GT350R - Aftermarket Wheel Lug Nut Solution

Discussion in 'TMO General Discussion Forum' started by 50Deep, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. 50Deep

    50Deep Jockin' GT350's

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    Well, it all starts with a problem. For a while now many of the GT350R owners switching to aftermarket wheels found themselves dealing with the extended front studs protruding out much further than the rear studs. For the R It all stems from the pad used on the OEM Carbon Fiber wheel. The pad is much thicker up front and takes up the space from the extended stud. All aftermarket wheels use a thinner pad, so this is an issue for any R owner switching away from the OEM wheel. This also happens with GT350/S550 owners running extended front studs. When you swap to an aftermarket wheel, that stud requires you to run an open-ended lug nut. The end result is front and rear lug nuts that no longer sit at the same depth as OEM. For many it is aesthetically unappealing, and causes difficulty finding a lug nut to run front and rear. With the OEM wheel you can run the same size lug nuts front to rear, and they seat at the same depth. Currently there is no option on the market to fix this issue.

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    Since I started with Signature Wheel I have had several customers asking about lug nut options for the extended studs on the R. Specifically a gentleman with a Shadow Black GT350R back east, who found this as a make or break problem. I told him I would develop a solution that would make him happy as a customer, and hopefully benefit other enthusiasts in the process. The only options till now were to buy new GT350 hubs with standard length studs, or not buy wheels at all. All of this leads me to now. The goal around this endeavor is to have front and rear lug nuts that seat at the same depth for those running extended front studs on a GT350R/GT350/S550 and our Signature Wheel.

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    I reached out to George at MGW and explained what I wanted to achieve. His abilities to work with CAD and a CNC machine are unmatched in my opinion. I also know is level of craftsmanship is something that I can stand behind after using his shifters. After a few discussions and several measurements MGW sent me some prototypes to share. Built to the OEM conical seat specs and will fit like OEM. These are currently built from aluminum for test fitting and the final product will be made from heat treated steel. Plating/coating options are still in the works.

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    There are two style options with rolled and tapered ends. The rolled and tapered ends are to designed to assist with sliding the socket onto the lug nut, and not dinging up the ends. The hex portion is easily accessible to any socket to provide adequate bite and alleviate the need for specialty deep sockets that could mar up the lug nut hole on your wheel. The load being placed at the end of the hex on the front lug nuts will not cause any issues to the metal at the torque figures being used. There is no locking option available.

    Tapered Ends
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    Rolled Ends
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    This is the very first test fitting and it’s pretty much spot on. The lug nut measurements are designed around the drop cup center found on our Signature Wheels, but they may suffice on other brands as well. As you can see the lug nuts now sit at the same depth front to rear without the exposed stud. You almost cant tell which wheel is the front or rear, and it looks much more "finished." The lug nuts will remain open ended, but production pieces will be shortened a few mm to be even with the stud and provide a “closed” look.

    Rolled Ends Front/Rear
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    Tapered Ends Front/Rear
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    Let me know who is interested and what you think as I move forward with ordering these for a few of our existing customers, as well as myself. Pricing wise I want to stay in the $250 range. The shorter versions will also work on all four corners with standard length studs, so something for everyone. These will not work on aftermarket wheels that do not fit an OEM sized lug nut. Hopefully it benefits many of you running aftermarket wheels as well. I am committed to finding solutions to problems we all have, and I bring that into all of my customer dealings through Signature Wheel. If there is an issue or problem, we are open to engineering a solution.
    Again, thanks to MGW and @Tob for the help.
     
  2. 8250RPM

    8250RPM TMO Addict

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    I’m in.
    I’d prefer matte black ones.
    Or better yet a titanium option.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  3. boss1

    boss1 TMO Race

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    Look great I’d be interested
     
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  4. VoodooBoss

    VoodooBoss Rick Moderator

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    Great idea T. Good luck with the order.
     
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  5. 50Deep

    50Deep Jockin' GT350's

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    Thanks guys. Should have some final measurements this week and hopefully into production next week.
     
