Wire wheel Care

The second most frequently asked question about our cars must be “how do I take care of my wire wheels?” “Should the car be off the ground to hammer the knock-off, or should the wheel be on the ground?” Well, that’s two questions, but the problem remains…Whether you call it a knock-off, a knock-on, a nut or a locknut, BMC felt inclined to issue a Technical Service Bulletin on the matter. In short, you should always hammer the nuts on or off with the wheel off the ground and free to rotate. While they don’t say so, many people believe this will decrease the force transmitted into the spokes from each blow. If the wheel is not free to turn, then the spokes take the full brunt of each hammer blow.
The rest of the information is definitive! If you do as BMC says, your wheels should last much longer than if you don’t. How many of you have had to hacksaw off a wire wheel, as it had become rusted to the hub? A few of you have. So inspect, grease, and check your wheels at least once a year, preferably before the rainy season. As an added precaution, why not use an anti-seize lubricant that comes in a large can with a brush in the lid. One can should last a lifetime and isn’t all that expensive at a local auto parts store.
One final word, don’t forget to use RTV silicone inside the wheel hub on top of the spoke heads – to seal out water and prevent grease or anti-seize lubricant from being spun out onto your spokes and wheels. Several of us have used this technique for years and it works great!
What can you do if either the wheel hub or the center of the wire wheel is too worn? It costs at least $25 a wheel to dip (removes rust and paint), true (tighten each spoke uniformly, replacing several that won’t turn), and repaint (who wants rusty wheels?). By getting new wheels, you might get by with a worn hub a bit longer. A somewhat temporary trick is to use a couple of pieces of shim stock from .001 to .003 inches thick, spaced around the hub to tighten up the splines. It is even possible to dress up the splines with a small file. But, these fixes just prolong the inevitable; sooner or later the rear hubs will have to be replaced if they have been run with loose wheels.
It makes good sense to take care of your wheels and hubs. If you don’t, you will cripple your car… As a postscript, an aluminum can will do in a pinch to get you home if you spin a wheel. Use it for shim stock and the contents to soothe your pending expenditure.
(The shims mentioned are for very temporary use only. Putting an old wheel on new splined hubs, (or a new wheel on old splined hubs, for that matter), will act to no advantage, since the old component will wear out the new component!-Ed.)


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