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      04-02-2012, 02:13 PM   #1
Car54
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Question about 3 piece wheels

Hey all,

I purchased a car with a set of Nutek 3pc wheels. The sizes are 19x9/10.5 and currently have good PS2's 275/285-30. The fronts are ballooning and the rears are stretched. The car's steering is less than agile, but the grip is great.

This stagger is a bit more than I like and really plan to use these tires on the street only. I thought about getting narrower front tires, but still don't like the stretched tire in the rear.

Had this crazy idea. How about swapping inner barrels from front to rear. This would net me a .5" increase and decrease in total width and keep the same appearance of stagger on the outside.

I talked to Nutek, found out that inner and outer are compatible, bolts are torqued to 32 ft/lb, and I'll need to RTV/silicon the inside joint and let cure for 24 hours.

Couple questions for the crowd.


  • Does this sound do able for an avid DIY'er or am I asking for trouble?
  • Do I need to get the tires dismounted or can I separate the wheels just buy deflating and undoing the bolts?
  • Can I use my impact wrench to loosen the bolts? Any pattern to removing?
  • Anything else besides a good cleaning should be done while they are apart?


Some pics of the mentioned wheels:





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Last edited by Car54; 04-02-2012 at 05:59 PM.
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      04-02-2012, 04:53 PM   #2
ben@tirerack
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I'll answer as best I can, some of this info will depend on what Nutek tells you.

-Does this sound do able for an avid DIY'er or am I asking for trouble?
Yes to both. It sounds doable, and it is asking for trouble. You have some functional wheels, you're going to make them non-functional, and then hopefully bring them back to a functional state. Small errors in re-assembly could lead to costly and/or dangerous failure.

-Do I need to get the tires dismounted or can I separate the wheels just buy deflating and undoing the bolts?
If it were me, I'd have them dismounted. It should make dis-assembly easier, and the easier it is, the less likely you are to have a problem. With that said, I don't see why you couldn't do it via deflation/dis-assembly.

-Can I use my impact wrench to loosen the bolts? Any pattern to removing?
Are you reusing the bolts? If so, go by hand. Do you have the tools/skills to get a bolt out if one snaps off or otherwise gets stuck? If not, go by hand. If you're using new bolts (check with Nutek, you may have to use fresh bolts) and can remove one if the impact busts it, then you can probably use the impact.

-Anything else besides a good cleaning should be done while they are apart?
Nothing I can think of, probably good to check with Nutek. Certainly get the old sealant cleaned off so your fresh sealant can do its job.

So that's everything I can think of that could go wrong. If none of that scares you, proceed.
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      04-02-2012, 06:03 PM   #3
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Ben,

These are all great points. I've already taken one bolt out to see what's what. No thread locker, came out with clean threads. They're concealed so theres not exposed not to corrode.

I could pull a broken bolt if I had to.

Given the car, the tires, and setup...do you think this is a smart move? I mean isn't this a huge advantage to 3pc wheels? Being able to tweak the wheels, right?

I guess if I have a major problem, I could box them up and send them out or take them some where. I can't see something permanent happening....I'm actually the most concerned with them being damaged when mounting the tires back on.

Thanks for your input!
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      04-02-2012, 07:00 PM   #4
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The main point of 3 piece wheels is to allow manufacturing of unusual widths and offsets without having to make new molds. They were also popular for racing due to the repairability factor, though one piece wheels have mostly replaced them in competition due to weight. Most are not designed with end-user modification as a specific goal. People certainly do, but it is not their stated purpose.

It sounds like you are well prepared from a DIY capability standpoint. I always urge caution on these sorts of things because some guys have gotten burned by removing some expensive, unique, and in some cases near-irreplaceable single-use fasteners.

For example: a guy took apart his SSR GT3's. Those were not built to come apart, the fasteners were single use, and SSR was in bankruptcy at the time, so there was no way to get more. He was pretty much SOL.

So getting some reassurance from the wheel maker is a key first step. If anything goes wrong, they are your primary safety net as far as getting replacement pieces. It sounds like you've talked to them about this and they haven't issued any dire warnings, so that is good.

