"why Wheels Are More Than Just The Tire Holders" - Hyundai Aftermarket

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"why Wheels Are More Than Just The Tire Holders"

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"why Wheels Are More Than Just The Tire Holders"

Old 11-23-2006, 04:52 PM
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Okay. I just wanted to write this article that I found on Modified Mag in the December edition for people that dont know

about raceing (lightweight) wheels and say that they are just a waste of money. It also describes on how wheels are made and the different methods, so have fun reading the WHOLE thing. It's good info.


Wheels are everywhere - on trains, planes, and automobiles, on your favorite childhood toys, and even on the office chairs some of us spend our adult lives attached to. Yet the wheel is an invention most of us take for granted, despite the huge role this simple piece of technology plays in our daily lives. The wheel is such a pivotal human invention that many historians have argued that it gave birth to modern civilization, the earliest examples coming from Mesopotamia over 7,000 years ago.

In the spocom world, wheels are important on a number of levels - they can make or break the way your car looks. And even more importantly, if you want some go to match the show, the right set of wheels can have huge performance advantages. Most people understand that the lighter you car is the easier it is for your engine to accelerate it, so lighter wheels must be better than heavier ones, but the truthis there are many advantages to equipping your car with well-engineered wheels that are not only lightweight but also strong enough to absorb the stresses high performance driving puts on them and in the process optimize cornering, acceleration and braking.

"Get A Grip"
One of the reasons wheel weight is so important to a vehicle's road holding ability relates to something called 'unsprung weight'. Unsprung weight refers to that portion of a vehicle that is not supported by the suspension, most importantly the suspension arms, wheels, tires and brakes. These unsupported or unsprung components are therefore the most susceptible to road shock and cornering forces. By reducing the weight of these unsprung components, the vehicle's suspension will be freed to do it job more effectively. In other words, the lower the sprung-to-unpsrung weight ratio is, the better the driving characteristics the car will have, making the machine easier for the driver to control at or near its limit of edhesion (or gtrip). So equipping your car with lightweight wheels will go a long way to improving the sprung-to-unsprung weight ration and in the process liberating performance potential.

But a wheel's weight is only one way it can help improved cornering ability. the strength and overall design of the wheels are also critical factors. "Certain wheel designs absorb load and stress and redirect those forces throughout the wheel better than other designs" says Ron Escue of Enkei Wheels. The higher the speeds and related stress factors, the greater the potential for distortion. Minimized and reduced distortion equated to improved handling. Wheels that incorporate these characteristics routinely allow the qualified driver to drive into the corner faster, brake later, and accelerate sooner." When we asked Edward Lee at Mickin Industries, the official US distributor for RAYS Engineering, about wheel construction he had thist to say - "With RAYS well established as a leader in lightness and durability, we started to focus on other attributes such as flexing and stiffness. This is a direct result of our feedback from world data that is combined with our simulation software and FEA analysis to create wheels with superior structural rigidity."

"Laying Rubber"
Another advantage to lightweight and well-constructed wheels is improved acceleration. This is where rotating mass and rotational inertia become very important. These are more complicated concepts than unsprung weight, but to summarize in the simplest terms possible, the more mass an object has, the more energy it takes to accelerate it. To accelerate a rolling object such as a wheel, you must both accelerate its mass and overcome its rotational inertia (or its resistance to begin rolling). What this means in terms of wheels for you car is, the lighter your wheels are the easier it is for your engine to accelerate, given that each pund of rotational mass you can eliminate is equivalent to 10 lbs of weight reduction elswhere on the car. So if you replace those heavy OE wheels with a set of lightweight aftermarket rims that save five lbs per wheel or a total of 20 lbs of rotational mass, you've just achieved the equivalent of chopping off 200 lbs elsewhere on your car. We all know how expensive it is to take 200 lbs out of a car with things like carbon fiber panels, so when you look at it from this perspective, investing in lightweight wheels starts to really add up very favorably.

"Sopping On A Dime"
As for braking, again we return to rotational inertia and the braking force required to decelerate a rotating object's mass. As you may recall from science class, "an object in motion wants to stay in motion". In other words, momentum (or inertia) is a b**** and slowing a heavy roller is a lot harder than slowing a lightweight one. Since deceleration (or braking) is simply the opposite of acceleration, all of the advantages associated with lightweight wheels under acceleration apply equally well to braking. One often overlooked element of braking as it relates to wheels is the fact that alloy wheels are also excelent heat conductores, prividing an additional source of heat dissipation for the braking system. Further improving colling and reducing the likelihood of brake fade, well-designed wheels can also provide improved airflow to the brakes.

