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Old 01-22-2008, 12:12 PM   #1
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Wheel weight considerations

I have been looking at wheels and have a question regarding weight.
Does the wheel weight (generally) affect there strength?
For comparison. I was looking at these > http://www.tirerack.com/wheels/Wheel...All&sort=Price
At 15.5 lbs. there considerably lighter than other offerings.
Thanks


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Old 01-22-2008, 12:49 PM   #2
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A heavy wheel is just as prone to damage as a light wheel and vice-versa especially when it comes to rim damage. Certainly if you go really light you want to make sure its built by a reputable company. Super light wheels are usually forged alloy construction although OZ, and for that matter Rota, are making really light weight cast alloy wheels. No wheel (excepting maybe all steel wheels) will stand up to pot holes etc. While a cast alloy wheel may bend a rim, an actually piece of rim often breaks off on a forged alloy wheel. Steel wheels can often be pounded back into shape which you certainly can't do with either a cast or forged wheel. Steel wheels also have a much stronger hub area. That's one reason why steel wheels are used in Nascar as they are much stronger under the outrageous continuous G forces those cars endure. In other forms of racing where the G forces are not as continuous, you'll find the super light forged alloys. "Really" light forged and or cast alloy wheels due tend to be a bit more fragile than a heavier counterparts especially with regards to rim damage. On the other hand unsprung weight and low rotational mass is a friend especially on low powered cars and for better braking.

I always suggest getting the lightest strongest (based on reputation) wheel possible for a reasonable price. By that I mean a $150.00 to $200.00 15 to 17 lb OZ or Rota is preferable to a 500.00 12-14lb Weld or BBS wheel. Crunching the rim of a less expensive rim is far less painful (although it still hurts) than seeing a Weld or BBS wheel shatter (and they do shatter regardless of cost).
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Old 01-22-2008, 01:20 PM   #3
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The wheel referenced is a "low pressure cast" by OZ. Here is what the website says about them.
LOW PRESSURE CASTING
Low pressure casting uses positive pressure to move the molten aluminum into the mold quicker and achieve a finished product that has improved mechanical properties (more dense) over a gravity cast wheel. Low-pressure casting has a slightly higher production cost over gravity casting. Low pressure is the most common process approved for aluminum wheels sold to the O.E.M. market. Low-pressure cast wheels offer a good value for the aftermarket as well. Some companies offer wheels that are produced under a higher pressure in special casting equipment to create a wheel that is lighter and stronger than a wheel produced in low pressure. Once again in the quest for lighter weight, there is a higher cost associated with the process.

I don't know about reputation. Where would one go to research something like that? (Other than trying to read a zillion forum postings). Per your comment. Would you regard these as being "Really Light"? (there the lightest I have found so far). As far as potholes go. Well heck! there everywhere in the spring around here . So your saying the wheel will probably break if I hit a pothole at XX speed if the pothole is YY deep (what is XX and YY?).
Many thanks!
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Old 01-22-2008, 03:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S0C0nFused View Post

I don't know about reputation. Where would one go to research something like that? (Other than trying to read a zillion forum postings). Per your comment. Would you regard these as being "Really Light"? (there the lightest I have found so far). As far as potholes go. Well heck! there everywhere in the spring around here . So your saying the wheel will probably break if I hit a pothole at XX speed if the pothole is YY deep (what is XX and YY?).
Many thanks!
ANY alloy wheel has a good chance of bending or breaking when hitting a pot hole. Naturally the deeper the hole and the speed at which you're driving play a key roll. I doubt there are magic numbers. A lot depends on the aspect ratio of the tire as well. Taller sidewalls, naturally, afford more protection as there's more space between the tire and the wheel to absorb the shock. In most cases, its cheaper to replace a blown tire than a damaged wheel. Also why do you think stock alloys are so heavy. OEM wheels have very beefy rims and spokes compared to aftermarket rims. The car manufacturers know the environment the wheels will live in and design it for that. Performance (weight) is, to a degree, an afterthought. Strength is the key to them.

Unfortunately the most information on wheel strength is posted on wheel and tire forums like this one. People that bend or break wheels often post this information and from that you can draw some conclusions, especially if you see a pattern forming. Just be aware of the wheel size and tire size they were using. I bet you'll find more bent wheels had low aspect tire ratios (40 or less). A taller tire will afford better protection to that light wheel. Naturally, the manufacturer is not going to tell you whether their wheel is more susceptible to pot holes or not. Just keep this in mind, most really light wheels are intended for racing and (hint....) racing occurs on very smooth surfaces. One conclusion I can draw from that is: a really light wheel, if used on the street, must be used with more care. OZ makes very good wheels. Some specifically for racing and some for the street. You might want to check with Tirerack directly and inquire about the strength of this wheel. They are very good in providing honest information on their products.

Last edited by Geezer; 01-23-2008 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 01-22-2008, 06:53 PM   #5
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That is very good information. I will do as you say. And it does somewhat confirm my suspicion why the stock wheels are so thick (and therefore heavy). I think I will be less concerned about wheel weight (within reason) and look for something designed for the rigors of the road.
Thanks Much!
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:38 PM   #6
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you dont have to stay away from lightweight wheels like OZ, just don't go buying like a 10lb wheel..that will bend. As far as a 17lb or a 20lb if you hit a bump large enough to bend the 17lber really good it will more than likely bend the 20lb one too. Just dont buy wheels that are super racing lightweight.
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Old 01-23-2008, 10:04 AM   #7
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Well, that brings up a question of tires then. My current tire (Stock Pirelli 205/50HR16) have a Sidewall Height of 4.03 in. If I go to a 225/55R17, the Sidewall Height increases to 4.87 in. That would seem to be a net gain to me even though they look 'thinner' on the sidewall due to the larger diameter. So the 17" would be a better tire as far as pothole hazards due to the greater Sidewall Height. Yes? No?
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Old 01-23-2008, 11:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S0C0nFused View Post
Well, that brings up a question of tires then. My current tire (Stock Pirelli 205/50HR16) have a Sidewall Height of 4.03 in. If I go to a 225/55R17, the Sidewall Height increases to 4.87 in. That would seem to be a net gain to me even though they look 'thinner' on the sidewall due to the larger diameter. So the 17" would be a better tire as far as pothole hazards due to the greater Sidewall Height. Yes? No?
You'd be better off going with a 205/55-16 than the 17" size you mentioned. A 215/45 is a better 17" size tire that affords reasonable sidewall protection. You want to keep as close to the stock overall wheel/tire diameter as possible. That's about 24.1 to 24.2 inches on most foci. Being a few tenths of so within that is more than acceptable. A half inch over is also acceptable. Half inch under less so.
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Old 01-23-2008, 01:22 PM   #9
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225/55 is rediculusly huge for a focus 17. I dont even think itll work. And if it does you will be rubbing on your fender wells when you hit a ant in the road
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Old 01-23-2008, 01:35 PM   #10
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Rota wheels are great my buddy swears by em and somewhat cheaper than OZ's. You guys know of any specials or sales going on right now for Rotas?
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