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King of Smart Gadgetry
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Discussion Starter #1
When I got Max he came with a set of Smart Design 5 wheels on him. They are alloy wheels and are chrome covered.

When I first removed the wheels to clean them up and paint the rear drums and the front calipers I noticed that the front passenger wheel had romanced a large West Virginia pothole. We have them decorating our roads everywhere here and you wear out your tie rod ends swerving to miss them. But the rim was bent pretty bad and someone had shoved the gap in the tire and bead with some sort of black sealer.

Well I've driven it 2 years like that and it didn't shimmy or shake, but the tire would consistently leak off from 29 psi to14 psi, so I have regular intervals of airing it back up even though it doesn't seem to drop below 14 psi.

Well I had an hour drive wednesday to go to a neighboring hospital for some tests for back surgery. Well not knowung the roads I let a friend of mine drive me. At the top of a hill into a curve we hit the grandaddy of potholes and we hit hard enough to bottom out the suspension hard on the front passenger wheel that was already close to terminally dead. Now Max shimmys and shakes from 45 to around 60. It is pretty severe.

So I am looking into getting these wheels refurbished. The chrome is starting to peel off them amd it os a nice matte black color underneath, but I like them chrome because they remond me of the old school SS Cragar wheels.

Since the chrome version of the design 5's are really rare I want to refurbish them or at least get all four of them true'd back up and later get them powder coated of chrome plated again to bring them back to original.

These alloy wheels seem to be pretty soft and seem to be easily damaged. Could that be a reason for them being so scarce? Anyway has anyone gotten their alloy wheels refurbished? Do they hold up after being heated and re-shaped or true'd back up? I know it's probably not cost effect to refurb them but I feel it's necessary. I have heard it cost $100 a wheel to just get them back to spec, and that is not even recoating them.

The following link shows how they refurbish alloy wheels at a shop just up the river from me in St.Mary's WV which is where Max lived his life before I got him.



There is another shop in Geogia that trues and repairs the wheels. RTP customs. Then they will refinish them back to new condition. But Georgia is a long drive for me, but I am considering it.



Driving it out of balance or with a shimmy will prematurely wear out front end parts. DCO
 

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I've had this done at Wheels America near me for one wheel on the smart. There is also a place, in Bath, PA, called Wheel Collision Center, that does this. The Wheel Collision place has been in Car and Driver, Motortrend, Road & Track, for ages.

While the two you noted may not be as well known, I did see the St Mary's Tire place before when researching for you for the chrome condition you've noted...

The repair on my one wheel was a front as well. Must have hit something, either the pothole/large bump I hit or my dad hitting something else. The prescribed 29 PSI front might have something to do with it...

I've also purchased wheels on trade in for a lease return, and repaired others. They do great work for the most part, in particular when they are OE wheels. I repaired some BBS wheels and the color came out weird the first time they tried. Had to make another trip to Buena Park that time waiting for them to get the color correct.

I would not hesitate to do this on your one wheel that is leaking. It cost me $129.88 back in December of 2013, but I know they add extra for chrome. So you could pass the chrome up, (I understand it is hard,) and get wheels from www.tirerack.com (Rials or Alutecs) or www.tires.com (Genius)....

Will try to pray for your back! (I'm sorry I've had so much to take care of!!!! Bumper is still off the Prius for example...)
 

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Wheels America, and probably others like Wheel Collision, provides some sort of lifetime structural warranty, but I don't know how to take advantage of that/never needed to....
 

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If the wheel is bent to the point it will not seal with the tire it may not be repairable. If the wheel is cracked it should not be repaired. Repairing a cracked wheel is a waste of money because it crack again next to the weld where it was repaired.
 

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I know an owner of a Porsche 911 who bent one of those megabuck, spun-cast, hollow-spoke rims in a slight "off" at a track event. A month or so later, I met him at another track event and asked how much it had cost to buy another one of those wheels. He said it was the same wheel, just repaired. I asked if it were structurally sound and he said the company he got it fixed at guaranteed the wheel from subsequent failure at the site of the repair. As far as I know, he ran that wheel on track for probably two or three more years without problems before replacing the whole set as just a regular wear item.

He was one fast driver who would put more stress into a wheel than probably 95% of the drivers out there.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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King of Smart Gadgetry
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Discussion Starter #7
The Wheels America repairs a lot of damage. I think their criteria is that the barrel or mounting surface where the bolts attach are not damaged they will repair it.

