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Old 8th February 2013, 10:13   #1
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Default What wheels are best for offroading: Alloy or Steel?

Why switch from alloys to steel rims in an offroading vehicle? I would only go the other way. What is the advantage of steel rims over alloys?

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Old 9th February 2013, 09:59   #2
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Default Re: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- From Doctor to Jeeper

Dear Sharath - you will be surprised but most "available alloy" wheels are heavier than their corresponding steel wheels. They also have many "other surprises" including parent material homogenity.

Development process of an alloy wheel is a huge task with numerous DVPs (design validation plans) to be compiled and met.

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Behram Dhabhar
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Old 9th February 2013, 11:21   #3
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Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
Dear Sharath - you will be surprised but most "available alloy" wheels are heavier than their corresponding steel wheels. They also have many "other surprises" including parent material homogenity.

Development process of an alloy wheel is a huge task with numerous DVPs (design validation plans) to be compiled and met.
Behram, that didn't really answer any questions. When I say replace rims with alloys or vice versa, I mean within acceptable parameters. If you replace OE 4.5 inch rims rims with 8.5J alloys, I can imagine alloys being heavier.

In case of madhkris's Jeep, he has mounted 10.5 width tyres on 10J rims. Clearly, that is waaaay out of optimal range of 7.5J to 9J. That is his choice, I would pick 8J or 8.5J for 10.5 tyres, not more. But then I wouldn't even go higher than 235mm tyres on 7J or 7.5J on my Jeep.

But that is not my question. I have seen many people switch to alloys to steel rims these days. I want to know the reasons behind that. I know why I prefer alloy over steel. But I want to know what some others prefer steel rim over alloy.
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Old 9th February 2013, 17:16   #4
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Default Re: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- From Doctor to Jeeper

Until and unless the Alloys are properly made of high grade material, the are more fragile than steel wheels. Hence can crack under OTR load.

Another problem with alloys is that in case they deform, it is difficult to repair and that makes them susceptible to air leaks.

Steel rims are more robust, malleable and can be repaired easily and can sustain OTR shocks better.
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Old 9th February 2013, 18:23   #5
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Default Re: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- From Doctor to Jeeper

Why assume alloy will be of bad quality and steel will be of superior quality?

Besides, most of us use tubeless tyres, aren't they better off on alloys than steel rims?
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Old 11th February 2013, 19:16   #6
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Default Re: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- From Doctor to Jeeper

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Why assume alloy will be of bad quality and steel will be of superior quality?

Besides, most of us use tubeless tyres, aren't they better off on alloys than steel rims?
It is pretty easy to get good steel. With alloys you have to either source it or "brew" your own. Further Aluminum requires much better manufacturing techniques compared to steel. In short it is easy to get good steel but difficult to get a homogenous tough alloy for wheels.

The problem with tubeless tyres is they rely on the sealing between the tyre "lip" and the rim edge. Any deformation of the tyre rim and the air will leak out. With off road knocks the rims can easily get deformed, hence it is better to have tubed tyres for off road.

Most of the major 4x4 car manufacturers have steel rims as an option.
http://www.landrover.com/gb/en/lr/defender/explore/hard-top/ (choose the wheels option)

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Old 11th February 2013, 20:50   #7
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Default Re: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- From Doctor to Jeeper

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Originally Posted by Aroy View Post
It is pretty easy to get good steel. With alloys you have to either source it or "brew" your own. Further Aluminum requires much better manufacturing techniques compared to steel. In short it is easy to get good steel but difficult to get a homogenous tough alloy for wheels.
Well, I am mostly on alloy wheel equipped cars since 15 years now. Never had a cracked alloy until today despite driving highspeed on bad roads very regularly. Similar experience from most friends too. My offroad alloy wheels are now over 4 years old, has only scratches from the offroading. Besides, our type of offroading happens in low speed.

Check this: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/tyre-a...ml#post2103573 (Indian vs Imported Rims.....which ones?)

Also, the following benefits of alloys are well known in Team-BHP as evident from the above thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.neowheels.com/faqs.html
Advantages of alloy wheels are as follows:
• Superior heat dissipation characteristics than regular steel wheels, resulting into improved brake cooling, reduced brake fading and longer tyre life.
• Lighter than original steel wheels, resulting into improved fuel efficiency.
• Excellent Road handling and cornering ability.
• Rust-free, corrosion resistant and virtually maintenance free.
• Bolt-on fitting, No spacers / modifications required.
• Stunning looks.
• Excellent compatibility with Radial, Regular and Tubeless tyres.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aroy View Post
The problem with tubeless tyres is they rely on the sealing between the tyre "lip" and the rim edge. Any deformation of the tyre rim and the air will leak out. With off road knocks the rims can easily get deformed, hence it is better to have tubed tyres for off road.
That's the exact reason why I use alloys over steel. OE steel wheels bend lot easily compared to alloys. My F-I-L's car's steel wheels bent after falling into pothole at 10kmph, he right away switched to alloys.

Last edited by Samurai : 11th February 2013 at 20:53.
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Old 12th February 2013, 11:37   #8
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Default Re: What wheels are best for offroading: Alloy or Steel?

I suppose it is about 'ease of repair' and cost. Steel rims are cheap, easy to repair. Alloys are costly in comparison, and once deformed, one needs fair bit of research to get them corrected.
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