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Old 07-26-2006, 05:12 AM   #1
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Everything you ever wanted to know about wheels

**Originally posted by "Marvinmycat" on Stangnet.com**

One of the most popular improvements Mustang owners make is to replace their existing rims. Weather it is to improve the performance of their cars, to improve the looks of their rides, or both, this extensive explanation of performance rims should help owners decide what rims would best suit their needs.

High Performance Wheels
High performance wheels are available for most applications to both improve the appearance of a vehicle and complement the performance of replacement tires.

To assure correct fitment, proper replacement wheel size, dimension, and load-carrying capacity are critical. Always consult the wheel manufacturer/distributor's literature to verify that the desired wheel and tire combination is an acceptable application for the vehicle.

Wheel Width
Choosing the wheel's width is important in assuring customer satisfaction and to correct fitment, the wheel's width also influences handling and ride quality. Always choose a rim width within the range of the tire's acceptable rim width specifications.
  • Choosing a wider rim: increases vehicular stability, steering response and cornering ability. A rule of thumb is to use a rim width 90% as wide as the tread width (not section width) of a performance tire for street applications. This provides a good balance between performance and ride quality. Always be sure that the chosen rim width is within the tire's range of acceptable rim width specifications.
  • Choosing a narrow rim: results in an improvement in ride quality, but may sacrifice the tire's ultimate performance capabilities.
  • Choosing a mid-range rim width: provides a balance between handling capabilities and ride quality.
An example of a proper application would be to use a 15" x 6" wheel for a 205/70VR15 tire. Never attempt to mix millimetric wheels and tires with standard inch wheels and tires. An improper application would be mounting a 200/60R390 size tire on any 15" wheel. A 390mm tire is designed to fit on a wheel with a diameter of approximately 15.35" with a non-standard bead seat.

According to RMA guidelines, there is a danger in installing a tire of one rim diameter on a rim of a different rim diameter. Always replace a tire on a rim with another tire of exactly the same rim diameter designation and suffix letters. For example: a 16" tire goes with a 16" rim. Never mount a 16" size diameter tire on a 16.5" rim. While it is possible to pass a 16" diameter tire over the lip or flange of a 16.5" size diameter rim, it cannot be inflated enough to position itself against the rim flange. If an attempt is made to seat the tire bead by inflating, the tire bead will break with explosive force and could cause serious injury or death.

Wheel Backspace
The following are various high performance wheel measurements that play an important role in determining tire and wheel fitment:

The distance from the back edge of the wheel to the hub-mounting surface. To determine the wheel backspace:
  1. Position the wheel face down.
  2. Lay a straightedge across the back of the wheel. Measure the distance from the straightedge to the wheel's hub mounting surface.
Wheel Offset
The wheel's offset is the distance from its hub-mounting surface to the centerline of the wheel. The offset of a wheel can be one of three settings:
  • Zero offset: The hub-mounting surface is even with the centerline of the wheel.
  • Positive offset: The hub-mounting surface is toward the front or wheel side of the wheel. Positive offset wheels are generally found on front-wheel drive cars.
  • Negative offset: The hub-mounting surface is toward the back or brake side of the wheel's centerline. "Deep dish" wheels are typically negative offset.
Offset can be calculated by positioning the wheel on a flat surface and measuring its overall width. Subtract the backspace, and divide by two.

Offset = (Width - Backspace) 2

Bolt Circle
When considering custom wheels for a specific application, it is imperative that the wheel's bolt circle matches that of the intended vehicle. The bolt circle is the diameter of an imaginary circle formed by the centers of the wheel lugs. The bolt circle reference is designed to accommodate 4-, 5-, 6- and 8-lug patterns. A bolt circle marked 5-100 (Chevrolet Cavalier, for example) indicates a 5-lug pattern with a diameter of 100mm. Consult the rim manufacturer's literature for bolt circle information for each application. If there is no information available, you may need to calculate the bolt circle.
  • 4-, 6-, or 8-lug patterns:
    Record the distance between the centers of two holes directly opposite one another.
  • 5-lug pattern:
    Estimate by measuring from the center of one hole to the far side (outside, not center) of a non-adjacent hole. The diagram below illustrates the proper measuring methods.
Hub-Centricity vs. Lug-Centricity

Another important consideration in the proper selection of custom wheels is the concept of hub-centricity. This refers to a situation where the center borehole of the wheel exactly matches the vehicle's hub diameter. In other words, if the vehicle's hub diameter is 56mm (e.g., Acura Integra), the wheel's center borehole should be designed to match it perfectly.

