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Old 08-14-2009, 11:25 PM   #1
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Aluminum wheels?

Hey all,
I've been tossing this idea around for a while.

Currently, my '93 Buick Century has steel wheels, which are quite heavy. Would there be much fuel savings if I were to put on aluminum wheels?

... to justify this, they would be junkyard wheels off an oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera or a Grand Am, as these older style cars have the same wheel pattern (and are essentially the same cars, with the same engines).

For some reason, to the best of my knowledge, late-model Buick Century's weren't sold with aluminum wheels. Decorative steel wheels, yes... Aluminum, no.

My dad has been throwing a fuss about it, against it, as he thinks the nuts holding the wheel on will loosen more easily with aluminum wheels (where, I've never had this problem on my '94 explorer with AL wheels.)

Thanks for your input...
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:30 PM   #2
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There wouldn't be enough gain to offset yer Pa's conniptions. Well... OK... there wouldn't be any gain you could detect.

He's right though- alum wheels should be retorqued at some point after install. That's no big deal though.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theclencher View Post
There wouldn't be enough gain to offset yer Pa's conniptions. Well... OK... there wouldn't be any gain you could detect.

He's right though- alum wheels should be retorqued at some point after install. That's no big deal though.
I was thinking maybe the reduced weight would allow the engine to move the wheels easier, reducing how much gas it takes to move the beast. I dunno. That's just my theory, not backed by anything.

... IS there a difference in weight between my steel wheels and the aluminum wheels from cars I listed?
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:45 PM   #4
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There IS a search function here...
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Old 08-15-2009, 12:00 AM   #5
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lol. Thanks.
Best I could find was this: http://www.gassavers.org/showthread....ghlight=wheels
Barely any discussion of wheels, seemed to mostly be tires and gearing.



To theclencher:
How do you like those pulse plugs? Any difference? I've been considering them.
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Old 08-15-2009, 12:23 AM   #6
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Re: plugs Well... the car works, but I can't say it's any better or with any better gas mileage. Save your money.

As far as weight difference I guess you'd either have to be able to find that info on the net somewhere, or get one of each and weigh them. I switched to alum wheels on my car, they weighed a little less but not an earth shaking amount; there was no difference in how the car felt or performed. I liked how they looked but actually I need to refinish them now and that's a pain in the ***. Steel wheels with hubcaps are easy to keep looking good.

Years ago I went with aftermarket wheels and bigger tires on my pickup. They were actually heavier than stock and I could tell the difference in ride and handling and it wasn't good.
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Old 08-15-2009, 05:55 AM   #7
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If you don't drive like a jerk, changing to lighter wheels will have no measurable effect on your fuel economy.

Sure, lighter wheels are slightly easier to spin up; but they lose speed more easily too, while heavier wheels keep spinning and moving your car along. You don't waste that gas until you step on the brakes, whether your wheels are heavier or lighter. Until then you've spent the gas but not yet wasted it.
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Old 08-15-2009, 02:15 PM   #8
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Miiight have an effect on rough road rolling resistance, less unsprung weight with lighter wheels, depends how bad your roads are. I'd choose on whether they seemed more or less smooth than the steelies.
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:11 PM   #9
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i think it depends on how much lighter they are. normally i'd bet its quite insignificant compared to the cost of the new wheels.

rims are a rotational mass (referring to the driving wheels) and reducing that weight would increase efficiency. the big question is how much. mu guess is not enough to make it worthwhile.
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Old 08-26-2009, 06:56 AM   #10
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factory alloys on those cars aren't much (if any) lighter. late model centuries were available with alloys and alloys from the other late model buicks will fit perfectly.

on a honda that weighs 12 lbs with a 8 ftlb engine it may make a difference, but the century is 3300lbs with a 185 ftlb engine. as mentioned, drive like a sane person and you won't notice any difference from wheels, at least not factory alloys. Just make sure you're at the sidewall max pressure. going from 35 to 44 psi on my moms 02 century took it from 28-29 mpg highway to 33-35 mpg highway (both at 70ish mph, no particular hypermiling attempts)
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