I know I'm a newbie but am learning a great deal from this forum. Can anyone answer this ...Is it possible to "True" a wire wheel. I've got a "27 coupe in restoration and one wheel has quite a bit of "wobble". Is it possible to correct that...?
Thanks in advance..
I have had some sucess with tapping them smartly with a 2 Lb hammer and usually can get one to run with no more than 1/4 inch wobble.
I am also new at this, and I would ask if wire wheels can/should be balanced.
I believe wire wheels should be balanced. I have metal valve stems and flaps inside of my wheels. The flaps have a heavy seam. The seam and the valve hardware add 4 ounces to the imbalance. I purchased "Tootsie Roll" self adhesive wheel weights and stuck them to the rim. A colleague prefers to machine up round stock and slit it so it can be placed over the spoke. He then drills and taps the weights for set screws and paints them the same color as the spokes.
For wood spoke wheels, this same gent uses solid lead solder and places black PVC tape over the solder.
While I haven't tried them, I am guessing modern clip on wheel weights will fit the 21" split rims and modern drop center wheels like those on the 30-31 Model A.
I'll chime in. I straighten wire wheels all the time. It's easy. And for balancing, we sell a product that does it internally. I'll look for some photos of wheel straightening. If I can't find any I'll write something out for you.
Specialty Motor Cams sells a set of real nice spoke straightening tools for $90. They are made in the USA.
Ok, I can't find any photos so I'm going to try to describe it.
How to test it for "true-ness": Jack up a front wheel, support the car. Get a jack stand (or cement block, wood, whatever) and place it next to the rim. Clip a hose, pencil, whatever to the stand so the tip touches the rim (the actual rim, this not ghetto slang here). Rotate the wheel and adjust the pointer so it just touches the highest point of the wobble. This will show you where it's bent, and how far.
How to fix it: You need a torch. I use an acetylene with a small tip. Locate the "low spot" where the pointer is furthest from the rim. Pick an outside spoke and heat about 1" of it. Let it cool naturally. You will watch the rim move towards the pointer as it cools. Physics 101 - metal shrinks as it cools. Repeat until it run's perfectly true. If you go too far, heat an inside spoke to pull it back.
Thanks Tim! I tried to do it mechanically with little success.
I've never given any serious thought to balancing my wheels? I'm not going to be driving this thing 80 or 90 MPH on the Interstate like I do my ol' lady's car? I don't feel any of my wheels bouncing up and down when I do drive it and my wire wheels are "pretty" straight.
What's the story on these "Dyna Beads" gadgets, how does something rolling around inside the tire "balance" anything?
How does something rolling around inside the tire "balance" anything?
See their explanation here:
Balance is very important to the life of the tires and your comfort.
More information is here:
I just do a simple bubble balance. When you complete the chore you can see the wheel tire combo needs some balancing regardless of your speed, but even 35-40mph needs balancing. Out of round wheels need some work too. Tires will wear better and ride won't be lumpy either.
My easy home garage bubble balance.
Harbor Freight simple bubble balance, find a level spot on the floor.
Wheel and mounted tire on balance, note the opening in the hub where you see the 'bubble' appear. Lay nuts or washers on rim for weight to bring the wheel tire into balance.
Large nuts from rim area balanced, on scale with equal amount of lead solder wire to twist around spokes.
Solder wrapped around the spokes for balance. A dab of clear epoxy keeps the wrap from unwrapping while rolling.
I've installed Dynabeads in the '26 Runabout and my daily driver '82 300TDT Mercedes. Don't care how it works........... but it works.....period.
I still can't say I understand how the beads know where they are supposed to be? but if there's one thing I've learned from posting here, there are many folks who post here who understand a lot more things than I do.
Tim, I'll get together with you in the future about getting a couple sets of these things, might be a good idea to put some in the ol' lady's car too. I would have never thought an 05 Malibu 4 cyl would be capable of 100+ MPH but her's is!
I don't usually drive that fast, the ol' lady's finger nails leave deep grooves in the dashboard.
I used to do it that way, but with stick on weights. You are definitely doing it the hard way. As your tires wear down the balance changes, so plan on replacing or moving those weights around every year or two. The problem I had with the weights is they kept flying off.
Tim, thanks for tip on using a torch to heat/shrink the spokes to get a true wire wheel. I must admit I have been trying to streaghten my model 'A' wire wheels by various mechanical methods for several days with mixed results. I will try your method this week--this form is GREAT!.
