Besides my Model T, I have a 1917 Buick D35. I'm very concerned about one of my wheels. It seems to have torqued or something like that. The spokes have begun to move out of alignment.
I hope the photo below gives a good enough view. You can see where the spokes come into the hub that some are cockeyed and a small gap appears.
Does this look like something that if corrected would most likely stay put? I liken it to the idea of an arch shaped stone bridge. Well built, the pressure of the stones in the arch shape provide the structural integrity to stay put. - did that metaphor work?
Charlie, this wheel is no good and should not be used on the road. There is no quick or easy fix to this.
Charlie, looks like someone replaced the hub bolts and did not get them tight,All may not be lost. Tightening may fix them.
Also, there are similar wheels available from Warren Mortenson. See classifieds and thread what do these wheels fit. Might be same.
Enough said - she's grounded.
Any recommendations of a wheelsmith who can help?
I definitely would not drive it. If those wheels are built like a T wheel there should be no room to twist. Hence they are not built right, or there is a lot of rot behind the hub. I would pull the wheel, pull the hub, and then investigate. But I fully expect new wood is required.
One frightening wheel! Off to Stutzmans with it if it were mine!
Did it occur while going in reverse? My 1910 Model F emergency brakes will "grab" when going in reverse if you pull on the lever. It's the way the brakes were designed (poor design).
I don't know how it happened. I don't drive the car much. It's possible that the wheel was this way when I got the car (inherited). It's definitely only on one side.
I'm going to look up Stutzmans. Thanks.
yeah, Stutzman's is the way to go. However, I would first take the hub apart and find out what's happening there, as it's likely going on with the other wheel(s). The spokes are very tightly fitted, and something has to be very wrong for them to be able to "clock" like that. Otherwise, the wood looks pretty good--but looks can be deceiving, and on a wood felloe wheel, you want really good wood!
There is a guy in Baltic Ohio that can make them new again
Don't have contact info but from what I hear he is pretty reasonable.
Someone on forum should have contact info
I read up on Stutzmans - they and Baltic, OH are one and the same. I'm going to take the wheel off the car and take some more specific photos and call Stutzmans. I'm in Connecticut, and Stutzman's is barely out of the way on my drive to Oxford, OH to visit my son in college. That combined with a thread on this forum from 2008, and I think that i would like to visit the shop if nothing but to see the place.
The thread on that forum had a few "Amish" interaction stories so I thought I would throw one in. I used to live in Central Missouri, not far from a large Amish community near Clark, MO (home of Omar Bradley). Possibly the most "wish I had a camera" moments in my life came driving down a gravel backroad in Amish country. As I approached a road coming in from the left, there was a horse drawn flatbed trailer. But - the horses were giant Clydesdale / Percheron types. The trailer was piled higher than high with loose golden hay. Imagine a giant pile of hay. And towards the front of the pile standing knee deep in the hay was the driver holding long reins to the horses all below him. A young Amish boy - he didn't look more than 10-12 years old. Black pants, blue-green shirt, straw hat, sleeves rolled up. Everything around him was giant, yet he was in charge and this appeared to be a very normal activity in his life.
It was very unexpected and not something I think I could ever experience again. Maybe it's better without a camera because my memory may far exceed the actual image.
I think you should look very carefully at the three other wheels as they have covered the same millage/conditions as the one in the picture.Bud.
Kenneth - I will definitely do that. I was thinking that maybe the rear wheel popped over a rock at high speed, caught just a little air and came down and torqued. Nice thought, could be impossible, but more telling is that the spokes would be displaced in the opposite direction. It's a mystery, but I'm going to solve it, get things fixed or replaced. Mothballs for the winter I suspect.
Does it look like to any of you that those spokes when installed were dropped in and not pressed in? I mean it looks like they were loosely fitted in the first place and no two of them are alike and the hole for the bolt seems to be going through too far into one spoke and not between them like it's supposed to...the mitered angles don't even appear uniform.
The six holes between the spokes have are probably wallowed out from loose bolts.
If the wood is still good, it may be possible to reinstall the hub in such a manner that new holes are drilled between the spokes that do not already have holes between them.
12 spokes = 12 mating surfaces between each pair of spokes. However, only six bolt holes are required. If you rotate the hub, you have six more places between spokes where you can drill new holes.
Hope this makes sense. It's an old fashioned fix that I have seen a couple times when I have taken apart old wheels.
