Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

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Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by dhw3971 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:38 am

So I have these wheels on my station wagon and while they look cool I can't seem to get them balanced. Over 60MPH I get a bad vibration that makes freeway cruising like sitting on a vibrating bed.

I balanced the wheels myself with help from my school's auto mechanics instructor so I am pretty sure the wheels themselves are balanced, but I've heard that the uni-lug pattern can be hard to center on the wheel studs. Anyone have experience with these? I'm considering dumping them (they were a bargain at $200 for 4) for proper "direct drill" wheels.
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by chevellelaguna on Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:06 pm

Just to clarify, did you spin just the rim first without the tire. When you spin just the rim, you can see a wobble which would indicate a bent rim. So, if that is the case and all 4 rims were spun without the tires, that would indicate that the rims themselves are not bent. Then, with tires mounted and balanced I would say that it is in fact a unilug issue. The rim needs to be mounted concentrically on the hub, to avoid a vibration. The other more significant issue is from a safety standpoint. With a unilug rim you are relying on the studs themselves to carry the weight of the wheel, this is a dangerous situation. The wheel should always be supported by the machined hub on the axle flange or hub on the front rotor. You can buy spacers that slip over the hub and fit the center hole of your rim. That to me is just a band aid fix. Get the correct 5 on 4 3/4 bolt spacing rims for you wagon and the vibration should go away. I've used unilug rims, they are a pain to align every time you put them back on. And no matter how close you get them concentrically mounted, they still have a tendancy to vibrate.
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by dynchel on Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:13 pm

I work at a tire shop, and i've always been told that Crager SS's are problematic when it comes to balancing.  I think it has to do with the design, and since they are unilug they cant be pin plated using the lug holes.  If you can find a old school place the still has a bubble balancer that may just fix your problem. Cool
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by dhw3971 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:21 pm

All good advice, thank you!

no, I didn't spin the wheels without the tires, so I don't know for certain that the rims aren't bent. I have one shop in town who I trust to work on the old girl, and if they can't solve the problem then I'm going to get new wheels (already have them on my Summit Racing wish list). unfortunately, I've got to wait until April when all the damn snow is gone...

what is a bubble balancer?
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by Joe73 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:44 pm

I'm curious as to what is vibrating above 60mph? Is it the whole car? Is it the steering wheel? This is what I would do first since it looks like you put some good time into correctly balancing them.

Drive it over 60 mph. Does the steering wheel shake left to right? If so, then the front wheels are out of balance.

If not, put the front wheels on the back and the back wheels on the front. Drive it over 60 mph. Does the steering wheel shake left to right?

If so, then the wheels you just put on the front are out of balance.

If neither is shaking the steering wheel "left to right", not just a vibration, I'd look elsewhere as to what is out of balance.

Anyone you know have a set of wheels that would fit your car so you can take it for a ride to see if you still have the vibration?

For the fun of it, slide under the car and check the perimeter of the driveshaft for missing balance weights.

Check your motor mounts. Rev the car at the carb and see if the motor lift excessively to where the fan might touch the fan shroud. If the mounts are good, check the tranny mount. Jack up the tail of the trans (in front of the crossmember) SLIGHTLY to see if the mount separates.

If the vibration is through the whole car, check you harmonic balancer. If its original, the rubber (elastomer) is probably deteriorated and it slipped. I ran into that problem once that was a pain to find.

Just some things to try. But switching wheels with another car is the easiest.

Good luck with it.
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by thatfnthing on Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:49 pm

Dumb Q: Are you sure it's the wheels? A vibe at high speed can also be a bad u-joint on the driveshaft.
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by dhw3971 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:31 pm

I'm pretty sure it's the wheels because I removed steel Rally wheels and put on these used Cragars.  Mad  I recall having no vibration and a smoooth ride with the steel wheels.

The motor mounts were replaced last summer and the trans mount has been replaced too.

