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Old 06-25-2012, 05:53 PM   #1
cab2g
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not so happy with 3-piece wheels in the real world

Just over a year ago I bought some 3-piece forged wheels off a fellow member who changed his mind and didn't want to install them. I got them in a 20x9 and 20x11 setup. They really look great and turn lots of heads, but that's about where the fun stops.

When I first got the wheels I found out that the barrels are designed in a way that makes mounting a TPMS sensor kind of awkward. You either have to attach it with a band, or buy an adapter or have it kind of protruding into the cavity between the wheel and the tire, which kind of makes me afraid of ever getting a flat.

And people say it's cheaper to repair a 3-piece wheel than a cast wheel in many cases... I'd strongly argue against that. I got some quotes to replace a curb rashed outer hoop and I got anywhere from $300 to buy a new hoop alone to $400 for re-chroming, add to that the cost of taking apart the wheel and putting it back together... which @ my local shop is $60. Most 20" cast wheels are under $400 for a brand new wheel....

Then there's the "lightweight" argument. There are definitely some lightweight forged wheels out there, but mine certainly are not. I weighed them and the rears weigh about 2lbs more than the stock 9" wheel. Grant it for the width, they're lighter than an equivalent cast wheel, but you're not going to get some miraculously light wheels, like some claim. I don't know what race prep entails, but if it's offered, that may be the only way to get a truly light 3-piece forged wheel.

But the absolute biggest issue I have with the 3-piece design is that it comes in 3 pieces. You heard me right... That silicone seal that keeps the wheel airtight isn't the same thing as solid metal. If your tire installer has a hard time taking off your old tires, there's a very good chance your seal will break and you'll have to get your wheels re-sealed. And guess what? there are very very few places that will do that locally.

So I say this as a cautionary warning to anybody considering a 3-piece wheel. The high up front cost of these wheels does not mean that you're going to have a more trouble free life after real world use. If I had to do it all again, I'd get a monoblock forged wheel. At least that way I wouldn't have to worry about a stupid silicone seal breaking. I wouldn't get chrome again either, but that's another story.

The wheels really look great, and cast wheels made to look like 3-piece really don't compare. So if you really really want that deep dish look on your car, you really should get the 3-piece. But even a 2-piece may be a good option as the barrel is one solid piece, but you'll still have real bolts and the possibility of having a custom painted center piece.
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:50 PM   #2
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I'm right there with you. I have a set of Modulare Wheels that cost over $4k and have had nothing but issues with them from the start. I had no idea of what I was buying into, my fault for not investigating thoroughly. The seal was leaking on one of my wheels from almost the time they were mounted up while on a road trip thousands of miles from home and trying to get someone to work on these is a nightmare, because very few places actually have anyone who can get them on and off without messing up the seal, even when they tell you they can, because they work on them all the time. Once the seal is messed up, they have to reseal and let dry for 24 hours. You are much better off buying one piece wheels that are light like Forgestar's or step up for some 1 piece HRE's. My Modulare wheels are sitting most of the time off the Camaro, only occasionally go on for a show or something close to home. The other headache is the valve stems are all buried behind the spokes of the wheels or backside of wheel. I have previously tried to warn others when they talk about buying 3pc wheels, but this seems to be something people have to learn for themselves.
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:40 PM   #3
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Thanks for the insight guys.
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:10 PM   #4
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No issues with my 3 piece wheels.
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:23 PM   #5
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Forgeline 3 piece are second to none.They have a seal that is propriatary.

Something does not seem rite if your 3 piece wieghs more the the stock SS wheel.....

And yes the installer can't goriilla handle when installing tires.

The Stevenson's GT Camaro uses Forgelines for a reason
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:40 PM   #6
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These are som of the reasons I chose to go with a 2 piece wheel.
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 67motorcat View Post
Forgeline 3 piece are second to none.They have a seal that is propriatary.

Something does not seem rite if your 3 piece wieghs more the the stock SS wheel.....

And yes the installer can't goriilla handle when installing tires.

The Stevenson's GT Camaro uses Forgelines for a reason
exactly what I thought. Everybody had promised that they'd be lighter. But when I weighed them myself they clearly weren't

and regarding the installer, I agree completely. They had taken the tires off 4 times off of that one wheel before the seal broke. So I suppose it's one of those things, it may not break every time, but it just takes one slip up. I had to have the valve stems replaced on the inside because they kept hitting the brake lines in the rear, then I ran over a nail, they took the tire off to see if they could repair it, they couldn't but had to order the new ones so they put it on and took it off again. The last time they took it off, the seal broke.

