'The Steel' Wheel FAQ's

After a fair few years and many questions later, here is our compilation and hopefully-comprehensive FAQ's with regard to the 'meat and potatoes' of vehicle yes... the 'stance.'

 

'The Steel,' Stitches + Steel, Steel Wheels

Our steel wheels are the antichrist of BIG ALLOYS. The less-is-more, understated nature of them is a considered approach to 'upgrading,' adding to your vehicle rather than taking away.  

Rather than scale-up a traditional car wheels, we chose to scale down the process used for HGV/ Agricultural wheel production. This allowed us to make them strong while achieving the aesthetic we adore.

The chamfer of the bolt holes are designed to accept the original bolts used for the original steel wheels.

The wheels are load rated for all variants of the transporter chassis. T26, T28, T30 and T32.

In the pursuit of durability we have applied our Black, powder-coated finish liberally! While the Centerbore of the wheel (the part that locates on the central spigot) is the correct size, it is arguably tight due to the amount of powder-coat we've applied.

Bolting them up and torquing the bolts correctly will fasten them. When removal is required, we have experienced occasional 'sticking' due to corrosion of the vans central spigot that does have a tendency to do so. If removal is proving difficult, we recommend tapping with a rubber or wooden mallet while the van is jacked up safely for removal.

We ship the wheels individually with (so far), the seemingly reliable service we've forged with UK MAIL. We pack the wheels in a very considered way and to a level we deem good enough to make it to you unscathed. In the unusual circumstances the wheels arriving to you damaged, you must notify us within three days of receiving them or you will not be able to claim against damages. Please check all wheels when you receive them. Not when they get to the tyre shop.

We offer them in Black and Black only. That said, one can of PLASTIDIP (readily available in a variety of shades (you can peel it off if you change your mind as it is rubber based). You should be able to paint all 4 wheels very easily with just the one can, if used sparingly... Maybe grab a spare just in case...

The VW centre caps on the original VW steel wheels have varied over the years, some fit great as they locate on the bolts, others don't. We'd love to give a more accurate answer to them fitting on our wheels however we're still calibrating which ones work 100%. They can definitely be modified to fit. The wheels also look great without them too!

These wheels are made from STEEL, not ALLOY. While we have worked hard to acquire a finish we adore on these products, we have chosen a manufacturing method favouring them lasting over being 'showroom' perfect. If you're a stickler for perfection, these wheels and their finish might not be quite to your liking, which is fine. Just a heads up that they might not be for you. Again, we must stress how thrilled we are with their aesthetic,  just attempting to manage expectations a bit here.

Will the wheels fit your van?

Yes. Sometimes directly, sometimes with adapters. You'll need to know the PCD of your van and make sure it matches the wheels you want or you'll need adapters, which are readily available.

Which tyres can I fit on these wheels?
You can fit a vast array of tyres on our wheels.
What is the load rating?
A tyre and it's load rating is a necessary requirement of law and while we understand certain folk are willing to exercise that law and have some leniency in this department, for the sake of not opening a can of worms and covering our asses, please heed the below information.
'Tyre load ratings are determined by the side wall construction. Big tall sidewalls have lots of compliance and can generally take higher loads.

Tyre manufacturers are all members of a trade body called ETRTO who dictate what the load rating is for a given type and size of tyre (hence why you find almost all tyres of a given size and type have the same rating). The tyres shown on the pressure plate have all been tested and approved by VW to suit the van but under the bonnet on the left you'll see the chassis plate gives you the rated loads for the axles. It's these figures you need to adhere to (as well as the speed ratings) so; most vans will need 1550kg total tyre rating per axle i.e. 750kg per tyre which is about 101 load rating.
Heavy duty vans like the T32 versions have 1720kg axles so you need 103 rated tyres.'
Long story short..
  • If your van is a T26, T28 or T30 you will need a 101 rated tyre.
  • If your van is a T32 you will need a 103 rated tyre. 
 
