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4.5, 5.5, 6.0, 7.0R 15" Fuchs
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ol_skul
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2004 7:41 pm    Post subject: 4.5, 5.5, 6.0, 7.0R 15" Fuchs Reply with quote

Early deep-dish Fuchs. All 15" sizes.

4.5" 901.361.012.01 42mm positive offset
5.5" 901.361.012.04 42mm positive offset
6.0" 901.361.012.00 36mm positive offset
7.0" 901.361.012.05 49mm positive offset


Fuchs means fox in German. There is a little caricature of a fox's head stamped on the backs of all early Fuchs. Some earlies have it on the hub. But, most are adjacent to the "901..." part number. The fox heads on the hub are much larger than the ones appearing next to the "901..." number.

There is also a date stamp on the back of the hub. It will have the month and year. For example: "1 67" - January 1967. There are also other various esoteric forging numbers, letters, characters, etc. that the manufacturer used. These differ widely even among same size & date wheels.

*** Historical Notes: ***

(aka: more than you ever wanted to know about early Fuchs)


Many early 4.5's have no "part" numbers stamped on them. These "part numbers" were originally forging numbers used by the Fuch company and not "part" numbers. (Otto Fuchs Metallwerke, commonly referred to as "Fuchs," is the company that made the wheels for Porsche; there are many, many other kinds of "Fuch" wheels - you just wouldn't ever recognize them...) The forging numbers were commonly ground off after forging. Later, these forging numbers became part numbers...

It gets a little more confusing... Some early 6's have the .04 number - again, the numbers were used for forging purposes and i'm sure are right for however they kept track of them, or maybe a few workers were just lazy in changing the serial numbers... Again, they couldn't have been that important if they ground most of them off! I even have a set of 6's with "901...00" part numbers! Also, Fuchs first appeared in late '66. There were 5.5's, 6's, and 7R's in '66! There had to be. All Porsche's racers were using these cutting-edge wheels. Different wheels for different applications...

7.0's had a rubber stamp part number - the metal stamp was almost always (basically read "always") ground off. Also, the metal stamp would not be .05, it would be whatever number was being used to make the 6's at the time, since they used the same forging piece for the petals or spokes. However, the sides and backs are unique and very recognizeable to the R wheels. Thus, custom-made R wheels are easily identifiable. Some 6.0's even end with .00 (very early). {I have (4) of these wheels.} It's possible to have R's with .00 forging numbers too. 6.0 Fuchs made for the 911R race cars had a .03 ending part number. Now, those are some extremely rare wheels: {24 cars (4 prototypes and 20 production cars) x 2 wheels(fronts) = 46 + 23 spares = 59 total !!! Ever!!!}

Incidentally, in "901...04" the "0" refers to the center cap style (3-prong). The "4" eventually, referred to the wheel size... Is there an "901...02" ? Could be. Maybe a .02 modification was done and Porsche said, "Uh-uh. That doesn't work," and trashed the whole .02 series. There are other gaps in Porsche part number series and oftentimes this is the case...

There are no fake 4.5's - yet. Also, they would be easy to identify because of their weight and especially all the little details that would surely be lost in the casting process. All original Fuch alloys were forged wheels. This process is very expensive, but extremely effective in producing a strong wheel. The back of 4.5's are also unique...yet similar to R's.

In the May 2000 issue of Excellence on p.108 Jerry Sloniger states, "If we give the standard wheel a cost baseline of 1.0, Fuchs estimates that the hollow-spoke aluminum wheel has an index figure of 13.0, a mag wheel 16.0." That means quality wheels are 13 to 16 times as expensive to produce! As you know, most automakers will dive head first at the opportunity to cut costs and put out junk instead of quality - (my opinion.)

Fuchs' contract gave all the tooling to Porsche. Sadly, Porsche no longer has the tooling for the early 15" Fuchs. They still have the tooling for the 16" and did a run of 500 wheels some 6 or so years ago. Wish they could still do a run of earlies!

