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Weird Wheel Burn problem revisited

926 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Bruce R.
I saw in a thread a while ago someone posting about having strange burn like marks on the outer rim of their wheels:

I just noticed a similar (but much worse) problem on one of my winter wheels (right front).

pics are below. I checked my tire pressure and it was low (like 22) and bumped it up to 34, but all 4 wheels were low (forgot to check them when i took of the summer ones [xx(]) but this problem only occured on the front right. I also noticed the car seems to vibrate at higher speeds (like one of the rims might be bent?). Any ideas?



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Ditto what Bruce said. Its called filiform corrosion, and can occur under a clear coat or even under ALclad aluminum plated alloys if the surface coating gets nicked, which are much more vulnerable to corrosion than pure aluminum. You will probably also see it at the corners of the bolt holes on the stock MB wheels, where the edge is fairly sharp, leaving the clearcoat very vulnerable to damage from removing the wheel bolts. Its one reason to like chrome* plated wheels with no sharp edges.[:D]

*Where "chrome plated" means a copper base layer, followed by a nickle overplate, followed finally by polished chrome.
Bruce R. - 2/6/2005 7:51 AM

Not to argue with you, but unfortunately chrome plating has some strong shortfalls as well. If not properly handled after the plating, plating will weaken the aluminum alloy in the casting, from what I understand, as much as 30%.
I am not personally familiar with any way that copper-nickel-chrome plating can damage aluminum. It is routinely done on stressed motorcycle parts, including frames, engine castings, brake components, wheels and rims. I suppose if high temperatures were used somewhere along the way they could do damage to the heat treatment of certain aluminum alloys, but I am not aware of any such processes used in decorative plating and there are quite a few chrome wheels out there in the aftermarket.

If you (or any other posters with knowledge on the topic) are familiar with any technical references on the failure mechanism at work with respect to aluminum wheels, I would be interested in reading them; I would suspect the effects of salt induced corrosion on wheels to pose the greater threat.
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