As far as the fitment, I don't see any problem with a 10" rear, although a 9.5" front is a little on the wide side. Some guys have stuffed 10's in front, but 9 is much more common. You might want to post your offsets and see if anyone has fit a 9.5" front with whatever ET you have going. Of course offset is measured from centerline of the wheel, so the effective offset will change since you're changing the total width. 1/2" wider on the back of the wheel will 'pull' the centerline back, so your mounting surface is farther from the centerline, making a slightly higher offset. It's the end of a long day, so forgive me if my math is stupid, but I believe it moves the centerline 1/4" which is just over 6mm, and would raise your offset by that amount.

To illustrate my thinking, if you have a 9" wheel, the total width is ~10". To make it easy, say the offset is zero. You have a 5" front piece, and a 5" rear piece (counting the flange). Now add 1/2" to the back piece. You have a 9.5 nominal width and 10.5" actual width. The front piece is 5", rear piece 5.5". The centerline is at 5.25", but the mounting surface is still at 5" from the face, yielding a 1/4" positive offset, which is just over 6mm.

Sorry for how long that got. Hope it is some help.
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      04-02-2012, 08:23 PM   #5
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You would have to remove the tires first as tires do not just slide off they need a mounting/dismounting machine for this. I know you may not want to hear this but buying the proper tire size would be easiest. Probably a 255 front and a 295 rear.
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      04-02-2012, 09:16 PM   #6
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Yep....tried it tonight. Got all of the bolts out of one wheel with no issues. Removed the face and cleaned it all up. Was able to separate the barrels but not break the tire bead. I didnt try very hard, so ill be taking them in for dismount.

About 6 of the bolts had thread locker, I'll repeat that when I reinstall.

Feeling good about this so far.

As for fitment, thanks for the explanation Ben. In my case I'm just literally adding 1/2" to the inside which will take me extremely close to the strut with the tire, but that's going to pull in on the wide wheel. If for some reason it's too close, there are always small spacers.

I'm hoping to complete this during this week. I'll post back with results.
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      04-03-2012, 04:15 PM   #7
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Had the wheels dismounted today. The shop I usually use just kept my tires there and isn't charging me until I come back for mounting. Score! Gotta love small family run businesses.

Got two of the wheels apart with no issues at all. Cleaned up two of the four and will start on the other two after dinner. I'll seal them up and aim to get them mounted up Thursday.

Two of my TPMS sensor bodies are a little loose. Should this be tightened up or is this normal?


Here are some pics:


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      04-04-2012, 12:45 AM   #8
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You need to use dow/corning 733. Not just some crap from home depot. Uness you want problems. lso the dow will probably have a primer or cleaner to use with it. In my experience skiming is not good.
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      04-04-2012, 12:03 PM   #9
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Got done last night around 10:45. I'd say this took a good 4 hours to complete. All bolts came loose except for one wheel that had about every 3rd bolt extremely tight. I used hand tools to pop them out.

I ended up using the Silicone II from GE. If I have to redo anything, I'll use the Dow/Corning stuff. The wheels all had some black sealant on them except for one, it was white.

I feel really good about the reassembly but the truth will be tomorrow when I get them mounted back up and pressure test them.

Here's a quick shot of them curing.

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      04-05-2012, 10:43 AM   #10
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Tires are mounted and the stretch I was desiring was achieved. Tires are holding air. There's no rubbing anywhere and there's still clearance from tire to strut. So far, I'm very glad that I decided to do this. I need to road test drive at lunch time today.

Interesting find here:

The wider tire is a 285/30/18 Yoko AD08 and the narrower is a 285/30/19 PS2. The difference in treadwidth is nearly an inch!


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      04-05-2012, 10:45 AM   #11
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IMO 3-piece wheels are the worst invention since the wheel.

Go monoblock..wheels have no business being in "pieces" and held together by fastners..thats my 2c
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      08-22-2013, 02:07 AM   #12
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Glad it worked out for you!
Good info here!
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