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Model T wheels


Restorer32
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Don’t know your location but a few really good swap meets are coming up that would most like have what you are looking for.

Marietta, Ohio

Luray, Virginia

Chickashaw, Oklahoma

 

 

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You are basically looking for the iron parts to make the wheels.  First, be sure you are looking for the right thing.  According to Bruce McCauley's book on Model T's, "Demountable wheels were introduced in 1919/1920 on coupes and sedans, and were 30x3 1/2 all the way around."  Those rims were made by both Kelsey and Hayes and do not interchange. Non-demountable (Clincher type) continued to be used on other cars but two different sizes were used - fronts were 30x3 and rear wheels were 30x3 1/2.  See the diagram below.  For clincher type, new rims are being reproduced and are good quality.  Plenty of used hubs are around and I believe that Lang's has them available, as well as proper hub bolts, nuts, and other pieces like fellow plates, etc.   All you'll need to do is supply your wheel builder of choice the clean iron pieces and let them work their magic with new spokes properly installed.  I had wheels done for my 1914 Touring by Bill Calimer and they are fantastic.

Wheel sizes.jpg

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Thanks folks for all the advice.  Langs has quite a bit of the hardware but no felloes.  We did intend to have Calimer's respoke our wheels but (long story) our customer has a sentimental attachment to the original deteriorated wheels and we cannot touch them.  We need to find the hardware for 4 1919 demountable clincher wheels so we have what we need to have 4 wheels built.  Rims are available as are new rear hubs but can't find felloes or front hubs.  We are in S C PA so Luray would be the closest flea for us.

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People can be funny/strange! The rest of the car is being restored (how much we don't know), but they get stuck on keeping the original wood wheels for sentimental reasons and finding a whole set to replace them with. :) Maybe they could be talked into keeping the spokes from one wheel, and have a shadow box made with some of the other parts that were replaced in it too.

 

Edited by Mark Gregush (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Restorer32 said:

Thanks folks for all the advice.  Langs has quite a bit of the hardware but no felloes.  We did intend to have Calimer's respoke our wheels but (long story) our customer has a sentimental attachment to the original deteriorated wheels and we cannot touch them.  We need to find the hardware for 4 1919 demountable clincher wheels so we have what we need to have 4 wheels built.  Rims are available as are new rear hubs but can't find felloes or front hubs.  We are in S C PA so Luray would be the closest flea for us.

For clinchers you will need wood felloes, which are made when the wheels are restored. That's part of the rebuilding process.  You'll also need to decide which type of hubs you'll be using. The early style hubs used ball bearings while the later demountable type wheels used Timken roller bearings. There was a change to the hub that added strength to them that helped eliminate the tendency of the early style hubs to crack. Many early cars run on the newer style hubs for added safety. The earlier style hubs are more difficult to find but are not impossible. I found two NOS at Hershey when I did the wheels for my 14. I take it the owner wants to keep the old wheels intact and use rebuilt wheels on the car?

Terry

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1919 is actually quite a funky/difficult year. The first year for starter/generator, which included a new style dash with ammeter/switch panel. All of those parts are different and unique to 1919! It was also the first year for Ford to offer demountable rim wheels. Coupes and sedans began getting the demountable rim wheels as standard early in the 1919 model year, late in 1918 calendar year. The open body cars began getting demountable rim wheels as an option along about March (if I recall correctly?) of 1919. Although a lot of Ts continued getting the non-demountable wheels similar to what Ford had used for several years before. Most earlier T wheels had been "round felloe" style, however Ford switched to square fellow (cheaper to make) about 1918. The hubs were also being improved (as Terry B mentioned) about the same timeframe. The square felloe wheels continued to be offered as the cheap option until the end of model T production. There was also a steel felloe non-demountable wheel that was used by Ford on and off during the 1920s. Official records do state that the steel felloe non-demountable wheels would exclusively replace the wood felloe non-demountable wheels (with a couple different beginning dates!) during the early to mid 1920s. However, those records are clearly in error! Dozens of factory photos (I have seen from a major private collection!), as well as hundreds of original era photographs clearly show the wood felloe non-demountable wheels on model Ts well into 1927! 

The demountable rim wheels wheels for 1919 were not unique to that year, but they were not the more common ones that became the usual wheels a year or two later.

Whether or not all that matters any to your clients or not? Depends on just how correct they want the car to be. And whether or not the car really is a 1919. A lot of model Ts have been misidentified for their year almost since new. Unmolested 1919s are fairly easy to identify by nearly a dozen little details. But most model Ts have been altered and repaired over the years using the more common later pieces which nearly all fit and work, at least somewhat.

