Alloy vs Steel Rims

Submitted: Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 12:30
ThreadID: 57698 Views:4495 Replies:9 FollowUps:3
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So the only thread I could find was back from 2006.
The Ute needs some new rims and a set of half decent tires (a ute with no load & skinny tires equals not much grip).

So we are considering weather we should try alloys this time round.

From what I gather....

Lighter (benefits rotational mass / acceleration etc)
Bling (has the looks)
Shorter Fatigue Life than steel
Damage means certain replacement

Much Much Cheaper
Strong Enough
Will bend rather than crack
Longer Fatigue Life
Not as flashy looking but cheap and easy to replace

So is that all there is to it, does it purely come down to price and looks for the main decision?

Hubby needs somethig more to convince him as to why the alloys are worth the extra $$. Six rims and tyres in alloy seem to cost twice as much as the same in a decent steel version.

So I guess the question is, apart from looks, is the weight saving a real life benefit - like less exaggerated effect if the wheel is unbalanced. Technically easier acceleration as you have less rotational mass. And are they really that much stronger than steel?

One thing I know is that we should at least be making sure that whatever brand we look at have steel inserts for the wheel nuts.

Thanks in advance for any advice, and apologies if this is one of those topics that gets done to death (I was surprized I didn't find more threads when I dd a search).
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 13:00

Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 13:00
I chose steel this time round (05 100 GXL) primarily for function - less chance of expensive damage while in the bush - less worry in bush tyre repair, re scratches to the finish and bling credits.
AnswerID: 304321

Reply By: graham7773 - Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 18:59

Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 18:59
Hi, just a couple of points I would like to make.
(1) alloy is three times stronger than steel weight for weight but an alloy wheel is usually much lighter than a steel one so not much stronger if at all. I am surprised that some of the really spidery wheels do not fracture in the centers. Strike that. I have seen alloy wheels with the centers ripped right out
(2) Already mentioned but alloy cracks rather than bends and is extremely expensive to repair. Usually cheaper to get a new wheel. I have straightened a number of steel wheels in my time and have had no further trouble with the repaired wheels. Unless I hit another rock or stump!
(3) Acceleration? minimal difference unless your driving a formula one car where 100ths of a second count.
(4) Yes, some alloy wheels look really good but then some look really ugly. where are you going to be doing your driving, asphelt or dirt? How much cleaning and polishing do you envisage. Off road is high maintenance for alloys.
AnswerID: 304358

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 20:53

Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 20:53
Hi Graham

I think it goes that alloy is 1/3rd the weight for the same volumne but that alloy is only 1/2 the strength.

So 1/3 * 2 = 2/3 and so for same strength alloy is 2/3 the weight and in practice alloys are about 75% the weight of steels so that they can claim both a small weight and strength advantage.
Robin Miller

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Reply By: udm - Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 20:37

Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 20:37
you havent said what the car is used for... if its used for long bush trips, i would only use steel, most of the times all you need is a big copper hammer to fix them, and if its road use only, then perhaps a little bit of alloy bling wouldnt hurt.

btw, 6 rims and tyres? why?
AnswerID: 304378

Reply By: TD100 - Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 20:49

Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 20:49
My brother will vouch for steels,recently he had 2 slow leaks in his 2 front wheels(19"taiwanese blings on low BA XR6) the right one suddenly got worse,ahh 2 new tyres were needed anyway.go to tyre place,find out both rims had many cracks throughout them,new rims reqd.he thought if the fronts were cracked so would the rears,although they didnt go down they were also it was 4 rims and 2 tyres.expensive lesson not learned by him.Paul
AnswerID: 304383

Reply By: Outa Bounds - Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 21:55

Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 21:55
I think all your comments are pretty much solidifying the direction we were starting to lean towards.

The rims will be going on a 79 Series Cruizer Ute, at the moment it's used for 15k trips to town, rubbish runs to the dump, carting wood around the property and the like. At the moment it has split rims with skinny looking tires, not sure what size. It also came with an alloy tray when we brought it - possibly one reason why we thought to maybe consider alloy rims.

