Fiat Ducato Motorhome Wheels

Fiat Ducato Motorhome Wheels

It is very common for motorhome owners to fit alloy wheels to their vehicles, but which ones to go for? Are they safe? How do I know that they will fit? I will aim to answer these questions and more within this blog post.

Campers which are based on a Fiat Ducato chassis will be one of two variations; either a standard Ducato or a Ducato Maxi. Just to complicate things, if the vehicle is a Maxi it may not say this on the van – not very helpful I know! If you are looking to buy alloys for your van, then you will need to determine which type you have. The easiest way to do this is to check your current tyre size, this will read something like 215/70R15. The 15 in this size refers to your wheel size, so in this example the van would be running on 15″ wheels. If you vehicle is on 15″ wheels then it will be a standard Ducato, if it’s on 16″ (and hasn’t been changed onto this size) then it will be a Maxi. If your van has 6 wheels then this is also an indication that the vehicle is a Maxi.

Two Stud Patterns

The distinction is important as Fiat has different spacing between the stud holes on the two types. This spacing can be referred to as stud pattern or PCD (Pitch Circle Diameter), if you start looking into wheel specs then you may see these terms. Just for the record, the stud pattern for a standard Ducato has a PCD of 5×118, whereas the Maxi has 5×130. Also, the width of the hub where the wheel sits varies. A Ducato is 71.1mm and a Ducato Maxi is 78.1mm, therefore wheels are definitely not interchangeable between variants.

What to look for when buying your wheels

I’ll start with talking about the standard Fiat Ducato. We sell many motorhome wheels for these vehicles, as vans do not always come with alloys as standard and original Fiat Wheels are rather expensive. Owners therefore start looking at after-market wheel choices, but which to go for?

With a heavy vehicle such as a camper I feel that you should really focus on quality, strength and safety! You need something that is commercially rated to carry the weight, most stockists should be able to provide the wheels load rating, if you multiply this value by 4 then you need the figure to be more than your vehicles fully loaded weight.

How do you know what the quality is like when buying online? Check where the wheels are produced, there are various products shipped in from China and the Far East which are of dubious quality. There are a handful of European manufacturers which are a much safer bet. Most of mainland Europe uses a system of TUV approval, which is like a testing centre for aftermarket automotive parts. If a wheel is TUV approved then it has been tested to ensure that it is suitable for the vehicle stated, they carry out a bunch of tests to verify the load rating also. Unfortunately we do not have such an approval system in place in the UK, but many insurance companies are familiar with TUV certification. Therefore if you choose to inform your insurance company that you have fitted alloys then the fact that your chosen wheel is TUV approved should mean that they have no issues with such a modification.

Look for Quality 

Finally look for guarantee length, as standard wheel manufacturers only offer a 1-year guarantee on the paint finish of their wheels. Some European companies offer a longer length warranty which is certainly an indication of the paint quality.

Here at Tyremen we import our motorhome wheels from German manufacturer, Alutec. They produce an alloy wheel called the Energy-T which is TUV approved for use on Ducato, it comes with a 5 year guarantee which is the longest offered by any wheel company. There are a few other companies that make good quality motorhome wheels such as AEZ (another German manufacturer) or Team Dynamics (UK made great quality).

“All Tyremen’s wheels are TUV approved for use on Ducato and come with a 5 year guarantee via Alutec”

Most vehicle owners opt to stick to a 15″ wheels which is very sensible. It means that the original tyres can be swapped onto them if they are in good condition and is the most cost effective solution. The only real advantage of going for something bigger is that you get a slightly more impressive appearance, but the ride will be firmed up as you need to use a lower profile tyre to compensate for the increase in wheel size. If you didn’t compensate in this way then the vehicle speedo will become inaccurate and you may get issues with the tyre catching on the bodywork.

The Technical part 

You should be able to buy motorhome wheels without worrying about technical info, but if you need to know then this is what you should be looking for when buying new wheels for your motorhome on a Fiat Ducato chassis:

  • As already mentioned the pcd, or stud pattern, should be 5×118
  • The back of the wheel need to have a centre bore of 71.1mm (ideally directly drilled without the need for spiggot/centralising rings)
  • Offset (refers to wheel positioning/how close to bodywork it sits) – this needs to have a value of around 50. You may find this figure stamped on your current wheel, don’t worry if it doesn’t match exactly as the vehicle has a certain amount of tolerance.
  • Width – wants to between 6″ and 7″

Knowing your PCD (Stud pattern)

Let's start with the 5×130 found on the Fiat Ducato Maxi version of Motorhome.

  1. A simple measure is a solid way of finding this out. Select a bolt and measure from the imaginary centre of this to the bolt directly next to it (not across, next to it) this should measure 78mm = 5×130
  2. The centre bore diameter will measure 78.1mm across.
  3. The bolts used are 16×1.5 meaning the bottom of the bolt measures 16mm across.

Now the 5×118, found on the smaller Fiat Ducato Motorhomes just follow the same as the 5×130.

  1. Select a bolt and measure from the imaginary centre of this to the bolt directly next to it (not across, next to it) this should measure 71mm = 5×118
  2. The centre bore diameter will measure 71.1mm across.
  3. The bolts used are 14×1.5 meaning the bottom of the bolt measures 14mm across.

Weight saving

There seems to be a belief that swapping onto alloy wheels will offer a dramatic weight saving, freeing up some load capacity for a few more cases of French plonk! Unfortunately this is not really the case (not another wine reference), campervan alloys are of a similar weight to a steel wheel, due to the amount of aluminium required to get to such a load capacity.

Fitting your wheels

In terms of getting these fitted, most aftermarket motorhome wheels will be supplied with new bolts (you may need to buy a new wheel brace as the bolt head size may have to be reduced). When being fitted to a camper you should be using high pressure valves, either add these onto your purchase of make sure your fitter has them available. Locking wheel bolts are also a consideration and are supplied by all good wheel suppliers.

I think that covers it? Happy shopping & happy camping!

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