Rim & tire sizes:

nü_skül

big & little set-up



I like the big & little look too, but like a more aggressive, tougher looking ride. I also want the better traction to transfer horsepower to the ground (i like big engines), while being able to handle the car safely and not be all squirrely. 5.5's up front and 6's (or early 7's - they look identical to 6's from the side) out back give you a big & little look too (aside from tire selection) because the spokes or lips are not as deep on the 5.5's, whereas your rears will be a little deeper, a little bigger. Subtle, but effective. 135's (23.97" to 23.01" dia.) & 165's (24.74" dia.) look great - from the side!

5.5's are a great choice rim for the front of Beetles. You can run a 175-55-15 tire (22.58" dia.) or better, 175-60-15 (23.27" dia.) {but, hard to get because it's a Euro and Asian market tire (Audi A2 and Nissan MM) or even better, 185-55-15 (23.01" dia.) - identical to a 135 from the side and easily available}. I've got several 185-55-15 tires, and they look "skinny" !!! (Especially, when contrasted to the rears.) Your handling and overall performance will be amazingly improved over a 135/165 or 145/165 tire set-up.

For some reason most 195-50-15's (22.68" dia.) have a very harsh, square sidewall and appear wide and clunky. I'm tellin' ya, the 185's look good! Try Tirerack.com for the best prices. They used to have Kumho 185's for $50, but they are discontinued (except for Europe). I've been running 215-55-15's (24.31" dia.) out back (7" R Fuchs) and probably will go to a wider 225-55-15 tire (24.74" dia.) eventually (so my rear tires will sit on the rims like 205-60-15's (24.69" dia.) - sweet!). Both of these rear tire sizes look like 165's (24.74" dia.) from the side - near identical diameters to 165's.

Many 135's and 145's diameter look very similar, nearly identical to the human eyes. That's because the diameters actually vary by tire brand (and tire pressure used). Basically, 23.0" to 23.5" diameter range. What i'm trying to say is that some 145's look like 135's from the side... Anyway, any larger series tire on the front just doesn't "look right" on a Bug to me (my opinion). Likewise, any tire diameter larger than 24.74" on the rear of a Bug looks too "bloated" to me (my opinion). {I'm only referring to 15" rims - not the modern large (read "huge!") diameter rims...} Also, I do not like 14" or 16" Fuchs on any Bug at all (my opinion).

Personally, i do not like 4.5's (just my opinion) because the spokes actually stick out beyond the lip of the rim, whereas 5.5's have the spokes flush. 6's and 7's are recessed slightly. You can't get any type of performance with a 4.5 rim either. If you like the spokes protruding, then widen a 4.5 to 5.5" or 6". Now, that would be trick. (On a similar front, I'm thinking of widening a pair of 5.5's to 6" to use as fronts on my 356 pre-A. That way i keep the big & little theme (spoke setback) and have a little bit better traction up front. Any edge helps!)

I know i wrote a book, but there's a wealth of info buried in there for you guys.

Thanks,
John.


PS. I have all rim sizes available. All restored. Most polished & painted. Can anodize. Virtually flawless. I'm a stickler, so nothing's truly perfect. Please let me know if i can help.

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Last edited by ol_skul on Sun Mar 28, 2004 8:44 pm; edited 11 times in total
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Skim
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

great info. Alot of people ask alot of questions that I believe ol skul cleared up for them.

Ol skul, I have been contemplating narrowing a pair of eatly 6's from the front to make the face stick out further than a regular 4.5. Do you think it would work? I have 2 early 6"s that need help that wouldnt hurt being the guinea pigs.
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ol_skul
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 3:10 pm    Post subject: Custom Fuchs Reply with quote

The centers would probably have to be cut out via laser(?), and then reattached further forward on the lip. After that, wheels could be kept as 6's, widened to 7's, or even shrunk to 4.5's. Maybe making it a 5.5 would be ideal (for fronts) because you could still have the exaggerated/ protruding spoke-look and be able to run real performance oriented tires. You could even make it a 5.0 or 6.5 - whatever floats your boat.