When automobile manufacturers design a vehicle, they utilize hub-centric wheels so that:
  • The wheels are positioned very precisely on the car.
  • The possibility of shifting while being mounted is minimized.

  • The alternative to a hub-centric wheel is known as lug-centric.
  • The wheels are located solely by the lug nuts rather the the wheel hub.
  • As the lug nuts are tightened, they adjust the wheel's position relative to the hub, thus centering the wheel.
  • Properly torqued, the lug nuts continue to keep the wheel centered as the vehicle is driven.Lug-centric wheels require extra care in mounting on a vehicle. When using shouldered nuts instead of tapered nuts, take extra care to properly locate the wheel. Never use air tools to install high performance wheels! Always use a torque wrench and follow accepted tightening procedures.
Rim/Wheel Widths

Each tire has a specific rim width range on which the tire can be mounted. Failure to follow rim width recommendations may result in poor tire performance or possible wheel and/or tire failure.
Below is a quick reference chart listing each tire size and the acceptable rim widths for that size. (The chart does not show all sizes, but gives a good example) Choosing a wheel near the middle of the range will give a balance between ride quality and handling. A wider wheel will improve handling at the expense of ride quality, while a narrower wheel will improve ride quality at the expense of handling. Consider these compromises when selecting wheels.

Metric Rim Widths
Aspect Ratio
Metric Size Designations
Approved Rim Width Ranges
35 Series275/35R179.0-10.5
40 Series285/40R1511.0-13.5
45 Series195/40R156.5-7.5
50 Series175/50R135.0-6.0
55 Series205/55R145.5-7.5
60 Series 185/60R135.0-6.5
65 Series 185/65R155.0-6.5
70 Series 165/70R104.5-5.5
82 Series 155R124.0-5.0

P-Metric Rim Width
Aspect Ratio
Metric Size Designations
Approved Rim Width Ranges
75 Series P205/75R155.5-7.5
80 Series P155/80R134.5-5.5
35 Series P315/35R1710.0-12.0
40 Series P275/40R178.5-10.0
50 Series P215/50R135.5-8.5

Plus Sizing

What is "Inch Up"?
"Inch Up" is the process of mounting a lower aspect ratio tire and larger diameter wheel on your car. This creates a larger contact patch and a shorter sidewall.

Why "Inch Up"?
"Inch Up" to improve your vehicle's performance and appearance.
  • Increased Steering Response
  • Improved Dry Handling
  • Enhanced Cornering Ability
  • Aggressive Good Looks
"Inch Up" may be done in several ways. The most popular are:
  • Plus Zero - This method utilizes the same wheel diameter as OE, but incorporates a tire with a larger than OE section width and smaller than OE aspect ratio. For example, replacing an OE 175/70R14 tire (on a 5.5-inch wheel) with a 195/60R14 tire would be a proper Plus Zero fitment. Note that this may require a replacement wheel to maintain proper rim width for the new tire.
  • Plus One - This method utilizes a one-inch larger diameter wheel, in conjunction with a tire of a one-step lower aspect ratio. An example of an appropriate Plus One fitment is to replace an OE 175/70R13 tire (23-inch overall diameter) with a 185/60R14 tire (22.9-inch overall diameter). Note that this method always requires a replacement wheel.
  • Plus Two - This method utilizes a two-inch larger diameter wheel, in conjunction with a tire of a two-step lower aspect ratio. An example of an appropriate Plus Two fitment is to replace an OE 175/70R13 tire (23-inch overall diameter) with a 195/50R15 tire (22.8-inch overall diameter).

    When changing to a non-OE tire size, always consult the load/inflation charts to determine proper inflation pressure to maintain OE load-carrying capacity.

