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Old 07-13-2018, 02:32 AM   #1
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Default What's the importance of alumunim wheels on your RV

OK, OK... maybe you're concerned about excess weight??

Someone told me it's a savings of 30 pounds... per wheel

On a 6 wheel RV like my RS … that's 210 pounds even if you include the full spare as a 7th wheel I'm carrying on the rig...

I can see if you're spending a lot of time in areas with rust or live there and you're coach is driven where they salt the roads in the winter?

But, in Southern California... where there's NO rust…?

Is this really an issue? And, would you really expect the handling to be that much different?

And fuel economy? I would not worry about that, an extra 210 pounds is not going to change your overall MPG that much.....

SO... given the choice to change all the wheels to aluminum.. I would skip it.. What do you think??
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:44 AM   #2
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I bought our van with Al wheels ….. and …. I like it ….. a lot.
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Old 07-13-2018, 03:09 AM   #3
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Our van came with aluminum wheels, as well. I consider it a purely cosmetic upgrade and think it dresses-up the van nicely...
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Old 07-13-2018, 03:51 AM   #4
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Default Understood.... they're nice being all aluminum

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Our van came with aluminum wheels, as well. I consider it a purely cosmetic upgrade and think it dresses-up the van nicely...

Yes, I think it's very nice but my wheels look pretty good....

Here's a couple of pictures of my rig....
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Old 07-13-2018, 05:40 AM   #5
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They save weight at the single most important place — on the wheels that spin and transfer power to the ground. I don’t know the ratio, but I bet pound for pound the lighter wheels are worth multiples of the pounds anywhere else in terms of fuel economy. But they look good too...
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:46 AM   #6
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Default Agreed... they look great.

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They save weight at the single most important place — on the wheels that spin and transfer power to the ground. I don’t know the ratio, but I bet pound for pound the lighter wheels are worth multiples of the pounds anywhere else in terms of fuel economy. But they look good too...

Ken,

Look... weight is weight... whether it's on the wheels, the rig, or anywhere...it all adds up.

I had my rig weighed and I'm under the limit for the front and rear axle separately....

By the way...you have the 2013 Sprinter RS...how often do you get your transmission fluid changed and serviced?????

I sent you some private messages in the past...did you get them??

---MARK
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:54 AM   #7
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Ken,
Look... weight is weight... whether it's on the wheels, the rig, or anywhere...it all adds up.
I had my rig weighed and I'm under the limit for the front and rear axle separately....
By the way...you have the 2013 Sprinter RS...how often do you get your transmission fluid changed and serviced?????
I sent you some private messages in the past...did you get them??
---MARK
Except wheels need to spin as already stated in the previous post.
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Old 07-13-2018, 07:01 AM   #8
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They save weight at the single most important place — on the wheels that spin and transfer power to the ground. I don’t know the ratio, but I bet pound for pound the lighter wheels are worth multiples of the pounds anywhere else in terms of fuel economy. But they look good too...
Aluminum wheels reduce unsprung weight, probably act as a better tiire heat sink than steel wheels and many have apertures that promote disc brake cooling.

This doesn't get much press but I think it's important when choosing after market wheels that they have similar if not identical offset and back spacing. Our 210 PC aluminum wheels are a flagrant violation of that rule. The stock Chevy wheels have a 23 millimeter positive offset while the aluminum wheels have a 6 millimeter negative offset which pushes the wheels and tires out about 1 1/4 inches from factory specs presumably to improve aesthetics for the wide body rear section, and while it may look better, it's at the cost of increased tire scrubbing, adverse handling characteristics and and increased wheel bearing loads. Wheel offset is a critical part of factory suspension engineering and IMO it's a mistake to mess around with it.
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Old 07-13-2018, 07:47 AM   #9
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Ken,

By the way...you have the 2013 Sprinter RS...how often do you get your transmission fluid changed and serviced?????



I sent you some private messages in the past...did you get them??



---MARK

We are following MB service recommendations. We are at ~45k miles. I don’t recall right now if we have had recommended service on the transmission fluids. I will check.

I did get your PMs
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Look... weight is weight... whether it's on the wheels, the rig, or anywhere...
Weight is most certainly NOT weight. George mentioned rotational weight, and Cruising mentioned unsprung weight. Both are correct.

Rotational weight (tires, wheels, driveshaft, etc) affect fuel economy because it needs to be accelerated and decelerated TWICE: linearly (just like the rest of the vehicle), but also ROTATIONALLY. Rotational weight contributes two to three times as much to fuel consumption as non-rotational weight.