But first, I would take into consideration what size tires i wanted to run on the rims, then look at how those size tires sit on different width rims. For example, if you want a 185-55-15 tire, but think it looks a little too small for a 5.5 rim, and think it looks way too bloated for a 4.5, then you could make it a 5.0. This is just a made up example, 185's look pretty tight on a 5.5. But, you should get the point...

Just a note:

I'm not into building trailer queens or cars built soley for looks. I believe cars were made to be driven. It would drive me crazy having a car that i couldn't drive! Trick, to me, includes not only looks, but functionality too.

Good luck. It won't be cheap, but if that is your dream, then chase it. It will be worth the reward when you finally bolt on those one-of-kind early Fuchs!

Please let me know how it goes for you.

Thanks,
John.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well written! Lots of good info. Here's some more:
First, Fuchs is the name, not Fuch. And one wheel is a Fuchs.
The only wheel in existance in 66 was the 4.5, and only on the 911S. The 5.5s didn't appear until a year later when it was offered as an option on all 68 911s and 912s. That's also when the 6s and 7Rs appeared too. The first 911R was a 68.
The blank used to make the 7Rs was not the one for the 6, but the 5.5's blank. This is proven by simply weighing them. A 7R weighs exactly the same as a 5.5. The 6s on the front of a 911R could very well be quite different from the common ones found today. Regular production for the 6 wasn't until the beginning of the 69 model year. It is conceivable that the very first 6s on the front of a 911R (6Rs?) were made from the blank of the 5.5" Fuchs that was in regular production at that time. What do your early 6s weigh? I've measured a 5.5 and 7R at 11.0 lbs each. And a deep 6 at just under 12lbs.
The 911R had 6s and 7s as you noted, but the cars all came with an extra set of wheels in boxes. As a race car, they go through tires fast so extra wheels were necessary.
I heard one report that a one time run of 1000 911R wheels were made. If there are 24 cars with 2 pairs of 7Rs that accounts for only 96 wheels. Although the 7R is the rarest of all Fuchs, there are certainly more than 96 wheels in existance today.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 6:07 pm    Post subject: Clarifying Erroneous Fuch Info. Reply with quote

First, in English, it it easier to say Fuch for one wheel and Fuchs for plurality. We Americans are famous for absorbing foreign words and phrases and tweaking them to suit our needs. It just makes communication clearer. Words like sheep just bother me... I also refuse to say "Poor Shah" - i say "Poor shh." Oh, well... But, technically, you are correct.

Second, the info on Fuch size availability is not true !!! There were other size Fuchs, possibly (read: most probably) in '66 too!!! As with all Porsche performance parts, the prototypes (test cars) & the race cars had them first - not the production models. Porsche is unique in that they build a fantasic racecar, and then tone it down for the public. Many other firms start with their stock production car, and then build it up. It's always been about racing first, with Porsche. So, one can presume, quite confidently, that a prototype of some kind donned the Fuchs way before the production 1967 911S (i believe the first '67 models debuted in Nov. of '66) hit the streets.

Third, Here are 4 examples to expand upon various size Fuchs being available at an earlier date.

1.) In late October/early November of 1967, the Porsche 1967 911R set 19 records (5 world records and 14 International-class records) at Monza. The car had 6" R Fuchs up front and 7" R's out back.

2.) I have (4) 6" Fuchs date stamped "2 67" - February 1967. These have a "901...00" "part number." These may have been for the early R cars. The first Fuch ever made would theoretically be a "901...00" So, my 6's probably are from the first 911R Fuch production run. I will see if i can, ever so carefully, remove paint from the back sides to see if the "901...03" rubber stamp is there. Remember, the "901..." number was initially a forging number and not a part identification number. All size wheels forged would have the same serial numbers. It will be very interesting when i weigh these particular wheels..!