Even with that said, I just wanted to make more people aware that the seal is a serious risk. The guys that put on the tires specialize in low profile tires and 3 piece custom wheel installation. It may not happen to you, but if it does, it's a huge pain in the butt to get repaired because you have to be without your wheel for a couple days minimum, and that's if you can find a local shop that can repair them. You'll have to wait a couple weeks if you have to ship them off to the manufacturer.
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:34 PM   #8
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Have to agree with you sadly...

Same boat as you with the 3-piece wheel issue, I love the look of my wheels becasue I have to have that chrome lip but man the issue's I have had make it less cost effective and more frustrating no doubt! Getting them repaired is almost as expensive as replacing a rim. Had damage to 1 rim from brake fluid leak to chrome lip along with nasty curb rash and another wheel needed new brushed center.

Mostly self inflicted wounds unfortunately but the cost for repair + mounting were over $500 and to redo both were about $850 + shipping + mounting. And don't get me started on the seal leaks...that really is the worst part, the repairs and stuff was becasue of my own doing but the leaks just piss me off til I want to smack something from the first time I put them on they each leaked one after another until I had to re-seal all 4 one by one in a years time. And the kicker is the tire changers swear up and down they would never damage the seal, like its friggin' impossible one of their guys could damage a seal! They say the sealant was crappy or done improperly I mean how do you mess up a beed of silicone.

The aggrevation and time spent not to mention $$$$ almost make it not worth it and I almost replaced them with some Forgelines because I see they offer a special seal that uses some type of band but I think that is an extra cost from what I could see it was about $115 per. Now with all that said I just sent mine for repair and gonna give it one more try, hard to walk away from $3500 wheels that I like. But if I have to keep re-sealing them I will cut my losses in the winter and get be the best 1 piece wheel I can find.

Keep you head up bro!
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:38 PM   #9
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Good info to have! Thanks for the real-world insight.

I always thought 3-piece wheels were rather pointless unless you want the look of the different pieces being a different finish. Other than that, a forged monoblock wheel would be perfectly acceptable.
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Old 06-26-2012, 12:08 AM   #10
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^^You hit the nail on the head. If you want wheels with different looks on different pieces than it's about the only real option. There are some 2-piece options Nineball suggested and you may want to check with him for different wheel makes and options. He can give you all the pros and cons to make and informed decision thats for sure.....and half the battle is really knowing all the pro and cons!

I can tell you I had no idea about leaks from seals and if I did I may have gone a dfferent route but ijust my ignorance because seems everyone else was up on it.
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Old 06-26-2012, 12:33 AM   #11
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What brands are you guys having problems with? I have Forged 360's and have not had any issues at all. Granted I have never damaged one ever so have not had to go through a repair.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:39 AM   #12
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I really don't think it's a brand specific thing. After I had my problems, I did some searching online and a lot of people with different brands had reported the same problem. I even found it on one manufacturer's website listing tire servicing as "The most popular cause for leaking wheels": http://www.corwheels.com/3-piece-whe...k-detection-2/

So really, if they're willing to put that info up on their web site, it probably isn't just a COR forged problem and applies to all brands that use the standard silicone seal.

OH and apparently the 2nd most popular cause is "fix a flat" liquid. So if you ever have to use that, be prepared to replace your seal when you get your tire repaired.
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CamaroFTW View Post
What brands are you guys having problems with? I have Forged 360's and have not had any issues at all. Granted I have never damaged one ever so have not had to go through a repair.
My question is how many times have you had tires mounted on your wheels? Everytime you do is a chance for them to mess up the silicone bead. I've watched them mount/dismount tires on my wheels and it is a pain to get them on even when they know how to do it.
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Old 06-26-2012, 03:09 PM   #14
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Yeah the leaks from the seals is more an issue of mounting and dismounting, had nothing to do with the make of the rims IMO. I was taking mine on and off for the winter and that was just do many rolls of the dice. I don't care what the shop says they can easily hit that beed of silicone and not even notice.....or admit it! My biggest issue is that the place that did the mounting swears there is no way they damaged the seals...any o fthe four times.....they say the seal was poorly done.
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