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Aluminum lug nuts - yes or no?

 
Old 10-04-2008, 06:03 PM
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Question Aluminum lug nuts - yes or no?

I saw some aluminum racing lug nuts on Ebay- I just put in a 9" moser with 4.11/s and 21/2" studs, are lightweight aluminum lug nuts going to stand up to 1.75 60''s and 12.40 e.t.s or should I stick with steel? Does any one have any experience with these?
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:54 PM
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I've never seen an aluminum lug nut, not even with the large 5/8 studs in pro race axles. Must be NASCAR stuff only so I would stay away from that on street driving vehicles. Maybe look around for something made out of titanium if you are looking to save weight.
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Old 10-05-2008, 07:08 PM
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I think you would have to question the durability of them, especially if you change your wheels often...not sure the threads would stand up.
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:28 PM
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NO! stay away
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:36 AM
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Not NASCAR stuff, but I've seen them advertised in circle track catalogs. For those who want to save a couple extra pounds of unsprung weight. Ive never run them, heard they gall/strip/cross thread easily. I"ll stick with the steel stuff for my street cars.
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Old 10-15-2008, 11:37 PM
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Nuts and bolts are not weight saving items. You need to have the proper grade/tensile strength fastners for the application. Aluminum lug nuts sound retarted to me
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Old 10-16-2008, 12:15 AM
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How about just stay away from chrome wheels. That would save you 1,5 lbs per wheel. More than al lugs could ever do.
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Old 10-16-2008, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by BackinBlack02SS View Post
Nuts and bolts are not weight saving items. You need to have the proper grade/tensile strength fastners for the application. Aluminum lug nuts sound retarted to me
Agreed!
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Old 10-16-2008, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by 2002_Z28_Six_Speed View Post
How about just stay away from chrome wheels. That would save you 1,5 lbs per wheel. More than al lugs could ever do.
My thoughts exactly!
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Old 10-16-2008, 07:24 AM
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I agree with you guys, I would never use aluminum lugs either.

However, racing people will do anything to save a little weight here and there. There are a lot of stupid things people will do, including drilling holes in items that should really be left alone. I guess trial & error is the only way to tell if it's going to make or break.

One cool thing i've seen...a chassis builder who i'm know had most of the bolts on his racecar made of titanium to save weight. I don't remember the length, but he tossed me a 3/4" bolt (hex cap screw), and it weighed about the same as a regular 3/8" bolt.
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Old 10-16-2008, 09:04 AM
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Ti Bolt replacement is far different from Aluminum, The bolt is as strong as Steel but lighter, slightly more brittle on the hardness scale but will make a difference when your looking for weight.

That, or a 1" hole saw.
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Old 10-16-2008, 09:35 AM
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Definitely YES!!!!

We use them on the DIRT cars. It is the equivalent of taking 1 lug off per wheel. That is a pretty nice little weight savings for cheap when you consider it is unsprung + rotating mass

They also take a lot more of a beating than you would think they could. Just have to make sure you don't cross thread, always torque them, never zing them on with a gun, and if they are double sided conical, mark them so you can always put them on the same way.

-Tim
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Old 11-29-2014, 10:28 AM
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Default 7075-T6 lug nuts = good

Originally Posted by NJSPDER View Post
Definitely YES!!!!

We use them on the DIRT cars. It is the equivalent of taking 1 lug off per wheel. That is a pretty nice little weight savings for cheap when you consider it is unsprung + rotating mass

They also take a lot more of a beating than you would think they could. Just have to make sure you don't cross thread, always torque them, never zing them on with a gun, and if they are double sided conical, mark them so you can always put them on the same way.

-Tim
I know this thread is ancient but I have first hand experience with aluminum lug nuts on high performance street cars and world class super cars as well as being a certified journeyman in aircraft metals technology so I have some technical knowledge to contribute as well.

I just wanted to start off saying that not all aluminum grades most common to the automotive world can work for lug nuts. Some popular alloys like 5052 & 6061 are not tough enough even when heat treated to take the impact load and survive without resulting in eventual loosening of the lug nut to wheel contact area. 6061-T6 can be strong enough but just isn't resilient enough for an impact load application. End result = loose wheels.

This leaves 2024 and 7075. Both could work but 7075 is better for this application as it tends to have a memory and bounce back to its as heat treated shape when distorted under load. Great for suspension parts and lug nuts that see shock loads.

Rock crawlers love 7075 for suspension link bars as they can drop the rig on the bars and not permanently deform them like their steel counterparts would under the same impact load. They just bounce back when unloaded.

