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Restoring wheels


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Not sure the best way to clean these up. I see how to take them off and disassemble and can stain and seal the spokes. But what’s best for the metal in terms of painting? Do the rim and locks individually and put together or put together then paint so as not to scratch up the threads and such? 

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1 minute ago, edinmass said:

Leave them alone, they are fine. You don’t want to go there. That’s forty five year of experience in the hobby. Drive it.

If you need to refinish the wood spokes and felloes do not disassemble the wheel just sand and varnish or paint if you wish (find out how they came from the factory).  It is okay to remove the nuts and wedges and to remove the split rim from the wheel.  Best results are not to remove the hub or felloe band from the spokes.  You could also find out how the wedges and nuts were factory finished.  Most were painted or cadmium plated.  That's 59 years and 400,000 miles on my Grandfathers 99,000 mile car experience in the hobby.  Drive it.

 

More picture would be great.  We all would love to see more of your car. .

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What car? Are they correct originals? If not, as long as you are going to refinish, you might as well.take the opportunity to make them right. 

You probably don't need to totally disassemble them unless there are structural issues. 

Terry

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It’s a 1919 Olds truck. The rim and hub are supposed to be black but are loud yellow. The guy who restored the truck just really liked yellow. A couple of the tubes need replaced as they only hold air for a few days so I figured if I need to disassemble for the tubes, might as well redo the wheels correctly.

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If your going to replace tubes, you probably will need tires.......they should be replaced if over seven years old if your goi g to drive it. The wood can be a pain.........painting it correctly is always a good idea. I would leave the wood finish as is, and just paint the metal. Wheel work can be very time consuming, and you can open up a can of worms........take your time. Do one wheel at a time, that way you don’t turn the truck into garage art. Also, if you get better at them as you progress, you can do the first one over again........

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28 minutes ago, edinmass said:

If your going to replace tubes, you probably will need tires.......they should be replaced if over seven years old if your goi g to drive it. The wood can be a pain.........painting it correctly is always a good idea. I would leave the wood finish as is, and just paint the metal. Wheel work can be very time consuming, and you can open up a can of worms........take your time. Do one wheel at a time, that way you don’t turn the truck into garage art. Also, if you get better at them as you progress, you can do the first one over again........

 

Excellent advice !

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The wood finish is starting to peal. I’m not sure if I will change tires. They still look decent but the truck will just be driven around small town locally. Actually, there is a brass plate that states the warranty is invalid if 22mph is exceeded. Not sure how they would have enforced that!

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5 hours ago, edinmass said:

If your going to replace tubes, you probably will need tires.......they should be replaced if over seven years old if your goi g to drive it. The wood can be a pain.........painting it correctly is always a good idea. I would leave the wood finish as is, and just paint the metal. Wheel work can be very time consuming, and you can open up a can of worms........take your time. Do one wheel at a time, that way you don’t turn the truck into garage art. Also, if you get better at them as you progress, you can do the first one over again........

I only have 943 hours in my restoration of my 32’ Olds six wood wheels! Just a little time consuming for sure.

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Wood wheels and 100 point perfection rarely go hand-in hand - I just thought I would mention as sometimes better is actually better and as a result just fine.

 

I would be tempted to find as many original era photographs of the same car as possible to see if you can figure out what color/finish they used on the rims - personally, though I would probably go with "silver" on the rims if photos did not show otherwise. 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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I have to agree with you John, I don’t think I’ll ever do another set like these but my goal was to be as perfect as possible. Researching as much as I could and finding 100% original, unrestored wheels showed me than so many have restored their own wheels incorrectly and now it’s been accepted as correct. The biggest issue is the pinstripes which are almost always too thick and they’re in the wrong location on the painted sprocket pattern. Where the the confusion comes in is many have used factory drawings or factory pre production photos but when looking at actual production cars, the pinstripes were done quite differently. I have many photos in my OEM documentation folder showing the original production wheels including the single perimeter stripe around the rim. It was found by carefully stripping the layers of paint from the wheel. One layer at at time. The fine 1/16”-1/32” pinstripe was found and photographed by my. I have to admit though, the time spent has proven worth it as the car has shown well and the reaction to the wheels has been overwhelming. I guess you never know, if I had the right “canvas” again, I’d probably do it all over again. Don’t have any documentation photos in my iPad but here are a few of the process of getting my wheels finished.

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  • 2 weeks later...
5 hours ago, deaddds said:

So I assume the wood was restored first and then the black?

Yes. Stripped the paint off the steel first, then bead blasted the rims. All the steel got etched primed. Then the paint on the wood got scraped off with cabinet scrapers finishing off with dental picks to remove any paint in the grain. Wood was lightly sanded then all were bleached with oxcylic acid remove any iron stains. Wood was then flushed to remove the acid, sanded, stained with a pine tar/kerosene mixture, then 14 coats of Pettits spar varnish was applied with sanding between each coat. Steel was gone over with any pitting filled and sanded being careful not to remove any of the original weld lines or tooling marks. Wheels were primed again. Then wet sanded, masked, painted, masking for center hub and sprocket applied, then painted. Last but not least, pinstriped! (In all honesty, I did leave out a few other steps done in the whole process.) To do them right is a ton of work as you can see.