Wheel Care


Wheels require care to maintain their factory finish. Typical road soils trap moisture that can cause corrosion over a period of time. Brake dust, caused by friction of your car's braking system, is itself corrosive and can cause pitting of the wheels finish. These soils must be removed regularly, possibly weekly, depending on your driving habits. Your wheels finish should be treated as you would treat the finish of your car. Mild dish soap and water is all you need to properly clean your wheels. Other household cleaning agents are too harsh for the finish on your wheels and must be avoided. There are also a vast number of commercially available wheel cleaners on the market today, but we urge extreme caution regarding their use, since they tend to be acid or lye based.

Additional Tips: Never clean wheels when they are hot. Never spray cold water on extremely hot wheels. Always allow time to cool before cleaning with soap and water. To prevent scratching of the wheels' finish, never clean your wheels with scouring pads. If you use automatic car washes, tell them not to use steam cleaners or strong chemicals to clean your wheels. They can cause permanent staining or corrosion. Use caution when cleaning tires with steel wool or a bristle brush. These types of abrasive materials must not come in contact with the wheels. Never allow any harsh chemicals or tire cleaner to come in contact with the wheels, as they can damage the appearance of the wheel permanently.

Chrome Steel Wheels: Surface corrosion or rust can be prevented with proper care and is not usually covered under any warranty. NOTE: This does not apply to clear-coated chrome plated steel wheels. Clean with mild dish soap and water and dry with a soft cloth. After cleaning, always apply a coat of soft nonabrasive cream wax to prevent surface corrosion.

Clear Coated Aluminum Wheels: Clean with mild dish soap and water and dry with a soft cloth.

Polished Aluminum Wheels: The finish on polished wheels is not covered under any warranty. This type of non-clear coated wheel finish requires additional care and maintenance to keep the luxurious factory shine. The finish will diminish naturally without proper and constant maintenance. Polished wheels should be cleaned with mild soap and water and dried with a soft cloth. Then use a good quality custom wheel polish and wheel seal to bring back the shine to oxidized wheels. The wheel seal is an effective brake dust-releasing agent and will reduce polishing frequency. (Do not use on clear-coated wheels!)

Chrome Plated Aluminum Wheels: Clean with mild dish soap and water and dry with a soft cloth. Use a premium grade Custom Wheel seal to reduce cleaning frequency and protect the chromed wheel surface.

Wheel Installation Instructions

Recommended Aftermarket Wheel Installation Procedures

Read your Owner's Manual and the following installation instructions and warnings before installing wheels.

Failure to comply with these instructions and warnings could cause an unsafe condition and result in serious injury or death to the installer and/or occupants of the vehicle.

Maximum Load Rating & Maximum Tire Diameter

It is recommended that the load rating of a wheel as determined by the wheel manufacturer, either by a stamp on the actual wheel or in the wheel manufacturer's literature, never be exceeded. If such a load rating is not available, it is recommended that the wheel not be used on vehicle. Wheel load rating requirements are determined by dividing the vehicle's heaviest gross axle weight rating (G.A.W.R.) by 2. The axle weight rating for most vehicles is shown on the identification label located on driver's side doorjamb, gas tank door, trunk lid or glove compartment. REGARDLESS OF THE TIRE'S MAXIMUM LOAD RATING, DO NOT EXCEED THE MAXIMUM LOAD RATING OF THE WHEEL.

Exceeding the maximum load rating or maximum tire diameter of the wheel is unsafe and could cause wheel failure, resulting in serious damage or injury. Each manufacturer has its own method of identifying a wheel's maximum load rating and tire diameter - check back of wheel.

Wheel Fit Check

Perform a Wheel Fit Check using the following steps before mounting tires. This check must be done at each wheel mounting location.
  1. Remove front wheels from vehicle.
  2. Wire brush wheel mounting surface and threaded studs on vehicle.
  3. Remove spring clip retainers, if applicable.
  4. Hold the new custom wheel on the hub and check for a flush mount of the wheel to the mounting surface of the vehicle. The backside of the wheel must not rest or touch brake drum balancing weights, any brake caliper, suspension component, balance weights, rivets or other obstructions. The mounting surface of the wheel must fit flush to the vehicle's hub mounting surface.

