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For those of you who have wire wheels

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  • Wheels / Tires: For those of you who have wire wheels

    I am getting the Speedster ready to head for Custer, SD for the Labor Day Event and Zone meet. I had the wheels aligned and then decided that I probably should have them balanced. When I went in to pick up the car the man who did the balancing said that I probably should be looking for new wheels as mine were wobbling and one took about 6 ounces of weight.
    Not too long ago I posted about a set of the same wire wheels for sale so I tried to find that post but was unsuccessful. ( Anyone know how to find a thread they started?) Click image for larger version  Name:	img_7502.jpg Views:	0 Size:	113.6 KB ID:	1853946
    So I began searching Craigslist , etc and came across a set of Kelsey Hayes wheels for sale with no picture. When looking for a picture I came across the Tru-Spoke website and found this information about mounting and balancing wire wheels. If you have wire wheels this is important I believe.
    How do pictures get in the middle of a post?

    : How can I find an installer for my wire wheels?
    A: Wire wheels are not quite like conventional stock, steel or aluminum wheels. The wheels that we offer are made the same way they were made over 70 years hand. They do not have the same level of precision that stock, steel or aluminum wheels may currently have. Sadly, most tire shops we have encountered do not have technicians with sufficient experience or knowledge to know how to understand the proper methods and procedures to mount wire wheels or they may have incorrect equipment for the job.

    Most of the "Big-box" type tire stores do not have the experience, time or desire to give the extra care mounting a wire wheel may require. We have had numerous problems where an inexperienced or "rushed" installer will not properly mount the wheels and tires, improperly balance them and in even worse cases, scratch, bend or damage the wire wheel. The most important thing in selecting an installer is to find one who HAS EXPERIENCE with wire wheels. We would rather have an installer who has wire wheel experience do the job than an inexperienced installer who has the world's best installation equipment. Experience trumps equipment. Always ask the installer if they have installed wire wheels before. Some of the wire wheels we offer require inner-tubes. We have found that some shops just flat-out will not mount wheels with inner-tubes. Determine from your technician if installing inner-tubes will be a problem for them.
    Generally, the wheel and tire shops that cater to hot rodders, customizers, high-end wheel owners and Jaguar owners will have the most experience. We favor "mom and pop" type shops where the installer has a gray beard and bald head!

    Regarding equipment, familiarize yourself with our mounting instructions and try to have the installer use "Lug-Centric" type equipment such as a finger attachment or flange plates. It the technician attempts to balance a wire wheel using a "cone" in the front of the wheel instead of finger attachments or flange plates, the wheel and tire will wobble from side to side. This is due to the use of a cone instead of balancing in the proper manner.
    Better yet, if you can find an installer who can balance your wheels and tires on your car, you will obtain a more precision balance. What we are typically experiencing is that installation shops that use modern, high-tech type balancers that are not calibrated or set-up for wire wheels which have much different tolerances than modern wheels simply cannot properly perform a proper job of balancing your wheels and tires. An inexperienced or un-informed installer will not recognize this difference in wheel architecture and conclude that the wire wheel is "out of round" or defective and not attempt to properly balance the wheel. This situation is aggravated if the installer makes no attempt to rotate the tire on the rim or match the high and low spots of the wheel and tire to maximize the balancing results. Wire wheels, especially when mounted with whitewall tires can call for large amounts of weight, sometimes over 5 to 6 ounces of weight. This is normal. A responsible installer will take steps to re-balance the wheel and tire to minimize the required weight while others won't spend the time or will misinform the customer that something is wrong with the wheels and tires. The wheel and tire balancing machine must always be set on STATIC balance, never dynamic. Dynamic balancing will not work on wire wheels. Please be certain that the technician is mindful of this. Suggest to them that they review our instructions prior to beginning their work.
    An additional concern to be aware of is that some tires, especially older or worn tires, will make it difficult to obtain a precision balance when matched with wire wheels. We recommend making sure your tires are less than 7 years of age and in good condition. If you take your wheels and tires off of your car, be certain that you re-install them in the same location. If your wheel and tire came off the left front of the car, please return the wheel and tire to that position. This is very important. We are always a phone call away if you have any questions. Let us help you obtain the best possible balancing for your new wheels. Finally, consider purchasing a wheel and tire package from us that has the correct tire properly mounted on your wheel. You will have a much smoother installation doing it this way and probably will end up saving money and time.

  • #2
    Originally posted by 5brown1 View Post
    ( Anyone know how to find a thread they started?)
    Go to this thread: https://forum.studebakerdriversclub....tarted-threads
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at:


    • #3
      For this type of work, I use my small, static balancer and take my time to get it "right on" with the weights properly "split up".
      Find someone with other than the new, fancy, expensive machines and that has experience (years) and has the interest to take the needed time. You might buy a small static balancer and take the time to learn and do it yourself.
      Gary L.
      Wappinger, NY

      SDC member since 1968
      Studebaker enthusiast much longer


      • #4
        The comments about not using a cone in the wheel DO NOT APPLY when balancing Rudge-style wire wheels with knock-off spinners. But then, I may have one of the five or six Studebakers with Rudge wheels...
        Click image for larger version  Name:	4DF74FD6-0A01-4EC8-89E9-B9FBE3F03217.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	142.9 KB ID:	1854091
        Gary Ash
        Dartmouth, Mass.

        '32 Indy car replica (in progress)
        ’41 Commander Land Cruiser
        '48 M5
        '65 Wagonaire Commander
        '63 Wagonaire Standard
        web site at


        • #5
          There was a time when I really admired and highly valued the "coolness" of true wire-spoked wheels. For years, I rode a motorcycle with them. However, nowadays, even though I know that Gary's racer must have them for authenticity...I'm not so excited anymore about having them on my vehicles anymore.

          Just for pure curiosity...I would love to see a video of a dial indicator set up to show rim runout on wheels such as those on Gary's racer as it sits. Then, take the machine out on a track for some laps, bring it back to the shop, and do an "after" dial indicator tests to see how well the wheels compare after the stresses of real-world performance.

          Back in my bicycling days, I would spend hours tinkering with bicycle wheel spokes to eliminate rim wobble. It can get very tedious and frustrating. It also amazed me at how a tiny movement of a spoke wrench could make a big difference in a rim running true or not. Also, if I remember correctly, on a bicycle wheel, the spokes of a well-trued rim will produce a fairly constant musical note through the spokes. I don't know about the heavier duty wheels like motorcycles or autos?
          John Clary
          Greer, SC

          SDC member since 1975


          • #6
            I suspect you could send your wheels to Dayton Wire wheels and get them adjusted....or rebuilt with new spokes if necessary.
            Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.