Steel Wheel or aluminum? - Team Camaro Tech
Wheels & Tires What fits what?

 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old Jan 21st, 09, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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Steel Wheel or aluminum?

I will be changing from my 225/70 R14s to the 17 in wheel; this mainly for ride comfort and handling......
I have had negative response from some on the steel wheels lack of flexibility giving a rough ride..
To those that have experienced it, is the ride difference that noticable on the Steel vs the aluminum (alloy). Also is the Billet style of manufacturing aluminum better?

1969 Camaro Z-11 Pace Car
350cu/300HP -
Convertible RS/SS- Muncie M20 - posi 3.31, 12 bolt
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old Jan 21st, 09, 11:57 PM
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Re: Steel Wheel or aluminum?

You will find more selections in aluminum with a 17" wheel....Some guys are able to run P245/45/R17 all the way around....Others will run P275/40/R17 on the rear and P245/45/R17 on the front. The P275/40R17 was used on the back of Corvette's beginning in 1988 or 1989 if I recall...It was first used on 3rd gen Firebirds with the introduction of the 1991 Pontiac 350 SLP Firehawk...Some 4th gen 'Maros & 'Birds can be found with that size as well.

The P225/70R14 has a larger overall diameter than your typical Camaro size. If your speedometer gear has been configured with that size you may see a noticeable difference going with a size which is smaller in overall diameter....

On first gen's the radial equivalent to bias ply tires was P195/75R14 which was OEM by the very late 1970's on Regals, Ventura's, Cutlass', Nova's and even 2nd gen's......

The early 3rd gen 1982 - 1987 Z28's came with P215/65/R15 which was used on FWD Cutlass & Regals as well even in 1989...IROC-Z's were available with P245/50R16 from 1985-1990 and all 5.7L IROC's had 16" tires & wheels.

What I am getting at is this: The tire sizes on all Camaro's were generally between 25.5" at their smallest and around 26" at their largest. Keeping within that size will reduced your load on the suspension and help prevent pre-mature wear on ball joints and other items. This is based on my experience in the auto industry from 1989 - 1998...

Here's a helpful chart http://www.1010tires.com/TireSizeCal...?action=submit

As far as Billet, the name is Waaay over-rated! I have a billet MSD distributor in my car and that was corroded as all hell with very few miles on it.

Steel wheels can take potholes better if you drive in winter in Chicagoland, but the manufacturing quality has improved alot over the years on both tires & wheels and they hold up better today. You can also get P245/50R16 tires MUCH cheaper than 17"....I've seen excellent condition P245/50/R16 sets of tires for as low as $150 locally on craigs list with maybe 5k miles on the tires, good shape, 3 years old all because some 19 year old kid wrapped his Firebird or his IROC-Z around a tree and parted out the car.

17" will handle better, but expect to pay more $$$.....I hope this info helps you out!!

SSG&H/Greg

1) 1969 Camaro RS 396 TH 400, 12 bolt 3:73 sold 1994
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2) 1984 Z28, 5.0 H.O. T-Tops, G92 3:73, sold 1994
3) 1988 5.7L IROC-Z, sold 1994
4) 1969 Camaro bought 2006, back on the road in 2010
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old Jan 24th, 09, 09:16 PM
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Re: Steel Wheel or aluminum?

There should not be flexability in your wheels. I think the difference from steel to aluminum is the weight. More or less unsprung weight can change the way it rides and handles a little, but on a street car you might not notice a difference.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old Jan 24th, 09, 11:22 PM
 
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Re: Steel Wheel or aluminum?

Steel will bend and cast aluminum will crack/forged will bend if you hit a BAD pot-hole!

Fwiw, I converted my car over to Pony-car "Bullitts" and now have 225 and 255/45-17's on her! And I still have my E and L-60's on my Fenton 14" slotted mags up on the shelf out in the garage!

I had to go 17" b/c of my 13" front rotor "pdqCBB" set-up is all.

If I had it to do over, I would buy Verda's Chevy bolt-pattern "Bullitt" knock off's, but back then, I didn't know they existed or even if they did?

pdq67



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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old Jan 25th, 09, 08:35 AM
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Re: Steel Wheel or aluminum?

Rigidity is the key word here and one of the reasons why you can get a better ride quality out of a high quality alum wheel with a lower profile tire than you can out of a steel wheel with taller profile tire. If you are starting with 15" steel rallys and 60 series rubber and you replace them with low dollar 17" wheels and inexpensive 40-45 series tires you may not notice a ride quality change. On the other hand if you invest in quality 17" alum wheels where time and effort went into the design and mount better quality rubber as well you are going to be able to notice a ride quality improvment over 15" steel...

I was fortunate enough to go from 60 series BFG's to GT Qualifers on 15" rallys with the same suspension and the GTQ's provided a better ride quality. Then still on the same suspension I went to 45 series tires on 17" wheels and there was another big improvment in ride quality, almost as noticable as the handling improved...

...Dennis

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 09, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Steel Wheel or aluminum?

Thanks,
That is the kind of information and experience I wanted to hear; It is too expensive to change wheels and tires and guessing it is an improvment. The forum is a powerful tool, by helping determine what works and what doesn't. By sharing the experience, you don't have to be the "guinea pig" all the time.

1969 Camaro Z-11 Pace Car
350cu/300HP -
Convertible RS/SS- Muncie M20 - posi 3.31, 12 bolt
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