    Possible obstructions to check for: Brake Drum Balancing Weights, Spring Clip Retainers, Brake Drum Rivets

    Spring clip retainers are often overlooked and must be removed. If clips or other obstructions are not removed, they will not let the wheel sit flush against the mounting surface. This will give you a false torque reading, which could cause the lug nuts to become loose and result in loss of a wheel, contributing to serious damage or injury. Some manufacturers do not use spring clip retainers. This application has nuts that hold the brake assembly together. THESE NUTS MUST NOT BE REMOVED.
  5. Install three lug nuts finger tight and rotate the wheel to check caliper and suspension clearance and to find bent flanges or axles.
  6. Perform the same check for the remaining three wheels on the vehicle, starting in the rear.

    Modifications to the wheel or use of spacers or adapters to resolve clearance or fitment problems, become the installer's / modifier's responsibility.
Before installation, always make sure you have the correct lug nuts, wheel locks and center caps designed specifically for the wheel and application.

Center Caps

The two basic types of center caps are either inserted from the back or attached from the front. For the type inserted from the back, always make sure the flange of the cap matches the wheel's chamfer and is below the mounting surface of the wheel. If the flange of the cap protrudes beyond the mounting surface of the wheel, it will not let the wheel seat properly. If this happens, it will give you a false torque reading and the lug nuts may become loose, resulting in damage or injury.


Wheels and tires are clearly marked with their sizes. Take extra caution to make sure the wheel and tire match before mounting.
  1. Mount tire according to the tire machine's recommended procedures, including but not limited to eye protection.
  2. The tire manufacturer's rim width recommendations must be followed in wheel size selection. Reference: The Tire and Rim Association Year Book.
  3. Be sure the tire changing equipment does not grip or scrape the wheel's plated, painted or aluminum surfaces. Protect these surfaces by padding or other appropriate means.
  4. The hold-down cone normally used to hold an original equipment steel wheel in place on a tire-mounting machine should not be used on an aluminum wheel, unless the proper adapter is used. The Center hole on aluminum wheels will be damaged by this hold-down cone unless the proper adapter is used.
  5. Use approved tire-mounting lubricant. Lubricant should be liberally applied to both the tire bead and bead seat area of the wheel on both sides.
  6. Be careful that the bottom bead breaker on changing equipment does not hit the bottom of the wheels as it travels upwards. Aluminum wheels have thicker rim sections than steel wheels and the bottom bead breaker could hit the aluminum wheel, causing fracture or damage. If the bead breaker will hit the wheel, do not mount the tire until you have obtained the proper shims or other equipment from the tire changer manufacturer to overcome this potential problem.

  7. Do not exceed 40 pounds of pressure when seating the tire to the head of the rim. If tire bead does not seat on wheel with 40 pounds of pressure, DEFLATE, TURN 180 degrees, RELUBRICATE and check for tire/wheel size mismatch. In addition, never exceed the tire manufacturer's maximum air pressure in tire.

  8. Do not inflate the mounted tire with the center hold-down cone tightened on wheel. Loosen to let the tire expand but not completely remove. Never stand over tire/wheel assembly (the trajectory zone) during inflation. Always stand to the side.

Tire Clearance

Wheel manufacturer warranties do not cover tire to fender clearance or tire to suspension clearances. These clearances can be a problem and must be fit-checked before mounting all the tires. The following procedures must be followed:
  1. Mount one tire on a wheel intended for use on the front of the vehicle.
  2. Install the tire/wheel assembly on the front hub and with the vehicle still on the lift, turn the steering from extreme right to extreme left while checking for any interference with fender well or suspension components.
  3. Lower the vehicle and repeat Step 2 with the weight of the vehicle applied.
  4. Have someone bounce the front of the vehicle and check for tire rub. Do not put hands or fingers between tire and vehicle while checking.
  5. Mount one tire on a wheel intended for use on the rear of the vehicle.
  6. Install the tire/wheel assembly on the rear hub and check for interference, especially when on the ground and being bounced.

