I am a newbie On this forum and I have a big question for you all. I have a late 1926 roadster pick up In need of new spokes and perhaps the new demountable rims and I am toying with the idea of changing to wire wheels. Can you give me Your feelings on both. The rear end on this pickup is an earlier rear end with 8 inch drums. Please help me come to a decision.
It depends on what you yourself think looks best.. You may want to change your rear end to the 26/27 type just because of the better emergency brake, then it's easy to change to wire wheel rear hubs if that's what you want.
You have to find a set of good front and rear hubs for wire wheels if you go that route, front hubs for wire wheels can be cracked, so be careful and study the parts you may find at some swap meet. Fall Hershey and spring Chickasha gives you the best chances to find T stuff.
All it takes is money. I assume you're considering late T 21" wire wheels. If so, they won't fit on your earlier backing plates so you'd need the '26-'27 differential halves. And a set of 4 wire wheels + hubs can be had for around a $ grand. You can get new hickory spokes in your wheels for about $150 each and you shouldn't need to buy the new expensive split (21") or clincher (23") rims as there still exists sufficient quantities. I have several I'd sell and I'm not too far from you. Others may give different and better advice. . ..
Here's a few pictures from the net showing various combinations of colors and wheels to help you decide
That grand for wires and hubs is about right, but you can get lucky at an auction if the right people stay home. I once bought a T wire wheel for $1.37, but that was a pretty rare circumstance. But at Monday's auction I saw Ed Emerson buy four of them, and I think he paid under $400. I'm not clear on what wheels you have now, but if they have steel felloes you can buy Stutzman spokes for all four wheels for about $300 and press them in yourself. Making the press may cost $20 to $40, depending on what scraps you already have on hand.
I have a 1910 roadster with Pasco wire wheels on it So after those beautiful pictures I just saw I think I'll just pick with wood. Anyone know good wood restorer close to Texas? George I am interested in some 21 inch rims. How about using the retrofit AC brakes for my small drums?
The wood wheels above appear to be split rims. Here are some demountable clinchers.
Like Steve says, Stutzman's wheelwright shop up north is the most popular but Ivey Wheels in Clifton, TX - west of Waco - has respoked for me before and I'm entirely satisfied. Danny Ivey's phone number is (254) 675-8466. He is retired now and does wheels full time - wood felloe and steel.
Wire wheels are superior to wood. Wood expands and shrinks with the weather and over time the spokes loosen. But wire wheels are more expensive and you need both the wheels and the hubs and, in your case, the 26-27 RE housings. If I were you and had little experience rebuilding rear ends, I think I'd opt for getting the wood wheels respoked. They should last a long, long time before they give you trouble.
Thank you George,
I just talked to Danny and will bring the wheels to him soon. Thanks to all that posted. For the wife it's wood.
So you know they will be wood.
Thank you Richard.
If you get wire wheels, be sure to inspect them very carefully. They can be cracked at the hub and/or they can be bent and run crooked. Good ones will cost at least %100 or more each. The hubs are also quite pricey, and they too can be bent , cracked or the bearing races can be spun in them. So be careful what you get. They last a long time though if you get good ones.
A 26 can have either wire or wood spokes, because they were offered standard with wood and the wire wheels cost more, so not every 26 had wire from the factory.
That and the fact that so many people with earlier cars, especially speedsters put the 26/27 wire wheels on them cause them to be more rare than some other T parts.
I appreciate the above discussion. However, I wonder what the forum thinks about the SAFETY aspects of wire vs. wood. We planed on doing lots of touring and replaced the 23 touring wheels with wire. I still like the look of wood and consider rebuilding the wood clinchers and putting the wires on the 26 "Doctors Coupe". The Kanab accident makes me think we'll stay with the wires on the touring. Also Ken Meeks lost a clincher to start his accident. Are new hickory spoke wheels as safe as wires? I won't lie and state we always drive under 40, especially getting back for a dinner or event.
If the wood wheels have been redone properly, i.e., new spokes pressed in for metal felloe wheels or sent off to Stutzman's for wood felloe wheels, then you should have nothing to worry about. I assure you that they plenty safe and sturdy. I'm sure many can back me up on this. Hickory is a very tough wood. Just consider how much force is placed on that hickory handle in an axe or sledgehammer, and consider how long it lasts.
Noel, I have both wood and wire spokes on my 4 T's..From a safety point of view, if the wood spokes are tight they are as safe as the wire ones. In my thinking, the wood spokes have a more "period" look but if they utilize split rims...ouch! They can be buggers when it comes tire repair time.
Yep, I had to shim up some spokes on the 24, shame nothing last over 90 years. KB
The common sense angel on my shoulder tells me that wire wheels in good condition are safer than wooden wheels in equally good condition. The faster you go around corners, the more important this difference becomes. I believe this situation would be exacerbated by balloon tires which will have better traction in a turn than clincher tires and would therefore be capable of inflicting a greater side-load on the wheel.