3.) I just sold (2) 5.5's that were date stamped "12 67" - December 1967.

4.) I have an invoice from an original 911R, and it details the wheels with part numbers, quantity, and description. (3) 6R Fuchs are listed with "901...03" part numbers. (2) 7R Fuchs are listed with "901...05" part numbers. The 20 production cars came with 6" spares. The 4 factory racers had plenty of wheels - i'm sure... A 6" R wheel may also be lighter than a normal 6" early Fuch. 7R's are definitely lighter than normal early 6's.

Additionally, I will weigh a bunch of Fuchs tomorrow night (4.5's, 5.5's, 6's, and 7R's). I do have a couple measurements i recorded a year ago for 2 wheels. Wheel finish and dirt accumulation will affect weights. Wheels that have had metal work may actually weigh less - because they've had metal shaved or removed.

6" 12 lbs. 4.8 oz. (painted & polished)
5.5" 11 lbs. 8.2 oz. (anodized with silver spokes)


Fourth, I've been informed that after the initial 24 911R cars were suited with wheels, R's were made per order! I just looked at 2 of my R's - one is a '68 and the other is a '70. No one knows how many R's were really made. They are the rarest - without question. I know a guy who has upwards of 30 R's! I believe it is safe to say that there are probably less than 500 true, original R wheels. Probably less than 300, maybe even less than 200. Again, no one knows what the production numbers were for the different production runs. Not even Fuchs themselves. Their records only go back to 1982. I'll have to ask someone with an original 911R car what the date stamps are on his Fuchs. That would identify the original batch (month & year) from the later produced R's.

Fifth, to determine why any particular Fuch weighs a certain weight, you have to start with the weight of the slug that was started with. A slug is a circular disc of alloy (in our case). There were 4 basic steps to forging the early Fuchs.
The slug was first pressed or flattened into a disc, kinda resembling a simple early VW hubcap. A second press created the spoke profile. A third press added to the spoke profile, but also punched the cut-outs. The fourth step was complex, it involved high pressure and was somewhat like how pottery is formed and shaped while on a spinning wheel. Now, R's are different, because they had to be hand-made to the extra width. I believe the machines were set up to do a particular size, so the special size wheels had to be finished by hand. This involved many little human manufacturing steps. This partly explains why R's were made to order.

Now that you have some insight into the manufacturing process, you can see that it is possible that Fuch wheels of all sizes could have the same part number stamped into the metal if the number stamping was pressed before the final pressing. Now it should kinda make sense why they grounded off the numbers on most of the early Fuchs.

Thanks,
John.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think your estimate of 200 R wheels is far too low. I know of a guy in Switzerland who has owned at least 20 wheels. Harvey Weidman said he's refinished at least 60 wheels. I think its safe to assume that Wheel Enhancements, Robert Woods and Al Reed have each refinished at least as many. This doesn't take into account the hundreds of wheel shops that have done the odd pair or two over the years. Then there are the dozens of guys like you and me that own 1-2 pairs.

My Rs have date code 7/67 and 9/68. From the dates on 7Rs its clear they sold the wheels over the parts counter at dealerships. What is the date on the invoice you have? Could it be that the 7/67 wheel I have was an actual 911R wheel and not a spare part?

I have just learned of the possibility of the existance of a 911R near me. Soon I will follow up on the story. I would never be able to buy it, but it sure would be interesting to locate it. Wouldn't it be wild if the wheels I have are from that local car?

7Rs may have been made to order, but they wouldn't be ordered by the pair only. Large manufacturing companies don't do one or two offs. Besides, I'm sure Porsche would maintain some kind of safety stock, re-ordering a certian batch size when their stock was depleted.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 12:11 pm    Post subject: R's... Reply with quote

The low numbers i guestimated were for the initial run, not total R production. To me, those from the first batch are the true R wheels. How many wheels do you think they made for just 24 cars? Think about this, then you will realize that the initial run was indeed small.