  6. 50Deep

    50Deep Jockin' GT350's

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    *excuse the sideways photos. On vacation and phone has limited ability*

    Here is an update for everyone. It has been a long process from concept to market on these lug nuts. I have learned a lot along the way, and really give kudos to those guys designing custom parts to bring to market. It’s not easy, and you definitely need good people to help along the way. MAJOR thanks go to George at MGW, Tob at Calipefexion, Byington Steel Heat Treatment, and Alta Plating.

    Design concept and focus
    The inspiration for this part came from enthusiasts desires. Owners wanted a setup to allow the GT350R converting to aftermarket wheels to have a clean lug nut setup. The extended front studs on the R are too long for any traditional lug nut that isn’t open ended, and none are long enough to cover the length of the stud. Measurements here were based off our Signature Wheel with a drop cup center. Lug nuts are designed to work with the OEM 60 degree conical seat and OEM sized lug nut hole diameter.

    Although I pride myself on the lightweight design of our Signature Wheel, that wasn’t the main focus here. Form and function working together have their compromises. I was unaware that the front and rear studs on the R are longer than the standard GT350. In order to make sure these were the exact length needed for the studs front and rear on the R, weight was increased. Although slightly heavier than your OEM lug, when used in conjunction with our wheels the weight savings are still amazing. I will provide exact weights after I get them
    Back from coating.

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    Materials & Engineering
    Each lug nut is designed and CNC cut from Carbon Steel 4140 at MGW in Georgia. After production the lug nuts are heat treated to the requisite Rockwell prior to coating. You can see the blue-ish tint to them from the heating process. Rolled ends were used to allow a socket to go over the lug nut without dinging up the edges, and for aesthetics. The hex end allows you to use a standard socket to engage the lug nut, without needing a specialty deep socket. It will also protect the inner recess of the lug nut hole from marring when tightening.

    Lastly the carbon steel and heat treating process provide a strong enough material to withstand the OEM torque figures without worry of fatigue. These are quite robust, and after holding cheaper aftermarket lug nuts in my hand, I really doubt they would pass the test. Even if you aren’t using these, I encourage everyone to be sure they are buying quality lug nuts for their cars.

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    Black Oxide Coating
    There are many ways to skin a cat when it comes to coating options. This was another area of valuable learning. Because he lug nuts are open ended the coating needs to be evenly applied to the interior and exterior of the part. Both for corrosion resistance and consistency. The chemical process used in the black oxide coating interacts with the metal and penetrates it for an even look. The chemical process also avoids creating multiple layers of build up that can affect torque values. It can also be treated again in the future without having to removal several layers of buildup material like chrome. If scratched, it will also not flake off and compromise other areas like chrome or powder coating.

    I have learned that no coating is impervious to damage. Care and maintenance is key to keeping them looking great for the long term. Removal and installation with a socket/wrench is the ONLY way to go, and air tools should be avoided. Keeping them oiled with WD40 will also provide an extra layer of protection and keep the gloss like finish.

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    Final products
    I had one test piece media blasted to show how the black oxide could have a matte finish. For the middle ground of show/stealth the gloss-like black oxide coating will be used. There will only be 10 sets available for the initial run. Building bespoke parts are not cheap however. I can’t directly list pricing in this thread due to forum rules, so this is information only. Just as a ball park they will be more than $255 but less than $265.

    I will start a sale thread and shipping these next weekend. Anyone interested let me know so I can plan the next production run accordingly. I will have higher resolution photos of the lug nuts installed next week when I pick up the rest.


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    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
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  7. byronj

    byronj TMO Addict

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    I’m in T... they will look sick again the bronze gold thingy I’m doing
     
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  8. VoodooBoss

    VoodooBoss Rick Moderator

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    Brillant idea and excellent execution. Well done Mr. T!
     
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  9. 50Deep

    50Deep Jockin' GT350's

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    Thanks Rick. This one was a lot of work. Hope to get them picked up tomorrow
    You got it bro.
     
