Piston Slap: To Love, To Hate Aftermarket Rimz (Part II)

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap to love to hate aftermarket rimz part ii

Sajeev writes:

In our last installment of this particular ‘slap, a reader had a question about aftermarket wheels. The solution was rather simple, the wheels discussed were not hub-centric. But I also mentioned a horrible “death wobble” problem with my aftermarket reproduction SVT Cobra wheels on my Fox Cougar, solution TBD. It was a big problem until…

I switched out the junky/unsafe lug nuts (bottom) that came with my aftermarket wheels for some OEM (top) units! Unsafe how? While the bevel that seats the lug nut into the wheel was identical, they were both a thin casting AND completely hollow. More to the point, that chrome end is actually a PLASTIC CAP giving the appearance of a solid casting!

NOTE: sadly, out of blind rage that I risked my life with horrible lug nuts, I threw away the actual problem units. These higher quality aftermarket lug nuts are for photography purposes: imagine a snap-in chrome center on this skinny+hollow design and you get the full picture.

And the only reason this happened? My Ranger (pictured here after running a RallyCross) received a healthy wheel upgrade, requiring chrome lug nuts to complete the look. After installing “good” aftermarket chrome lug nuts and these Alcoa forged alloys (shaving 40-50lbs of unsprung weight) the original FoMoCo lug nuts went on the Cougar’s 1993 Cobra wheels and presto…no more death wobble.

Last week I finally drove the Cougar on a notoriously “wobble inducing” stretch of Houston highway and sure enough, the problem is 99% gone. Hence the update you are now reading.

Moral of the story: check the basic components of any system, even if they are “new” and seem to be high quality. Because, odds are, it’s something simple causing the problem.

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4 of 27 comments
  • Kyree Kyree on Nov 12, 2013

    I tend to think that automakers do a better job of making wheel designs than the offshore company that sold you fifty-dollar-apiece chromed-out dishes that'll be bent out of shape within 30K miles. So I usually don't like aftermarket wheels. However, tasteful wheels with at least *some* sense of design work well on certain vehicles.

  • Numbers_Matching Numbers_Matching on Nov 12, 2013

    I've seen that '80 cobra somewhere in central Iowa...can't miss it..as well as fail to hear it. Definetely not the original 255 anymore. Is it just me, or are these not the best looking fox mustangs?

    • See 1 previous
    • Numbers_Matching Numbers_Matching on Nov 12, 2013

      @NoGoYo Yes - I think a Vellum Venum article on the '79 pace car, '80-'81 Cobra or an '82 GT is overdue. Maybe include the '83-84, '85-'86. Somehow all the elements come together so nicely on the early 4-eyes. Better than on the '87-up (which look like the front and rear were put under a heat lamp).

  • Parkave231 Collector's Edition hood ornament or GTFO.
  • Dave M. Once again Mustang remains solely on the throne. But obviously the day of the ponycar has long passed....
  • Art Vandelay The car so nice they killed it…twice
  • Ryan The hybrid EX model lists at about CAD$39,000 in Canada, including delivery charges. No Premium package is available for it here.
  • Golden2husky A great driver's car let down by down right dangerous visibility - in any version. Had the Camaro had a qulity interior and acceptable visibility we'd have one in our driveway as my wife loves the way they look and drive.