Unsprung weight (tires, wheels, axles, bearings, often brakes, etc) does not as such affect fuel milage, but it behaves very differently from sprung weight on rough roads, and thus smoothness of ride. Most (but not all) of these effects are negative.
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:21 PM   #11
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When it come store vehicle dynamics, there is "sprung wt" and "Unsprung wt" and the effects on several aspects of performance are not the same.

Wheels are part of the "Unsprung wt." and it is generally desirable to keep this as low as practicable - hence development of alloy wheels for sportier applications.

Lower unsprung weight with lighter wheels stay in better contact with the road surface and also require less HP in spinning up or down to speed when accelerating and braking.

All sort of technical and perhaps not terribly relevant in the case of camping vans!


I ordered mine with aluminum wheels just because I like the look!

They are not without problems when in comes to corrosion though - aluminum and road
salt are not good friends.

If aluminum wheels are clear coated, then at any point where the clear coating gets compromised you can get what is called "Filiform" corrosion whereby corrosion works its way under the clear coat with the appearance of wiggly white worms.

A problem also with planes and Airstream trailers - even ones only a couple of years old! On the trailers, filiform corrosion can start any place the clear coating is compromised such as cut edges, punched rivet holes etc.

It is really mostly a cosmetic issue but a big deal for Airstream owners !

I had Alcoa wheels on our Airstream - no clear coat and no filiform corrosion, but they did need a good dose of elbow grease every few years to keep them nice and shiny!

Our PW will also have Alcoa brand wheels and I am hoping that they are still a non-coated wheel !

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Old 07-13-2018, 02:14 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Roadtrek Adventuous RS1 View Post
Ken,

Look... weight is weight... whether it's on the wheels, the rig, or anywhere...it all adds up.

. . .

---MARK


Google "Unsprung weight" . . . and why it is so bad?



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Old 07-13-2018, 03:38 PM   #13
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I like the look of the aluminum wheels, but really don't care for the upkeep on them. Coated ones can be better, or worse, than uncoated depending on conditions, especially salt and brake dust. When we had our hotrod, I put on a beautiful set of Weld Wheel forged, uncoated, wheels and even on an occasional nice weather driver they were a pain to keep looking nice. We found the same to be true of the AR wheels on our Chevy Roadtrek, even before the change to semi-metallic brake pads which are much more dirty.


The Chevy aluminum wheels from Roadtrek (AR23) are the wrong offset, so we wanted to change them anyway for that reason, and as it turned out the only wheels we could get that were the correct offset and wider than stock for bigger tires were steel wheels. I painted them nicely, although the extreme brake heat the vans generate has been hard on the paint. Still much easier to keep decent than the aluminums were. Next time we need tires, I will get the wheels powdercoated with high temp powder, which should be far and away the easiest to take care of.


The steel wheels do have some advantages like holding lug nut torque better without periodic retorqueing and they definitely absorb rock hits and such better. For a heavy hauling van like an RV, the steel wheels are more practical, I think.



I didn't weigh both versions, but putting them on and off they feel similar, and in heavy vehicles unsprung weight seems to be much less issue than it light sporty vehicles.
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Old 07-13-2018, 05:35 PM   #14
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Default 210 pounds .....

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Weight is most certainly NOT weight. George mentioned rotational weight, and Cruising mentioned unsprung weight. Both are correct.

Rotational weight (tires, wheels, driveshaft, etc) affect fuel economy because it needs to be accelerated and decelerated TWICE: linearly (just like the rest of the vehicle), but also ROTATIONALLY. Rotational weight contributes two to three times as much to fuel consumption as non-rotational weight.

Unsprung weight (tires, wheels, axles, bearings, often brakes, etc) does not as such affect fuel milage, but it behaves very differently from sprung weight on rough roads, and thus smoothness of ride. Most (but not all) of these effects are negative.

We're talking 210 pounds... total including the spare tire underneath the vehicle....

You really think its worth changing all my wheels for this....? REALLY?

I say if it's not broken... don't fix it...

The diesel engine doesn't have any difficulties moving the vehicle ..... especially at low speeds...once you are rolling the effect of all this stuff goes way down....

Tell me ...is this NOT true????
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Old 07-13-2018, 05:44 PM   #15
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It seems you already made the decision to stay with steel, so what is your question, REALLY, chat?
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Old 07-13-2018, 05:55 PM   #16
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Default Thank for your comments on this .... very appreciated

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I like the look of the aluminum wheels, but really don't care for the upkeep on them. Coated ones can be better, or worse, than uncoated depending on conditions, especially salt and brake dust. When we had our hotrod, I put on a beautiful set of Weld Wheel forged, uncoated, wheels and even on an occasional nice weather driver they were a pain to keep looking nice. We found the same to be true of the AR wheels on our Chevy Roadtrek, even before the change to semi-metallic brake pads which are much more dirty.


