1998 Dodge RAM Cummins 24V Diesel
Dodge RAM 2500 Rubber Rims
Dodge Bent Wheel Problem

Wheel Design

The 1998 Dodge Ram 2500 factory chrome plated steel wheels are exceedingly weak. They could best be described as "rubber rims." The wheels are a two piece design where the two main parts are welded together. The inner disk with the mounting lug bolt holes is stamped from plate steel. It acts like a diaphragm. The outer rim is the typical rolled and welded design onto which the tire is mounted. The assembly is chrome plated on the outside after final welding and polishing. The wheel has a very pleasant design with six oval shaped openings. Wheel weights can be attached to the outer rim on either side in the typical manner.

Problem

The diaphragm or inner disk of the wheel is exceedingly weak. It doesn't break, crack, or fatigue; but it does flex, deform, and bend easily. The result is a tire that wobbles from axial run out of the outer rim. In other words, the centerline of the tire does not remain on the rotating center. This can easily be observed by jacking up both rear tires at the same time, blocking the front wheels, and running the truck at an idle in first gear. The tire tread wobbles in and out as the tire rotates.

The second symptoms is radial deformation or movement. The surface of the tire can be observed moving in an up and down manner as it rotates making the tire appear to be out of round. Axial center of the outer rim had defected from the centerline of the axle shaft.

Cause

The weak center disk of the Dodge wheel can easily bend from the impact load received as the truck passes over a railroad crossing that may be a little rougher than expected. The construction "bumps" commonly seen when highway repaving is being done will bend the rims. Sometimes the 2" to 3"  temporary ramp is installed to reduce the bump but many times it has none. Ordinary chuck holes will also bend the Dodge rims.

Stress

The stress in the metal in the center disk of the Dodge wheel exceeds the yield strength during normal highway driving when typical rough road conditions are encountered, such as: railroad tracks, chuck holes, and construction irregularities. Off road conditions are even worse. The stress is at least three time the desired amount for a sound design. The stress should not exceed 1/3 to 1/4 of the yield stress. The stress is inversely proportional to the thickness of the metal to the power of 3. Therefore, the metal should be increased by the cube root of 3 = 1.44 or 144% (say 150%), proving that the metal is approximately two thirds the thick that it should be. Dodge did not perform the required engineering design on these wheels. Someone at Dodge simply let the accounting department guessed at the desired metal thickness. They then proceeded to make millions of them. This is a prime example exposing why the public does not have confidence in cars and trucks made in the United States.

A proper design would be to increase the metal thickness in the center disk by 1.6 times, reduce the size of the oval cutouts, and stamp the 3-D pattern with more emphasis to increase the sectional modulus. The additional cost to make excellent wheels would have been approximately $2 per wheel.

We see heavy duty truck advertisements on TV by Ford, Chevrolet, and GMC where the truck is heavily loaded and driven over very rough terrain at a construction site. We also see advertisements where the truck jumps obstacles with the wheels off the ground followed by a jarring impact that bottoms the suspension. The Dodge wheel would never even come close to surviving these severe loads. The Dodge wheel would be severely bent out of round and off center.

Result

The Dodge wheels wobble and hop as the truck is driven on a smooth highway. This causes wear cups on the outer edge of the front tires and shortens the life of other suspension components. The rear tire are less likely to wear unevenly because of the more rigid back axle. Balancing the tires does not cure this problem, and the amount of balance weights required will be much greater than on an unbent wheel.

Crossing one rough railroad track with the truck empty or loaded can easily bend all four rims. The cost to straighten and rebalance the all four wheels will be between $700 to $1000. The entire repair could be reversed while driving home.

Correction

There are no permanent solutions to the weak Dodge rubber rims other than to buy better replacement wheels for an after-market source, not from Dodge. Buy wheels that are designed and tested for severe off-road racing.

Please give feedback if you discover other methods of resolving the Dodge factory rubber rim problem.

Good luck,

Kent R. Rieske, P.E.
Professional Mechanical Engineer
Automotive and Lubrication Specialist 

You can contact the author by clicking the mailbox above.

Success Stories

None.

Copyright ©  2010 by Kent R. Rieske. All Rights Reserved.

Permission is granted to copy this information in whole and without revision providing that full credit is given to the author. This information may not be copied in part and the information may not be included in any material that is offered for sale. You are encouraged to place a link to this article on your website page.

Amsoil Independent Dealer at http://www.kentsoil.com

AMSOIL SAE 5W-40 Premium API CJ-4 Synthetic Diesel Oil.

AMSOIL synthetic motor oil and super duty oil filters can give your car, truck, RV, motorcycle, snowmobile or boat engine the extended life, wear protection and heat protection which was originally developed for jet engines. AMSOIL synthetic motor oil and other lubricants are for those individuals who want to preserve their cars, trucks and equipment. Many automobile manufacturers require the use of synthetic motor oil in their turbocharged engines because of this additional protection.

Though AMSOIL, Inc. was founded in 1972, its story begins in the mid 1960s, when Lt. Col. A.J. "Al" Amatuzio, a jet fighter squadron commander, was impressed by the superb performance of synthetic lubricants in jet engines (in fact, only synthetics stand up to the performance demands of jet engines) and began studying their possible automotive applications. In 1972, after an intense period of research and development, Al Amatuzio introduced the first synthetic motor oil in the world to exceed API automobile service requirements.

AMSOIL synthetic motor oil provides superior protection and reduced wear while extending motor oil drain intervals to 2, 3 or 4 times the equipment manufacture's recommendations up to 25,000 miles or 1 year. Save time and money by extending the life of your vehicle by using synthetic motor oil, super duty oil filters and re-cleanable air filters.

Click each category from the table below to review the extensive list of AMSOIL products.

NEW! AMSOIL Online Product Information Guide
Click to find all recommended AMSOIL products, 
filter sizes and lubrication capacities for your vehicle.

Auto Gas Engines Diesel Engines Motorcycles 2-Cycle Engines
Racing Filters Transmissions Gear Oils
Greases Farming Construction Accessories


Shop AMSOIL Online Store Browse

Simply place your order online and the products are shipped directly to your address from the nearest AMSOIL distribution warehouse. Ordering and delivery is quick and easy.

  • First to develop an API-rated 100 percent synthetic motor oil.
  • First to introduce the concept of "extended drain intervals" with a recommended 25,000-mile/1-year drain interval.
  • First U.S. company to utilize the NOACK volatility test as a standard of performance excellence.
  • First to produce synthetic motor oils for diesel engines, racing engines, turbos and marine engines.
  • First to introduce synthetic oils that legitimately contribute to improving fuel efficiency.
  • First to manufacture synthetic gear lube for automotive use.
  • First to manufacture a 100:1 pre-mix synthetic 2-cycle oil.
  • First to manufacture a synthetic automatic transmission fluid for automotive use.

Return to KentOil.com Home Page

Return to AMSOIL home page.Home

Thank You!
Dealer Logo.

Copyright 2000 - 2012 KentsOil.com and AMSOIL, INC.