Wheel concern or not

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2017: Wheel concern or not
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tommy coffey on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 01:22 am:

My '21 has non-demountable, wood felloe wheels. On two of the wheels a fine line of red rust dust forms around the joint between the felloes and the metal rim. I have shaken the wheels by holding two spokes at 180 degrees around the wheel and holding two adjoining spokes. I have moved one/two spokes at a time so I have had all the spokes in my hand, two at a time. I have done the test both with the weight of the car on the ground and with the wheel off the car. Although I am recovering from hip reconstruction I have good upper body strength and cannot detect any movement between the felloes and rim, nor any loose spokes. Also, looking closely, I cannot see any indication of the rims having moved on the felloes. None of the four wheels have any "wobble" when driving the car. All seem to run true. I have seen wagon and buggy wheels repaired by heating a rim and shrinking it onto the wheel, so I understand that method. Right now professional wheel repair is not an option due to the cost and the fact that I have had no income since mid July. Is the evidence of rust normal or is it a sign of movement between rim and felloes, and a major problem?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 03:01 am:

It's a sign of movement. If it's not serious yet, it will be.


Next will be rivets working loose and daylight showing between the rims and felloes.




A little red dust will become a lot of red dust. Better start saving a wheel fund.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 03:51 am:

Yeah, I do KNOW the feeling. Too some extent, it is common, maybe even normal, for rust to wear and show itself in that way. Without knowing fully the recent and the long past history of the car? Rust has presumably had plenty of time to form, and ANY slight motion between the parts can make it show itself.
HOWEVER. ANY slight motion between the fellies and the rim is NOT a really good thing. Movement breeds wear, and wear breeds more movement. It very quickly becomes a self fulfilling cycle that inevitably leads to a real problem.
The reality is that the wheels showing rust will need to be tightened at least, rebuilt probably, even better.
If the wood is good and solid? A good tightening can be done. Wood felly wheels are not like the steel felly demountables. They cannot be pushed together with a spoke press because the fit between the spokes and the fellies is very tight, and straight. The spokes and fellies should be assembled onto the hub, and then pressed into the rim. It MUST be a tight fit. I usually use sheet steel around the outside of the wood felly (thickness of the steel depends upon the looseness and amount needed to make it good and tight, small tacks to hold the steel ribbon in place while pressing into the rim). Then, several rivets (available from most model T parts suppliers) need to be put in through the felly and rim (and steel ribbon/shim). Exactly how many and where the rivets were used originally varied from wheel to wheel and maker to maker. Where the felly ends meet, there should be a "join" plate, with two rivets in it, one in each felly end. Often there was one more rivet somewhere near the middle between the joins. Sometimes there were two, sometimes one, but offset instead of centered. The parts suppliers have rivets in both standard and oversize. Usually, oversize is better if going through the original holes through the felly. A few extra rivets won't hurt. I have reworked several wheels and added one or two extras to each felly half.

If your wheels are in pretty good condition? A simple tightening is fairly easy. While you may not be able to do this any time soon? The sooner, the better, before they become more loose. And hopefully before they become a hazard (which can sneak up quickly once they begin showing rust dust).

Take care of you! Get that hip healed up so that you can do more and better for years to come.
And? Tightening wheels is mostly upper body work.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Killecut on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 05:18 am:

If your wheels are that solid now you could get away with the old farmer fix. If you have a pond or stream around soak them for a few days, that will tighten them up temporarily.I did that every spring for years with my 14 until I put demountables on it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 07:46 am:

What Dan said. Maybe an old farmer owned this car in the past and that's how the rust began. Depending on how far, how often, and how fast you drive, this could last for years or a much shorter time. I would agree that you should start a fund to fix the wheels. And then when you have enough, you can send them out to be rebuilt.

Or if you feel strong, you can find or borrow a special jack which was made for the purpose and put shims between the end of the spoke and the felloe.

