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Wheel Weight Identification (Pictures)

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

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  1. h20fowl

    h20fowl Member

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    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:
     

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  2. Phoenix8936

    Phoenix8936 Member

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    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 Member

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    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

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    David,

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

    USSR Member

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    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.

    Don
     
  6. David Wile

    David Wile Member

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    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

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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

    Landric Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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

    RustyFN Member

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

     
  17. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

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    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

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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.
     
  21. FuzzyBunny

    FuzzyBunny Member

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    Help the ignorant.

    How does zinc ruin bullets? I'm not a bullet maker and I just don't know.
     
  22. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    If you want to do it the easy way just throw everything in the pot and use a casting thermometer. When the melt gets between 650 and 700 degrees all of the lead will be melted. Everything else will be floating on top and can be scooped out with the clips.

    It won't let the lead fill out in the mold and you won't get the sharp edges you need.
     
  23. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    Zinc melted into lead makes the lead look/act like oatmeal! Imagine trying to pour oatmeal into a precise mold, expecting it to flow into precise nooks and crannies of the driving bands and nose forms.

    Identification of the zinc WW is nice before hand, but some are going to slip through. The ONLY answer is to keep the pot UNDER 787 degrees,(the melting point for zinc), then skim anything that doesn't melt under that temp. Paint, oil, grease, and anything else on the old WW will either burn off or float to the surface where it can be skimmed off along with the steel clips. As soon as everything is melted, before skimming, flux must be added to re-combine the oxides of lead into metallic form. It also cleans the clips of any lead still clinging to them. Flux can be anything carbon based. Wax, old oil, grease, even wooden sticks allowed to char while stirring the lead.
     
  24. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    The joy of being a part time plumber and all of the leaden benefits of replumbing old cottages.:D
     
  25. evan price

    evan price Member

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    Just because a shop has gone to iron weights, they still get in cars with lead on them. I get a lot of lead from such shops. Plus it's almost free since they think there's no lead in it.

    UNTRUE!!!! The painted weights are painted so they blend in with mag wheels "prettier". The paint melts right off in the pot. Some painted weights are zinc. NOT ALL by a long shot, most are lead.

    Any weight marked Fe is iron. Any weight marked Zn is zinc. Anything else, run your smelting pot at around 700 degrees max temperature, the zinc ones don't melt at that temperature, they will float and can be skimmed off with the clips and junk.

    This is not hard, why is it so many people are so paranoid about zinc or iron weights? The iron ones WILL NOT melt in a lead smelt. The zinc ones won't if the temp is low enough to melt lead only.

    The only ones to reject before putting in the pot would be 7 (Iron stick-on), 8 (Iron clip-on) & 9 (Zinc stick-on).

    I dump and cull before I smelt, only because if I can pick out the obvious junk I don't waste propane heating them up. Plus I harvest the lead stick-ons separate as pure lead.
     
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