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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
About a month ago, I was driving on the Kennedy in down town Chicago through a construction site when I started hearing a terrible noise. It was a loud "clunk, clunk, clunk" that seemed to increase with speed. I got off the highway as fast as I could and discovered a small Craftsman c-clamp wedged between the treads of my rear driver-side tire. The clamp was hitting the car. Luckily, it caused no body damage. I pulled out the clamp, the tire instantly went flat, and I put on the spare.

I dropped off my wheels at my local tire shop and had them order me up a new Pirelli. When I came to pick up the mounted tire, I was told the rim had some bends in it. They took me in back and spun it for me -- the inner lip of my replica RS6 rim was hopping all over the place. They asked me if I wanted the wheel sent off to be repaired. I figured that if that rim was bent, the rest were bent too. I was getting a whole lot of vibrations at high speed even with the spare tire in place of this bent one. Getting them all fixed at once made more sense. I asked them if it was safe to have the tire mounted and balanced with the wheel bent like that. They said that the tire might wear faster, but there was "no danger." A big Chicago VW meet was coming up in two days and I was damned if I was gonna show up with my Wellingtons on.

Over the next few weeks, I noticed the rear passenger-side tire kept going half-flat on me. It had a slow leak. I did my best to top it off with air, but one night it finally died on me -- the tread ripping clean off. The spare when back on the car and I got my 15" OEM Wellington's out of storage. I had had enough.

The next day, I put on my stock wheels showed up to my local Chicago VW/Audi/BMW club meet. I took some flak for my small wheels, but when I explained my situation, every person there recommended I take my 18s to Wheels America. They repair all wheels for a flat rate so I could get the bends and the curb rash taken care of all at once. I dropped off all four 18x8.5" wheels at Wheels America the next day and ordered yet another new Pirelli from Tirerack. The folks at Wheels America gave me great service and even a behind-the-scenes tour of the facilities, explaining in detail the refurbishing process. It was no wonder all the local Euro guys vouched for them.

Meanwhile I was enjoying my car's newfound peppy-ness. Not have 30 pound wheels at all four corners was nice. The car accelerated, braked, and changed direction faster. The only down side was going from 225 tires to 195 -- I missed the extra rubber on the road and often made the stock Conti's squeal in protest even under mild loads.

A week went by and I heard nothing from Wheels America. I decided to stop by to see what was up. It turns out my rims were deemed "unrepairable." This shocked me seeing some of the before and after pics on the website and watched how literally ruined rims were fixed during my tour. They spun all four wheels and showed me that it wasn't the inner lip that was bent, but the entire barrel of the rim -- badly, badly bent. They then showed me how the replica wheel didn't evenly heat-up so they couldn't bend it back. The core, the structure of the rims were shot. The head technician gets paid by commission on every rim he fixes and he still refused to work on my wheels.

Only one out of the four was deemed fixable, but it was still bent and rashed. The owner of the shop told me I could try to sell it on eBay. As for as the other three, I should take them to the Soutside of Chicago where a scrap yard can give me as much as $0.75 per pound of aluminum. I told them I would think about it. I left with four tires and four Audi centercaps.

So that's that. My 18x8.5 Audi RS6 replicas from Lakeshore Wheels are DEAD. There's a one year warranty on the rims, but it says it's voided if I hit any pot holes. The damage to my wheels weren't caused by me hitting any one road obstacle -- I never recalled hitting a bump and saying "damn, that must have just bent a rim." It was just 11 months of Midwest wear and tear. I'll call up Lakeshore tomorrow and see what I can do. As for Wheels America, if they can't fix my rims, no one can. I would use them again for sure.

Just needed to vent...
 

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Man, sorry to hear that. I too am in a similar situation as I have 3 that are bent. I'm eagerly awaiting my new set of shoes as they should be here tomorrow :D. I may take mine in and see if they can be repared and use them for winters. If not, I too may be off to the scrap yard. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #4
NJB5.5 said:
That sucks, the wheels looked great on your car. So whats next?
Not sure.

I loved the RS6's so much -- it pains me to have them turned into soda cans. I want something lighter and stronger. I thinking about B7 RS4 replicas from Hartmann right now, but I want to make sure their "Italian-made OEM-qulity replica wheels" don't crap out on me like my old "Italian-made OEM-qulity replica wheels" did.
 

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What tire pressures were you using? I've been up and down the Kennedy, Dan Ryan, and North Lake Shore and I've hit some NASTY roads. I refuse to believe that my ADR's are THAT much stronger. Hence why I'm askng about your tire pressures because that has a huge effect on if you're going to bend a rim or not.

Sorry about the wheels. And I ALMOST bought those same ones last month!
 

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JamesBondage said:
I ran between 25 and 35 psi. I was pretty inconsistent.
That might have been your problem there. I never run anything lower than 34-35. Around 30 psi, I get so much squealing and traction reduction it's hard not to notice the tires are low.

Next time keep 'em higher. That'll save your wheels.
 

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chrisyoon said:
That might have been your problem there. I never run anything lower than 34-35. Around 30 psi, I get so much squealing and traction reduction it's hard not to notice the tires are low.

Next time keep 'em higher. That'll save your wheels.
I do agree this helps, but I've religiously run between 35 and 38 psi for daily driving and still ended up bending my wheels. Unfortunately the midwest roads are not forgiving :banghead: :banghead:
 
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