Another possibility, depending on how "original" you want to keep the car would be to look for a set of de-mountable wheels in good condition and replace.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 07:58 am:

I have done (And recommend) Wayne's fix above. I used oak veneer instead of steel, but the principle is the same, and since I now work where I could easily sheer a piece of thin sheet metal from scrap, I would probably go with metal if I had to do another one. Some of the Safety Nuts on here will tell you that you should never attempt any wheel repair yourself, and there's probably some people out there with no mechanical aptitude and no common sense and that is probably good advice for them. However, if you have enough common sense to determine that your spokes and felloes are in otherwise good condition, not dry rotted and cracked and warped all to L, etc. and understand a press fit (Or shrink fit, as I did mine by heating the rim and putting it on hot), you can probably handle it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Coiro on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 09:09 am:

My personal philosophy has become one of: If your wheels seem okay, but you don't know how old they are, safety may be greatly enhanced by a program of replacement. -At one point, after about three years of ownership, I found two loose spokes in my rear wheel (and by that I mean I could get some detectable movement twisting them by hand). -I investigated various techniques of tightening including one involving resin and another involving metal washers. -To me, they seemed like stop-gap methods designed to being me closer to the point where the wheel would absolutely, positively have to be replaced—in other words, closer to danger.

The answer was Stutzman's Wheel Shop.



At the time, Noah Stutzman charged me $180 to completely overhaul my wheel. -It arrived back at my house in bare, but beautiful wood, so I needed to finish it. -That meant either priming and painting or, as in my case, staining and varnishing. -It was easy enough. -So, for $180 plus a little shipping and some stain and varnish, I had a new wheel. -That's reasonable in the extreme.

With that in mind, I decided to start saving up and rebuilding the rest of my wheels, one at a time. -So, the following year, I had Mr. Stutzman do my other, now slightly loose-spoked rear wheel. -This year, I already phoned him and made arrangements for him to rebuild one of my front wheels. -I'm about to send that to him. -There's nothing wrong with my wheel other than its old appearance, but at the cost of about two century bills, which can be saved up over the course of a year by even a retired, fixed-income person like myself, I'll have a wheel upon which I an depend. -Next year, God willing, I'll do the fourth wheel.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Osterman on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 09:22 am:

What do they charge for a steel rim wheel now?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Adey (The Woodlands TX) on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 09:35 am:

I had this same problem on my two front wheels. I could even see a bit ow saw dust! I found the instructions below on this site somewhere but can not find it now.. Fortunately I saved it... This worked very well - been a year now and both are still very tight and true. Proceed with cation. BTW - this is invisible...

Not sure who to credit this to but here it is:

Tightening Wood Fellow/Non-Demountable Wheels

When restoring early non-demountable wooden wheels, one of the
problems normally encountered is that the wood fellow is loose in the metal
rim causing the entire wheel to become loose and unusable. With the price
of a re-wooded wheel bearing it is desirable to look for an alternative to rewooding,
and an inexpensive repair is available. The only criteria are to start
with a wheel that has sound wood in both the fellow and the spokes, and
begin with a rim that is not bent.
Once the criteria are met, the wood must be removed from the metal
rim. First, remove the hub from the wheel; then the rivets holding the
fellow to the metal rim need to be drilled out so the fellow and spokes can
be removed. When the rivets are removed, push the wood from the rim,
keeping the spokes in the fellow. At this point, check to see if the spokes
are tight in the fellow. If the spokes are VERY loose in the fellow, the
wheel may not be salvageable, yet if there is a small amount of play you can
drill a small hole in the end of the spoke where it enters the fellow and
pound a slightly larger nail in the end of the spoke. The nail will act as a
wedge and tighten the spoke. This nail needs to be no longer than one inch.
Next go to your local sheet metal shop and have some galvanized
sheet steel (20 gauge) cut into strips measuring 1¼ x 37 inches. This metal
will act as a shim to be used between the fellow and the metal rim. You may
use one, two or three strips on each fellow, depending how loose the fellow is
to the wheel. The sheet metal shim(s) is/are tacked to the fellow using
small nails. Using nails allows you to pound the fellow back into the rim
without the sheet metal shims moving.
Once the shim(s) is/are in place, align the fellow onto the metal rim
using the same rivet holes as before. It will be necessary to pound the
fellow into the steel rim because the shims make the fit VERY tight!! Use a
wood block and a large hammer to accomplish this. DO NOT pound on the
fellow with a metal hammer; use a wood block. Next, place the hub into the
wheel. The hub will be tight, and the easiest way to install the hub is to tap
each spoke down into the hub. Again, use a wood block to accomplish this
task. The spokes are “walked” around the hub by tapping them down until
the spokes bottom out on the hub. Using the six carriage bolts, bolt the hub
plate onto the wheel and tighten the nuts on the hub.
To align the front wheels, place a front spindle with its bearings in a
vice, and place the wheel on the spindle. Tighten the outer bearing and then
spin the wheel to determine the alignment. Once the wheel runs true, rivet
the fellow to the wheel. Shovel rivets, which can be purchased at your local
hardware store, are the closest to the original. The rear wheels can be
installed on the rear axle of a Model T and then can be aligned as the Model
T is running. Once straight, the fellow can be riveted to the rim.
This procedure can save you a great deal of money and still produce
straight, sound wheels.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john kuehn on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 09:42 am:

