A Quick Guide to Wheel Weights

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A Quick Guide to Wheel Weights

Postby truenorth on Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:34 pm

If you're able to find wheel weights from tire shops, you're probably as confused as I was, unless you're a tire guy and this stuff is second nature. I thought it'd be helpful to write what I've learned about wheel weights so that I can give back a little bit to the forum which gave me so much knowledge.

Lead is heavy. Be sure you get a bucket that can withstand the weight of at least 50 lbs.

If your lead weight has these markings, it's lead:
Anything with "AL" (AL, AL-MC, ALFN, AL-EN, AL-IW, etc)
Small, sticky ones marked "1/4 Oz TAW 7gm"
Raised markings like bumpy letters and numbers with one of the markings above

If your lead weight has these, it's NOT lead:
Fe (for iron)
Z or Zn (for zinc)
Large, round sticky ones (about 3/4" all around)
Depressed markings like an impression in cement (likely steel)

There are two good ways to test besides visually. The first is to bang it against a steel pipe. If it's a dull sound, it's lead. If it's high pitched, it's either steel or zinc. The second way is to take a strong set of pliers or wire cutters. If you can indent it, it's lead. If not, it's not lead.

Finally, if you're able to control the temperature on your smelter, lead melts at 621 deg F, zinc at 790 deg and steel at over 1500 deg (though it gets soft around 600 deg but does not melt). That means you can skim off the dross of your melted lead and be able to separate the metals.

Wear gloves and at least a mask when doing this work. It's filthy business. But much better than spending the coin!
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