I made my own aluminum lug nuts out of 1" 7075 hex bar to fit my Pro Star wheels in 1988. They were 2" tall above the neck down for the shank to fit inside the wheels and open end in design. I annealed them after machining to get rid of any work hardening then heat treated them to T6 specifications. They were a little taller and had a bigger hex area on them than the steel versions they replaced but they weighed 1/3 less. I also made 1/8" thick 1" O.D. titanium washers that I machined and heat treated as well. A nice side benefit to working in a state of the art aircraft testing facility where doing "training projects" was encouraged when the days work was completed. I ran them on the street in a 70 Chevelle SS454 car every day and at the track bracket racing every weekend the track was open for over ten years with no issues what so ever. I sold the car but I am certain they are still going strong today as long as the new owner continued to use anti-seize compound on them as I told him to do.

A couple years later I worked on some of the new model press test vehicles that came off of Willow Springs Raceway back in early 1990 to put new tires on them after their flogging at the road course. Most every high end exotic car I worked on came with factory aluminum lug nuts on them. The ones on the 911 Porsche stand out in my memory because they surprised me. They were shorter than a standard aftermarket chrome steel lug nut and were black anodized. Super light by comparison. To start with an equal sized aluminum part would weigh half what a steel part weighs but being smaller too made them probably 1/3 the weight of traditional steel lug nuts. My fabricated lug nuts were humongous compared to these things. If a German engineer thought they were good for a near 200 mph super car then they must be OK to run on a high performance street car that hits the strip or autocross too.

Sorry for the long post but I think this could help some people make a better informed decision. As long as the aluminum lug nuts are made from 7075 alloy they should work great for pretty much any streetable vehicle. Just remember to use plenty of anti-seize as galvanic corrosion is a problem with dissimilar metals in direct contact. This is where the bad reputation for galling comes from. They are literally sticking to the wheel studs just like steel spark plugs do in aluminum cylinder heads if not coated with anti-seize due to the corrosion buildup.

The total number of threads on the lug nut will determine how much torque the lug nut can take before pulling the threads out happens. I don't have the ability to calculate this but I am sure one of the lug nut fabricators has tested this and knows their products limits. They most likely supply torque specs with their products to cover this legally.

I saw these aluminum lug nuts and think they have done everything right with their product. I will probably buy a set or two for my vehicles when they come out with a 1/2" thread version that will fit my cars.

https://ls1tech.com/forums/wheels-ti...l#post18547318
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Old 11-29-2014, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by 2002_Z28_Six_Speed View Post
How about just stay away from chrome wheels. That would save you 1,5 lbs per wheel. More than al lugs could ever do.
Having a chrome wheel is like having a hot chick in the passenger seat. Sure you are toting a little extra weight, but damn you look good doing it. Perfectly acceptable!
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Old 12-27-2014, 03:55 PM
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Despite that long post above, here's the simple answer.

They're ****. If you want to have the wheels remain bolted to the car, use steel. It's worked faultlessly for decades.

If you are at the absolute extreme of weight saving and this is the absolute final reduction you can make.....then maybe you can go to Alu...but Ti would make more sense.

If you do go Alloy, be prepared to replace them every 2-3 times of using them on/off the car.
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Old 12-28-2014, 03:24 PM
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I took a aftermarket wheel off a acura tsx the other day and it had aluminum lug nuts.
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Old 12-28-2014, 06:41 PM
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Ford used aluminum studs and lugnuts on many vehicles in the past. And I've used aluminum hardware on aircraft also like mentioned above. If they are made with the right material and heat treat I would use them.
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Old 12-29-2014, 08:51 AM
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i run a set of open ended 949racing 7075 alloy lugs on a 1000+hp street car with NO issues! i dont change wheels on a weekly basis but they do just fine!
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Old 12-29-2014, 09:07 AM
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the problem is a majority of the aluminum lug nuts are made for the Honda *** ricers and are not of good quality

not going to save enough weight to make them worthwhile anyway IMO and it probably won't be easy to find a decent set

just barking up the wrong tree for anything but headaches
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Old 12-29-2014, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by tillery View Post
Ford used aluminum studs and lugnuts on many vehicles in the past. And I've used aluminum hardware on aircraft also like mentioned above. If they are made with the right material and heat treat I would use them.

It is remotely possible somewhere the OEM may have used aluminium lug nuts. But there isnt a chance in hell any used any material remotely like that for wheel studs or bolts.

They would never take a risk like that for such a structural and loaded fixing.
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