Looks like they can repair cracks. See second from the left on the bottom:

Wheels America Wheel Pictures
The wheels america site pics are amazing. Their chrome work is awesome. My front wheel isn't cracked. It just looks like someone spread the bead surface out. If I do find that I have to replace those wheels down the road I like the 3 spoke wheels like JimVW57 has on his Smart. Wish I could post a picture. Gonna have to learn how to post them on this site with the little version that comes up on the post as a little box and says thumbnail. DCO
 

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If the wheel is bent to the point it will not seal with the tire it may not be repairable. If the wheel is cracked it should not be repaired. Repairing a cracked wheel is a waste of money because it crack again next to the weld where it was repaired.
I've had one cracked wheel repaired on my Saturn about 8 years ago. Still fine, but I don't know if I would do that on my smart due to how low profile the tires are. Saturn had 50's but the rears on the smart are wafer thin. I do have a pot hole 'ding' that I would like to get fixed so might have to see about it.

Our pot hole covered roads are death to low profile tire/rim combinations.
 

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the rears on the smart are wafer thin. I do have a pot hole 'ding' that I would like to get fixed so might have to see about it.

Our pot hole covered roads are death to low profile tire/rim combinations.
Are those Brabus wheels, or other special wheels? My rears are 50s. 195/50R15.
 

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I don't consider them fragile, just not enough protection. But definitely susceptible because of how thin the OE tire size is. Can you safely go larger/more cushion?
 

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King of Smart Gadgetry
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Discussion Starter #15
Well it looks like the Design 5 chromed wheels on Max that I love so much have another nail in their coffin.I drive up to St. Mary's tire where they do rim repair. I had called and made an appointment and drove him up this morning. They call the mechanic up to come and take the car in the garage to pull the wheel and repair it. He tells me that they can usually only "unbend" the back side of the rim because they have to heat the damaged area and heating the front side of the rim ruins the finish. I tell him it's okay. heat it up because I am going to get the rims refinished anyway. Then he says, well sometimes we have trouble getting the machine to bite the outside edge of the front of the rim. I say, Ok do the best you can. Then when they look at the car he says, you only got 3 lugs ! And I say yes. Then he says, I can't chuck your wheel in my machine with only 3 lugs. So he says I'm sorry.

I always feel like I'm from another planet when I take Max to a garage, and believe me this incident doesn't help. I always do 90% of my own work to Max and he only goes to a garage for front end alignment, tires and wheels and lastly the yearly state inspection that you are required to do in West Virginia. So I am faced with a reality that it's just gonna be too expensive to salvage those wheels. If I find a place that does it I either have to travel there and stay at a motel while it's being done, or remove them and ship the wheels which isn't cheap either.

My tires are on the verge of needing replaced and I want to go wider and slightly taller than the stock sizes on there. So having to replace tire AND wheels it's gonna be expensive and I just can't afford to do all that at the moment. I really like the 3 spoke wheels like JimVW57 has on his Fortwo. I don't remember the widths of this wheels. It seems they were factory wheels but don't remember for sure. Would really like to do 215 on the rear and 195 in the front or at minimum 195 rear and 175 front for handling and to help the speedometer error. So at this point just gotta research rims, prices and old threads pertaining to wheel sizes for the largest I can go with the front being the determining factor. If I have to replace the wheels I might as well go for a rim that can accomodate the largest tire I can run on the front, and then go proportionally larger on the back.

Thanks Steve for the website that has Design 5 chromed wheels, but at $280 a piece I don't know if I can pull that off. I am just afraid to buy a set of used wheels because they can be damaged and I could end up just like I am now. Gotta do some research and I hope JZCHEN will help me out with research, he's so good at that sort of thing! DCO
 

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I have 4 used ones with used 195/50R15 tires on them. I have no idea if they have TPMS sensors on them or not. They are plastidipped black.

I have three new ones. The set completed my set....

Sadly, my smart is still in the shop, and I have no idea the status. Planning on calling this morning.....
 

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King of Smart Gadgetry
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Discussion Starter #19
Yes the nearest Wheels of america is in Philadelphia Pa. That's about a 6 1/2 hour drive. Even if I take the wheels and stay for a day or two and pay restoration fee it would cost more than replacing the wheels. My first thoughts to get by right now is to put the back wheels on the front and buy two new back ones. Then later on buy two more. But that's just my first thoughts. DCO.
 

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Mike700
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Air Filter

Need to replace the air filter in my 2016 453 (Chicago area). Where can I buy an air filter? Pep Boys doesn't stock any air filters for a 453. The only place I can find one is at Auto Zone costing $45.00. HELP! Thanks. Mike700 / Chicago area
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