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Alloy Wheels

This component is part of Wheels and Tires.


Alloy 6x14

Definition

From 1969 Alloy wheels became available as an option. These were available as early as the Summer of 1969 from dealers. Pete Lesler has a Star magazine dated July 1969 and a dealer advertised them in that issue! These wheels are also known as Bundt rims, Fuchs (after the original manufacturer), or, in German Barock Felgen (in Dutch: Kroonkurkvelgen). Later, these became very popular on many Mercedes Benz models.

The old style alloy wheels were initially a dealer-installed option in the fall of 1969 on 1970 models. The part #108 400 0902 is stamped on the inside of the rim. These wheels were painted silver, but not treated with a clear coat. After July 1970 cars ordered with the alloys were delivered direct from the factory with five alloy wheels.

When the new R107 350SL appeared in 1971, the wheel design changed slightly and they were given a new part number. The silver paint was also clear coated for better durability and easier cleaning. This version of the "old style" alloy wheel continued as a factory option through 1975, then was made standard on many models up through 1984. Because of their abundance on later Mercedes Benz cars, many different alloy sizes are now available, and may be easier to get than the size originally intended for the Pagoda.

The MBCA concourse rules allow alloys on 70-71 SL's without any deduction for authenticity, even if they have a 123 part number on the wheels, since the part number is marked on the inside of the wheel. It is assumed that there was a special adapter made to install the alloys on the factory spare wheel post in the trunk.

Alloys are claimed to improve handling of the car because of the reduced weight compared to steel Rims. Alloys weighs 14 pounds versus about 21 for the steel.

Otherwise it appears many people prefer the look of the original Hubcaps over that of the alloys, but it is largely a personal preference.


The part number is listed on the inside of the rim

Table of part numbers

AlloysOffset (mm)Mercedes-Benz Part NumberTire (Circumference in cm)Comments
5.5Jx14 (Fuchs)30123 400 18 01185R14Narrower wheel
6Jx14 (Fuchs)30108 400 09 02
123 400 15 02
126 400 19 02
205/70–14 (196,4)Correct size for W113 with center cover and bolts # 1264010670
6.5Jx14 (Fuchs)30108 400 10 02
126 400 21 02
205/70–14 (196,4)reported to work well with 185R14 and 205/70R14 tires on a Pagoda, but be certain that your wheel weights are not installed on inside of rim. They will interfere with your tie rod ends on very tight turns and will come off the rim.
7Jx15H2 (Fuchs, rare)25126 400 22 02205/65-15 (197,3)
215/60–15 (194,9)
225/60–15 (198,6)
Not yet confirmed to work on W113

Original Fuchs or Mercedes alloy rims have raised steel inserts around each lug bolt hole. The non originals, produced by other manufacturers (Ronal, Centra, ATS) have just a hole in the aluminum for lug bolts. Adsit produces replica tires but these have not received rave reviews on our forums.

Light Alloy wheels that look like normal steel wheels from W123 diesels are also being sought and used by members on W113s. For purposes of distinction between these light alloy rims and "Bundt" wheels, we will refer to these as "Pressed Aluminum" rims.

Two sizes were used: 5 1/2 inch and 6 inch widths. These pressed aluminium rims can replace wheels on cars with hubcaps. The 6Jx14 H2 wheel was used on 1981 280E and 300D automobiles. The part number is 123 400 15 02. The 5 1/2Jx14 H2 wheel was used on 1980-1982 240D automobiles. The part number is 123 400 1302. Both of these can only be used with the one-piece later style Hubcap. Each wheel weighs 11 pounds versus about 21 for the steel. That's a whopping 40 pound savings in unsprung weight. Add the additional 10 pound savings if you have the spare in aluminium as well, and you have a car that is much lighter on its feet; handles a bit better and takes the wheel covers.


5.5 Inch Alloy Wheel. Note the 4 white band marking. Part # 123 400 1302



6 Inch Alloy Wheel marked with solid white band.Part # 123 400 1502


See Tire Sizes for acceptable tire sizes for our cars.


Wheel bolt

Wheel bolts

Alloy (Bundt) wheels use different size (longer) wheel bolts compared to the standard steel Rims. If you have four Alloy wheels, but a standard Spare Tire, please make sure to have an extra set of standard wheel bolts available for when you need to change your tires. Note: The Pressed Aluminum rim uses the same lug bolt as the steel wheel.

Alloy wheel lug bolt:

 Overall 50mm
 Shank: 28mm

Steel wheel bolt

 Overall 40mm
 Shank 20mm

Part number long wheel bolts: 108 400 15 02 (6Jx14) or 108 401 00 70 (6.5Jx14). Part number standard steel bolts: A 170 401 0170.


Original warning tag

Alloy wheels are torqued to 110 Nm (81 lbf ft), Steel wheels to 90-100 Nm (66 to 74 lbf ft) Pressed aluminum to <unknown>

Torque the bolts in a ”star” pattern using a hand torque wrench. Do not allow workshops to use an air powered impact wrench, even though they will claim it is "set" to the correct torque! If you can't fight the workshop people off, re-torque yourself when you have arrived back at your garage. Wrong torque can cause wheel disks or brake disks to become twisted and then wobble...

