wheels for My trailer - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-21-2006, 06:03 PM   #1
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Since it looks like I will be replacing my Van with an almost Identical match, I had a little brainstorm ( everybody grab umbrellas, it might get messy)

The new van has the same wheels as the old one. The bolt pattern matches.

see where I'm going?

The problem is I don't know if the Gm factory aluminum rims will handle the trailer weight.

The engineers at GM wouldn't commit to an answer when I got in touch with them.

The wheels are 15 by 6 Cast aluminum, and would look great on the trailer, but would the trailer weigh too much for them?

anybody got an opinion???
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Old 01-21-2006, 06:52 PM   #2
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Joe, I wouldn't even give it a second thought, fly with it!
We have alumnium wheels on our horse trailer and all 4 Chevy trucks we have leased and never had a bit of trouble. Even with two horses in the trailer they showed no signs of stress. Our horses were about 2200 lbs together. Mind you that is a dual axle. The wheels made now adays are so much better that they used to be. Years ago I talked to a number of people who had them crack.

One of the problems I found though, was that the shops were torquing the bolts too tight with the impact wrench thereby over stressing the wheel. Finally some one published some proper torque tables for alumnium wheels but you still have to watch these guys. I used to get into some arguements with some of these guys.

As a matter of fact when I designed a indepedent front suspension system for my friend who builds street rods, during my research into all the geometry involved, one of the things that seemed to keep cropping up was to keep the suspension sprung weight of down. One way to do that is to use lighter wheels. eg: alumnium wheels. It also helps your gas milage a whee bit.
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Old 01-21-2006, 07:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
I had a little brainstorm ( everybody grab umbrellas, it might get messy)

anybody got an opinion???
Is your trailer heavier than 1/2 of your minivan? By how much?
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Old 01-21-2006, 07:41 PM   #4
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Following the same logic as Frederick implies, I would check the axle capacites. My Sienna (a pretty typical current minivan) has the same axle rating front and rear, which is almost as high as the 3500 lb rating on my B1700 axle, and about equal to the maximum to which Boler rates the axle to be used. I don't know either the highest axle rating of Joe's GM van (the wheels must be strong enough for that), or the maximum axle loading of the Trillium 5500, but that's the comparison I would make.

I have had the same thought regarding my Sienna and Boler; however, while the bolt pattern is the same for both vehicles (5 on 4.5" or 114 mm), the offset and centre hole size are incompatible - the van wheels will not fit the trailer properly. So much for my excuse to upgrade the van to 17" wheels! That's a couple more things to check...

Given a choice, I would always use factory or good aftermarket aluminum alloy wheels rather than steel, on any vehicle under any condition. While my trailer wheel experience is limited, my preference is based on hundreds of thousands of kilometers of street use and some competition experience. Decades ago, poorly made alloy wheels gave them all a bad name, but I agree with Con that this is not a current problem.

(Edit is just a typo fix)
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Old 01-21-2006, 10:18 PM   #5
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I don't think you'll have any problems using automotive use wheels on your Trill. As they are alloy, though, you'll need to regularly make sure your wheel nuts are properly torqued so as not to have one of your trailer wheels pass you while you drive down the road one day!

Alloy wheels tend to loosten their lug nuts regularly. I retorque those on my Airstream before every trip, and I tend to check them after the first couple of hours on the road during each trip. It's amazing how much they'll loosten up.

Roger
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Old 01-22-2006, 08:17 AM   #6
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Joe,

Look in the owners manual or on the driver door post of the van for the original tire weight rating. The weight rating for the original wheel should be pretty close. Be sure to use the wheel nuts designed for the aluminum alloy wheels. I don't know if you should change the studs. If the wheel nuts won't stay tight with your new setup, I would be inclined to go back to the original wheels on the trailer. A torque wrench is a good thing to have--you want 90-100. You shouldn't have to tighten the wheel nuts repeatedly. Good luck!
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Old 01-22-2006, 08:40 AM   #7
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Afterthought: I should have said the studs on the trailer might not be long enough, since the alloy wheels are probably thicker. You want all the threads on the wheel nut to engage the stud. Studs can be changed, but this could be a challenge if there is much rust.
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Old 01-22-2006, 08:51 AM   #8
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Joe,

My guess is that you would be perfectly fine. I am assuming that you plan to replace the tires with properly rated trailer tires and are not planing on using the car tires. I did a little searching around an did find a useful link about wheels and one key thing would be to remove one of your wheels to see if there is a load rating stamped or cast on one of the spokes of the wheel. With that information you do the math, if 1/2 of your total GTW is less than the max rating on the wheel you are golden. The concern you have is valid. GM put 4 wheels on the van taking into consideration that the total gross would be divided by 4 not 2. The other thing you could try is to take them down to your local Tire Shop and ask them. You will have to factor in your trust level of their opinion of course.

Good luck.
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Old 01-22-2006, 11:25 AM   #9
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You`d think that any wheel supplier like a speed shop should be able to look up different mag/aluminum wheel weight capacity ratings in different size wheels.....being from snow country I`m not a great fan of aluminum wheels as I have them on both my trucks and because of salt usage on the roads, the wheels corrode rather rapidly and also develop rim leaks a lot more often than steel wheels due to the corrosion....of course the RV`s aren`t used much in salt conditions so that may not be a problem......on my trailers I prefer steel wheels with full discs because of less maintenance......Benny
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Old 01-22-2006, 01:28 PM   #10
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I'll check the ratings when I get home , never thought of that.
I live in snow/salt country too, and yes the rims do corrode if you don't keep them clean.
I've only had two rim leaks in 10 years, and the local tire shop fixed both of them.
They pulled the tire off the rim, wire wheeled the rim, buffed the rim and applied a high quality enamel to the inside edges. Let it dry, remounted the tire and Bob's your uncle.

I really do have an uncle Bob by the way.
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Old 01-22-2006, 02:11 PM   #11
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I understand the concerns about corrosion with alloy wheels, but I see a lot more on my steel wheels than my alloys. I have had no problems with surface corrosion at all and no need to clean up bead seating areas so far. To some extent I am seeing the benefit of well-made OEM (original equipment on the car) alloys, but more significantly, for cost reasons I tend to use cheaper steel wheels for the winter tires and the alloys in the summer (we currently have three vehicles in that mode). As Benny says, trailers are generally for summer use anyway. Most people in Edmonton do not change to winter tires so they use their original alloys year-round, and I have not noticed that complaints are common. If cost were no object, my Boler would be on alloys now, but I suppose salt-induced corrosion may be a factor to consider.
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Old 01-22-2006, 05:16 PM   #12
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Youare right about alloy wheels Brian. The big mistake I made when we Bought our Featherlite all alumnium trailer was that I did not specify the alum. should be clear coated. As ot happened we have had to deliver a llamas in mid Dec. when the roads where heavily salted. The road salt played hell withthe finish. The alloy wheels on our pickups however have been coated with a baked on clear polyethlene finish which prevents that kind of damage.
So if any of you do by new alloy wheels, make sure they are clear coated. Like Winnipeg , our roads get heavily salted. I gave up on painted steel snowmobile decks and trailers as they would start rusting after one trip out.
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Old 01-22-2006, 07:39 PM   #13
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My corrosion problems usually started where they used the plastic coated weights to balance the wheels and when the tires were replaced and the tires were rebalanced....the places where the weights were are always corroded.....used to use the stick on weights on the inside of the rims but that system wasn`t as precise as regular weights on the outside....it`s whatever you wish......if the wheels are really looked after there should be no problem......Benny
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Old 01-22-2006, 08:16 PM   #14
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no problem go for it.....
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