Eventually when a few bits and pieces are added to it he'll probably use it to drive to Perth when he heads off to work. Much longer down the track and the main reason we brought it (apart from needing a second car), all going to plan it will become our touring vehicle (or somehthing to that effect) when the two kids grow up and leave home and we go traveling. Yes that's umm at least 15 years away I reckon, but he loves his utes! Just lucky his dear wife can see the practicality of having one on a rural property! And it drives better than the 80 anyway so don't know if I'll let him have it! Oh and I can use it to cart my mountain bike to go riding. Hmm anyone want an 80 series and a couple of kids?

*He's looking at 16 x 8 rims size wise, 5 stud of course (it would have been so much easier if it was the same pattern as the 80 we already have - our current travelling & family car). I think the rims on the 80 are ROH brand, so in steel he'd probably be looking at that or King (I'm guessing, I know he'd want to go for a good and more solid brand).
* He did say that he found a few alloys that he didn't mind the look of (ROH or King maybe?) but to me it sounded like he didn't like most styles. This brings up another issue, with so many styles out there, if we stuff one if 5yrs I suppose there is no guarantee well be able to buy another exactly the same? The steel rims on the other hand have been around forever and all look very similar to me.

* Good point on the cleaning, I haven't washed either car for months now so if we did end up with polished wheels I don't think they would be staying polished for long!
* Yes my Husband did bring up a concern about them marking or chipping if he has to use tire pliers on them to change a tire etc.

Sounds like steel wins out then, we're not the types to buy something purely for the look - besides in the bush no one cares how shiny your wheels are and in the city you don't really want anyone to care, because they might think they like them more than you do. Come to think of it, a spraycan of silver paint doesn't cost that much :)
AnswerID: 304397

Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 10:13

Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 10:13
G'day. I have no particular feeling about alloy or steel, but be aware you will increase your fuel consumption by around 10% if you go to 8" from standard splits, regardless of rims. If you are going alloy due to "Bling" factor that may not be an issue. I would
consider that to be far more important than any perceived
acceleration improvement or weight saving....oldbaz.
AnswerID: 304448

Reply By: Splits - Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 20:10

Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 20:10
Outa Bounds

The only reason I would consider alloys on a Cruiser ute would be for appearance.

The first alloys were used on competition cars many decades ago. They were used for strength and to reduce unsprung weight. Unsprung weight is any weight on a car that is not supported by the springs. The less you have of it the better the car can be made to ride and handle. This is why cars with independent suspensions ride and handle better than those with live axles.

In an IFS car the tyre, wheel, hub, brakes, spindle, half the top and bottom control arms, half the shocks plus part of the steering linkage, sway bar. CV joint and axle is all unsprung weight. That means it is sitting on the road and not held up by the springs.

The big heavy axle across the front of your ute not only has the wheels, brakes, hubs etc attached to it but it contains the differential as well. Even half the driveshaft is sitting on it. That is all unsprung weight and you have so much of it that the reduction in weight that will come from changing the wheels from steel to alloy is not going to make any difference to its performance. You may notice it on a Prado for example but not on a Cruiser ute.

As I said earlier, I would fit them for appearance and that is all.

AnswerID: 304563

Reply By: Robin Miller - Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 20:25

Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 20:25
Hi Outa

I would find it hard to make a case out for the alloys , and only run steels here.

Alloys can be cast or machined and cast ones are not nearly as strong, often with alloys you cannot get different offsets and you track width and stability of car may go done so check it out.

Of the available wheels for my Patrol there was a better selection in steel and by getting a wider offset I was able to use narrower 7 in rims which actually had a wider track than the standard 8 inch rims and were some 4kg lighter than standard steels rims and only 1 kg heavier than Alloys.

So I tend to agree with posts above that suggest the only reason is image.

Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 304567

Reply By: Outa Bounds - Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 20:45

Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 20:45
Well we've decided that Steels it is.

If anyone wants to recommend some good brands (and why you like them) which he should check out then feel free.
AnswerID: 304574

Follow Up By: Barry 2 - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 20:35

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 20:35
Hi Outa Bounds
I also have a 79 series Cruiser and love it.
I use steel rims which are off the 100 series cruiser (not split rims) picked them up from local Toyota dealer for $50 each they had plenty left over from people changing to alloys. i run 265/75/16 tyres and do heaps of off road miles and never had a problem
Hope this helps
Safe Travels
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 20:47

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 20:47
The ROH brand series Trak 2 are the way to go Outa, typically around $100 each.
Robin Miller

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