When I spin the front wheel on my 1914 Model T, there is a slight wobble to it. In other words, there is a 1/2 inch side-to-side deflection per revolution. Is that telling me there's a flat spot on a roller bearing? As far as I can tell, nothing looks bent. The outside bearing appeared normal to me but I haven't looked at the inside bearing yet.
Also, my owner's manual says the front wheels were slightly "dished." The spokes flared out a bit - concave looking at it from the outside - making the bottom spoke perpendicular to the street since the wheels were cambered outward at the top about 3" more distant from each other than at the bottom. Apparently, this had something to do with taking side stresses better in a turn with less rigid resistance. The back wheels had a flat spoke configuration however.
My question is: how was that accomplished? In a couple of the catalogs, I've noticed there doesn't seem to be a differentiation between front and back spokes so were all spokes made the same and their angle on the front wheel achieved by the shape of the hub or was there a time when the front spokes were shaved with the appropriate angle making them different from the back spokes?
Since the cars aren't being driven that much anymore (and when they are it's all on improved paved roads), is it possible that people have just transitioned to straight spokes all around over the years?
The catalogs have spokes for 1919 and later demountable wood wheels, in which the spokes are all identical because the wheels were the same front and rear.
Your car has different sized wheels front and rear, and they are truly as the manual says.
The wobble likely means the rim is bent. The wheel needs to go to a wheelright to be fixed properly if the wobble annoys you.
1/2" does sound excessive. Is that an estimate or actual measurement? Some is OK. I wouldn't worry about 1/4" or maybe even a little more, but 1/2" sounds excessive.
Have you tried snugging up the hub bolts? It's at least worth a try.
Presuming the wheel bearings are correctly adjusted, a "wobble" would be caused by warped spokes and or bent rim. The bearings should be greased with wheel bearing grease and tightened to where there is a very slight drag and no wobble. Later after driving a bit, re adjust the wheel bearings. They tend to loosen up a bit soon after they are greased. If there is still a wobble, it would be crooked wheel. If all the spokes are tight in the hub and felloe not a problem unless it causes a wheel shimmy.
Using a block of wood on the floor as a reference point, with a ruler, determine the actual amount of runout in the felloe and then the rim. Do not worry about the tire as they typically are not 100% true even if the felloe and rim run true.
If your runout is 1/4" or less, leave the wheel alone.
It's possible that the rim is not correctly aligned on the felloe.
As long as the rim is tight against the felloe, it is possible to true up and do some fine tuning. Read this thread regarding the method described in the Dyke's manual that was used by my father and me:
Thanks for all the advice men.
The rim and spokes all feel tight to me. I snugged up the outside roller bearing a little and measured the felloe displacement this time and it was right at 1/4". The rim was 5/16". By the time that gets to the tire tread, it's probably a 1/2". I feel confident I got the bead seated correctly in the rim. That raised lip on a Firestone tire just below the logo is equadistant from the rim all around.
I guess if I can keep it on the road, it's probably OK.
So has anyone had a front non-demountable wheel apart in a 1918 or earlier car? I'd be interested in finding out if the hub gives the wheels its "dish" or if the spokes were cut differently or both. It sounds like I'm not going to be able to build a spare front wheel with parts from a catalog.