Balancing Wheels
  1. Balance tire/wheel assembly according to the balancing machine's recommended procedures including but not limited to eye protection.
  2. To reduce tire wear, road noise and vibration, it is highly recommended that all four wheels be balanced dynamically.
  3. Wheels are checked for lateral and radial run out before leaving the factory to minimize balancing problems. If you have problems balancing, review the instructions for wheel fit check. A suggested remedy to some balancing problems is to deflate the tire and rotate it approximately 180 degrees on the rim. Re-inflate the tire and rebalance.

Wheel Installation
  1. Clean and inspect all stud threads and mounting surfaces before installation. THREADS MUT NOT BE LUBRICATED, but must be free of corrosion, rust, burns, fractures and damaged threads. Replace studs if they are corroded, stripped or damaged, or if any fractures are found. Always use new lug nuts when installing new wheels.
  2. Check and be certain the approved lug nuts are correct for the application.

    Lug Nuts
    It is critical that the lug nut matches the thread diameter, pitch and seat, otherwise the installation will be improper, and may result in damage to your wheels and could cause a dangerous condition. The three basic types of lug nuts are: conical seat (60 degrees taper "acorn" and "bulge"), mag or shank style, and spherical or ball seat. Thread diameter refers to the diameter of the stud measured across the shank at the outer edges of the threads. Thread-pitch means either the number of threads per inch or if metric, the distance in millimeters between threads. The Seat means the area on the wheel where the lug nut will clamp down.

    Never use a conical seat lug nut/bolt on a mag or shank type lug seat and never use a mag or shank type lug nut/bolt on a conical seat. The two are not compatible and if installed incorrectly, the lug nuts may lose torque, possibly resulting in wheel loss or contributing to damage or injury. In addition, spherical or ball seat lug nuts/bolt must be used with spherical or ball seats. ONLY USE THE TYPE OF LUG NUT/BOLT COMPATIBLE WITH THE TYPE OF LUG SEAT.
  3. When placing the wheel on the studs, there may be an apparent looseness of fit until the lug nuts are applied.

  4. Check the lug nut thread engagement. Every stud must be long enough to thread into the lug nut a length at least equal to the stud diameter. For example, a 1/2" thread diameter must thread into the lug nut at least 1/2". Check for this problem on every stud, some may be of different lengths. Less than one stud thread diameter engagement is unsafe and will cause loss of lug nut torque. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE PROPER THREAD ENGAGEMENT, DO NOT INSTALL WHEELS.

  5. Do not allow the lug nut to bottom out on the stud or a mag shank to bottom out on the mounting surface. This is extremely dangerous and unsafe because the clamping force of the lug nut is not being applied to the wheel. Check for these problems on every stud, some may be different lengths. IF YOU FIND A PROBLEM, DO NOT INSTALL WHEELS.
  6. Lug nuts must be tightened in a star or crisscross pattern to ensure uniform pressure and alignment. Apply torque evenly by repeating star or crisscross pattern until desired torque is reached.

    During installation, gravity causes the wheel to rest upon the highest stud. If the wheel is clamped down off-center, it can be dangerous and damaging to your wheels and tires over time. Do not allow the wheel to "hang" on the studs during the initial tightening, make certain wheel is centered and wheel supported prior to tightening the lug nuts.

  7. It is recommended that you do not use air or impact wrenches to tighten lug nuts. A calibrated torque wrench should be used to ensure proper and safe installation.
  8. For original equipment wheels, use manufacturer specifications. For aftermarket, if there is not a wheel manufacturer's specification in the owner's manual, contact the vehicle manufacturer. In the event that neither the wheel nor vehicle manufacturer give you the specifications, the following may serve as a guideline for passenger cars and light-trucks only:

    Fastener Shank Diameter = Torque Range (FT/LBS)
    (12mm = 75/85)
    (14mm = 85/95)
    (7/16" = 70/80)
    (1/2" = 75/85)
    (9/16" = 105/115)
    (5/8" = 125/135)
  9. Make sure you check new lug nuts against the vehicle lug wrench, making sure they are the same size.
  10. If the new lug nuts/bolts have a different seat than the original equipment, make sure you keep enough of the original lug nuts/bolts with the spare tire/tire changing equipment so if need the spare tire can be mounted with the correct lug nuts/bolts.