After nearly 100 years original wheels do wear out. If you start driving your T regularly they will start getting looser.

I have a 21 Touring that I restored and used demountable rims in the restoration.
Andersons wood wheels built my wood wheels and did a great job. What was amazing was the crating he did when he shipped me the wheels. Very well done and sturdy.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith, Lomita, California on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 10:00 am:

My '13 roadster still has three Kelsey and one Pruden factory wheels. They are as tight as the day they left the factory. The problem is, when the car was restored back in the forties the owner decided to varnish the spokes, which was a very bad choice, because all the owners since didn't maintain the wood, and a lot of the pulp has dried out. As a result, I now have wheels with a lot of deep grain showing. I used some Kwik Poly on them, but the deepness of the grain didn't show until I got the dark blue paint on them. I'll deal with all that at a later time.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Gould, Folsom, CA on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 10:33 am:

Tommy, you have a lot of opinions here to chew on. Here's mine. You checked the wheels out pretty well and haven't yet detected movement. I'd simply keep an eye on things. They may hold up a long time before you need to do anything.
Banding the wheels is a pretty simple process and will keep them in good shape for a good while if you go that far. I personally would not recommend shims between the spokes near the hub, that procedure has never worked well for me.
One good thing about banding is you retain the patina of the old wheel. The only things new that show are the rivets.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Gould, Folsom, CA on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 10:36 am:

Tommy, you have a lot of opinions here to chew on. Here's mine. You checked the wheels out pretty well and haven't yet detected movement. I'd simply keep an eye on things. They may hold up a long time before you need to do anything.
Banding the wheels is a pretty simple process and will keep them in good shape for a good while if you go that far. I personally would not recommend shims between the spokes near the hub, that procedure has never worked well for me.
One good thing about banding is you retain the patina of the old wheel. The only things new that show are the rivets.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tommy coffey on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 11:32 am:

Richard, let me make sure that I know what you are saying. "Banding" is the 37" long shim that Peter's post talked about, right? thanks.
My plan is to thoroughly clean all the rust dust off the wheels now and keep a close watch on them to see how much reappears and how long it takes. My car had new tires on it when I bought it, but neither front tire would stay up. I removed the front tires and changed the stems to metal instead of the rubber ones. The rears are the ones that I am dealing with now. I have thought that eventually I would do the same on the rears. It looks like I need to take the tires off and change the stems and install the shims. Do you agree with 20 ga metal for the band/shim?
Steve J, do you still drive the car with the wheel that has daylight showing between the felloe and rim?
Since my spokes are tight and I cannot feel movement anywhere should I leave the spokes and felloes together and just remove the rim, install the shim, and put the rim back on?
Thanks all.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Fords Masterpiece . nj on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 11:45 am:

Can all the metal parts be powdercoated before you send it to Stutzmans ? I was thinking about powdercoat instead of paint .

Has anybody done that and is it possible ?


Or it has to be painted ? Or he needs it bare metal ?

Is the powdercoat too thick ?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 12:19 pm:

Tommy, I still drive the car but not with those wheels. When they got that bad I sent some hubs, rims, and other metal parts to Noah Stutzman for three new ones. One of my rear wheels was OK.