To my personal way of looking at things, wire wheels look more at home on the 1926-27 vintage than on, say, a brass car. But hey, that's just me. I happen to like the look of wooden spokes that have been stained and varnished, which of course, is absolutely incorrect on any Model T Ford. I did it anyway because it looks so darn nice.
But I digress (I just love when I get to say that). Riding on wooden spokes is okay if you drive the car accordingly. As hard acceleration and hard braking are as foreign to the world of the Model T as is the Klingon language, what you'd really need to do is take the curves nice and slow.
I like wood but wire may be better, however, putting wire on a 26/27 makes um look an awful lot like a Model A. MHO
Hal, you took the words right out of my mouth. I'm partial to the wood ones, because they look less like a Model A. There is something to be said about the simplicity of wire wheels though. Less of a pain to mount tires on the rim and the rim on the car.
The avilability,Quality,and price of ballon 450x21 might make the wires a good choice?Bud.
Disteel wheels are also an option if you can find them.
With wood wheels the car sits on the bottom spokes and with wires it hangs from the top spokes.
For safety, check the wheels every time you tour and fix them if they are loose. Wood wheels are safe when they are tight and when the car is driven at reasonable speeds.
Tim - I guess that means -
If you want to sit in a chair you use wood.
If you want to sit in a swing you use wire.
Makes sense to me!
I agree with Norman's comment. Before any major trip, grab the top of each wheel and pull as hard as you can outward and inward. If you hear any creeks, you are probably loose, do not ignore, fix or have fixed.
Last week-end my sons tightened all four wheels on an older friend's car that had been on the Kanab Utah tour. One rear was that bad that I would not want to drive it around the block. On a tour, Hell No. He is a Good friend and I am just glad those wheels did not come apart.
Even at my age every day I learn a lot. I check the spokes on all four wheels and pulled the rear wheels off. Some were finger tight others were fairly tight some were stripped. Is there some kind of measurement some foot-pounds I should be using when I tighten these up?
Thanks all for the help.
Fred, actually I think you hit it right on the head...put weight on a chair and kick it and a leg might break but put weight on a swing and kick it and it will swing...this is exactly my point. There are other factors involved but I am responding on a cell phone...wood wheels are fine but the car is sitting on broom sticks and with wires there are both inside and outside spoke on both top and bottom pushing and pulling under stress. Wire wheels can also fail but I believe that in good condition they will take more side stress with less failure. You made a good point about the swing vs the stump.
When I was a kid (1945) I tortured my T. I slid sideways, jammed it it low and reverse, did donuts, hauled loads where the springs rode on the rear axle, etc. The wheels at the time were 25 years old and I never gave them another thought. When I brought the T to Sacramento and went on my first tour with the T Club one of the guys told me to check the wheels. I found about all of the hub nuts finger tight and (when jacked up) you could make the bottom half of the wheels flop when moving the top half. I tightened the hub nuts and drove on the wheels for a while after that. I finally made new spokes. Don't get careless, but wood wheels are a lot tougher than the indications you get from this thread. If you have heard of a wood wheel collapsing while driving normally, it would be of interest.
The high center of gravity in a standard model T can allow the car to flip over if turned too fast and sharp or hitting a pothole or curb in a bad way. No different than driving a high center Jeep.
I also cannot argue against the fact that wire wheels (in good condition) are safer than wood wheels (in good condition). There definitely is a narrow window between serious accident and "driving on" where a wire would survive, but a wood wheel would not. But that is a very narrow window. Wood wheels can often flip a car without breaking first. The wire wheel will also just flip the car. Most (not all) wood wheels broken in accidents break as the result of a collision with something. That something can be a severe pothole or road-rut. Breaking wheels rarely cause accidents, a broken wheel is usually the result of an accident.
Having had several speedsters over the years, most of them with wood wheels, I feel very qualified to say wood wheels are a lot stronger and safer than most people would think they are. I have driven many miles on a dirt oval as fast as my car could go. Several faster cars ran that same oval at higher speeds also on wood wheels. The only wood wheel broken there was the result of a tie-rod collapsing causing the car to hit the wall. One wood wheel did break a hub (probably an old crack in the hub). Interesting to note, in the same time frame, a half dozen wire and disc wheels broke hubs or axles and one wire wheel collapsed (although not completely). So which is really safer?
Three of the speedsters I've had have been able to do 70mph or better on wood wheels. I like to drive them at full throttle for hours on end. The wood wheels do not worry me a bit.
Wood wheels DO REQUIRE routine inspections if the car is to be driven much. THEY MUST BE TIGHT! Any looseness will result in wear that that could make a wheel dangerously unsafe if driven much. At least once per year, and usually about once per tour, I walk around my car and give each wheel a good shake. I have found several surprises over the years doing this.
I know you said the wife has made that decision, and that is fine. (Harmony is good) I would recommend that you do change the rear end to the proper later large drum type, primarily for the advantage of the better emergency brakes. You should be able to get all the parts you need to do this for a couple hundred dollars.
I love wood wheels!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2