volk te-37

Volk TE-37 Forged Monoblock Wheel

One of the lightest aftermarket forged wheels available.  The Volk TE-37 is popular for a reason.
One of the lightest aftermarket forged wheels available. The Volk TE-37 is popular for a reason.

Rays Engineering

 Volk Racing Wheel's are a product line produced and sold by RAYS Engineering.  Established in 1973, RAYS Engineering has focused on aftermarket high performance wheels for both motorsports and high performance street use.  RAYS Engineering produces several lines of wheels, which cater to ultra-high performance race useage, to beautiful wheel designs for street cars.

This hub is about one wheel offered by RAYS Engineering, under their Volk product line.  The TE-37 racing wheel is just that - A full blown racing wheel with no concessions made for street use.  Yes, the wheel is incredibly popular on street cars due to its racing-quality construction and looks, but RAYS designed the wheel with one thing in mind--Racing. 

The TE-37 wheel features a forged, one piece monoblock construction.  The forging process involves forcing a solid billet of material into a shape using extremely high pressure hydrolic presses, typically between 6,000 to 12,000 tons.  The forging process creates a wheel that is far superior to a cast wheel.  Casting is a process where material is poured into a mold using gravity to fill the mold.  Casting is much cheaper than forging, but often leaves small impurities within a compents structure.  Small "pockets" of empty space form, which leads to a weaker product.  As a result of this, extra material is used to increase the wheel's strength to an acceptable level, which increases weight. 

Forging is vastly superior to casting due to the immense pressures involved.  A forged wheel is a truely solid wheel, with no pockets or impurities within the wheel's structure.  In addition, forging a wheel changes the grain structure of the material, increasing the wheels strength.  Two identicle wheels, one cast and one forged, will always leave the forged wheel stronger and lighter. 

The typically tough stance of a car sporting TE-37's.  In this case, a UK owned R34 GTR.
The typically tough stance of a car sporting TE-37's. In this case, a UK owned R34 GTR.

Benefits of Forged VS. Cast

Cast: Cheap to produce, easy to mass produce. Can be strong and fairly light if made properly.

Forged: Expensive to produce, difficult to mass produce. Incredibly strong, yet much lighter than a comparable cast wheel.

Cast: Can be produced through gravity casting, low pressure casting, or high pressure casting. High pressure produces the lightest, strongest cast wheel, whereas gravity casting produces the weakest, heaviest wheel.  Casting machines can be cheap to buy.

Forged:  Requires very expensive, large hydrolic presses which are capable of producing extreme amounts of force.  Forging machines are expensive to buy, and expensive to maintain.

The Volk TE-37 enjoys a very popular status on both the street and track, and is a highly sought after wheel. It's been on the market for some time, but shows no sign of losing its iconic status as the ultimate street/race wheel.

One of the main reasons for the TE-37's popularity is the huge range of sizes, width's and offset's the wheel is available in. The TE-37 certainly has one of the largest ranges of fitments of any wheel. This is partially due to the demand among racers, as well as the street enthusiast. No one wheel size/width/offset will be right for every car, or every enthusiasts taste's.

Volk TE-37 sizes range from 13 x 5.0" to 20 x 11".  Prices change dramatically depending on the size of the wheel.  The 13 x 5.0" TE-37 can cost as little as three to four hundred dollars per wheel, where the 20 x 11" wheel can cost up to $1,800 per wheel.  Many people are under the false impression that TE-37 wheel's are overpriced for all available applications.  They may cite that you can buy a Taiwan produced replica wheel for as little as $150 per wheel.  The forged monoblock Volk TE-37 will not only provide an incredible long life, it will also provide strength and a low weight.  The knockoff wheel will provide neither.

It is not uncommon for Volk Racing wheels to survive crashes that the car itself does not survive.  While you can certainly bend a TE-37 wheel, doing so can be a difficult task.  Forged wheels do not bend or distort easily, and require an incredible amount of force to do so.  Cast wheels by comparison (and in particular, knock-off wheels of popular forged wheels) have been known to distort and bend, even without a crash.  It's not unheard of for a knock-off wheel to develope "wavey" wheel spokes when driven under hard conditions on a race track. 

Chosing the right size

 When shopping for new aftermarket wheels, buying the correct sized wheel for your intended use is critical.  It is, unfortinutely, very common to see cars being driven around with blatantly incorrectly sized wheels.  To high of an offset can cause a "sunken battleship" look, with the wheels being hidden within the wheelwell's.  In other cases, the wheels may stick out past the fenders.  This "stuck out" look is popular among hard parkers (those who modify their cars but never drive them hard) who want the "drifting" look.  More often than not, wheels that exceed the fenders will cause undue wear and stress on the wheel bearings. 

The most critical part of wheel size selection is to discuss what you want with your dealer.  Tell them what you plan on using the car for, and whether or not you're interested in causing premature wear on your wheel bearings.  It's possible to decrease the offset compared to stock without causing additional wear and tear on your vehicle.  Another major factor in wheel selection is tires.  Bigger, wider tires are exceedingly more expensive than smaller, narrower tires.  Both wheel and tire sizes are determined by how large your wheel well's are, and how much room there is to clear the suspension and brakes.

Does wider = better?

 Wide wheels and tires may look "tough" on most vehicles, there's no question about that.  A narrow wheel and tire just doesn't cut it on most vehicles.  However there's a common misconception that wider = better.  This couldn't be any further from the truth.  If you're able to fit, for example, 18x10 rear wheels, and 315/35/18 tires on those wheels, all that extra width will go to waste if you don't use proper tire selection.  Simply put, a 315 width tire that's designed for low cost, long life, and low road noise will offer far worse performance than a 205 width tire designed for ultra high grip levels with no concessions made to road noise or tire life.

Wider only equals better when the tires utilized are of very high quality.  It's worth noting that wider wheel's and tires, especially high performance wider tires, will cause a detrimental effect to fuel economy.  Stickier tires require more force to turn, and as such, you'll use more fuel.

But that's irrelevent if you're rolling on Volk Racing TE-37 wheels.  Because if you shelled out the hugh initial cost on a set of TE-37's, you're not going to wrap those gorgeous, ultra high performance wheels with subpar rubber.  You're going to spend nearly as much on tires in a year as you did when buying those wheels!  It's not unheard of for ultra high performance tires to cost upwards of $1,500-$1,800.  High performance tires will wear quicker, and create more road noise.  But if you care about those things, you won't have spent so much on the greatest racing wheel design in history - The Volk TE-37!

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