Since I picked up my Tourer last weekend I've been giving it a good look over, as it's completely new to me. I noticed on one wheel the the wooden spokes are all loose there they enter the outer rim. The spokes don't move, but you can move the rim quite a bit. Does this mean I need all new spokes ?
Nick, the short answer is yes! However, before you order new ones from the vendors, you need to find out what type of felloes you have on your wheels so you can get the correct length spokes. Our Canadian Kelsey wheels with loose lugs require slightly longer spokes than is usual for US wheels which use fixed lug rims.
Just a heads-up to set you on the right track.
Allan from down under.
I expect others will suggest all kinds of ostensible repairs which I don't trust. I'm Mr. Cheap, but I spent money for new spokes because of what can happen when a wheel fails.
You may find a good source closer to home, but if you have to order spokes from the States your least costly option will be:
Stutzman's Wheel Shop
33656 County Road 12
(330) 897-1391 Ext 1
These folks are Amish and don't answer the phone, but you can leave a message. They have a good reputation for doing excellent work on wood wheels and parts. The spokes I got from them cost $6 each, considerably less than from the parts vendors.
There are semi-permanent solutions if the wooden spokes are dry and shrunken, but otherwise sound.. http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/118802/133153.html
It might be possible to have one summer of fun and wait with rewooding the wheel(s) until winter, if you can find (or make) a spoke jack and make shims that fit and check the firmness of the wheel before every drive..?
Do you replace or not depends on how long the car was driven on loose spokes. After a lot of driving on loose spokes, the small ends that go into the steel wheel felloe become worn and thin.
This becomes very DANGEROUS and the wheels can break on a turn. With the rim off the wheel, you can look at the ends. (They need to be tight in the felloe holes)
I remove the center hub bolts and cover plate. I place a small jack between the rim and the center section. (a tapered wood wedge at the center end of the jack to spread the spokes) A little jacking will open up a space between the spokes and I slide a shim in the space. I usually go ever other spoke and by the time I made full circle, the wheel is tight. Install center bolts and plate and you are done.
Picked these up yesterday, there for the front wheels for the wheel-ski spindle on my Snowmobile. These were done here in the Pacific Northwest area.
I certainly don't what anyone to have a wheel fail and be injured but I disassembled a set of wood felloe wheels and soaked the wood in Lindseed oil, shimmed both ends of the spokes and pressed the rim back on. I trued the rim before re-riveting it on. I have about 4000 miles on them over 3 years and they are still tight. I don't drive at high speeds. (Maybe 35 mph or so) and we don't drive in much traffic. I am not recommending this but it has been done with reasonable results. Maybe someone needs to tell some of the horror stories about doing this to put it in perspective.
If you only have a few spokes that are slightly loose, shimming is perfectly acceptable, but it is only delaying the inevitable. I did it 30 years ago and now I've got a couple on the left rear that are slightly loose. But being a bigger Mr.s Cheapo than Steve, I'm going to re-shim.
However, if your entire wheel is loose or you have more than 4 loose, you might as well bite the bullet and buy the new spokes, Langs got a good deal on them, but you'll have to build a spoke press, or you can pay the big bucks for somebody who repairs wheels.
Nick, I used a product called Smiths Deep Penatrating Epoxy. It is thin as water and soaks up into the wood and expands the spoke before the epoxy sets. You need to put the wheel on a spindle or dowel and "Drip" the epoxy into the joints of the spokes at the hub and then where the spoke joins(fron inside the rim) the fellow. Keep rotating from spoke to spoke until it will take no more epoxy. It is a good bit of work, but when the wheel is done it will be very tight and solid. The man that showed me this did his sons T and the spokes are still tight after 10 yrs. I have used Smiths on boat restorations for years and have alot of faith in the product. If you want more info contact me. My e-mail is on my profile....Chip
I have good results after two years with a mix of Aceton and Construct Glue . This Glue expands when drying. Just drill small holes 1,5 mm and inject the mix
If your wood spokes are good and hard but only loose, dont replace. New spokes will eventualy shrink just as the original ones did. I used the epoxy method, actually, Kwik Poly, on my wood felloe Firestone wheels. After 14 years of driving, they are so tight that they haven't even cracked the paint.
When I first found this forum, I was looking for help for loose spokes.
Many good suggestions where also given back then, but the one I loved and quote any time possible is this:
"Why don't you just do, what they did back then? Drive it down the creek!"
Back in the 50s my father-in-law had a '29 Studebaker that had a loose wood spoke wheel.
Every Friday night after work he pulled the wheel off and stuck it in a wash tub full of water.
Sunday afternoon he put it back on.
Same thing the next Fri.