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Author Topic: Try to decide on new wheels Steel v Aluminum  (Read 1498 times)
buddydawg
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« on: July 06, 2014, 07:44:24 AM »

Doing some routine maintenance I have noticed that one of my steel wheels has a few hairline cracks.  I inspected the rest and didn't find anymore that were visible but I did find some date stamps on the rims.  It looks like most of them were made in 1978.  I am considering my options about what route I would like to take to replace my aging wheels. The main decision I must make is whether to go back with the steel wheels or change to aluminum.

First my bus uses rims with these specs: Hub-Piloted Dual-Mounting Two-Piece Flanged Nut 10-Hole, 11 1/4" Bolt Circle, 8.66" Bore Special Bus Application with 1.22" Bolt Holes.

What are the benefits of swapping over to aluminum (Accuride 28632)?

I will have to replace all of the wheel studs, what is the best place to source these? (Note the special size)

Is it feasible to replace the studs my self or should I just pay to have it done?  I prefer to do it myself if possible, I have not been able to find anyone nearby that I trust to work on my bus. 

I thought about just going back with the steel they are a little cheaper but I was leaning towards changing the studs anyway so why not take the chance to upgrade.

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Brandon Stewart - Martinez, GA
georgemci102a2
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2014, 10:11:00 AM »

Sent you a pm.  George Grin
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Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2014, 10:38:05 AM »

Just a little over $100 for a new steel wheel vs. probably a couple of hundred for used Al. wheels and more for new?  I always thought that i wanted to have Al. wheels but when the time came i went with steel and don't regret it.  Smiley
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1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission.  Western USA
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2014, 10:41:06 AM »

IMHO you should go aluminum.  They are forged and precision made resulting in being able to use much less weight (or none) to balance them. They are lighter.  They are rust proof.  They look great and always will with some routine cleaning and polishing once a year.  Steel wheels are not a precision manufactured product, but two pieces that are welded together.  I went through 10 new Accuride steel wheels just to get 6 that didn't wobble on the spin balancer.  This is why most OEM over the road equipment rides on aluminum these days.  As far as the studs, you may be able to install new longer studs on the front without pulling the hub.  Remove the drum and turn the hub to a position the the stud can be inserted through from the back. If using press in studs put a large washer on the end of the stud and pull it in tight with a thimble (inner wheel nut) and a 1" drive air gun.  Yeah, I can hear all the experts saying now that it will stretch the threads. Or, you might be able to use a stud with the threaded end that uses a nut on the inside if you can get a socket and gun on the back side.  You will be fine, this is from someone that has been doing his own fleet tire and brake work for 35 years.  You won't need longer studs on the drive axle, you can use longer inner nuts (thimbles) to make up the difference of the thicker wheels. You will of course need all new thimbles and outer nuts for the aluminum. Another option is to just run steel on the inside of the drive axle.  Sometimes a very thin plastic wafer is used between the wheels to prevent corrosion in this application. HTH
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 10:45:45 AM by Boomer » Logged

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luvrbus
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2014, 10:46:20 AM »

 Roll Eyes with aluminum wheels the bus will look fully dressed also JMO
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Cary and Don
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2014, 10:57:57 AM »

I could be wrong on this.  I think I read someplace that aluminum wheels dissipate heat from brakes faster than steel.

Cary
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wg4t50
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2014, 11:01:15 AM »

Sure agree on the looks dept.  Howsomever my experience using the aluminum outter rim on the:drive, becomes nearly impossivle to simply check or add air to the inside wheel unless you have the exact items.  I decided it was tine to ditch the 22.5 for the 24.5, bought all new steel, then one day found two nice Alcosz's for the frobt.
Also on the MCI tag, the aluminum rin tends to get nicked up a lot from chips off the drive tires. You can make qa flap to deflect stobes from the tag, I just went steel. Am more gear head than beauty Class, never had a failure on the road in over 20 years and 150,000 miles.
Dave M
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2014, 11:06:02 AM »

With aluminum duals, you run a valve stem extension and a rubber isolator (or stabilizer) that presses into the wheel hole.  Makes it real easy to air up.  You can also use a gator instead of a conventional valve stem cap then you never have a cap to remove, just put the inflator right on it.
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buddydawg
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2014, 05:01:45 PM »

Look like I am going to go with the Accuride Aluminum wheels.  I am also leaning to replacing all of the wheel studs.  They have been there for a very long time and more than a few are hard to tighten (as in when you put the nuts on they require a good bit of force to get them to snug, definitely not free spinning) 

Does anyone have a good online source for studs and nuts?  Don't forget that my bus uses a hub piloted rim with 1.22" bolt holes and two-pieced flange nuts.
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Brandon Stewart - Martinez, GA
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« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2014, 05:25:23 PM »

Luke or Mohawk.
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« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2014, 05:34:01 PM »

Thanks Boomer
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1972 GMC T6H-5308A #024

Brandon Stewart - Martinez, GA
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« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2014, 05:49:18 PM »

When I put new Michelins on my present coach, I had all new stems incuding the 8" long ones for the inner dual, also used the donut snubbers (2) in the outter rim to hold it stable, also installed the Pressure Pro sensors. turned the outter stems outward so were easy to access.
For the first time I do not have any air loss since the installation back in Nov 2013,  Guess between the new stems, and no extensions, and new seals in the pressure pros, all is holding so far, That is a change, had been an on going major PITA.
Dave M
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Brian Diehl
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« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2014, 07:46:10 AM »

I just had to replace a couple of studs on my front hub due to one failing and dissappearing during our last outing.  Each stud came to $11.50 plus shipping from Mohawk.  Replacing all the studs is an easy process if you have a high power impact gun.  Otherwise, it can be extremely had to break the nuts on the studs on the back side of the hub loose.  I highly recommend removing the hubs unless you have some sort of portable press that allows you to get behind the hub and push the studs out.  Removing the hubs also allows you to inspect the condition of the bearings and replace the hub oil all at the same time.  A lot of labor to be sure, but if you haven't been in the hubs before the peace of mind would be worth it.  Keep in mind the worst part of the whole process may be removing the drums from the hubs.  Those screws that hold the drums to the hubs are usually corroded in solid and require drilling and taping to replace.  Put lots of anti-sieze on when you replace!
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krank
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« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2014, 10:59:05 AM »

If it has been a long time since the bearings were checked , why not pull the hubs at the same time, check the bearings, replace the seals, and press the new studs in with a hydraulic press to ensure proper seating of the studs? Preventative maintenance goes a long way in reducing your overall costs.
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Jim A.
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Charles in SC
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« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2014, 07:41:18 PM »

Are you sure your wheels have cracks in them or could it just be cracks in the paint? My 5303 has steel wheels and they are thick and heavy built as a tank. I cannot imagine any way you could crack one. I painted mine silver to give them the aluminum look. I am in the "if it aint broke dont fix it" corner.
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S8M 5303 built in 1969, converted in 2000
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