We've established by our various date stampings that different batches were made. Early R's and later R's may differ just as early 901 wheels differ from later 901 wheels in little ways. It is my understanding, quite confidently, that each R wheel had to be hand-made. They didn't just stamp them out like cookie cutters. They may have waited until their order submissions reached a certain number before kicking into production. Nevertheless, all R wheels needed the touch of human hands to be molded into shape. Everday Porsche owners probably had no idea that they could even obtain a 7" Fuch. These wheels were intended strictly for those lucky few involved in Porsche racing.

How many R wheels were made in all? We'll never know. I do know many of the wheels have succumbed to the ravages of time(wear) from being continually driven to the limit on racetrack after racetrack. Stress cracked, crashed amd destroyed, pitted from extreme brake dust, and neglected (not cleaned regularly). After all, these wheels were designed specifically for one sole purpose: racing. Heck, if they ruined one, who cared? - just slap another one on, and hit the gas pedal...
Total production guess... maybe less than 5,000. Maybe production runs were typically 500 wheels each. Maybe some were less. Maybe one last large run of 1000 was made. Nobody knows. We do know that the R is, by far, the most scarce 901 wheel produced.

How many of the 24 R-cars are not accounted for? That would be my starting point for your R search. And, all the ID numbers are well documented. ID numbers for many of the confirmed existing R's are in the public domain. The R in your area may already be well-known in Porsche circles. Take caution, there have been many R clones made over the years, many quite convincing, and i'm sure they will continue to be cloned for many years to come. Many of the parts are reproduced to build the R. Good luck if you locate a real R. An old used one is like, what, $250,000 ? I'd be first in line to pay admission !

Thanks,
John.


PS Chris, got the first e-mail from you today...
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ol skul, I have owned 2 different pairs of early 6's and they were missing the heart shape bump by the valve stem. Would this mean that someone shaved them off, also I know a guy with a set of four 4.5's that have the valve stem hole completely opposite side of the rim than the heart shaped bump. He welded them up and re drilled the valve stem hole in the correct spot by the heart shape.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fuchs Gurus..
Where can I get drums to bolt up my 6 x 15 Fuchs on my son and I project 66. I'm in the South and only found one source - clip1.com and the rears still need machining down due to my short 66 axles. Any suppliers for direct bolt ons for my 66? Any help would be greatly appreciated by me and my son. =)


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btw.. with the 66 will I need spacers in the rear?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try Russ Ludwig at Old Speed in paramount, Ca. or CB Performance.

www.oldspeed.com
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aloha John mahalo for sharing the info. on the fuchs,I also sent you a pm.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 8:14 pm    Post subject: Fuch Weights Reply with quote

Ok, guys. Here are the weights for some of my various early Fuchs, some to my consternation:

4.5 10 lbs. 12.8 oz. (no date) without valve stem, orig. anodized, clean backside
4.5 10 lbs. 13.4 oz. (no date) without valve stem, orig. anodized, clean backside

5.5 11 lbs. 10.0 oz. (Apr '68) with valve stem, polished & painted, dirty backside
5.5 11 lbs. 12.4 oz. (Apr '68) with valve stem, polished & painted, dirty backside

6.0 12 lbs. 7.6 oz. (Jan '70) with valve stem, orig. anodized, dirty backside, with flare
6.0 12 lbs. 6.0 oz. (Jan '70) with valve stem, orig. anodized, dirty backside, with flare
6.0 12 lbs. 4.4 oz. (Jan '70) with valve stem, orig. anodized, dirty backside with flare
6.0 12 lbs. 2.4 oz. (Jan '70) with valve stem, orig. anodized, dirty backside with flare

7R 12 lbs. 12.7 oz. (June '69) with valve stem, polished & painted, dirty backside
7R 12 lbs. 6.5 oz. (June '70) with valve stem, polished & painted, dirty backside

I'm quite surprised about the weight variances. The (4) Sixes are original finish, identical condition, from the same car, and all have matching date stamps. Yet, look at the different weights...