The Chevy aluminum wheels from Roadtrek (AR23) are the wrong offset, so we wanted to change them anyway for that reason, and as it turned out the only wheels we could get that were the correct offset and wider than stock for bigger tires were steel wheels. I painted them nicely, although the extreme brake heat the vans generate has been hard on the paint. Still much easier to keep decent than the aluminums were. Next time we need tires, I will get the wheels powdercoated with high temp powder, which should be far and away the easiest to take care of.



I didn't weigh both versions, but putting them on and off they feel similar, and in heavy vehicles unsprung weight seems to be much less issue than it light sporty vehicles.

You wrote below


"The steel wheels do have some advantages like holding lug nut torque better without periodic retorqueing and they definitely absorb rock hits and such better. For a heavy hauling van like an RV, the steel wheels are more practical, I think.
"

I would like to think that I have many more things to worry about than steel vs. aluminum wheels....

And the RS Adventurous is VERY HEAVY vehicle........
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:10 PM   #17
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Default George...did your rig come with aluminum wheels???

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It seems you already made the decision to stay with steel, so what is your question, REALLY, chat?
I think you mentioned that.... correct???

Here's my question to you..... would you pay hundreds of dollars to change them all to aluminum if they were standard steel wheels on your rig.?

I have beautiful aluminum polished rims.... they are very nice....

NO... probably won't do anything about it.... unless it's necessary....
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:38 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Roadtrek Adventuous RS1 View Post
I think you mentioned that.... correct???

Here's my question to you..... would you pay hundreds of dollars to change them all to aluminum if they were standard steel wheels on your rig.?

I have beautiful aluminum polished rims.... they are very nice....

NO... probably won't do anything about it.... unless it's necessary....
I purchase the new van with Al wheels….. If you have a hard time to decide ….. I would suggest to develop a decision matrix ….. with wants, ….. musts, and numerical ranking …. and …. rating to help you …. to decide this ….. important decision for you. Otherwise ….. it seems as …. ANALISYS …. PARALISYS …. SYNDROME.
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Old 07-13-2018, 08:04 PM   #19
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Default There's nothing to decide.. I was just asking what's importance of aluminum wheels

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I purchase the new van with Al wheels….. If you have a hard time to decide ….. I would suggest to develop a decision matrix ….. with wants, ….. musts, and numerical ranking …. and …. rating to help you …. to decide this ….. important decision for you. Otherwise ….. it seems as …. ANALISYS …. PARALISYS …. SYNDROME.
Hi George,

Look... enjoy your RV.. I saw the pictures and see that you have or someone has taken a Sprinter 2500 and built it with insulation and your floor plan ... it's a very nice van.

It's also 7,800 pounds fully loaded as you described, 144 inch wheelbase My vehicle is considerably heavier.... it's a 3500 , dual wheels on a 170 inch wheelbase.. a lot more weight...

I was just CURIOUS... why people would use the aluminum wheels, that's all, there's nothing for me to decide here.. I do have aluminum wheels on my Subaru Outback, and they are very NICE.. I don't do anything to those wheels, just wash the car... AND, no rust issues in Los Angeles.

IF I had your rig with the steel wheels, I might consider changing them if weight became an issue... I don't have any weight issues.

Typically on a Class B, it's more about SPACE than weight, but, I certainly do know at least one person with a Class B who does have a weight problem.
Maybe I'll take the information I learned here and share that with them.

Any reduction in weight for someone close to the edge is an improvement.

Cheers,

--Mark
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Old 07-13-2018, 08:36 PM   #20
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Please remember that folks are talking about multiple "kinds" of weight here, and mixing up some of the stuff that goes with that, I think.


Weight of the wheels is apparently being used toward the total GVWR of the vehicle, which is a factor as it is weight, but it doesn't have as much effect on as many things as weight of cargo, etc, because it is not sprung weight--it is only seen by the axle ends and tires.


The wheel weight is also being referred to as unsprung weight, which is how the above is explained, and unsprung weight is any weight not supported by the suspension. Unsprung weight can affect the wheel bounce, shock response, wheel bounce, etc. For big vans I don't see it as much of an issue, though.


The rotational mass alluded to is what uses extra energy to accelerate or decelerate an item in rotation and heavy stuff is harder to speed up and slow down. Again compared to the mass of the van itself, I think a small issue.


Personally, on a big van, I think the most important thing to consider with the weight of the wheels and tires is if they get too heavy for you to readily put the wheels on and off, if you do that yourself. The other stuff would likely not show a difference for 98% of drivers.
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