I repaired a model T rear wheel that looked much like yours. The wood spokes were good (Both wood fellow and spokes were finished natural). I loosened the hub bolts and rotated the wheel so all spokes were aligned correctly. Next, removed the hub and cleaned all mating surfaces with lacquer thinner.
Applied Marine Tex epoxy structural adhesive to all mating surfaces and quickly re-assembled hub in wheel. Removed excess epoxy with lacquer thinner before epoxy set up.
The repair was done on a friends 15 touring approx. 10 years ago and the wheel is still solid. He lives near by and I see his car often.
I would not have attempted this repair if the wood spokes and fellow had any dry rot. We checked the other wheels to be sure the hub bolts were tight.....so far, no wheel problems to date.
If it hasn't been mentioned, here's why it happened. It was never assembled correctly to begin with. The 6 hub bolts need to be located on the "seam" between the two adjacent spokes and NOT through one spoke only as shown. Doing so creates a pivot point about which the spoke rotates, causing exactly this problem. Having the bolts on the seam has the effect of "keying", or locking, the whole assembly together to prevent such a failure. Also, important to drill the holes very close in size the bolt diameter, maybe even a little tight to where you need to actually drive them in.
Theoretically, you could correct the problem by relocating the hubs to put the bolt on the proper location. However, the damage has already been done to the spokes and they'll never be tight again. I guess you could try the shimming them, along with correcting the root cause, but I'm not really a fan of shimming.
Oddly, there was a car at Hershey that had the exact same issue.
I highly recommend Calimers Wheel shop in Waynesboro, PA.
Be sure to use your GPS to get to Noah Stutzman's. Plan to stay overnight in a B & B. That is a pretty part of Ohio.
True about bolt placement but it looks like they're pretty close. If the wheel was disassembled at some point it looks as though it may have been incorrectly reassembled. Some spokes look like they are in "backwards". The backside often has more of a "flat" on the dart near the hub.
Also, many artillery wheels have a reverse alternating taper to the "wedge" end near the hub. Screw that up and force it together and you set the wheel up to fail.
Yes, they are close, but close isn't good enough.
I've had wheels done by Calimer. I'll take Stutzman's every time. Calimer makes a good solid wheel, but I had LOTS of finish sanding and filling to do before paint. Stutzman's wheels are sanded perfectly smooth and ready for paint/varnish. (They're also cheaper.)
Interesting. I do not recall having to do any finishing work on my spokes besides typical prep for painting. Did you paint them black or stain them?
I've only ever seen pictures of Stutzmans wheels and they are beautiful. But so we're the wheels I got back from a Calimers. I would get them done there again in a heartbeat.
I painted them red, for my Model N. I'm glad to hear you had a better experience with Calimer wheels. Hopefully that's how they do them now. Mine were very rough, showing file marks in the wood and with many small splits in the grain. The splits didn't show until they were primed. Then they stood out big time. Lots of tedious filling and sanding. I also have a set of wheels they did for the previous owner of my Curved Dash Olds. They are rough too. I actually had a second set made by Stutzman, (I had a set of spare hubs and rims already), just to avoid the whole sand-and-fill ordeal. I'll sell the Calimer set eventually.
I am currently reworking several T wheels for a couple of my T projects. (I cannot afford to have wheels rebuilt, so I have some with still good wood, and spend too much time reworking them myself).
One of the front wheels I am working with was mis-drilled like Jerry V mentions. Fortunately for me, being a front, it doesn't get the engine and braking torque like a rear wheel does, so it had not tweaked like your wheel did. I still did not want to trust it that way. So I glued dowels into the original holes, and re-positioned the hub to re-drill the bolt holes where they belong. Like Jerry V said, the holes need to be properly centered between the spokes to "key" the spokes.
Your wheel will need to be taken apart to examine the cause (see if the holes are off enough to have caused this) and the damage. Wood will have been worn and maybe cracked as a result.
It may be possible to re-work the wheel? But it would be ill-advised to do so. If you can afford to? By far, the best thing to do would be to have that wheel properly rebuilt by a well recommended wheel shop (Stutzman's at the top of the list, several other possibilities, including one in Califunny that doesn't get mentioned often). Second best option? Find and buy a matching wheel in good solid condition.
I would would like to see more pictures of your Buick!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Another good wheel rebuilder is Anderson's Wood Wheels in Okla. He builds good wheels and if he ships them to you it will be shipped in a nice crate, not a cardboard box as others have been known to do. His crating is as good as his wheels.