  10. 50Deep

    50Deep Jockin' GT350's

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    Custom Lug Nuts
    The custom lug nuts for the GT350R platform are done. Measurements came out great and are flush front to rear. They do an excellent job of hiding the exposed studs. I will walk you through some photos and my thoughts.

    Finished Products
    Here are some photos of the lug nuts after being coated with black oxide. They are freshly oiled so everything sticks to them. Recommended to oil them up every month or so with WD40 on a rag or some gun oil to add some extra shine if you want. I do like the coating and finish overall, although they will scratch if you drop or hit them hard with the socket. Good thing about these is a sharpie will fix any small mistakes you make.

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    Exposed Studs Before
    Here are some photos of the car with the ZL1 Addons titanium lug nuts, and front studs exposed.
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    Hidden Studs After

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    Conclusion
    I am happy with the product and how it turned out. It accomplishes the goal of hiding the exposed studs, and will blend very well with a dark colored wheel. Even with a lighter colored wheel it takes the focus off the stud and puts it back on the wheel. I much prefer not needing to put my deep socket so far into the lug nut hole and risking damage. I would encourage anyone purchasing a set to have them redone some custom way down the line. From my experience any time you have metal on metal the friction could leave a mark on the surface. If you drop a lug nut or hit it the coating may show wear. My personal idea to really tie it all together is to use some Shadow Black touch up paint to color the very tip of the stud so it matches with the end of the lug nut. In any case, let me know what you think.
     
  11. GotCurvz

    GotCurvz TMO Advanced

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    Nice job with this project. They look clean. Put me in for a set please.
     
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  12. 50Deep

    50Deep Jockin' GT350's

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    You got it. PM inbound
     
  13. GotCurvz

    GotCurvz TMO Advanced

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    I'd like to send a big thanks out to Terrance. My first set of lug nuts were lost in the mail and I received an empty box. Terrance took care of me and sent another set out right away which I received intact. Really great customer service which was much appreciated.
    The lug nuts look very slick. Now I just need to get some aftermarket wheels so I can use them :D
     
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  14. 50Deep

    50Deep Jockin' GT350's

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    I wonder who could get you those ? lol
     
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  15. George

    George TMO Intermediate

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    I am having a set of OEM style lug facings fabricated so no matter what the setup is using aftermarket wheels these will solve the issue. I contacted Carbon Revolution who makes the composite GT350R wheels and they stated the OEM lug facings are not available and that Ford has what he call a wheel overhaul kit. That does not matter, Ford cant find the part number and it $650 per wheel which includes the hub also. when I stripped down my CF wheel I found that all of the lug facings and hubs come off and held with a simple retainer split ring. when they are completed and installed I will post the before and after pictures. My wheels are already mounted so the facings will just be a for looks.
     
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  16. 50Deep

    50Deep Jockin' GT350's

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    Cool idea, but I forsee 2 issues:

    1) The metal insert from the carbon wheel drops into a hole whose diameter will likely be larger than any lug nut recess on any aftermarket wheel. Have you measured the OD to be sure they will fit?

    2) The metal insert when dropped into a finished wheel face is likely going to damage the powder coating once the 150 ft/lbs of torque is applied.

    3) the main issue with the R front stud is that the thickness of the hub on the carbon wheel is greater than the aftermarket wheel. That insert won’t make up for the hub thickness unless the insert is raised up off the wheel. Have you accounted for that?
     
  17. George

    George TMO Intermediate

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    Like I mentioned. The LMR wheels are already mounted so what will I will show is the OEM look. The lug inserts will have no function but to cover up excess studs. The OEM inserts are made of a plastic material live the removable wheel hub. I had the micro chip scanned in each wheel and they all match my vin.
     
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  18. 1badassboss302s

    1badassboss302s TMO Intermediate

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    Put me down for a set too!! Great job on these.

    Thanks!!
     
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  19. 50Deep

    50Deep Jockin' GT350's

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    You got it brother. I have samples in titanium being shipped to me now. Once I get them and do a test fit we can get round two going
     
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  20. HR692

    HR692 TMO Advanced

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    They all look great!
     

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