1919 demountable rim wheels should be the "loose lug" type wheels, as opposed to the more common "fixed lug" wheels that showed up about a year later. The fixed lug wheels were manufactured by at least three different companies including inhouse at Ford. For many of the early to mid 1920s, the rims from one manufacturer would not properly fit the wheels of another manufacturer. Somewhere around 1924 Ford pushed the wheel manufacturers to standardize the fit.

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  • 9 months later...

Sorry but new to Model T.  I have a 1916 with later wire spoke rims.  I am looking for wood spoke rims.  But I want the demountable style (I think they are called) that have the steel outer ring where the tire attaches too and the steel inner ring where the spokes go in at the top and in center has a bolt on hub.

What are these actually called and what years are these so I can start searching for them?  Does any company reproduce these items as a complete set or as individual parts.  I have seen hubs and bolts and a few outer rims but that is all.

Thanks for your help.

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Are your later wire wheels the 26-27 Ford factory wire wheels or something special aftermarket? The Demountable wheels (rims)you are looking for were made by several companies that Ford bought them from during the T production. My advice it to buy all four in a matching set rather than one at a time, this way all four demountable rims will interchange with the wheels, they do differ maker to maker. 

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The "rims" are what the tire mounts on. The "wheel" is what is held onto the axle or spindles that rotates and the car rides upon. SOIMETIMES the "wheel" and the "rim" are one and the same thing. SOMETIMES they are two different pieces of the same general assembly.

 

A 1916 Ford T would have originally had "non-demountable" "clincher" type wheels which included the "clincher" rims. They would have had wooden felloes (fellies) that held the steel rims and wooden spokes together. Ford used that style exclusively through 1918. In 1919, demountable rim wheels were offered (standard on some body styles, optional on others). These had demountable steel "rims" that attached to steel "felloes" to make tire changing on the road a simpler task.

A lot of people prefer to have the later demountable wheels on their earlier model Ts, so if you go that route, you won't be alone.

 

As 1937hd45 mentioned, Ford used wheels from several different companies. They varied from one company to another, and some changes were also made over the years. Hayes wheels are fairly common, and often easiest to compile a matching set. Any of the four or five common sets are fine, as long as all four wheels and all five (or more?) rims match!

 

I used to have a link to a great thread on the different sets of wheels and how to tell them apart. However a partial meltdown of my computer several years ago lost it. I have spent some time looking for it, but have not found it again yet.

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4 hours ago, dirtywaterdiver said:

Sorry but new to Model T.  I have a 1916 with later wire spoke rims.  I am looking for wood spoke rims.  But I want the demountable style (I think they are called) that have the steel outer ring where the tire attaches too and the steel inner ring where the spokes go in at the top and in center has a bolt on hub.

What are these actually called and what years are these so I can start searching for them?  Does any company reproduce these items as a complete set or as individual parts.  I have seen hubs and bolts and a few outer rims but that is all.

Thanks for your help.

 

Sorry to not be more help about this, but it can be complicated. As @1937hd45 mentioned there were several vendors to Ford, and they were incompatible with each other. Eventually Ford made the suppliers all standardize, but that was later. I think what Ford standardized on was the "Hayes" design, but I am not 100% sure of that. There were also aftermarket kits to change to demountable rims that were never endorsed by Ford. Chevrolet rims exist that LOOK like the later Ford setup but don't fit because the valve stem is in the wrong place. Then, there were a bunch of other cars that used 30x3-1/2" rims like Studebakers, Maxwells, etc. All of these things show up in piles of Model T rims.

 

You'll need to educate yourself on this subject, so you know exactly what you are buying, and then either 1) Buy a complete set from someone, and be able to verify exactly what you are getting or 2) Pick the pieces up onesy-twosy.

 

Hint: Incompatibilities between manufacturers of demountable rims usually boil down to 2 things. 1) how the rim seats on the felloe, including but not limited to slight diffferences in the inside diameter of the rim and 2) what locks the rim in place so it does not spin on the felloe and break the valve stem off.

 

The mounting wedges are separate pieces on some setups. They need to be the correct ones for the felloes and rims. The later standardized Ford setup had them welded to the rims.

 

Most (all ?) of the Ford sanctioned demountable rim setups had steel felloes, so it may even be possible to just buy spokes and build the wheels yourself once you have all the steel parts.