After Installation

All lug nuts/bolts must be checked and retorqued to the proper specification immediately after the first 25 miles of use. Installer must instruct the customer to retorque or return immediately after 25 miles, so installer can retorque. Failure to retorque is unsafe and could cause serious damage or injury. Retorquing must be done any time the lug nuts are removed for any reason.

Wheel Terminology
  • Backside setting/Back spacing: The measurement from the mounting pad to the inner edge of the wheel.
  • Bead seat: The position where the tire rests and seals on the inside of the rim.
  • Bolt Circle: The diameter of an imaginary circle drawn through the center of each lughole. Also referred to as the bolt pattern.
  • Center Bore: The hole in the center of the wheel machined to match the hub of specified vehicles with hub-centric wheels and machined to a generic size with lug centric wheels.
  • Hub centric: The center bore hole of a wheel matches the hub diameter of the vehicle. This centers the wheel via the center hole rather than the lug nuts.
  • Hub centric ring(s): A nylon insert for the center bore of the wheel that keeps the wheel concentric to the vehicle's hub during installation.
  • Load rating: The maximum weight that the wheel is designed to support. To determine load rating requirements take the gross axle weight ration and divide by 2.
  • Lug centric: When the wheel is centered by the bolt holes/ lug nuts of the wheel, rather than by the center bore. Lug centric wheels should be balanced from the boltholes.
  • Make: The brand name of the vehicle. For example, Ford, Chevrolet, Honda.
  • Model: The particular style name of the vehicle. For example, F-150, Corvette, Civic.
  • Mounting pad: The surface area on the back of the wheel's center that contacts the brake drum or rotor surface.
  • MSRP: This is the manufacturer suggested retail price per wheel. The dealer sets actual retail pricing.
  • Negative offset: When the mounting surface is closer to the disk/drum (Inside) of the wheel. Or the mounting pad is behind the centerline of the wheel. This type of wheel is commonly referred to as a deep-dish wheel. This offset is common in older vehicles and many of today's trucks and will bring the wheel/tire combination out away from the vehicle.
  • Offset: The offset of the wheel is the distance from the mounting pad to the centerline of the wheel.
  • Positive offset: The mounting pad is forward of the centerline of the wheel, towards the street side of the wheel. This is common in most front wheel drive cars and some newer trucks. Generally speaking a positive offset wheel brings the wheels closer to the center of the vehicle.
  • Plus 1/ plus 2 sizing: A concept to improve handling and performance through the mounting of lower profile tires to wheels that are 1, 2 or even 3' greater in diameter. The overall ride height remains the same.
  • Rim width: The width of the custom wheel, measured from bead seat to bead seat not edge to edge.
  • Rim Diameter: The overall diameter of the wheel's bead seat, not the diameter of the rim edge.
  • Rim flange: The outermost edge of the wheel's rim that the clip-on weights attach to on most wheels.
  • Safety bead: The raised area circling the rim of the wheel and located slightly inward from the bead seat.
  • Spring clips: Push on retainer clips that hold the brake from on the disc rotor to the axle during transportation.
  • Star pattern: The proper way for sequential torquing of the lugs in a 5-lug bolt circle.
  • Torquing: The securing of the wheel/tire assembly to the automobile by the tightening of the wheel's lug nuts to the studs of the vehicle's hub. Custom wheels should always be torqued with a manual torque wrench (not an impact air wrench) to torque rating specifications followed by periodic re-torquing.
  • Torque rating: The proper pressure to be applied in foot-pounds when tightening lug nuts to secure the wheel/tire assembly to the automobile.
  • Unsprung weight: The total weight of the vehicle not supported by the suspension system. For example wheels and tires.
  • Wheel weights: Weights that are used to balance the wheel/tire assembly. They are either clipped, taped, or self adhered to the inside or outside of the wheel.
  • Zero offset: The distance from the mounting pad to the centerline of the wheel is 0.

