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Old 04-25-2011, 16:40   #1 (permalink)
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Steel wheels VS Alum

Wondering if anyone could share some input. I am debating getting some alum rims for my 03 P71 to replace the steel service wheels, I have found the service wheels plus tires weight about 60lbs each through some forums, alum w tires around 30 -40.

Would this reduction of weight improve millage much?

I live in an area that gets some snow so we have our share of potholes ect. so having the steel would have some benefits, I don't plan on jumping any curbs but one never knows. Obviously the alum will also improve appearance.

Thanks for your input
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Old 04-25-2011, 16:54   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Steel wheels VS Alum

I've always gone with aluminum for my cars, but when it comes to my trucks, I used to only use steel for the extra strength.
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Old 04-25-2011, 17:26   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Steel wheels VS Alum

I replaced my steel wheels with factory alloy wheels. I never checked for a mileage difference but any weight that can be taken off the car would improve mileage. Here's a good write up on unsprung weight. The cars always felt like they rode smoother with alloy too.

Unsprung mass - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 04-25-2011, 17:58   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Steel wheels VS Alum

Dam, that's some good info right there. ^
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Old 04-26-2011, 15:03   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Steel wheels VS Alum

Thanks! Great info and sold me on moving to aluminum regardless of MPG improvement.
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Old 04-28-2011, 06:24   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Steel wheels VS Alum

In theory, yes, mileage should improve, not to mention handling and braking.

Lower unsprung mass and less energy needed on rotational force is always a good thing.
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Old 05-02-2011, 13:48   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Steel wheels VS Alum

Aluminum wheels are every bit as strong as steel, if not stronger. They just don't do as well with impact & abrasion, but you shouldn't be impacting or abrading sedan rims anyway.
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Old 05-04-2011, 21:00   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Steel wheels VS Alum

As Bert already stated about the smoothness of ride, most definitely! Less rotational mass and pretty much the same concept they incorporate into high-speed aluminum driveshafts to dramatically reduce drivetrain vibration.
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Old 05-18-2011, 20:52   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Steel wheels VS Alum

I encourage you to replace your steelies regardless. The stock steel 16" wheels are prone to cracking at the welds. I've only worked with P71 rims and from 03-05, and I replaced at least one a month for the first six months that I started working at my taxi company. I've seen them split to the point that the wheel had lateral runout that could be measured by over an inch.
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Old 03-01-2013, 19:34   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Steel wheels VS Alum

One thing I have noticed about the aluminum rims is that they develop slow leaks with greater frequency in areas where salt is used on the roads. I live in Ontario Canada, so lots of salt and sand!! 97 Explorer and 94 CV with Aluminum rims!
Cheers, Mike
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