 50 lbs less than a truck with other aluminum wheels the Alcoa wheels wouldn't weigh anything.  Maybe the press release meant to say they are 50 lbs per wheel lighter than steel wheels, but that would put them at 20 lbs per wheel.  I highly doubt they achieved over a 50% weight savings over typical aluminum wheels.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2012, 07:36:32 AM »

If you guys get off the key board and the internet and weigh a 5 hole steel wheel vs a aluminum wheel you won't find a 50 lb difference in the 2
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wayne
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« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2012, 09:34:10 AM »

I guess I am wrong,  I was told that years ago and never checked it out  but I have a brand new alcoa aluminum 22.5x 8.25 wheel here at the shop so I set it on our floor scale ( state certified ) it weighs exactly 64 lbs. I  took a 22.5 steel wheel and put it on the same scale exactly 80lbs with a snow frozen on it.  I don't know the steel wheel manufacturer and I am sure there are many variables but this seems pretty realistic, 16lbs x 8=128lbs.
I wonder if the crush strength is stronger on a aluminum wheel like I was originally told, I guess there's no way to tell without crushing one yourself.
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