 

Forgot to add, great truck AND it’s an Oldsmobile!

Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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On 12/29/2019 at 5:57 AM, edinmass said:

If your going to replace tubes, you probably will need tires.......they should be replaced if over seven years old if your goi g to drive it. The wood can be a pain.........painting it correctly is always a good idea. I would leave the wood finish as is, and just paint the metal. Wheel work can be very time consuming, and you can open up a can of worms........take your time. Do one wheel at a time, that way you don’t turn the truck into garage art. Also, if you get better at them as you progress, you can do the first one over again........

Agreeo.png

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Wow, some excellent advice has been given here, by multiple folks. I've got wood spoke wheels on my 23 Hupp touring, and have been fortunate that the painted wood spokes still look great. My steel rims appear to have been plated originally with zinc, and as I replace tires, I have been painting them with a dull aluminum rattle can. They look great, and it's not too big of a project that way. 

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  • 2 months later...

So now that I have gobs of time, figuring this removal is a pain. Outer bearings came out easy. Any tips on removing the inner metal pressed in retainer so I can remove those bearings to clean up the grease and not get debris or sand blast particles mixed with the grease? I figure these need to come out as keeping a seal around and leaving them in place is a poor choice.

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If you look through the hole in the hub from the outside you may see two notches 180 degrees apart in the casting that the inner cone is pressed against.  It is possible to use a long punch and tap the bearing from side to side.  This will also force the seal out so that it might be able to be reused.  I have never seen a hub without these notches.

Good luck.

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Well, the seal looks pretty normal. On my ball bearing hubs, I pried them out carefully with a flat prybar across the seal. Be careful not to dent them up if you do. Mine already were a little beat up, so I think I was more careful than the last guy. I never thought to try what Tinindian suggested. It probably would have worked. I never took the inner races out.

 

One thing though, those balls look really close together. They may not have a retainer. Balls may go everywhere when the seal comes out.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Unfortunately any old paperwork/manuals ive seen are in black and white. Any online photos range from painted wood to stained. And the center hub section black to painted body color. Lastly, the outer rim black or silver/ metal colored. So how does one go about finding the correct application? Or were these just done to the buyers taste back in the day? It certainly isnt going nuts show so im leaning towards black rim, black center/cap and stained wood. Thoughts?

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3 hours ago, deaddds said:

Thoughts?

 

I wrestle with this as well. I have a 1913 Studebaker 25 that needs 2 wheels rebuilt. I have not yet been able to figure out exactly how they were finished originally.

 

For the most part they weren't pretty furniture back in the day. In those days a wheel was just a wooden thing with spokes, and everyone knew it was a wooden thing with spokes, whether it was on a buggy or a car or a cannon, so no point in showing off your fancy wood. Roads were horrible, and people might drive through a small river or three feet of mud. Whatever was the most durable probably carried the day. Most wheels were probably painted. Today everyone wants the wood to show.

 

In the 50s and 60s people wanted flashy so their antique would show up in a parade, and old wheels with their painted hubs and non-demountable rims sure did... but then what if the car/truck is a little newer and has demountable rims? I see demountable rims painted wheel color everywhere, including on my own car. but then wouldn't there be a similarly brightly colored rim up on the running board for a spare? You hardly ever see that. Nobody does it because it would look like hell, but logic dictates the spare rim should have the same finish as all the others. Also, prying around mounting tires would probably damage the finish. That argues for something like bare galvanized metal. Or maybe black, but black would get chipped up too, it just might show a little less. I think most Ford T demountables were galvanized (but I am no model T expert).

 

You asked LOL :D

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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If I just hand sand the wood smooth can I just paint directly and not prime since it will still have some level of stain and/or polyurethane on the wood?

 

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Oldsmobile prided themselves on using only the best second growth hickory and for many years left their wheels unpainted.  I can not swear that that this applied to economy trucks but for years it applied to their cars.  I would look in a manual to try to substantiate.   I would go ahead and strip them and then re varnish or pant with clear.

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  • 2 months later...

So my next ? is, there isn’t a manual for this truck with torque specs and such. The front wheel can easily spin so I think I have the castle nut and cotter pin pretty decent. However the rear is more complex. After the rim/brake drum/ gear assembly slides on the spindle and engages the drive axle, the Timkin bearing slides in and then this threaded special washer. There must have been a tool to spin it from 2 opposite holes. There is a dowel that gets lined up with another washer that can only go on one way, indexed to the spindle. Then the castle nut and cotter. Since the wheel really can’t free spin due to the axle and driveshaft friction, any thoughts on how tight to put the first threaded washer against the bearing and same for the nut? I will post photos of the pieces.

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Just for information.  Rims, bolts and wedges on Olds cars were cadmium plated.  I would assume that if they look silver in old pics they would also be cad plated.  Eastwood sells a cad colored paint that looks pretty good.

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