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Wheel Weight Identification (Pictures)

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by h20fowl, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. h20fowl

    h20fowl Member

    OK so I have yet to start casting my own but I went out today and scored a 5 gallon bucket full of wheel weights. I have a got some questions about the composition of a few of them. For thous of you that are seasoned casters are my assumptions correct?

    #1 Marked "AL" is non-magnetic but is painted. "AL" being the periodic abbreviation for Aluminum. Is it aluminum? When scratched with an awl it feels soft like lead.

    #2 Marked "AW" is non-magnetic but is painted. When scratched with an awl it feels soft like lead.

    #3 Marked "AAW" is non-magnetic appears to be lead and when scratched definitely feels like it.

    #4 Marked "AL-MC" is non-magnetic appears to be lead and when scratched feels like it is.

    #5 Marked "MC" is non-magnetic but is painted. When scratched feels like it lead.

    #6 Marked "P" is non-magnetic but is painted. When scratched it feels like lead.

    #7 Marked "Fe" is magnetic. Obviously steel. "Fe" being the periodic abbreviation for Iron.

    #8 Marked "Fe" see #7

    #9 Marked "Zn" is non-magnetic. When scratched feels much harder than lead. "Zn" is the periodic abbreviation for Zinc.

    #10 Marked "MICRO" is non-magnetic. looks obviously like lead and when scratched feels like it.

    Also for the weight that are painted. Is it acceptable to melt these down? will the paint contaminate the lead? should one attempt to remove all the grease and grim before melting or just not worry about it?

    P.S. I am finding allot of steel weight in the mix. Out of the 6 tire shops I hit up today 4 said they have switched over to all steel weights! Get em while you can gentleman. :cool:

    Attached Files:

  2. Phoenix8936

    Phoenix8936 Member

    So glad I work in the auto industry and have a vast supply of lead.. As more nad mroe shops switch we look to get rid of all the lead ones.. that means cheap for me...
  3. David Wile

    David Wile Well-Known Member

    Hey Water,

    I would suspect that all of the weights you have shown except 7 and 9 are fairly typical lead wheel weights. You say Number 8 is marked FE, but you do not say whether or not it is magnetic. It sure looks like a regular lead alloy wheel weight. One thing is for sure, if it is ferrous, it will float in a pot of melted alloy, and you can just pick it out and throw it away with the the steel clips. I would not put any weights in my pot that looked like Numbers 7 & 9. However, I would not be afraid to put any of the other old fashioned weights which have steel clips in my pot once the metal is melted. If I should come up with something that does not melt quickly, I just pull it out of the mix right away, and it does not melt and do any harm to what is already in my pot.

    Best wishes,
    Dave Wile
  4. h20fowl

    h20fowl Member


    To clarify #8 is marked "Fe" and is magnetic.
  5. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    The painted ones and the one marked "Zn" are Zinc. DO NOT put them in the pot with the lead ones, as you will contaminate the pot.

  6. David Wile

    David Wile Well-Known Member

    Hey Water,

    Obviously then, Number 8 would not melt in your mix, but it would not do any harm either. When I get a batch of wheel weights to render into straight wheel weight metal, I get my large Dutch Oven sized "pot" started with regular old fashioned wheel weights with steel clips. Once I get these melted, I remove the steel clips and then pretty much slowly add anything else I have to the melted mix. Anything that does not belong (zinc, valve stems, and whatever) will show up very quickly, and I remove them right away. Then when the regular lead melts, I again remove the steel clips and add more of raw material. Once I get a pot full of metal, I flux it and stir it real well to mix up the lead, tin, and antimony, and then I pour the mix into my ingot moulds. If you happen to throw some of the Number 8 type weights in while making your melt, it would not melt and should not hurt your melt in any way. Just throw it out with the steel clips.

    Best wishes,
    Dave Wile
  7. Phoenix8936

    Phoenix8936 Member

    Wheel weights should be zinc, steel or lead... I have gone by this if its heavy and soft its aluminum, if its hard its zinc or steel....
  8. Fatelvis

    Fatelvis Well-Known Member

    I trust the dirtier, older looking wheeweights (usually lead) over the spankin' new looking ones (usually Zinc). If in doubt, don't add it to your mix.
  9. SteelyNirvana

    SteelyNirvana Well-Known Member

    I always take my linemans pliers (Any wire cutter will do) and see how easy they score. If you have to press hard to score a line in them, off to the side they go.
  10. dagger dog

    dagger dog Well-Known Member

    1. AL, means the weight is coated as to not react (corrode) aluminium wheels it is lead.
    the unpainted weights are for steel wheels, you will also come across lead tape weights, which are ok, the tape burns off when smelting, the paint cooks off and what is left is removed when fluxing
  11. Gadzooks Mike

    Gadzooks Mike Well-Known Member

    Just make sure that paint doesn't contain lead - the government says that's dangerous!
  12. Landric

    Landric Well-Known Member

    Unless its Chinese paint, then its ok for use in toys, provided the manufacturer cuts a deal on the toys it sells to Wal-Mart.
  13. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Well-Known Member

    A very good way to start out is with a lead thermometer. Keep your melt around 700 degrees. Anything that doesn't melt at that temp needs to be removed as it is steel or zinc. The steel won't hurt anything, but the zinc will ruin your batch. If you have any tape on weights, they are to be treated as pure lead. You can use them straight for 38 wadcutters and the like or trade the pure lead for more wheel weights.
  14. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Well-Known Member

    The stick-on weights are where I find the most zinc. I learned that lesson the hard way, but at least it was a small batch.
  15. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Well-Known Member

    Even then, that's where the thermometer comes in handy. Zinc is a pain.
  16. RustyFN

    RustyFN Well-Known Member

    This is from the same discussion we had on a different forum.

  17. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Well-Known Member

    The stamps on weights often don't mean much as far as a reloader is concerned.

    As it's been said, take a pair of lineman pliers (I just like them over wire cutters) and try cutting a corner off. That will identify it.

    In my case, my pot is set to a temperature above lead, but below zinc. Wonderful!--throw everything into the pot, and scoop out what floats.
  18. h20fowl

    h20fowl Member

    Thank for all the replies.
    With the info Ive gotten here and a few goggle searches Ive gotten all my questions answered.
  19. fireflyfather

    fireflyfather Well-Known Member

    7 8 9 are bad. The rest are good to go. The painted ones are most likely lead with a bit of paint. They don't usually bother to paint the zinc ones. Dump them in the pot and when it starts to melt, any that float to the top you can scoop and get rid of. Even the zinc ones will float to the top for a bit before they melt. It's a non-issue.
  20. kelbro

    kelbro Well-Known Member

    Keep the pure lead stick-ons separated out. They will dilute your ww percentages and lower the BHN (hardness). The pure lead is good for muzzleloaders.

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