When driven, the steering wheel has a minor pulse in it, but the worst vibration seems to come from the rear, and if I get up to 80 it diminishes a bit (but driving that monster wagon at 80MPH is not something I like to do).
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by dhw3971 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:38 pm

and when I look at new wheels I see backspacing and offset...I am running 15x7 wheels and stock tire size. I think I want no offset and 4" backspacing...can anyone offer insight on that?
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by Limey SE on Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:22 pm

this is a 8" rear wheel with Zero offset and 4" back space



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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by dhw3971 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:12 pm

that helps! I think I need the same setup.
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by driveit on Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:47 pm

I was going to suggest checking the driveshaft as mine is out of balance and I am getting some vibration from it, but it is around 53 to 58 mph, which is very annoying btw.

Also what wheels were you thinking of getting?
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by bracketchev1221 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:52 pm

This may be a stupid question, but I thought the balance machine clamps the wheel on a tapered cone and doesn't use the lugs at all. This centers the wheel on the machine shaft. So the Unilug shouldn't matter at all. But a bent or poorly made wheel will make it look bad.
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by Tom77 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:57 pm

Did you lightly sand the drums / hubs and the back of the Cragar's to make sure there was no corrosion on them that will give you a woble.
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by Tom77 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:05 pm

If you have to order new ones I used Discount tire. Believe it or not they are a Cragar dealer and you can beat them up on the price then if you get a woble just take it back and have coffee while they do the work.  cheers 
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by Tom77 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:08 pm

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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by dynchel on Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:19 pm

bracketchev1221 wrote:This may be a stupid question, but I thought the balance machine clamps the wheel on a tapered cone and doesn't use the lugs at all.  This centers the wheel on the machine shaft.  So the Unilug shouldn't matter at all.  But a bent or poorly made wheel will make it look bad.  
Alot of newer cars have to be centered up using the lug nut holes per the manufacturer.  A center cone is still used but a pin plate also goes over the balancers shaft to ensure the rim spins true.
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by driveit on Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:43 pm

I learn something everyday on here.
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by chevellelaguna on Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:08 pm

So, if there was no vibration with the stock wheels, the there is an obvious problem with the cragers , most likely the unilug design of the rim. Again, on this scenario and application, he can't center the wheel on the hub when he bolts the wheels on.
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by dynchel on Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:20 pm

chevellelaguna wrote:So, if there was no vibration with the stock wheels, the there is an obvious problem with the cragers , most likely the unilug design of the rim. Again, on this scenario and application, he can't center the wheel on the hub when he bolts the wheels on.
The lugs "should" center up the wheel.
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by Dinomyte on Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:32 pm

dhw3971 wrote:All good advice, thank you!

no, I didn't spin the wheels without the tires, so I don't know for certain that the rims aren't bent.  I have one shop in town who I trust to work on the old girl, and if they can't solve the problem then I'm going to get new wheels (already have them on my Summit Racing wish list).  unfortunately, I've got to wait until April when all the damn snow is gone...

what is a bubble balancer?

old shool tire balancer, works like a carpenter's level only in all directions.  Here's a pic with and without a tire on it.  The very top is the bubble.





The silver part "floats" when it's engaged, and the wheel is left to balance by you adding weights till the bubble is in the cross hairs, then your good if not your out.  Very simple, very slick too.
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by dynchel on Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:25 pm

Yeah, that was out dated in 1991 when I learned how to do it at my first job (shell gas station)
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by dhw3971 on Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:38 pm

Driveit:

Here's some ideas from my Summit Racing wishlist:
1. Cragar S/S SuperSports, same as are on the car now.
2. MB Wheels Old School chrome wheels http://www.summitracing.com/parts/mbw-62587/overview/
3. Summit Racing Pulsar polished wheelshttp://www.summitracing.com/parts/sum-541-5761ps/overview/
4. Wheel Vintiques 03 Series Comet chrome wheels.http://www.summitracing.com/parts/wvi-03-571204/overview/

I think my favorites are the MB wheels but as usual, they are most expensive. Sad
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by Limey SE on Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:43 pm

So would this be a bad time to put some Cragars for sale ?
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by dhw3971 on Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:44 pm

Only if they are uni-lugs!
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

Post by Limey SE on Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:08 pm

dhw3971 wrote:Only if they are uni-lugs!

Most all Cragars came in Unilugs unless special ordered
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Re: Cragar SS uni-lug wheels

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