Also at least one of my wheels is not very round---what is best method to attack this problem?
If you go too far, heat an inside spoke to pull it back.
I'm not going to argue with you Brent.
If your smart and take it slow you'll never need to deal with undoing your work anyway.
Dyna Beads work through the dynamics of a rotating mass attached to a spring. As the rpm increases, the tire reaches a critical rpm where the maximum osculation occurs. Before the critical speed the radial displacement is in sequence with the unbalance. After the critical speed the radial displacement is 180 degrees opposite the unbalance. The beads move to the displaced area because of centrifugal force. This being the lighter side, the tire becomes balanced. The beads will work if the inside of the tire is true and the car is traveling above the critical speed.
Years ago you could buy a tube shaped like a Hula Hoop (a torus) that was filled with beads. You clipped this to the tire rim and it did the same thing as the Dyna Beads.
The beads work best if you have skinny tires. If you have wide tires, like a modern car, you will need to have them balanced on a machine. This is because the beads will not correct an out of balance couple where the heavy part on the left side of the tire is matched by a heavy part 180 degrees opposite on the right side.
Doh..... This is gonna get interesting....
I was at a truck show & they were using them on the big truck tires. It takes more than 6oz on them. Nelson
I have done it exactly as Tim describes. It works. If you clamp a bolt in a bench vise from end to end, then heat it red and allow it to cool it will fall out of the vice as it cools from shrinkage. The spoke is the same as it is held captive in the rim so it can't expand when heated yet it will shrink when cooling causing that particular spoke to tighten up.
If you think about it, it is just like truing a bicycle wheel except you are using heat to shrink (tighten) the spoke as opposed to a spoke wrench.
Brent: I have a wheel with a 3/8" + runout that I need to address. I, along with others are searching for a cure the average guy can do at home. Local shadetree's have no answer. Tim's solution will probabily work due to heat warping metal, however it would ruin the finish and I would sincerly like to hear all options. Would you share with us your solution? Thanks, Rick
I found this a while back, and asked the writer, if I could post a link here. Here is his info:
He also provided me with this link:
Although these are both Model A articles, I'm sure that these processes will work for us Model T guys.
Thank You, Dave Gerold, for your help.
And you guys think I'm too picky!
I am unsure of the protocol here, but I wanted to say thanks regarding all of the tips to balance/true the wheels.
My experience is that Tim's method works well with small amounts of runout (less than, say, .075" or so), but for large numbers (say .300" or .500"), you have to have a truing fixture. I made mine by taking a junk set of housings, hubs, etc., etc., and mounting them vertically on a heavy piece of plate that I happened to have around. I then built an indicator stand so that I could place a dial indicator around the rim and measure the total runout.
Doing so, you'll find that quite often the rims aren't round, but it's sometimes very difficult to determine exactly WHERE they're out of round. Marking them with chalk, I found, helped immensely. Pick a number for a "low" spot and a "high" spot, and divide that by two (halve it). This is the amount that you want to straighten out of the rim.
To straighten a severely bent wheel (wobble-wise, anyway - straightening an out-of-round wheel in the vertical plane is another matter), I use an 8' piece of 2" pipe with two 1/2" rebar hooks welded under it to grab the bead on the low side and bring it up. You can't do this cold, in my experience.
Chain the fixture to the floor (or at least something solid), heat the opposite outside spokes of the wheel, and climb on the bar to see what you can do. From what I've found, you usually can bend the wheel pretty accurately by eye after a little practice. If you can, practice on a couple of really ratty (beads rusted out) wheels first. You will bend the outside spokes on the high side, but you'll find that you can just straighten them using a slide hammer and j-hook, and it doesn't affect the trueness of the wheel materially. What it does, really, is to retension the spokes (straightening, anyway).
I haven't ever destroyed a wheel this way, but I'm sure it would be pretty easy to do. Use care and discretion, and take it slowly. Wheels aren't particularly cheap, anymore, and I'm sure that's one of the reasons you're trying to fix one with a wobble.