The gray primer was a mistake. If I have him do any more wheels I'll prep the metal and leave it bare.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Killecut on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 09:42 pm:

I have had Stutzman's do two sets of demountables. I primed and put a light coat of paint on the rims and hubs before I sent them. When I got them back I did the finish paint. If you leave them bare metal you run the risk of the metal rusting and bleeding out around the spokes and hubs.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Gould, Folsom, CA on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 10:12 pm:

Tommy, by banding I mean using a long shim between the fello and the rim like Peter says. I haven't yet found a single strip long enough to wrap around the rim so I use two strips that butt up together where the fellos come together.
I use on average .012" steel shims but I don't heat the rim, so maybe 20 guage steel would work if you did, I don't know. I bought a can of shim stock in sheets long enough to cover half the circumference.
There was another guy who posted the technique some years back on this forum who used wood veneer rather than steel shim stock. He heated the rim.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Friday, December 15, 2017 - 10:26 pm:

My father and I used hardwood veneer to shim a good set of wheels. We heated the rims with a 220 volt stove element. This is a method used by a number of folks here in Minnesota over the years. Some have used veneer, others have used sheet metal.

The rims do not need to be cherry red - just so they expand enough that you can easily tap the wheels into the rims.

I wrote a detailed, lengthy post on one of the forums years ago but, unfortunately, it was deleted some time ago.

The rims were sandblasted and any "quality control" issues were addressed before the rims were reinstalled.

The original rims must be put back on the respective original wheels. All the original holes must be lined up while the rim is warm - we used drifts to accomplish this.

We fine-tuned the wheels for trueness prior to installing the rivets using the method described in the Dykes Manual. I have described the truing process in more than one post throughout the years so it can be found with some Googling.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Fords Masterpiece . nj on Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 06:16 am:

And why was the primer a mistake Jeff ?

It seems like all the metal should be

all painted or at least primmed before

mounting , not only to make it easier to

finish paint but also to prevent rust on

places where will be impossible to paint once

mounted ! But i know that im wrong, but

is there a explanation ?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Hoops - Burton,Texas on Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 08:37 am:

I second John Kuehn's suggestion. I had all four wheels on my '22 roadster done by Anderson Wood Wheels 2 years ago. He replaced one rim (wrong kind) and two hubs which were beyond repair. I picked them up at his place near Norman, OK and he wouldn't let me pay him until I was completely satisfied with them. I was happy with the pricing and delighted with the job he did. My wife went with me and but she played in the nearby casino.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tommy coffey on Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 08:41 am:

I'm wondering, what about using aluminum or stainless steel so there's no danger of rust and no need to primer and/or paint?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cameron Whitaker, Oklahoma City on Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 09:07 am:

Tommy,

Did you get my PM? And if so, have you replied to it? It's okay if you haven't. I've had troubles receiving PMs in the past, so if you've replied, I just want to make sure that I haven't missed it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 10:27 am:

I found that with the gray primer underneath the paint, the slightest little nick or scratch stood out like a sore thumb. After mounting tires the wheels were a mess of gray dings. I masked the wood and blasted the metal parts bare, prepped the metal, then applied appliance epoxy enamel, which doesn't need primer. Problem solved. Of course the primer that was covered by wood is still there. After thinking about this some more, I think I would paint the metal parts with the epoxy enamel before sending them to the wheel shop.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 11:33 am:

Tommy:

If you take the rims off the wheels and have them sandblasted, rust shouldn't be a problem if the rim is tight against the shim and felloe once the wheels are reassembled because you are eliminating the gap that allowed moisture to get between the rim and felloe.

Personally, I would stay away from aluminum shim.

When we tightened up the set of wheels described in my prior post, my dad gave the rims a very thin coat of gray automotive primer with a spray bomb after they were sandblasted. This was to keep rust at bay between the time the rims were sandblasted and when we actually mounted them back on the wheels.

A talented friend of ours in the antique car hobby did the painting. My father did the sanding between coats.

No problems so far with the paint so far.

