Wheel World - Mick's Tips

By: Mick McCrudden

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wheels wheels

Mick gives us the goss on hunting down new rims

Are you thinking of changing your wheels? What you consider a good quality unit sometimes doesn’t work out once you put it on the car, and it can spoil the whole project. It’s critical that you take a little bit of time, look around, get some ideas, plagiarise and pick a wheel that’s going to work with what you have in mind.

The other thing people make a mistake on, truly because most of them don’t understand, is a thing called backspacing or offset. You can pick the correct-looking wheel, but if you get the spacing wrong it’s rubbing on the guard, steering or suspension components and that’s not good.

While there are a huge number of options from overseas sources, there is also a really good choice from Australian makers, and they will often explain how to set yourself up to measure what you need. A really good example is Ian Splatt, Michelle’s dad, at Dragway in Queensland.

You might also want to look at some of the better established retailers such as Wheel Pros, also in Queensland. Between them, they have a wealth of information.

When you go to measure, it really is one of those situations that fits the old adage "measure twice and cut once". When you’re getting a wheel either made or specially imported, you want to be very sure that what you end up with will actually fit.

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What you’re looking for is a few things, such as the clearance from the hub into the car (backspace), and from the hub out to the guards, both of which will also be influenced by the dish on the front of the wheel. Keep in mind you’re also looking for clearance that allows for suspension and steering movement.

Dragway for example offers an online chart that you can use as a guide to get your head around what’s required. Wheel Pros Australia offers a selection based on car make and model. In either case, it’s going to be worthwhile having a chat – particularly if you’re looking at a one-off set up on a restomod. The fact is the good ones have a fair bit of experience behind them and will be able to offer advice on which way to go to achieve the effect you’re aiming for.

Now something a lot of people forget in all the excitement is that there are a few other components you should be looking at while you’re on the case. Shiny new wheels and tyres mean you could well be placing new and even greater loads on components such as wheel bearings and suspension bushes. So don’t forget to give them a going-over while you’re at it.

Note: Mick runs Glenlyon Motors in Brunswick, Vic. Tel (03) 9380 5082.

 

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