Here is what is happening in the method Tim is advocating: All spokes of a wheel are in equal tension. When a spoke is heated red hot, it basically allows that spoke to stretch out a little, then as the spoke cools back to room temperature the spoke shrinks back down a bit. Effectively, when truing a wire wheel in this manner, you are actually reducing the overall tension a bit on all of the spokes of the entire wheel. I am uncertain how much the overall tension of all the spokes would be reduced, or what effect this method of repair would have on the longevity of the repaired wheel. Another factor that comes to mind, is that the steel the spokes were made of were no doubt made of a specified type of steel, to a specified hardness, with a certain degree of elasticity, installed with a predetermined amount of tension, and then welded into the hub and rim according to a specified procedure. I can see possible problems with heating spokes where the spokes that were heated and allowed to cool are different in hardness than the other spokes and therefore may not be as resistant to breakage, or may crack or break from vibration easier. Also, reducing overall tension in the wheel would allow ALL the spokes (not just the repaired ones) to flex more than they ought to, and could also lead to premature breakage. It would be interesting to see what an experienced, qualified, professional, wire wheel restorer would say about this sort of a "fix". I guess if you have a T that you only drive a hundred miles a year, then any fix will probably be good enough, but if you have a T you are driving a couple thousand miles a year, then I would recommend you just buy a good, straight, used wheel or a new wheel. By the way; I would also recommend buying only used wheels that have remains of their old paint, even rusting, etc so you have better odds that they haven't been fooled around with. If you buy a "sandblasted and or primed, or newly painted" wheel, you may be increasing your chances that it has been fooled around with.
Adam said:All spokes of a wheel are in equal tension.
I disagree. You can hit the spokes and hear that they have different tone.
Adam said:When a spoke is heated red hot, it basically allows that spoke to stretch out a little, then as the spoke cools back to room temperature the spoke shrinks back down a bit.
I would say the spoke tries to stretch when heated, but can't. When it cools, it shrinks.
Adam said:Effectively, when truing a wire wheel in this manner, you are actually reducing the overall tension a bit on all of the spokes of the entire wheel.
I don't see that at all. I would say you are effectively tightening all of the spokes.
Adam said:I can see possible problems with heating spokes where the spokes that were heated and allowed to cool are different in hardness than the other spokes and therefore may not be as resistant to breakage
Maybe true. I wouldn't worry about it though. I think T wire wheels are about 5 times stronger than they need to be. Ford did a test where he cut out a bunch of the spokes and drove around just to show how strong the wheels are.
Well, I just finished straightening five 1928-29 Model A wheels for my 1915 speedster. I now have a low of .010 to a high of .040 remaining laterial wobble in these wheels--good enough--I think. My method included applying heat to the spokes as well as applying load to the wheel on many occasions--sometimes both. I mounted my wheel on a hub (with bearings) the wheel axis in a vertical position and applied downward loads with my shop hyd. press. Upward loads were applied utilizing an oak 2x6 and an appropriate fulcrum reacting on my welding table which became an extention of my hyd. press. I have a couple of pictures but need some help to post them--I can't figure it out!
This is what I concluded based on my many days of trial and error:
1) The wheels responded differently--no two were alike. My advice is go slow and easy--it is easier than having to fix an "overcorrected"
area of the wheel.
2) Some spokes were in tension, some were in compression, and some were loose at the welds. I rewelded these as well as straightening all spokes.
3) I believe the difference in individual spoke tension is in fact the reason that the wheels respond differently to corrective measures and the reason the wheels are unperdictable.
4) After a while, I found that I could preduct to some degree how the wheel would respond by tapping on the long spoke and listening to the pitch in the spoke prior to applying heat. Much like Stan Howe tuning his guitar, I suppose.
5)To my supprise, I also found that by applying a load on the wheel at the point of max. runout and then tapping the spoke with a hammer back and forth through it's yield point would often result in a positive correction. On occasion, I would have to do this not only on the long spoke but on the two inner short ones as well.
6)I found that just straightening a spoke had little effect on the wheel's runout.
7) I made up several wooden spacer blocks used to support between the beads on the wheel when applying vertical loads. These were radiused to fit the wheel. I found that I didn't need to use them very often however as the wheel usually responded easily to light vertical loads when heat was applied to the spokes.
8)I did not try to fix an "out of round" condition. My wheels did not seem to be too bad after I got the laterial runout under control.
I am sure wheel straightening is like most other things; about the time you are all through with your project you start getting the hang of it. (Finishing drywall comes to mind)
I want to thank all those that posted their methods and ideas prior to me---I used a lot of these ideas and a few new ones of my own.
