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Alcoa Wheels

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Alcoa Wheels
Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:03 am


Hey Guys,

Looking for a bit more info from those who have been there before. Two of the coaches that I am considering do not have aluminum wheels. I know, what's up with that? But they have other great features that keep them interesting for me. So the question is how much am I going to have to give for 8 shiny new alcoa wheels, and where is the best place to buy them? The main one I am considering is a model 10, the other is a model 5. Thanks.

Steve
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Re: Alcoa Wheels
Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:17 am


Hi Steve.

First of all, you only need to buy 6 rims (you can run steel on the inside of the duals).

Lots of things to consider. First of all, you need to change the studs to accommodate the thicker rim. That will set you back at least a couple of C notes (studs are expensive and have to pressed in for the front and bogie hubs).

Next, you need to decide if you want to go after used wheels. If you do, there are two mounting systems. The first is hub piloted. The second is stud piloted (often called "bud rims"). I don't know of any Eagles that had hub piloted wheels.

As i recall, new rims are well into the $300 range. Used can be found in the low $100 range. I went used for the rear axles and new for the front.

You have to be very careful with used. Aluminum wheels crack in the mounting bolt circle - especially for over-torqued bud wheels . I had one crack radially, which is usual. Used wheels generally come from wrecked trucks and they may have been overloaded during the wreck. That is why I will only use new on the front.

The other choice you might have is wheel diameter 22.5 vs 24.5. You will get varied opinions as to which way to go. If the tires are good on the coach you get, that will make the diameter choice for you - maybe. If the tires are close to the 7 year limit (DOT limit for recapping), you may want to sell them to a trucker and start with new tires. If they are over 7 years old (code date conversion is available on many sites), they still have a pretty good value for trailer tires. I think folks are getting over $100 for used tires less than 7 years old.

Jim
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
'85 Eagle 10 with Series 60 & Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission - not at all fancy, but fully functional
Bus Project pages: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog: http://beltguy.com/blog/
Email: jim@eaglesinternational.net (Please email me rather than use the PM process)
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Re: Alcoa Wheels
Mon Dec 01, 2008 10:02 am


Jim,

Great info as always, one question always leads to more. Back when I was running the transit operation, we had one bus that made a long run for commuters. On this bus (it was a lease) there were two different types of wheels. I wish I could remember what types they were but I has my hands full with employees! One of the wheels cracked and our mechanics said it was dissimilar metals. Ever heard of something like this?

Steve
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Re: Alcoa Wheels
Mon Dec 01, 2008 10:48 am


I would like to know if there is an advantage to having aluminium wheels vs steel?I know how much a pain in the rear they are to keep clean(alum)but what about MPG"S ,do the steel wheels require more power to turn with it's heavier mass?thanx 8-)
van
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Re: Alcoa Wheels
Mon Dec 01, 2008 10:57 am


Steve, I would strongly question cracking supposedly caused by different metals in contact.

First, dis-similar metals set up a battery like cell in the presence of water or some other liquid. That is called galvanic corrosion. It can eat away at metal, but does not cause cracking that I am aware of. I guess it could cause some "un-even" corrosion that could lead to a stress riser, but I have never heard of that in the real world.

Some folks put a plastic spacer between the steel and aluminum wheel on the drive axle to minimize the problem. I don't think mine has that.

Next consider that all studs and nuts are steel and the drum is cast iron. So, there is no way that the aluminum is "isolated".

Some materials are prone to cracking from stress risers (deep scratches) in the rim. The old real magnesium wheels were that way. Aluminum wheels are not that prone to stress riser cracks (take a look at some of the damage from hitting curbs on trucks and you will not find cracking.

Another issue in the old days was cast vs forged rims. Cast rims were just plain bad. They cracked easily and often had foreign inclusions in the casting. All truck wheels today are forged and are very robust. Having said that, all parts that undergo cyclic loading will fail by a fatigue mechanism sometime. Even steel wheels fatigue and crack at some point in time (fortunately, generally well beyond a reasonable use life).

All of the cracking issues I have been able to research have been caused by overloading. This is almost always a result of over-torquing the studs on a stud mounted wheel, or overloading due to a wreck or really hard impact with an object.

Jim
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
'85 Eagle 10 with Series 60 & Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission - not at all fancy, but fully functional
Bus Project pages: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog: http://beltguy.com/blog/
Email: jim@eaglesinternational.net (Please email me rather than use the PM process)
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Re: Alcoa Wheels
Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:09 am


Van, the three reasons that aluminum wheels are used are: 1) lighter weight - lets truckers carry more cargo 2)very true running - steel wheels can be significantly out or round or have wobble from the factory and can get worse with rough usage 3)they LOOK GOOD :D. Some folks will talk about reducing the unsprung weight and the positive affect it would have on handling. That is true, on a race car, but just not the case with a truck or bus because of the huge unsprung weight of all of the components.

When you order a new truck or bus, the difference in cost of the wheel is pretty small, so most folks go that way (except the LTL trucks that cut every corner).

If you find someone that tells you that they have improved their fuel economy by going to aluminum, be sure not to ask if they have a bridge for sale :lol: If they somehow believe it is true and say that they can prove it, my guess is that they changed to different tires and that might make a very small difference in fuel economy.

Jim
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
'85 Eagle 10 with Series 60 & Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission - not at all fancy, but fully functional
Bus Project pages: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog: http://beltguy.com/blog/
Email: jim@eaglesinternational.net (Please email me rather than use the PM process)
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beltguy
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