The Wheel Deal

The Wheel Deal

With unbelievable speed, my friend Dave made my hub adapter this week at the CBS Machine Shop! I schlepped a wire wheel into the Manhattan along with a hunk of aluminum François had laying around the shop, and this is what I picked up today on the way out of the city!!!

The idea is to slide this adapter into the hub where it will make contact with only the machined surfaces that are true. Of course with the luck I’ve been having, when I tried fitting it onto the other wire wheels, I found it didn’t fit! I chucked the aluminum adapter in François’ lathe and slowly removed a little bit of aluminum with some sandpaper. Being careful to only remove just enough so it fit all the wheels, I went to the tire store to get my tires mounted.

I remembered to buy a small container of talcum powder before I got to the tire store. This is an absolute necessity when mounting tube tires. The powder lowers the amount of friction build up inside the wheel that would eventually weaken the tube, causing punctures of blowouts.

I used the plastic grommets I got from Hendrix Wire Wheel to fill in the extra space the Borranis have for the valve stems. It’s not absolutely necessary, but it gives the wheel a nice finished look.

We still had to add some combinations of cones, and spacers to get the tire mounted on the balancing machine, but with patience, we found the right setup. The only other problem was getting the mounting handle tight enough so it wouldn’t spin loose when the machine started. Eventually, we started hammering the handle a bit to get it tight to the wheel. I guess they don’t call them “knock offs” for nothing!

I decided to use clip on weights to balance my wheels. They have less of a tendency to get slung off the wheel, and tape-on weights sometimes interfere with the brake lines to the calipers. I also only had my tires balanced on a “single plane,” so weights would only be attached on one side (the inside) of the rim. This is a picture of the worst wheel with the most amount of weight to get it to balance. It was also slightly bent, so it will be designated as the spare tire. As we balanced each tire, I noted which ones used the least amount of weight, and marked them for the front tires. These will have the least amount of vibration, if any, so less vibration will be felt through the steering wheel when traveling at, er,…um, highway speeds!

To mount and balance five tires, it cost me $87.50 at the tire store, and it took about 1-1/2 hours. They let me work with them so I could make sure everything was being done correctly.

I couldn’t wait to put the tires on the car! It was like putting on a new pair of shoes! I greased the splines very well, along with the knock offs. François looked over at my car at one point, and said “Ess loooking like a car now!”

The only thing I did not like doing was hammering on the newly chromed knock offs. François has this lead hammer, but it has seen better days! The lead is supposed to be soft enough to keep from damaging the chrome on the knock off, but it doesn’t help you if you miss and hit your wheel rim! With all the talk of homemade knock off wrenches on the message board, I’ve got some ideas! Stay tuned!

It was so exciting to lower my car down on its wheels today! Although it’s been on the ground before, this is the first time it’s got the right wheels and tires! She looks high, but the springs haven’t settled in. In a couple of weeks, and some driving, François feels the suspension will settle another inch. I checked for tire clearance, and everything looks good, even when the tires are at turned. Man I’m getting close to moving this car under it’s own power!

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