Your observations parallel mine pretty much exactly. I found that it took nearly three weeks or so at 2-3 hours a day to straighten my first set of Model A wheels, but the second set took less than three days - it was just a matter of figuring out the fixture and the dynamics of the wheels and the appropriate use of my truing fixture.
Like a lot of things in the old car hobby, straightening fixed-spoke wire wheels involves a bit of "black magic," and the only easy way to learn it is to take a little ingenuity and figure it out, preferably with a few pieces that can be sacrificed.
I might also add that truing fixed-spoke wheels as Ford used is a completely different matter from adjustable, bicycle-style spoke wheels that have their own very specific requirements. There is very little if any comparison between the two types.
Your and my observations also work well for wheels that still have all of their spokes and are still well-attached at the inner hub; I often find wheels that have been severely bent at the inner periphery of the outer spokes, weakening the welds at that point. Rewelding is, at best, a difficult proposition, and one that I have yet to master. Any that I've tried to reweld in any sort of cosmetically pleasing fashion don't hold up to any straightening operations, indicating to me that the spokes aren't contributing anything structurally to the wheel.
The other major issue that I've never figured out how to fix is wallowed out lug holes. I've heard some solutions, but most of them I've seen only work on wheels that were pretty close to good anyway. Most of the ones left these days have some pretty bad lug holes, and I've never seen a good solution to fix them. If one of you has it, it would be nice to see it on the forum.
Since Snyders has started reproducing "T" wires at a halfway reasonable price, straightening and repairing wheels has become somewhat more of a marginal business (other than for your own satisfaction, anyway), but I still find the challenge worthwhile. I really appreciate everyone's suggestions and hope that we'll see some more information posted.
With regards to anything that involves bending/stretching/shrinking metal, it becomes VERY difficult to explain, this arcane art.
Just by reading these posts, it seems to me, that any of these procedures will work, to straighten a wheel. But if one tries to understand how & why metal shrinks, when it cools, then one soon finds himself, beating his head againts the wall, between periods of massive consumption of alcoholic beverages. I'm not implying that anybody here abuses anyone of these privledges. I'm just suggesting that one tries, whatever one of these procedures that works best, then work to obtain your best results.
Remember what Joe Stearns said about the drywall.
As for me, its wintertime here, so I'll try to straighten my wheels. When its springtime, and the urge to drive hits me, then I'll probably paysomeone to fix the wheels for me..... Or by new ones.
What I'm getting at here, is, and I mean no insult to anybody, but if you dont understand it, dont question it, as long as it works.
"What I'm getting at here, is, and I mean no insult to anybody, but if you don't understand it, don't question it, as long as it works."
Your statement is as true as they come.
Now only if people would apply that to the original Ford ignition system ........... now wait for the flak.
Don't try to re-engineer. Accept what was developed & used on over 15 million vehicles all over the world. No negativity intended, just acceptance.
Merry Christmas to all and a Healthy & Happy New Year !!
I have decided after many years, that a lot of things in my life are like television... I don't have to know how it works to use it...
I agree that one does not need to totally understand how or why something works in order to use it--take this %$#@&*()!! computer as an example!!!
However, trying to true up one of these wheels was a fun challenge for me--there are basic physics at work here Guys--ie. Newton's third law which roughly states that "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" --Now, how EXCITING is that??
What I and others have found is --a bent-up wheel presents a complex challenge --of trying to understanding how the opposing forces are acting on the wheel.
Merry Christmas to All!!
Ps. can some one tell me where to find out how to post a picture including size reduction?
1-Do a google search for pixresizer
2- Download it
3- Open it, call in the photo in step 1 of the resizer dialog box
4- Make sure 'maintain aspect' is clicked in step 2
5- Overtype the fill in block, make the first somewhere between 600 and 700 the second automatically calculates
6- Click the select file format to be as jpeg in step 3
7- Click save picture in step 4...but do change where you want the picture to go...I use desktop, its easier to retrieve.
8- Come back here to forum.....click the upload attachment block
9- Menu to the file and highlight it, and load.
10- The size should work out ok...but if for some reason it does not....go back to the step 2 block and make that number smaller and try again. I think 200k is the limit.
Does anyone have a blueprint for the 26-27 wire wheels? I would be interested to know what is specified for maximium runout. I have a few dozen prints for the wood wheels and most of the assembly drawings specify 1/8" runout being acceptable.