"Built For Speed"
The two main alloy wheel manufacturing methods are (1) casting and (2) forging. Casting is a relatively inexpensive way to produce a strong and reasonably lightweight wheel and is by far the most frequently used method today. Of the available casting mothods, the most widely used thechnique (ie. most OE wheels) is called low-pressure casting, where positive pressure is used to push molten or liquid alloy into a mould. High-pressure casting is another option, a process requiring specialized equipment that pulls the molten metal into a mould using a high-pressure vacuum, eliminating much of the trapped air found low-pressure cast wheels, resulting in a wheel that is both lighter and stronger due to the higher desity material achieved through this process. There has also been recent innovations in wheel manufacturing complexity or cost associated with forging.

But to truly achieve the ultimate in strong lightweight wheels, forging remains the preferred technique. The forging process usses intense heat and extemely high pressure to transorm a solig slug of alloy material (ie. a block of billet aluminum) into the final shape of the wheel. As much as 13 million pounds of pressure is used in this process, squeezing the heated billet core between the forging dies, creating a finished product that is remarkably dense and strong. Once a forged wheel is spun to the desired size and shape, in some cases the final design is then machined into the face using CNC mills, adding the cosmetics and the bolt circle and center bore. However, milling the design into a forged center can create interruptions in the grain of the alloy that reduce rigidity and resistance to impacts. The alternative is mold forging, a technically difficult and extremely expensive process that very few companies worldwide are equipped for, but this technology does enable production of the lightest and strongest wheels on the market today. RAYS Engineering uses mold forging when producing their top-of-the-line Volk Racing pruducts, a process they pair with their patented RM spin forging process, explained here by Edward Lee of Mackin Industries. "RAYS mold forging process utilizes a 10,000 ton forging press (the only one in Japan) to initiate the forming of the center. Then the RM forging process will forge the rim section and finish the forging of the center in one amazing process. This is what allows RAYS to produce forged wheels with continuous metal flow that ensures durability and rigidity in a lightweight design. This process also allows RAYS to manufacture foged wheels with intricate designes and hard to achive draft angles." The final steps in creating forged wheels often include techniques like shot-peening, heat treatments and age-hardening as well as quality control measures such as hardness testers, x-ray machines, and even eddy current testers to ensure that the structure of the alloy is free from flaws or imperfections that might compromise performance.

Now that we've sumarized the manufacturing process as well as the performance benefits associated with top notch alloy wheels, it's up to you to decide which wheels fit your needs, and budget the best. If you're more interested in the look and style of your rims, rather than how they affect performance, a one-piece cast wheel designed to suit your taste is likely to be a good fit since these can be built relatively inexpensive and should therefore be easier on your pocketbook. But if you're looking for wheels that will allow your car to perform a its best on the street, up the quarter mile strip, or around your favorite road course, you'll want to bolt on a set of the lightest and strongest wheels your budget can handle. This could mean a set of mold forged or multi-pice forged rims from a company with a reputation for making wheels that can take the repeated punishment associated with track use, or it could mean opting for a more affordable and slightly heavier and less rigid set of high quality cast wheels that won't require as large a financial commitment. You should also consider the reputation of the vendor you're buying from - do they have a track record of happy customers and speedy service, or are you likely to get the cold shoulder if your wheels show up on your front door step looking like they spent a few weeks on the front lines in Iraq.

In our view it's always wise to buy the best wheels you can possibly afford and to order them from a well-established and reputable source, rather than trying to save a few bucks. Wheels are, after all, one of the most important components on your car given their impact on both style and performance. If you're going to upgrade, di it once and do it right.

SOURCEBOX

Mackin Industries
W: www.mackinindustries.com

Enkei Int'l. Inc.
W: www.enkei.com

Well I hope this was of help. I dont know if Mods, and Admins. want to put it somewere so that people that usually have questions on what wheels to buy or something. I just felt I needed to shair this.

Thanks,
LNHeart
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Old 11-23-2006, 08:05 PM
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i'm thinking someone should make this a sticky-... good find! lots of useful info. lightweight lugnuts here i come!
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Old 11-24-2006, 02:08 AM
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Yeah I know bro. Just that it's up to the administrators and moderators to decide that. It's good for the people that dont know about this.
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Old 11-24-2006, 05:10 AM
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I agree.. I will have to edit it later for punctuation and spelling mistakes.. but it is very good info.
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Old 11-24-2006, 01:10 PM
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^^ LOL, cool Thanks Mad_Machine. I took it all out of the magazine and I wrote it on NOTE pad since I don't have WORD... and i was kinda in a hurry.

Thanks, again! hail.gif
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