Chrome Plating

What is the difference between "Chrome Plating" and "Chromium Plating"?
Nothing. Chromium is an element, chrome is just sort of a slang name for it.

So all chrome plating is about the same, then?
No. There are two different general types of chrome plating: "hard chrome plating " (sometimes called "engineering chrome plating") and "decorative chrome plating".

Hard Chrome Plating

Hard chromium plating is just chrome plating, but it is applied as a fairly heavy coating (usually measured in thousandths of an inch) for wear resistance, lubricity, oil retention, and other 'wear' purposes. Some examples would be hydraulic cylinder rods, rollers, piston rings, mold surfaces, thread guides, etc. It is called hard chromium because it is thick enough that when a hardness measurement is performed the chrome hardness can actually be measured. It is almost always applied to items that are made of steel. It is not really shiny or decorative.

There are variations even within hard chrome plating, with some of the coatings optimized to be especially porous for oil retention, etc.

Many shops who do hard chromium plating do no other kind of plating at all, because their business is designed to serve only engineered, wear-type, needs.

Decorative Chrome Plating

Decorative chrome plating is sometimes called nickel-chrome plating because it always involves plating nickel before plating the chrome. The chrome plating in decorative chrome plating is exceptionally thin, measured in millionths of an inch rather than in thousandths. It is still a very hard surface, but simple 'anvil' type hardness measurements don't detect the hardness because the anvil just punches through such a thin coating.

When you look at a decorative chromium plated surface, such as a chrome plated wheel or truck bumper, most of what you are seeing is actually the nickel. The chrome adds a bluish cast (filtering the somewhat yellowish cast of the nickel), and it protects against tarnish, and minimizes scratching. But the point is, without the brilliant leveled nickel undercoating, you would not have a reflective, decorative surface.

Some metals, like zinc die-castings, cannot be directly nickel-plated but must be copper plated first. Other materials, like aluminum, cannot be copper plated until they have been zincated.

Chrome plating is hardly a matter of dipping an article into a tank, it is a long involved process that often starts with tedious polishing and buffing, then cleaning and acid dipping, zincating, and copper plating. This may be followed by buffing of the copper, cleaning and acid dipping again, and plating in two or three different types of nickel-plating solution, all before the chrome plating is done.

Vacuum Chrome Plating Impregnation / Metallizing

Vacuum chrome impregnation or metallizing on aluminum wheels is a more affordable alternative to standard chrome plating finish.

The finishing is almost as shiny and it is 100% as durable.

Vacuum impregnated aluminum wheels require little maintenance (regular wash with soap will keep the finish intact for years to enjoy). The biggest advantage is the substantially lower cost.

The Process

Cast aluminum wheels are placed in batches into a processing basket and then placed into a vacuum pressure vessel where a vacuum is drawn. This process evacuates all air within the microscopic voids within the casting wall, opening fine leak paths making the voids receptive to being filled.

Upon releasing the vacuum, a low-viscosity resin is then introduced filling the internal leak paths. (This process is much like a sponge being released under water.) In some processes, pressure is added at the end of the cycle driving the resin deeper into the part. After vacuum impregnation cycle, polymerization of the resin occurs via an anaerobic (in the absence of air) cure or thermal cure. Since polymerization only occurs in the absence of air, or the introduction of heat, all surface resin will be completely removed via an aqueous wash with original properties and appearance still intact.

After vacuum impregnation, the porosity networks are filled and permanently sealed. Surface applications, such as metal plating and paint applications, are enhanced due to potentially trapped chemicals being sealed out which can cause future blistering and discoloring.[/list]
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Last edited by SilentNoise; 02-13-2007 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 01-26-2009, 07:29 PM   #2
Johnny Mustang
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Re: Everything you ever wanted to know about wheels

I am looking at a set of rear tires for my 06 mustang Gt that will hook well at the strip and handle wel for evryday driving. Any suggestions?
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:00 PM   #3
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Re: Everything you ever wanted to know about wheels

Originally Posted by Johnny Mustang View Post
I am looking at a set of rear tires for my 06 mustang Gt that will hook well at the strip and handle wel for evryday driving. Any suggestions?
bang for your buck...

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