MAKING THE CHOICE BETWEEN STEEL AND ALUMINUM
Whether you're watching diesel start its seemingly inevitable rise again or trying to get every possible pound of freight on board each trailer, wheels are something to take into account as you plan your loads.
Basically, there are three choices for duals: steel, which offers durability; a combination of aluminum on the outside and steel on the inside with a liner in between to protect the metals for more durability yet lighter weight; or an all-aluminum option for the maximum in weight reduction. And most fleet managers and owners would figure there's not much new in the marketplace. But let's take a look at some of the recent tweaks and innovations.
Accuride has a solution with its ‘two-for-one’ innovation. Their system replaces two wheels with one in their DupleX-One steel or aluminum combo for tandem-axle tractors and trailers. You can replace a paired set of 22.5 in. wheels with one 22.5×14 in. wheel, which reduces weight and improves fuel mileage accordingly. Accuride also says the ride is improved for drivers and freight, and downtime for repairs and maintenance is reduced as well.
However, bear in mind that since DupleX-One wheels have a different offset, the loading on the axle ends is likely going to be affected. You're going to have to plan your loads with a little more attention to axle ends. If you decide to retrofit trailers that have an outset greater than 0.63 in., be sure to contact the trailer axle manufacturer for guidance.
DupleX-One wheel weight ranges from 68 to 132 lbs. for each with wheel size remaining the same. The bolt circle, no matter whether you select steel or aluminum, also is unchanged. All are hub-piloted with maximum inflation of 125 psi for steel and 131 psi for aluminum. All the wheels have a load rating of 12,800 lbs. except the 127-lb. midrange weight steel wheel, which is rated at 11,300 lbs.
What if you want to reduce weight and fuel consumption but don't want to incur a hefty bill for retrofitting? There are solutions available.
Accuride can also provide “the whole enchilada” with lightweight wheel-end components from the slack adjuster to the hub, drum and wheel itself.
If you're looking for more muscle and less maintenance, you'll find it in the new 24.5×8.25 in. LvL One wheel from Alcoa Wheel Products. In its class rating, this wheel carries 7,850 lbs., while the closest competitors can handle only 7,300 lbs., Alcoa says. In addition, that rating is just a hair better when forged in steel at 7,400 lbs. LvL One wheels weigh 56 lbs., nearly 30 lbs. less than a comparable steel wheel, the company says. Outfit a fleet with the stronger and lighter-weight wheels, and significant savings should start showing in just a few months.
Alcoa also says its LvL One wheel will run cooler than its competitors and comes with a 5-yr. limited warranty. You can even get a polished finish on one or both sides, or a buff finish that the company promises is six times brighter than competitive forged aluminum wheels. There is a 14-in. LvL One wide-track axle fitment as well.
Alcoa also offers its CalcuLighter on its website. CalcuLighter helps fleets determine fuel and payload changes as well as wheel maintenance specs and final scrap value for different types of wheels. The site uses the NADA Official Commercial Truck Guide for trade-in values and stats on carbon emissions.
“This latest version of CalcuLighter includes interface enhancements along with all of the statistical data reflecting the most recent regulations affecting the trucking industry,” said Mike Parnell, vice president & general manager, Alcoa Commercial Vehicle Wheels.
Once you've input your fleet's profile, simply fill in the information on which type of wheel you prefer along with other vehicle-specific data and the CalcuLighter determines the cost comparison.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THESE WEBSITES:
Alcoa Wheel Products
Webb Wheel Products