My R's do not weigh the same as 5.5's. They weigh more. One weighs the same as a 6.0, the other quite more.

I'm going to try to keep a personal log of all the wheels that pass through my hands, at least for a little while...

Thanks,
John.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm surprised the average weight of your 7Rs is more than the average of the 6s. Maybe its because your Rs are newer than some others. Presumably there were no wheel weights on any of them.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This thread is definitely a good topic to save if you are into early alloys. I would have never known all this.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 11:11 am    Post subject: R wheel weights Reply with quote

Both R's do have wheel weights (each weight .25 oz. - clearly marked on the weights). I added up the weights for each wheel, subtracted each wheel's total, thus the resulting weight for each wheel.

The figures are correct. I double checked all measurements, some triple at the time of weighing.

Why not weigh your R's? I'm interested in their weight.

Thanks,
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just got learned. Thats a lot of good info....but I don't understand how the weights can be so different.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to know the weight of mine too, but finding a scale that's accurate escapes me. Anything found in the bathroom is a waste of time. I'll see what I can do.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went into the FedEx shipping outlet and used their scale. The guy said it was just calibrated a couple of days ago.
The 7/67 wheel weighs 11.9 lbs with valve stem
The 8/68 wheel weighs 11.7 lbs with valve stem

Your 5.5s convert to 11.63, and 11.84.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 10:38 pm    Post subject: R's.... Reply with quote

What finish are your R's?

I weighed mine at the U.S. Post Office. They checked the calibrations too. But, i'm not one to trust the government... When i get my wheels back from being refinished, i'll weigh them all again.

It is quite interesting that there is such a massive discrepancy between your R's and mine. I have a hunch that the different scales are the reason.

Are your R's collecting dust on the shelf or are you having them redone or something? It killed me to pull mine off my ride to have them sent out for refinishing!

Weight differences may be attributed to:

1.) the scale itself; sometimes i got 3 different readings weighing the same wheel!
2.) finish, and the amount of it remaining. Thickness of paint, painted backs and sides vs. clean backs, anodization, rims with no paint or finish (polished bare aluminum)...
3.) dirt, grime, brake dust collection...
4.) past wheel work. Some rims may have been shaven, ground down - this removes metal, thus weight. Some wheels may have been refinished several times over the last ~40 years. Welded wheels would have weight added back, but i'm not sure if it would just bring the weight back up to normal or add additional weight on top of its normal weight.
5.) if the starting slug (disc of aluminum) were different weights, then that would explain a lot.
6.) human hands had to do a lot of finishing touches to R wheels, maybe some wheels lost a little more metal (weight) than others.
7.) absence of the "flair" valve stem cut-out feature would drop weight. Also, these features do vary in shape from wheel to wheel.
8.) changes were made as the wheels evolved. Some earlies require tubes, while others don't. Other changes were made that may have affected weight too.
9.) different scales will not record the exact same readings either.
10.) i'm sure i left out other possibilities...

Thanks,
John.
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Bruce
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine have been de-anodized and polished on the spokes and rims. Then some amateur PO got his paint brush out and incorrectly painted the background. But there's no way a tiny bit of anodized aluminum or the aluminum removed during polishing can account for the almost 1 full pound difference between yours and mine.

When I previously weighed these wheels they came to exactly the same as the single 5.5 I have. I also did some blindfolded tests with a couple of friends, holding the 5.5 in one hand and the 7 in the other. Not once could anyone discriminate between them. But switch the 5.5 for the 6, and everytime the 6 was picked as weighing more.

Here's my theory: When they started making the 7Rs in 67, the only full production wheel at that time was the 5.5, so they probably used the blank from the 5.5 and stretched it to 7". Then later on when the 6 was in full production they used its blank to make the 7Rs. All the weights we've taken of our wheels support this theory.

I'm still considering what to use them on. My calculations show they will easily fit the rear of an IRS car with no modifications. Same goes for a long axle swing axle car.
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