The Volk Racing TE37 is arguably one of the most popular wheels in the entire automotive aftermarket. They've been popular for decades and even with minor design changes, the TE37 continues to be one of the most popular wheels out there. They're incredibly popular for JDM vehicles, but it's not uncommon to see them on European or American vehicles as well.
Part of their popularity stems from their incredibly unique construction method. The base material used to construct a TE37 is Rays Engineering's special A6061-T6 blend is 100% aluminum, where many other "aluminum" wheels are only 80% aluminum. The special blend isn't easily replicated and it's something very few companies have been able to replicate.
The special 100% aluminum blend makes the material lighter and stronger, allowing the wheel to resist deformation under heavy loads such as rough roads or high g-force corning on a race track. The special blend also helps with thermal conductivity, ultimately helping your brakes stay within their ideal operating temperature on track.
The TE37 is a forged wheel, which starts its life as a chunk of aluminum which is subjected to high temperatures and high pressures to form a more dense and compressed piece of aluminum. Forging simply increases the strength of the material, meaning less material is required to reach the target strength level, ultimately creating a lighter and stronger wheel.
What makes the TE37's stronger than the large majority of forged wheels is their unique forging process. For nearly all forged wheels, the desired wheel shape is cut from a large piece of forged aluminum. This process is known as machine forging.
Rays Engineering uses a unique process known as mold-form-forging, where the shape of the wheel is created during the forging process, rather than being cut out from a chunk of forged aluminum.
The reason for the special forging process is to avoid disrupting the flow of the grain. Every piece of forged aluminum has a grain just like a piece of wood. With machine forging, the grain doesn't properly flow through the shape of the wheel, since the flow of the grain is created during the forging process.
With mold-form-forging. The grain of the forged aluminum flows with the shape of the wheel since the shape is created during the forging process rather than after the forging process. The result is further improved strength compared to machine forged wheels.
To put it simply, Ray's takes a chunk of aluminum and forge it into the shape of a TE37 with zero cutting, allowing the metal grain to flow with the shape of the wheel.
Part of what allows Rays Engineering to accomplish this special construction process is its special machinery. Their special RM8000 die forging machine is the strongest forging machine in Japan and one of the strongest in the entire world. This machine applies up to 10,000 tons of force to the material to achieve the target shape, density, and grain flow.
The process of making a Volk Racing wheel starts with a raw aluminum disc which is heated to nearly 900f. The aluminum disc is then compressed and forced into the rough shape of the desired wheel design. The next step involves more specific forging to create the fine details of the wheel through forging rather than cutting.
With the rough shape of the wheel created from an aluminum disc, the RM8000 machine stretches the rim with up to 10,000 tons of force. Following the rim stretching process, the area between the spokes is punched out and then another process creates the inner rim.
With the shape of the wheel creating, a special heat-treating process is used to finalize the forging. With the forging complete, the wheel is machined to create the fine details, lug pattern, valve stem hole, and any weight reducing cuts. Last, a shot-peening process is used to further increase strength before the wheel is painted.
Two of the most popular version of the TE37 are the original TE37 and the TE37SL. Both wheels are incredibly similar and upon first glance look identical other than available finishes, but there are a few key differences between both wheels.
The "SL" in "TE37SL" stands for "Super Lap". Rays Engineering specifically designed the TE37SL for track use and put an emphasis on reducing weight as much as possible. They achieved this by putting small cuts on the back of the spokes to reduce weight and machining out the area where the center cap would be. The result is a weight reduction of up to 400 grams.
Vivid Racing carries every Volk Racing wheel currently available, including the TE37, TE37SL, TE37 Saga, TE37 Ultra, CE28, CE28N, CE28SL, G50, G25, and many more!