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Widening 3 Piece Alloy Wheels


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Just a quick thread on a few basics relating to widening 3 piece alloy wheels.

2 months ago I set about the task of widening my BBS RS 16 inch wheels. These are 3 piece wheels so can be completely seperated, allowing a wider outer shell to be fabricated and bolted on, in place of the original, narrower shell.

I contacted several wheel makers including Kodiak wheels in the US, BBS in Europe and a couple of others whose names escape me. In short, the prices were exorbitant, with some wanting over $300 per shell before shipping etc. There were some options that looked promising, but then the time frames were getting out to 6-8 weeks for fabrication and again, a delay for shipping.

I began hunting in New Zealand, to see how prices compare. I contacted a company in Tauranga, Elite Wheels in Christchurch, Arrow Wheels in Auckland, Rim Right in Palmerston North and Bateman Racecars in Wellington.

3 Companies said they couldn't do it for various reasons, Arrows price came back at $210+gst* if they have something on the shelf to fit (unlikely) and more if they have to spin something custom, and Gavin Bateman came back with a quote of $135+gst* per shell. In additional to this, is the machine polishing fee of $35* per shell.

The above price from Batemans is only applicable if you are having 4 shells spun, so a total of $680+gst* to have 4 shells spun to any diameter and any width, within reason. Obviously additional costs include shipping to and from Wellington if you don't live there.

* Prices as quoted above are subject to change at any time. The prices are only what I was quoted and should be used as a guideline only.

I went with this option and with the help of Kelvin (mini mafia) sent a centre and a lip down to Gavin for him to measure up.

The most important part of widening these wheels and the main factor that determines whether Gavin can widen them or not, is the diameter of the centre. The first thing to do is to measure the centre (basically the ID of the wheel shell) and send this to Gaving so that he can confirm whether he can spin some new shells or not.

Gaving can be emailed at gavin.bateman@clear.net.nz or phone 027 246 8948.

Now to bolting them together.

I got the wheels back and the first thing I did was dummy them with a centre on the car, just to check clearances.


I was pretty happy with that, so set to work getting the centres dipped, etched, painted and getting them bolted together.

Here is the new outer shell, sitting on my etched centre. This is just oxide red primer, but burgundy/brown was a colour I was considering so I thought I'd try it out. It looked horrible on the car.


On the advice of Gavin, I purchased this from Repco for around $25.


Both Gavin and the guy who dipped my centres at Advanced Plating recommended I use Isopropyl Alcohol to clean up the faces before I silicone them together. Also a lint free cloth was recommended and after wasting about $20 trying various lint free rags and microfibre cloths, I found the best thing was little makeup remover pad things that I stole off my missus :D


By the way, having the 4 centres and caps dipped to a very nice, clean finish was $45+gst from these helpful chaps.


I then laid the shells out, again in a rush. This is where I went wrong. Laid the wide outers with the wide inners, resulting in 16x8.5 and 16x10 rather than 16x9 and 16x9.5. I'm actually quite happy with how it worked out though.


I ran a bead of silicone around each mounting face, after carefully cleaning each with alcohol.


After waiting for the silicone to cure for around 15 minutes, I put in each bolt and nut and then once that was done, tightened them up until they just started to squeeze a little of the silicone out.




This is how I left them overnight. It was only around 12 hours or so, would have been at least 24 if I had the time. The theory is that the silicone should cure to form a gasket like seal in between.

In the morning I torqued all bolts up in preparation for tyres.


Kelvin should be able to add a bit to my word jumble. He took his time and has ended up with a much better outcome, but overall I'm very happy with both the price and quality of product from Gavin Bateman and can't recommend his services enough.

A post from Gavin, as seen later in this thread (pg 3).

I guess it's time I actually posted something on this thread.

Yep, I am Gavin of Bateman Racecars.

So on pricing, the cost of raw materials went up significantly (20%) at the end of 2010, so prices have gone up a bit. The difference in cost mentioned by twosmoke is probably because he asked for pricing on 17's as these are more expensive to make than 13" thru 16" diameters owing to the yeild from a piece of material. ie: less parts per sheet = more $ per unit. (We only do 13"-17" diameters)

I'll check it out & see if I am allowed to post a full list of pricing on here.

Cutting off welded on outer shells & bolting on new ones is not a problem so long as there are enough bolts to safely hold it all together afterwards. Otherwise the application of some more holes is aways a good solution rather than welding. The bolts used on different brands of wheels vary in size. Old BBS racing wheels (eg Formula Atlantic) were 6mm, the BBS as shown at the start of the thread are 7mm (really odd so don't lose any) and some are 8mm. Generally you find that the bigger the wheel diameter the bigger the bolt diameter or the greater the number of bolts.

When sealing the wheels, we always also run a bead of sealant around the joins after it is all bolted up and tool it off to ensure there aren't any air bubbles in the seal. Just putting sealant between the parts does not guarantee a seal. Generally also put sealant around both sides of the bolt holes as I have seen some wheels leak around the bolts.

I've been thinking about making complete copies of SSR Longchamps. What sort of interest would there be in these?

Otherwise you can have a look at the start of my new website at 41degreewheels.com. and feel free to email pictures of cars that we have had a hand in making parts for that can be included in the gallery! gavin.bateman@clear.net.nz ph 027 2468948

Have fun :compress:

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4wd bands are officially awesome though... I saw a hilux with SSR RS8s (6 stud) and i wanted to tax his wheels etc to put my centres in. Big dish and all.

I have also had dealings with gavin, had same price estimate (but havent got wheels done yet...) so can confirm he is good-cunt as

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dummied this up to see if the colour balances and frankly i like it,

for a homer paint job baked in the oven i think they came out ok


a few years ago i smashed these together with a little help from a man with a big lathe,

like for like is the deal the bands have to be the right size for your centres or slightly smaller with room for machining.

i think its easier to go brads way personally and cheaper

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not going to put in any torque settings, I'd rather people did their own research into that side of things for their own specific wheels/bolts at risk of holding me accountable for anything. I imagine it would vary quite a bit.

I've also been meaning to add a bit of a disclaimer on price, because this thread could be dredged up in years to come. It should go without saying, but Gavins price as quoted above is subject to change at any time. The price I've quoted is only what I paid and should be used as a guideline only.

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Alloy bands stainless bolts and normally grade 7 or above.

The bolts are 8mm normally depending on wheel type. For instance, I put 32nm(primary torque), then 45nm(secondary torque) into mine (8mm) with loctite - but i did not get a conclusive answer to whats required from arrow at the time.

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As have I but it is not the greatest advice to be given over the internet. Sure its fine for people that have been fucking around with cars/whatever, but if you are new to the game of nuts(I lold while typing that) then 'just do them up' is a fairly ambiguous term. As brad said above, it should be up to the individual to look up the required torque for their required application. Then if they do a zeb and a wheel falls off they are to blame.


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How much did shipping cost to Hamilton?

I'm actually still awaiting an invoice from Gavin, so will post it up here when we receive it. Not a lot in the scheme of things though and if you were patient I'm sure the OS Freight System would get all of the shells up here for little more than a box.

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