Valves

Note, early alloys (e.g. 108 part no.) require metal valve stems, while later ones can use standard rubber valves for inflation of the tires. On tires with inner tire use only inner tires with rubber valve. On tubeless tires use special metal valves (MB part number 107 4000013). Torque data of the nut 6 Nm (0.6 kpm).


Metal valves


These valves have a butterfly nut as the last nut. First a metal cap, then a tapered nut, a simple locking nut, and a butterfly nut. This butterfly nut is specially designed to fit in the ledge of the alloy rim, securing the valve without damaging it. Do not overtighten this nut, otherwise the rubber seal in the tire loses its function, so torque to the 6Nm mentioned above (slightly above hand-tight).


Mounted in rim


Balancing weights

For Alloy wheels of the later kind (starting from 9.1971) use only balancing weights with 45° bevel (MB part number 1084011594 to 2594 (with Mercedes star)).

Maintenance

Checking secondhand alloy wheels

Things to look out for, for all those who might be looking for a set of these pressed alloy wheels.

  1. Dents--these are very easy to dent, particularly when mounted on an extra heavy diesel sedan from whence they came, when it hits a curb.
  2. Corrosion. Yes, aluminum corrodes, particularly from salt and road junk allowed to crust up. You will see, after all is cleaned, that the wheels will look just like they rusted albeit without the rust color, but you see the pitting and corrosion.
  3. Verify if it is an OEM (Fuchs or Mercedes) wheel, see above
  4. Verify the rim width and offset (see Wheels and Tires)
  5. Part number for the 6" wheels is 123 400 15 02; they are from the W123 cars. If the original powder coat is intact, there is a solid silver stripe around the entire raised portion of the rim around the bolt holes. The 5.5's have a dashed silver line; that's how you tell them apart if you are searching in a mountain of old wheels (been there and done that!) Part number of the 5.5's is 123 400 13 02.
  6. It should go without saying that the metal is soft. If you are having them professionally refinished, they'll need to be hand stripped as sand or bead blasting will obliterate the markings and also add a texture to the surface. They could be refinished in the satin powder coat and they were hand stripped--all markings are intact and the finish is beautiful.

Refurbishing Alloy Wheels

Alloy wheels can be bought used. To get them back into the original condition and color they need to be thoroughly cleaned and freed of grease or brake pad dust. Then they need to be stripped and refinished.

The Mercedes-Benz re-finishing manual back in the 90ies advises painting with astral silver #9735 after sanding, priming, filling if needed and resanding. ****Star Magazine Nov./Dec. "94" Since these times powder coating has become much more widespread.

Depending on your ability and equipment you may or may not want to do it yourself. The best and most durable is strip and powdercoat. However this is probably the most difficult as far as equipment and the most expensive method. The correct color powder may be difficult to obtain also. Powdercoating is a electrostatic polyester plastic powder which is applied in a powder form and is liquefied by heat and cools to a hard gloss. It is very durable.

Joe Alexander recommends to lightly sandblast the wheels first to give the new finish a lot of grip. Completely stripping is usually not necessary, but if you must, sandblasting or chemical stripping or dipping is possible. Prime wheels to fill minor imperfections and to prepare any bare metal for paint. An epoxy primer or a two stage primer is superior to just a lacquer primer. Lightly sand smooth and paint Mercedes Astral silver. Here again a professional automotive grade two stage paint is superior for durability and performance. Finally Clear coat also with an automotive grade two stage paint. Acrylic urethane and polyurethane paints give good results. Some people will use two stage epoxy enamels with good results, however the correct color may be harder to obtain in this system. Epoxy paints are also harder to use. Original Mercedes paints are available if you want to search out a supplier. Do not skip the clear coat. This gives the wheels that deep metallic lustre.

As an alternative, but also the most economical: some automotive suppliers carry the correct silver and a clear for alloys in spray cans. Try "The Eastwood Co.", http://www.eastwoodco.com/. The finished product can look good but this is the least durable of your choices. You may have to re-finish every year or two to keep them looking good. The aerosol paints just do not have the durability of a good two stage automotive paint system. Always use good ventilation and a good respirator, modern automotive paints and harders are very toxic. When done properly with the correct materials, the finish on the wheels will look original and last for many years. Avoid using any wheel cleaners if possible, eventually they will dull the clear coat. Wax the wheels from time to time and keep them clean. Treat them like the rest of your cars exterior. Many automotive body shops are experienced and can recondition and refinish your wheels if you are not interested in giving it a try. Price and quality will vary.

Your wheels take more abuse from weather and road dirt than any other surface on your car. Avoid using strong chemicals and keep them clean or the finish will suffer. At least use a good grade of spray wax on them when you wax the rest of the car, the wheel surface needs more protection than anything else!


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