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View Full Version : Has anyone had a steel wheel crack?


cincigp
07-30-2013, 06:30 PM
I recently replaced the shocks on my T1N and noticed a long irregular mark on my left front wheel outside of the lug holes spanning three lug holes. I felt it with a small pick and couldn't feel anything, I then sanded part of it down and was able to get it to disappear, but I could have just smeared the edges over so isn't visible. Without doing some sort of dye penetrant test I can't know for sure, but the dye penetrant kit is almost as much as a new wheel. If it is plausible that it could be a crack, I may just go ahead and order a new wheel and skip inspecting it. So, has anyone ever had a steel wheel on a Sprinter crack in normal use?

MillionMileSprinter
07-30-2013, 08:20 PM
The only wheel failures I know of are a guy who recently (last 6 months) had one of his Porsche Cayenne wheels (same bolt pattern as T1N) crack and another guy who (this was the driver's fault, not the wheel) way overloaded his van and had his lug nuts shear off (a couple of years ago). Other than that, I'm not aware of any wheel failures. I'm sure if anyone else knows of a failure, they will respond.
If I were you, I wouldn't take the chance. Stick your spare wheel on there and find a junkyard sprinter wheel for your spare. No sense taking chances.

03CDX
07-30-2013, 08:46 PM
I haven't heard of a steel wheel on a sprinter cracking before but I have personally seen a steel wheel crack on a trailer. Large 16" heavy trailer wheel. Don't know what caused the wheel to crack and I have only seen it once and, it cost the owner a pretty penny in fines (he claimed $2500.00). The crack didn't form in a rotational (around the lug holes) pattern but a radial line from lug hole to out side of wheel. I agree with Type2Teach if you have a spare use it and look for a junk yard option. Also try giving eurocampers a call. I know that he stocks the 16" dually wheels when he can but he might be able to/have a source for the wheels your looking for.

cincigp
07-30-2013, 08:51 PM
I too thought it would be strange for an otherwise undamaged steel wheel to crack, and circumfrentially (sort of) at that. I probably won't be driving the van for a couple weeks, so given the lack of people saying they have seen this type of crack, I think I will get a dye penetrant kit so I know for sure. It could very well be a scratch in the paint or some other substance on there, I just don't want to take the chance. If I do replace it, it will be with a new one since they are just over $100. No sense in getting an unknown used one to save $25

autostaretx
07-30-2013, 09:09 PM
Another quick way to test for a crack is to "ring" the wheel...
tippity-tap it with the ball of a ball peen hammer, listening for the audible "ring" of the steel.
(this does require removing it from the Sprinter, but for the lug area, you probably don't need to remove the tire)

Compare that wheel's sound with the spare's sound.

Magnetic flux testing would be another way to go (i wonder if a "growler" (used for testing motor windings) would substitute?).

--dick

CJPJ
07-30-2013, 09:09 PM
Blue bar search:
http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13722&highlight=steel+wheel+crack

davisdave
07-30-2013, 09:24 PM
maybe take the wheel off and look at the inside? wire brush, steel wool, blow it off with air? put penetrating oil on one side and see if it shows up on the other?

Boater
07-31-2013, 12:54 AM
Magnetic flux testing would be another way to go (i wonder if a "growler" (used for testing motor windings) would substitute?).

--dick

I was just wondering if one could arrange a makeshift MPI test using a large magnet (or electromagnet) and some iron/steel filings (I usually have heaps of them on my lathe, and make a pile any time I hacksaw through steel). The idea is the crack concentrates the flux so the filings will get concentrated there. Not sure how much I would trust a DIY setup for that though, having never been trained in MPI, or dye pen for that matter.

Only NDT training I have is for UT on plate, I never even use most of that, I need it to be qualified to measure the thickness of ships hulls, we never do any defect identification or mapping. I might be able to find the crack with a thickness gauge but you really need a scope to watch the signal strength reduce as you get close to an edge, or crack. You will need a narrower probe than we have for the thin material in a wheel, I think ours is good down to about 5mm, wheels must be about 1.5 or 2mm.

Dye pen is probably most suitable for DIY, besides you will only use a bit of each part so you'll have plenty left over for future projects!

sailquik
07-31-2013, 01:31 AM
cincigp,
Might want to check near your local general aviation airport.
There are often A&P (Airframe and Powerplant) shops that work on the smaller
general aviation (private) aircraft.
Most of the powerplant shops can do both dye penetrant and magna flux.
Check with them on the pricing, and be aware they will most likely want the paint completely
stripped off in the area to be tested/investigated.
Might do it on a one wheel, carry it in, basis and give you the confidence to know whether your
wheel is really broken or not. Price could also be < the cost of a 3 can dye penetrant kit. Cleaner/dye/developer.
Roger

CJPJ
07-31-2013, 02:28 AM
noticed a long irregular mark on my left front wheel outside of the lug holes spanning three lug holes. couldn't feel anything... Without doing some sort of test I can't know for sure... is it plausible that it could be a crack, I may just go ahead and order a new wheel and skip inspecting it. has anyone ever had a steel wheel on a Sprinter crack in normal use?
cincigp; You noticed a "long irregular mark"; Their is a high probity that, that is all it was a long irregular mark.

Yes...You should do some testing ... You should observe the wheel. If it really is a crack it will return and be obvious in and in a very short duration. Drive a little...:shifty: observe for any evidence of a crack. If a crack can't be seen or heard drive some more with a little added performance testing. Then drive some more judically observing it until you rebuild confidence that it is a good wheel!

..."is it plausible that it could be a crack" Plausible yes, but not probable, its unlikely to crack!...unless it was grossly over loaded or involved in a accident. ... "has anyone ever had a steel wheel on a Sprinter crack in normal use?" Not that I know of. I've heard of new Sprinter rims that would leak, not hold air.:smilewink:...

cincigp
07-31-2013, 12:26 PM
cincigp,
Might want to check near your local general aviation airport.
There are often A&P (Airframe and Powerplant) shops that work on the smaller
general aviation (private) aircraft.
Most of the powerplant shops can do both dye penetrant and magna flux.
Check with them on the pricing, and be aware they will most likely want the paint completely
stripped off in the area to be tested/investigated.
Might do it on a one wheel, carry it in, basis and give you the confidence to know whether your
wheel is really broken or not. Price could also be < the cost of a 3 can dye penetrant kit. Cleaner/dye/developer.
Roger

Good idea saikquik! I hadn't even thought of A&P guys. I happen to work in the aviation industry and have a coworker that used to own his own A&P shop. I am sure he has dye pen. I was trying to think of a place here at work that could do it for me, but unfortunately, I think we outsource all of our NDT.

I highly doubt that this is actually a crack, but I can't figure out what would have made the mark, and given the consequences of being wrong I want to be reasonably sure before I do much driving on it.

cincigp
07-31-2013, 12:40 PM
Well, my coworker is going to bring his kit in tomorrow. Funny I had to have someone on a forum to ask the guy that sits next to me at work.