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Old 10-10-2022, 11:02 AM   #1
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2022 19' Bambi
Gig Harbor , Washington
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Removing aluminum-forged wheels from spindle

I need to replace a tire on our new 2022 Bambi 19-ft. CB trailer. The owner's manual states, "When removing aluminum-forged wheels from the spindle, it is very important to mark them to ensure the wheel is placed in the same position on the drum when reinstalling."

I've never heard of such a requirement before and am unsure of the best approach for doing this procedure. I've watched several video's on replacing tires, including ones posted by Airstream Dealerships, and none of them address this requirement.

I would appreciate any input on this question. Thank you! Anthony P
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Old 10-10-2022, 11:57 AM   #2
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A small dot from a paint marker on the end of the stud and a corresponding dot on the rim marking the hold it came from would do the trick. Put the dot in a place on the rim covered by the lug nut or on the inside edge and you'll never see it.

The requirement is to ensure that the wheel gets properly seated on the drum when reinstalled. Any debris or build-up from corrosion or weathering can prevent the rim from seating flat against the drum.

My manual states that if the wheel gets put on in a different orientation it's important to make sure the back side of the wheel and the mounting surface on the drum are thoroughly cleaned.
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Old 10-10-2022, 01:46 PM   #3
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There is some truth to the assertion that you should try to replace your aluminum wheels in the same orientation as they were when removed...and here's the reason why:

It all goes back to the requirement to maintain a certain torque setting for each of your wheels. Sounds easy, right? Well...when galvanic corrosion starts, the more noble metals will cause the less noble metals to corrode. This will quickly cause pits in the less noble metal. If you put your (now corroded) aluminum wheel back in a different orientation, the small pits & valleys created by corrosion will cause the torque setting to loosen over time as the pits & valleys wear down. And when wheel torque is too loose, wheel studs can break leading to the entire wheel coming off (followed by very expensive repairs).

You see, when aluminum wheels are fastened to steel hubs, the aluminum wheels will begin to corrode. Why?? To answer this question, we need to understand galvanic corrosion.

Corrosion is an electrochemical reaction, and for it to take place, you need three things: an anode, a cathode, and an electrolyte (usually water). For any combination of two metals, the less noble of the two will be the anode, and the more noble of the two will be the cathode. The anode will corrode; the cathode will not. The anode in our case is the Aluminum wheels...the cathode is the steel hub. So, once you get your Airstream wheels wet, galvanic corrosion begins because the Aluminum wheel is in contact with the steel hub.

Now, the reason **why** you should try to put the Aluminum wheels back in the same orientation is to match up the pits and valleys from the now corroded wheels onto the hubs. Next time you take your Aluminum wheels off, take a look at the back of the wheel where the machined face directly contacts the steel hub. You will find that it isn't the perfectly smooth machined face anymore due to galvanic corrosion. Each of the little pits & valleys will "match up" with the machined face of the wheel hub.

For me, I try to limit the amount of galvanic corrosion by creating an electrically non-conductive barrier between the steel wheel hub and aluminum wheel. The easiest way to do this is to paint the steel hub. I use a zinc chromium paint (zinc is farther down on the galvanic scale than aluminum) so the zinc in the paint corrodes before the aluminum in my expensive Airstream aluminum wheels.

It is possible to stay ahead of the corrosion game...but you need to keep ahead of the zinc chromate paint on your steel hubs. Galvanic corrosion is a never-ending battle. What you're doing with the zinc chromate paint is making your own 'sacrificial anode' in the form of the zinc chromate paint. You may have heard of sacrificial anodes before...they are used on boats, ships, and planes all the time to control corrosion of aluminum parts.
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Old 10-10-2022, 02:01 PM   #4
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Thankyou Richard! That sounds like a good approach. I'm going to use it. Anthony P
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Old 10-10-2022, 02:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InvertdEagle View Post
There is some truth to the assertion that you should try to replace your aluminum wheels in the same orientation as they were when removed...and here's the reason why:...:
Guess this is the long answer companion to my short answer. Nicely said.
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Old 10-10-2022, 02:05 PM   #6
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Thank you for your detailed explanation regarding the corrosive nature of aluminum on metal. My father was a commercial fisherman and we changed the zinc plates on the rudder, propellor shaft, etc. each year to minimize the corrosive effect of electrolosis on the metal parts. The zinc chromium paint substitutes for the zinc plates on the metal wheel. Thanks again-great explanation!
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Old 10-10-2022, 05:00 PM   #7
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I've never worried about it...but the wheels come off for winter.
The mating surfaces are always inspected at spring get ready.
And...I rotate the wheels.

Bob
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Old 10-12-2022, 09:08 PM   #8
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Some tire manufactures mark tires with a yellow or red dot for American or Canadian balance purposes. I can't remember which is which. I believe if a tire is installed with a dot at the valve stem the tire itself will run in balance. That assumes all the rest of the wheel rotating assembly is balanced. Others may be able to elaborate.
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Old 10-13-2022, 04:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guskmg View Post
Some tire manufactures mark tires with a yellow or red dot for American or Canadian balance purposes. I can't remember which is which. I believe if a tire is installed with a dot at the valve stem the tire itself will run in balance. That assumes all the rest of the wheel rotating assembly is balanced. Others may be able to elaborate.
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I was told that's not quite right, that lining up that mark with the valve stem would make it so you would need the least amount of weight to balance the tire. This meaning that the imbalance of the tire would be partially offset by the valve stem and hole for it.

Though this thread is about putting the rim onto the trailer so not sure if it is relevant.
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Old 10-23-2022, 10:47 AM   #10
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Good discussion. I guess this is the reason AS say to tighten lug nuts at 50, 100 and 150(?) miles after remounting the wheels.
I know this “ loosening” effect is also made worse by side loads on tires while making tight turns on a hard surface
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Old 10-23-2022, 12:12 PM   #11
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Re: zinc “paint” above.
Spent many years as a mechanic. Beaten (and torch heated) MANY non-steel rims off of steel brake drums and hubs.
Wire brush and use liberal amounts of anti-seize compound (not “paint “) on the flat mating surfaces when re-installing, and don’t ever have a problem again.
Anti-seize on lug bolts is recommended by some, and not by others.
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Old 10-23-2022, 12:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KK4YZ View Post
Good discussion. I guess this is the reason AS say to tighten lug nuts at 50, 100 and 150(?) miles after remounting the wheels.
I know this “ loosening” effect is also made worse by side loads on tires while making tight turns on a hard surface
I agree with the explanation about corroded surfaces matching… but re-torquing as was mentioned above will take care of that.

One thing that seems to be misunderstood by many or most on this site is that trailer wheels are not nearly the same quality as original automotive wheels. Aluminum (or, aluminium) wheels on cars and trucks don’t need the same care as trailer wheels due to higher quality, so we all must spend extra time maintaining our trailers.

OP: Do whatever gives you peace. I just re-torque as necessary, and don’t care about “return to same position”. This is impossible anyways if you rotate your spare or get all new tires and the shop doesn’t mark the wheels and hubs. Re-torquing and regular inspections will address this.

-Ken
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