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Thread: Centering ring question

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    Senior Member CharleyH's Avatar
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    Default Centering ring question

    My son just purchased a new set of Rota wheels and Bridgestone tires (with Tire stickers) for his 2014 Subaru WRX. His car has a slight vibration at highway speeds. The wheels came with two sets of plastic centering rings. I have never dealt with centering rings before, are plastic rings acceptable, or should we switch to metal? This car is a street cruiser and won't see much, if any, track duty.

    Thanks for the help,
    Charley

    Last edited by CharleyH; 09-10-2017 at 08:21 AM.

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    BMW Master bawareca's Avatar
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    Plastic rings should be Ok. Once the lug nuts/bolts are tight the rings just sit there. Another question is how well the rings are made.
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    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif emilio700's Avatar
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    Some info on hub rings from our site

    6UL FAQS & FITMENT INFO
    WWW.949RACING.COM
    SuperMiata

    Aside from their cost I never understood why people race them.
    But obviously I just dont get it. -fatbillybob

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    Senior Member CharleyH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bawareca View Post
    Plastic rings should be Ok. Once the lug nuts/bolts are tight the rings just sit there. Another question is how well the rings are made.
    Quote Originally Posted by emilio700 View Post
    Some info on hub rings from our site

    6UL FAQS & FITMENT INFO
    Thanks guys. This confirms what I assumed.... he is planning on having the wheel balance checked to see if they did it right.

    Thanks for the help!
    Charley

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    Obviously the tire stickers unbalanced the wheel.

    In all seriousness, the plastic rings should be fine. Bawereca is exactly right. I've used plastic, metal, and no rings on wheels that aren't matching hub centric.

    Try loosening the offending wheel and slowly tightening the nuts again progressively. Also, if you find some play, you can loosen the nuts and lift the wheel to center sighting the open studs for alignment before tightening. I've had wheels where this was necessary every time but fortunately 100% effective.

    In my experience hubs with bolts tend to self center better than studs with these rings. With studs it's very easy for the wheel to become uneven when you hang it, especially when running up the first/second nut too hard and too fast. Not only will it introduce rolling vibration, there's a high risk of the nuts backing off and destruction (even when torqued - it means nothing if the wheel faces aren't aligned). Just a PSA, not saying that's the case here.
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    Senior Member fatbillybob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanB View Post

    In my experience hubs with bolts tend to self center better than studs with these rings. With studs it's very easy for the wheel to become uneven when you hang it, especially when running up the first/second nut too hard and too fast. Not only will it introduce rolling vibration, there's a high risk of the nuts backing off and destruction (even when torqued - it means nothing if the wheel faces aren't aligned). Just a PSA, not saying that's the case here.
    That is only one reason wheels should be hub centric. But costs being an issue many makers cut 1 wheel with big hub hole and drill your bolt pattern so they can use that wheel on many cars.

    Here is my PSA: Bunch of us got group buy race wheels that were not hub centric. I hub center wheels with aluminum hub rings. Even glued these rings will sometimes fall out, stick to hub, or stick to wheel. It IS possible for a helper to have a hub ring on the hub and hub ring in the wheel and still bolt said wheel to car. Knuclehead is not paying attention and airguns on wheel. I don't think I need to tell any more of story. You all know it isn't pretty. Yes I caught it before going out because I always do a once over before flight. So while hub rings sound great the solution is run as is or better get a real wheel.

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    No wheel, including 6UL's "requires" hub centering rings if the wheels are made correctly
    This is the second bullet on the 949 Racing site - and it is completely incorrect. The site further contends that hub-centric designs are there just to make installation easier. Also incorrect.

    For AT LEAST the last couple of decades, virtually every car sold in America comes with hub-centric wheels. The reason is very simple - it is intended that the center hub sustains shear forces rather than to have these forces on the lugs themselves - which could cause them to bend or actually shear. Often, aftermarket wheel makers will want to downplay the importance of hubcentricity because most aftermarket wheels are made to fit a variety of cars. I suppose that's the reason behind the erroneous bullet point on 949's site.

    That said, to the OP I would suggest that you have the tires balanced by a shop that uses lug-centric finger adapters. If you have a buddy at a Lexus dealership - get them done there as ALL Lexus dealerships are required to use lug-centric wheel balancers. Most tire shops will will rely on your wheel centering on a cone while on the balancing machine and there are just way to many possibilities for error using the system. (You can often verify this by taking the rim/tire off the machine and then immediately re-mounting it, and you will likely have a different balancing result.)
    Last edited by CoolTech; 09-11-2017 at 06:53 AM.

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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    For about five years me and a whole lot of other T2, T1 and GT2 Corvette racers from coast to coast have been using the Forgestar F14 wheels that are not hub centric. I don't know about the other racers, but I presume most of them are using long ARP wheel studs as the OEM are prone to snapping with the frequent wheel changes we do in racing.

