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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-07-2013, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re-drill hubs and rotors/drums?

I would like to put larger wheels and tires on my car and want the same size all around.
I have considered the wheel adapters (3 to 5 lug), but have heard that they are not really strong enough for everyday use. Has anyone considered simply re-drilling the hubs and rotors/drums for a different pattern? Are the hubs of a design that would even allow this?
I will be buying new tires soon and would like to do everything at once if possible.
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-07-2013, 09:38 PM
 
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This is the back side of the hub. There isn't enough meat to drill another pattern. Only in the raised cast areas where the stock holes are is it thick enough. On top of that if you superimpose another pattern you will find one or more of the existing holes will interfere with the pattern no matter how you turn it. There are whole threads on this, been beat to death. There are plenty of aftermarket wheels in almost any size you could need. You can get adapters for 5 x 112 Mercedes to 3 x 112 smart.
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-17-2013, 08:10 AM
 
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have heard that they are not really strong enough for everyday use.
Adaptec sells to racers, plenty beefy.

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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-17-2013, 04:33 PM
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I run 7.5x17 Brabus wheels with 215/35-17 Hankook tires all around on my '09 Brabus coupe. They are plenty big and I have no issues with rubbing or electronic nannies. I was told by Discount Tire if you come in with spacers, they will do no work on your car until the spacers are removed. Not even repair a flat. Just something to keep in mind.
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-13-2015, 05:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Stretchmobile View Post
This is the back side of the hub. There isn't enough meat to drill another pattern. Only in the raised cast areas where the stock holes are is it thick enough. On top of that if you superimpose another pattern you will find one or more of the existing holes will interfere with the pattern no matter how you turn it. There are whole threads on this, been beat to death. There are plenty of aftermarket wheels in almost any size you could need. You can get adapters for 5 x 112 Mercedes to 3 x 112 smart.
I hate to dig up an old thread, but has there been any more information about redriling the hubs and rotors to go to 5x112? That seems like a good way to get to 5-lug without causing wheel offset issues.

I'm considering doing this to mine and just wanted to see if anyone else had tried it.

I'm not concerned about adding material on the back side of the hub for thread depth. That's not an issue.
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-13-2015, 10:34 AM
 
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I think the conclusion is: don't re-drill the hubs, get a 3 to 5 bolt adapter. You then need to make sure you get rims with the correct offset to match compensate for the thickness of the adapters.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-13-2015, 11:47 AM
 
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I think the conclusion is: don't re-drill the hubs, get a 3 to 5 bolt adapter. You then need to make sure you get rims with the correct offset to match compensate for the thickness of the adapters.
Thanks for the reply, but I would like to hear some actual reasons that this isn't possible. From everything I see, it does not look like a lot of trouble, but I could be missing something, which is why I would like to hear from someone who has done or attempted to do this.
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-13-2015, 12:01 PM
 
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I haven't heard of anyone actually doing it. I think you would weaken the hub too much. It's surprisingly thin material.

If you look in the photo above, you will see that where the current holes are, there is extra material thickness. This provides strength as well as providing sufficient number of threads to hold the bolts - neither of which you would have if you drilled more holes in it. What would happen is the hub would deform and then effectually break under load and there would be a high risk of the wheel bolts pulling out.

Having worked in automotive manufacturing for 10 years and having worked in manufacturing R&D consulting for 8 years, I would say this is a bad idea! Under no circumstances should you try this!

The hub is made from a forging (not a casting), which is even stronger than billet. So, even if you were to have a custom made hub with 5 holes, it would have to be substantially beefier than the original design in order to meet the same strength characteristics.
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-13-2015, 12:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by marc hanna View Post
I haven't heard of anyone actually doing it. I think you would weaken the hub too much. It's surprisingly thin material.

If you look in the photo above, you will see that where the current holes are, there is extra material thickness. This provides strength as well as providing sufficient number of threads to hold the bolts - neither of which you would have if you drilled more holes in it. What would happen is the hub would deform and then effectually break under load and there would be a high risk of the wheel bolts pulling out.

Having worked in automotive manufacturing for 10 years and having worked in manufacturing R&D consulting for 8 years, I would say this is a bad idea! Under no circumstances should you try this!

The hub is made from a forging (not a casting), which is even stronger than billet. So, even if you were to have a custom made hub with 5 holes, it would have to be substantially beefier than the original design in order to meet the same strength characteristics.
I don't disagree anything you have said, but I still find it hard to believe that someone hasn't created a good, strong 5-lug hub/rotor/drum system for these cars. Broaching splines on a well built, quality hub is not rocket science.

I missed the initial Smart car craze and have only gotten into it now because of my need to transport one on the back of my "RV Hauler". However, I'm blown away that the 3-lug issue still exists after all of the years these things have been on the road.
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-13-2015, 12:43 PM
 
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A custom built one could be done, but not as a forging because it wouldn't be cost effective due to the small volumes - forging requires a skilled engineer to design the die to the proper specs, then you have to have the die made and find someone to do the forging. If you could find a 5 bolt hub with comparable dimensions, it might be as simple as a little machining to make it fit - that's if you can find one.

The adapters are just a more viable solution - very cheap and easy to make with very little upfront cost - almost anyone with limited CAD skills could do it - then you just send it to a machine shop to get made or make it in your garage if you have a lathe and a mill. I'm considering making my own because the available ones I've seen are just way overpriced.

Once you have a 5 bolt pattern, you have a wide range of options for offsets.
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