1


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tommy coffey on Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 10:26 pm:

I just realized that the only time(s) that I have seen the rust dust on my wheels is a couple of days after I washed my wheels and tires with a brush and rinsed with a hose. I wonder how far water, when washing with the hose, would penetrate into the gap and cause the visable rust? Since I cannot detect any movement, how do I know if there is a problem at all?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Scott Conger - Wyoming on Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 10:36 pm:

If you cannot detect movement and the rivets are tight, let everyone else spend their money and not yours. I don't believe you have given evidence of trouble that would preclude your enjoying your car.

You have been given some good advice in previous posts. Someday you'll have to decide which one(s) to take. Today isn't that day.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tommy coffey on Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 10:50 pm:

Cameron, no I didn't get the pm, but I do want to hear from you. Try emailing me directly at thomc1957@yahoo.com. Thank you.
Thanks for the encouraging words Scott. I am going to look at those rivets with a good, bright light and a magnifying glass tomorrow. If there's a real problem I want to deal with it, but I can't afford to spend money that I don't have to now.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 11:39 pm:

Tommy C, Scott C is likely correct. Chances are that you can drive and enjoy your car on these wheels for quite some time yet. But do keep an eye on them. Personally, I am sure that I would get a few more miles out of them before doing any serious work on them. How much work they will eventually require depends upon a serious assessment of the general and specific conditions.
Drive carefully, and keep a close eye on all four wheels for any sign of developing troubles. Once trouble begins to set in, they tend to go quickly.

If you find yourself with the wheels off doing other routine work? You may want to consider some treatment between the felly and the rim with some "rust converter" (diluted phosphoric acid). Follow that with running some very thin black paint down between the felly and rim. This WILL NOT make the wheel any stronger, or last substantially longer. But it could stop the rusting and actually slow the deterioration of the wood somewhat. If you also have the tire off of the wheel at that time? You could even consider adding a couple extra rivets. That really does help firm up a decent wheel.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tommy coffey on Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 11:53 pm:

This might be a stupid question but it won't be my first. What else should one look for, besides the rust, when watching for wheel trouble? I don't want to miss anything.
Thanks


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 01:03 am:

Anything loose: rivets, spokes, nuts.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 03:29 am:

Any perceptible gap, or space, between the wood felly and the steel rim is not good. That gap will allow the felly and rim to work or rub against each other, and stress the rivets whose job of holding things together is most important. I have seen several cases of rivets wearing or breaking loose from the steel rim. Watch for the rivet heads to rise up from the felly (a bad sign). Also, if the felly is loose enough, sliding a thin piece of metal or putty knife etc between the steel rim and the felly MAY alert you to the rivet being broken (then again, it may not, a rivet can be broken and still leave enough in place to catch the metal and appear to be connected when it in fact may not be).
And, what started this entire discussion, rust dust showing itself between the felly and the rim is not a good sign. It may in fact be the result of washing the car or splashing through a puddle a couple weeks ago. It does not however automatically doom a wheel to a full remake. But if the rust dust continues to keep showing? Get concerned. As said. You may likely be able to get many miles and several years of enjoyable driving without doing a major wheel rebuild. But watch those wheels like the proverbial hawk. Make a habit of looking at them every time you walk by it. And grab each and every wheel from time to time and give it a good shake. When I was driving my Ts? I gave them a shake before most every major tour or long drive.

Good wood wheels are stronger than most people think. They rarely break or collapse unless there has been an impact with something. Collisions often will break a wooden wheel. But wooden wheels rarely ever break and cause collisions. However, a wheel that is allowed to become too loose, and wear itself out in all those little connecting points? Can collapse, and will if pushed too far or too hard.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tommy coffey on Thursday, December 21, 2017 - 09:48 pm:

The wheels shown above are not mine and I still have not taken any pics. I plan to , maybe tomorrow. I will put a light behind them and see if we can see any light shining through, like we can in Steves. I have driven the car several times and not washed them and I see no rust.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Nevada Bob Middleton on Friday, December 22, 2017 - 05:52 pm:

Simular to richards banding i use steel shim at each spoke and filled rest with kwik poly.
Many buddy and auto wheels still tight and strong years later
I would only suggest as another option
But $180 as stated for Stutzman per wood felli wheel damn great price


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tommy coffey on Friday, December 22, 2017 - 06:26 pm:


After some miles, but no washing, no rust.


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