    For me, with thousands of miles on the wheels I have not ever had a problem and I am not aware of any of the other racers having that problem either. I am not saying that what you write is not true, but if so it has not manifested itself into a real problem. I have also used 949 Racing Wheels as well as the Forgestars, but for a period of at least two years longer and they have proven to be some of the strongest wheels I have raced on. I have managed to bend the wheels four different model of three other makers, but never the 949s. I have also cracked three different wheel makers wheels, but not the 949s. I can attest to really botching lines on occasion with the 949s resulting in smashing curbing at high speed or dropping into holes that I thought would surely bend them, but they held true.

    Because of my predisposition to bend wheels I have become a frequent client of Orange County Wheel Repair in Santa Ana.
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    Senior Member fatbillybob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olitho View Post
    For about five years me and a whole lot of other T2, T1 and GT2 Corvette racers from coast to coast have been using the Forgestar F14 wheels that are not hub centric.

    For me, with thousands of miles on the wheels I have not ever had a problem and I am not aware of any of the other racers having that problem either.

    I'm one of those racers and wasn't going to mention names but the cat is out of the bag. It was the Forgestars. I was concerned using them which is why I hubcentered them. I verified that the lug pattern was concentric with the center hole with a dial gauge. These Forgestars were cheap cast wheels to boot and I have still not broken one. OTOH iirc the really expensive 3 piece race version CCW's we 1st ran on in T1 would crack lips and crack centers and were proper hub centric wheels! So just because a wheel is hub centric or lug-centric does not make a wheel good or bad. There is more to it than that.

    If a wheel is truely lug-centric then you have to balance with a lug-centric adapter. If a wheel hole is concentric with the lug-pattern you can balance it with the traditional hub centric cone even if the wheel isn't hub centric. (disclaimer I have my own tire machine and spin balancer)

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    BMW Master bawareca's Avatar
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    In the BMW world, non-hubcentric wheels without rings cause vibration most of the time.

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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatbillybob View Post
    ...OTOH iirc the really expensive 3 piece race version CCW's we 1st ran on in T1 would crack lips and crack centers and were proper hub centric wheels!
    The wheels I bent and cracked the most were the CCW 3 piece wheels. I would constantly bend the deep barrel out-of-round. Annually I started replacing the centers as I would crack them. I cracked those more than any other wheels I ran on. I don't have any more of those three piece wheels although I recently bought a mint set of CCW from a friend of a friend thinking they would be lighter than my Forgestars. I planned to use them for my biggest and more important races. I was disappointed. I have not weighed them yet, but I bet they are heavier. Oh well, I can probably sell them for more than I paid.

    BTW - I could trace most of my wheel cracks, other than the CCWs, to a recent prior instance where I ran them for a few laps and then noticed they did not seem right. It turns out there were not properly/fully/evenly torqued. The stress leads to cracks. I bet a lot of the complaints we read online about wheels cracking are due to drivers doing poor or no wheel torquing.
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    If a wheel hole is concentric with the lug-pattern you can balance it with the traditional hub centric cone even if the wheel isn't hub centric.
    I don't know of a wheel made where the center hub bore s NOT concentric with the lug pattern. As I mentioned previously, Lexus dealerships as an example always use lug-centric finger adapters despite ALL of their wheels are hub-centric. (Note: I have not been in a Lexus dealership in quite some time and my information on their utilization is when they started the brand quite awhile ago.)

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    For me, with thousands of miles on the wheels I have not ever had a problem and I am not aware of any of the other racers having that problem either. I am not saying that what you write is not true, but if so it has not manifested itself into a real problem. I have also used 949 Racing Wheels as well as the Forgestars, but for a period of at least two years longer and they have proven to be some of the strongest wheels I have raced on.
    Acknowledged. Please understand that I'm not saying the non-hubcentric wheels are BAD or shouldn't be used, or are inferior, etc. In the case of the wheels offered by 949, I think MANY people speak very highly of them and they seem to be very popular in racing with few if any problems - so that should speak volumes.

    The only point that I was *trying* to make was the engineering principle behind hubcentric wheels. The reason is not to aid installation - it is to transfer shear forces from the lugs themselves to the hubs. Race cars get a whole heck of a lot more wheel/lug attention than the average street car and, as such, it is probably fine not to have hub-centric designs. Like others, I would probably look at many other attributes ahead of hub centricity - reputation, offset, width, etc and if the rim was ALSO hub-centric, all the better. It is rare to find them in the aftermarket, however.

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    Put a dial indicator on the outside of the rim and check the runout. 20 thou isn't detectable at race speeds, so you would need to see more than that to detect it at street speeds.

    FWIW, I've never had hubcentric wheels on track/race cars, and have not had a problem. I just do the nuts up in a cross pattern with 2 - 3 passes, and support the wheel from underneath while doing them up.

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    Senior Member CharleyH's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the responses, this is the first time I have ever dealt with wheels that needed centering rings.... It turns out that the issue was that the technician at America's tires did a really bad job balancing the tires. When my son brought it back to have them check the balance they said that it was waaaayyy off and had too much weight on it. Now everything is fine.

    Charley
    Olitho likes this.

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