New shoes! Or is it feet?

Rupert has new shoes! Or is it new feet?

Our old steel wheels were genuine Dunlop LP883 wheels as fitted to Coopers. They looked great, but they weren’t particularly round or straight. No matter how accurately balanced, there was always a bit of shimmy at 100kph. Straightening them was going to be expensive with no guarantee of success, and so we’ve given in and replaced them with Minisport LP883 Cooper wheel lookalikes in alloy. (Minisport part number SPDSR-011-W)

The product information on Minisport’s website is a bit sparse, so buying these felt risky. The price made it easier though: we landed them in New Zealand for less than $400. Even if they didn’t fit, we could have flogged them on TradeMe and made our money back.

But they do fit. And rather well too.

New wheels with hubcaps

New wheels without hubcaps

In case you’re thinking of buying these, here’s my review:

A lovely alloy LP883 lookalike with near identical fit and backspacing. Vent holes are teardrop shaped rather than round, but it’s only noticeable at certain angles. Colour is bright white (think refrigerator white) rather than Old English White. (Ours are painted to match the roof).

They fit over 7.5″ disc brakes with 5mm calliper clearance at the rim. Clip-on balancing weights *just* touched the bleed screw boss, which was easily relieved with an angle grinder. The LP883 Cooper hubcaps fit perfectly, though they sit about 8mm further out than on a steel wheel. It’s subtle.

The main issue we faced is that they’re thicker than steel wheels (obviously) so we needed longer wheel studs. The rears were easy, as there’s a large range of rear wheel studs available, but front studs for disc brake hubs only come in two lengths- and we already had the longest ones.

Edit: Brian thinks I should explain why this is an issue with these wheels, when people fit alloys to Minis all the time without issue. It’s the wheel nut seat. Most alloys use a conical seat nut with a 60 degree angle, but these ones have a spherical seat like the steel wheels they’re replacing. For authenticity.

Seats

For the same size wheel nut, a 60 degree taper gives more depth into the wheel and more thread engagement. So what’s the solution? Minisport’s suggestion was to use enclosed wheel nuts, which didn’t really make sense to me. It wouldn’t change how many threads were engaged, it would just make it harder to observe. The solution of last resort would be to machine 60 degree seats into the wheels, making them like most other alloy wheels, but that’s expensive and I’m cheap.

Rear wheel installed

In the end I tracked down some Polaris RZR wheel studs that were the correct size and length- but were only grade 5. (Polaris part #7517871, 3/8x24tpi, 1.73″ / 44mm long). Luckily(?) they’re a known weak spot, and there are a bunch of aftermarket wheel studs available which are grade 8 or higher. We’ve ordered a set of CV racing Xceldyne studs, part # CV4-1242.

Front wheel studs length comparison

Top right is the old 35mm stud (21A2064). We’re about 3 threads short of full engagement, which isn’t enough  (Rule of thumb: you want 1.5 times the bolt diameter engagement, which comes to about 14mm. These wheel nuts are- you guessed it- 14mm long). It’s also not enough to pass a safety test here- inspectors require full engagement with the nut, plus one or two threads. The other 3 studs are the Polaris ones, and we’ve got full engagement plus 2 threads so they’re about perfect.

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