What do you want out of your van and how do you want it to look?
If you want a wheel and tyre setup that makes your van look just a bit more purposeful and a bit less standard without any 'invasive modifications' a 235-50-18 tyre will fit great, will be load rated and will not throw out your speedo or anything else too foreign. It has the same rolling radius as the original setup on your van and you'll be able to simply bolt the wheels on and hit the road. 
 
A 255-55-18 tyre, when chosen with an all-terrain tread pattern, will not only be load rated but will transform the look of your van into an 'overland' or 'swamper' style instantly. It is a brilliant, cheap (ish) way to achieve a look that is vastly different and purposeful without the need to fettle with suspension or anything oily. The reason it is our most popular way we see our wheels purposed. 
The ride will feel slightly wavey along with road noise increasing slightly, and maybe a tiny bit of scrubbing within the arch at full lock or over big bumps while moving quickly. The most popular, and considered setup to a T5 or T6 van in our eyes.
We try and keep a variant of this tyre in stock and offer our wheels with these tyres blown on and balanced as an option, wether it be a Falken, General, Insa or BF they all march to similar beats and we supply them ready to bolt up and go. Whatever the advert at time states is what is available and what we'll be fitting as we believe that is best suited to what we're up to. 
  • 235- 45-18
  • 225-45-18 
While being mindful to not advocate fitting the sizes above (due to them not being load rated) we've seen them fitted for 'show use' or vans that are after achieving a certain, low ride height and they can look stunning, just obviously not legal. 
 
Thinking of lowering or raising your van?
The standard shocks on your van have been through rigorous testing and are actually very good! They should be, Volkswagen know what they are doing. They are also, as you might have noticed, quite comfy. We'd suggest being incredibly mindful about fitting aftermarket shocks on your vehicle. We've heard on more than a few occasions individuals reverting back to original shocks after not being able to live with the changes to ride height and then the comfort. Put simply, you'll struggle to achieve a comfier ride than the original setup. 
 
Lowering Springs
Using your original shock but changing out the spring for a smaller one will lower your van slightly while retaining some very-close-to standard comfort levels. The benefit being you'll have a bit less 'arch gap' and still the comfort also at an affordable price. A common setup with a 235-50-18 tyre to achieve a 'lower' look. 
 
Lifting Springs
Being mindful to not undermine, the standard ride height of the Volkswagen T5 - T6 platform is very high from the factory. Unless you're after some very serious ground clearance and are taking your off-roading very seriously. Then we'd say the standard ride height should stand you in very good stead for 99.9% of what you'll be attempting. These vans, even without the 4motion drivetrain or being lifted are incredibly capable off-road. 
Coilovers 
Slightly more involved surgery, a coilover is replacing the whole shock unit. It is a brand new shock and spring assembly. The clever thing about a coilover is the fact it can be adjusted. The body of the shock has a thread which can be wound up or down to achieve a desired ride height (usually on the hunt for low to very low). Put simply, the further you wind them down, the lower the van goes, the stiffer the ride becomes). There are 10+ brands making coilovers. We've tried variants at both ends of the spectrum along with in the middle and would recommend you choosing the Bilstein B14. Bilstein makes the upper end shocks for BMW, Mercedes, Audi etc and know what they're doing. We can supply and fit them but only them. 

The very long story, short:

  • You van with our 18' wheel, on standard suspension, with a 255 - 55 - 18 tyre will look very 'off-roady' while being very usable day to day.
  • Your van with our 18' wheel, on standard suspension with a 235 - 55 - 18 tyre will look more a bit less 'standard' a will be a considered addition to its appearance.
  • Your van with our 18' wheels lowered on springs or coilovers with a 235 - 55 - 18 tyre will look great while perhaps sacrificing some ride comfort.
  • Your van with our 18' wheels lowered on springs or coilovers with a 225 - 45 - 18 tyre will look amazing but it is illegal and you might kill yourself and others from a blowout.