View Full Version : Aluminum vs Steel wheels

02-22-2014, 11:03 PM
I recently got a flat tire and got the spare steel rim from under the van. Fortunately I had driven home, before it was fully flat.

The lug nuts that hold the aluminum rims on, are too long to hold my spare steel wheel on. So... good thing I am not out on the side of the road.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-cibf2jWKhUw/UwkqHyQ5xuI/AAAAAAAAKcY/0XtOCXpaAzU/w516-h291-no/14+-+3 https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-zRC4q3pUVgo/UwkqH-6P8II/AAAAAAAAKc0/Psg0uekZMM4/w516-h291-no/14+-+2

02-22-2014, 11:21 PM
Well known issue on the forum. Quick search will inform you that aluminum wheels have longer studs than the steel wheels. Van should have spare shorter lug nuts stored by the jack.


02-22-2014, 11:49 PM
Good Call!
Yes, the shorter lug bolts are supposed to be packed in the gray plastic pouch that holds the jack handle pieces, the lug wrench, other tools!
Also the torque specifications are different for the steel wheel lug bolts and the alloy wheel lug bolts.
It's a real good idea to purchase a 19 mm 6 point impact socket and a long breaker bar or a
regular cross type lug wrench that will fit a 19mm bolt.
See below for the procedures/photos of the lug bolts/torque specs for the 2500 Sprinter NCV3:

Daybreak Express
02-23-2014, 12:58 AM
I learn more about my '14 Sprinter (yet to arrive) everytime i'm on here-thanks everyone! I'm getting the steel wheels...

02-23-2014, 01:23 AM
Since I am not the original owner, I do not have any tools, under the passenger foot compartment. I do have a sirius reciever that I don't use though. I need to get 5 shorter lug nuts.

I am getting allot of wear on the passenger front tire, on the outer edge. Is this common? I have had this with most of the longer Ford trucks, I owned.

02-23-2014, 01:43 AM
Also DO NOT put aluminum valve stem caps on your valve stems. They seize onto the brass. I may have to have two tires dismounted. The only way to get the cap off the tire I am having problems with was to have the tire dismounted, and have them install a new valve stem. The little black plastic ones are best!

02-23-2014, 01:53 AM
I think I saw some used (new car take off) steel wheel lug bolts for your T1N 2500 steel spare wheel here:


@ $1.00 each you can't go wrong.
I'd guess you need 5 of them.

02-24-2014, 03:31 PM
At least since both your alloys and spare are Mercedes they use the same type of lug nut (hacksaw in a desperate fix) - mine came with aftermarket alloys that have a 60 degree cone on the lug nut instead of the parabolic curve of the steel /MB alloys!
(I changed to all steel, my alloys weren't even load rated right for the van!)

Worth recylcing this info from time to time for new members to see!

02-24-2014, 06:31 PM
Also DO NOT put aluminum valve stem caps on your valve stems. They seize onto the brass. !

Hmmm:idunno: I've hade aluminum caps on nearly every car in the last 25 years and never had an issue:idunno: (currently on 10 vehicles in the garage.....and the bicycles )

02-24-2014, 08:43 PM

Two different tire shops said, they see them freeze up often. I did a quick google search and found others had this happen.

I had previously used these on my dirt-bike, and a Ford F-250 without incident. My warning to not use aluminum valve stem caps stands, I think my dirt-bike valve stems are also aluminum not brass, and possibly the F-250. Currently on my Sprinter the metal portion of the valve stem is brass.

02-24-2014, 08:47 PM
I'm sure some of it is definitely climate dependant too. I live in the high desert where nothing rusts.
Wondering if you can simply lube the stem to avoid the issue and still use whatever caps you want.

02-25-2014, 01:20 PM
I'm sure some of it is definitely climate dependant too. I live in the high desert where nothing rusts.
Wondering if you can simply lube the stem to avoid the issue and still use whatever caps you want.

Application of a little anti seize should resolve the problem entirely. If you occasionally take off your valve caps to check the tire pressure, it really shouldn't be a problem.

02-26-2014, 06:07 PM
I personally will never use a cap that is not plastic again. Not being able to check and air my own tires was not worth it. Even worse is that some people end up paying the tire shop to remove the tire and replace the valve stems. In my case the shop did one for free, but I had just purchased two tires for a different car.

Do whatever you wish with your own vehicles, I just want people to know that a $4 cool looking cap could cost them more than they expect. I would not use it on standard or TPMS valve stems.

Problem: Metal Valve Caps.

While the bright and shiny chromeplated or metal valve caps that you see everywhere are often a nice effect compared to dull black plastic caps, when it comes to TPMS stems, they're a clear and present danger. Metal caps can easily cause corrosion on the threads of TPMS stems as well as beginnning to corrode themselves. The result is all too often that the cap will rust-weld itself to the stem, leading to outcomes from the cap simply seizing when a technician tries to remove it, to crossthreading issues, or even having the stem break off entirely. When the valve stem is a nonremovable part of the TPMS monitor, this goes from being a minor issue to a critical and often expensive problem.


02-26-2014, 06:11 PM
Seems to me that rust accumulates arma slower rate than tire pressure check/fills. So if your caps are rusting on, its due to basic neglect of not keeping up with your tire pressures.