My name is Bob Jones, I've owned and operated a wheel repair facility since 1993 therefore have 25 years of experience repairing all types of alloy wheels.
I have the CSA W47.2 GTAW welding certificate, and have retested several times since the first test in 1995.
I am also certified by the Government and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia to repair wheels.
Before any wheel is repaired, a competent repairer must carefully inspect and evaluate as to the viability of the repair needed. Any wheel deemed unsatisfactory for repair, should be discarded
While searching for the correct methods of wheel repair on the internet, I have found many examples of how to do everything including repairing worn lug holes, welding, straightening and machining aluminum wheels.
Frankly some of what you find on the internet is just plain scary.
However, not one site actually discusses the reasons for wheel failures, and we all know everything happens for a reason.
If one can not explain why, their repair methods will only be a short term fix, until the failures reoccur.
I am now offering my experience, to anyone as a consultant/trainer in this field.
Anyone in the business of repairing wheels really needs to know and understand the complexity of some of these procedures and the best choices in equipment needed to complete them.
With the right tools almost any request to repair or modify a wheel can be a profitable job.
The right choices in equipment means accomplishing any wheel repair with the fewest employees, keeping all dollars earned in house.
Paying for in house labor is the largest expense to any business.
The procedure noted below is just a sample of what I can train anyone truly interested in wheel repair to accomplish quickly and safely. After all time is money.
Any repair procedure such as the one outlined below, requires a lot of skill, expensive equipment such as quality welding equipment, a professional wheel straightener and a CNC lathe.
Leave this type of work to professional shops with trained personel. Avoid the roadside repair people. DIY at your own risk!
So let's get started.
As someone who has been repairing all types of damaged wheels since 1993, I would like to explain just how cracked wheels happen, and how they must be repaired in my opinion.
Why did the wheel cracked in the first place?
Carefully inspect the wheel including spinning it in a wheel balancer to determine if it is bent in any way.
Most light car and truck wheels crack because they get bent from potholes, uneven pavement and the like. The most common reason is low profile tires not properly inflated. However a deep enough hole can bend any wheel. Most times the driver does not even know the wheel is bent, until it finally cracks and the tire goes flat. The crack is caused by driving on this bent wheel. A bent wheel even if slight, will crack due to work hardening.
To understand this try rolling a bent rim on a flat floor. It will dip into the bend then rise up on the part of the circle that is still reasonably round. A 30” diameter wheel and tire carrying the weight of a car or truck will rotate and flex 16,800 times per 100 miles traveled.
I see many weld repairs posted online, and other sites, but none address the reasons for these cracks. The fact is if the wheel is bent it will crack if not straightened.
This is what you must do to repair this wheel.
1.The crack must be welded, by a certified, ticketed welder using GTAW. (Tig weld).
2.The filler rod must be of sufficient strength and flexibility.
3.The preparation must be carefully done to avoid contamination from entering the weld.
4.The wheel must be professionally straightened to within .010” total runout after welding. This involves using professional straightening equipment, solely designed for this purpose.
5. After straightening, the wheel must have the bead area machined using CNC equipment for precise symmetrical bead shaping.
6. After bead machining is complete, a very slight cut should be taken off the hub mounting pad to verify the wheel will run true when installed on vehicle.
Anything short of completion of all these steps may give a temporary repair but could not be considered safe.
Warning regarding aftermarket light truck wheels.
Many 2500/3500 heavy duty trucks wheels crack due to overloading.
Most commonly they are aftermarket wheels that were designed for customizing these trucks. These aftermarket wheels are usually coupled with very large tires with a much larger footprint, that is significantly more than the OEM design load.
The load transfer from the hub through the spokes to the tire, overloads the spoke where it attaches to the barrel of wheel causing it to crack at this point.
The larger the footprint the more effort it requires to turn this wheel/tire combo, especially on the steering axle while stopped.
If this vehicle is now loaded down with heavy equipment like large welders, extra fuel tanks and the like, it only makes the problem worse.
These cracked wheels should never be repaired.
Coaching by the hour via video conference using WhatsApp or the like will prevent rookie mistakes that are expensive.
Whether you already own a shop or are interested in opening a new one, drop me a line in the form below,
for a very affordable rate list.
I can help you secure the best machines for the job and how to make optimum use of each.
Sell unbeatable quality repair work.
Together we can make your profits skyrocket.
This video shows a 12 year old Lehigh MR-2540 lathe cutting .005" from the wheel face, then one more finishing diamond cut of .001".
Both cuts took approximately 3 minutes.
The quality of the finish shows the value of owning the best equipment for the job.
This video shows how after a cracked wheel bead is welded, and straightened to within .010" total runout. The weld is then machine blended into the bead for a perfect seal
This is an identical but different wheel from the one on the right. This wheel has been machined in a professional CNC lathe designed soley for this purpose.
The face of this wheel was sanded and clearcoated. Clearly not machined as it should have been, Unfortunately this wheel was not repairable due to excessive edge grinding by unqualified repairer.
The tire installer in this example wasted his time, as after all his hard work, ended up destroying the seating area of the rim where the tire seals to the bead causing a leak.
A tire with a slow leak will not keep sufficient pressure to absorb potholes etc...
Regardless of how little damage of this type, the only difference is how long it takes to lose enough tire pressure to cause minor pothole wheel damage
Chrome wheels improperly installed result in both bends and cracks as shown here.
All professional wheel repair procedures require a trained hand and expensive machinery. Stick to professional wheel repair facilities and avoid inexperienced individuals without the proper tools. Your life could depend on it.
Penticton, British Columbia, Canada