 

Were it me, I would gravitate to the setup (Hayes I think) that Ford had after they standardized. In my opinion they would be the easiest to collect a set of, and as far as I know there were no demountables from Ford yet in 1916.

 

There are several old threads about demountable rims on the MTFCA forums.

 

EDIT: A start...

 

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/506218/549275.html?1434340728

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/257047/293804.html?1338855124

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/179374/238915.html

https://www.mtfca.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=33141

http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/U-Z.htm#wheels

 

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Bare felloes occasionally show up on Ebay, but most times you end up having to buy whole wheels to get the felloes.  As others have mentioned, there were several suppliers, and rims from one supplier may or may not fit felloes from another supplier.  Do a google search on "demountable wheels mtfca" and loads of threads will come up.  :)

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On 12/24/2022 at 2:57 AM, wayne sheldon said:

The "rims" are what the tire mounts on. The "wheel" is what is held onto the axle or spindles that rotates and the car rides upon. SOIMETIMES the "wheel" and the "rim" are one and the same thing. SOMETIMES they are two different pieces of the same general assembly.

 

Sorry, way I learned it when I was working in the parts industry back in the day, albeit new cars.

Rim (the round metal thing the tire goes on to) Some have hubs built into the rim and some, like spoked rims, the hub can be a component of the rim.  Hub is the portion that mounts to the axle.

Tire (the rubber thing that goes around the rim) some have tubes inside, but not all.

Wheel (a rim with a tire, and all necessary accessories like a valve stem or inner tube, mounted onto it)

 

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5 minutes ago, dirtywaterdiver said:

Sorry, way I learned it when I was working in the parts industry back in the day, albeit new cars.

 

A very common mistake these days, and quite understandable. Since the 1930s, most automobile "rims" and "wheels" are one and the same thing. Only when one starts playing with cars before about 1934 does one run into the thousands of makes and models that used separate rims that mount on the outer of the wheel. Then when one goes further back into the 1910s and even earlier, demountable rims weren't in use then. And, again, the rim becomes part of the wheel, and they are again as a unit, one and the same. However, in discussions about those earlier wheels, it is still appropriate to know the different parts of the wheel.

If you ask about a "rim" when what you want is information about "spokes" or "fellies"? Your going to have trouble getting the right information.

 

Welcome to the crazy ways of earlier days!

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I may have to go to PA, either Hershey of Carslie and try and find a matching set of complete for my car.   Anyone know which is better?  Only been to both before for 50s era cars so did not notice if one or the other had more T items.

Also interested in any other suggestions for swaps heavy with T parts.

 

AzBob, sorry this pic is a crop, but you get the idea.   I have 5.

close up.jpg

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If those are correct late Model T wire wheels and the matching hubs they are reasonably desirable and can be sold for a decent price. I expect the rear brakes are the later, larger version as well so when you are looking for wood wheel hubs you will also have to make sure you get some later version rear drums.   Wood wheel hubs are common and generally quite cheap. Other than very ealy hubs they are all the same. Likewise the steel felloes are usually reasonably cheap. Like others have detailed there are several versions of the felloe so the real trick is finding 4 of the same type.

 The hard part is finding 4 good rims of the same type. They are reproduced but get quite expensive for a full set. Good condition originals  are becoming rare .  And the first thing you have to decide is if you are going to use clincher or conventional straight side tires.  That will decide what rims and felloe bands you need. 

 It probably seems a bit confusing , but do some research and eventually it will all make sense.

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Oh boy, just when I think I am getting the hang of it you toss in different types of tires.  I found an article about clinchers on Model T Ford Fix but not on straight sided tires.  i think I would like to go with straight side tires for the same reasons all manufacturers started to.  BUT can they be had in the white?

 

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Ok that's confusing..... Hopefully I can make this a bit less muddy. A "typical" model T tire is a 30x3-1/2 clincher. It goes on a 23" clincher rim.

 

In 1912, before demountable rims, you would have had these 30x3-1/2 clinchers on the back, and 30x3 clincher tires on 24" rims on the front. Well maybe. I think if you were in Canada you would have had 30x3-1/2 clinchers all the way around.

 

During the Model T's peak years, when demountable rims were common, 30x3-1/2 all the way around was the norm. Those are the rims (and wooden wheels) we have been talking about so far. 23" clinchers.

 

When Ford brought out the "Improved" T's with the nickel radiators, 1925-27, you could get straight sided tires on either wire wheels or wood wheels with demountable rims. These are (with few exceptions) 21 inch rims, and use a fatter tire than the 23 inch clinchers we have been talking about so far.

 

Straight sided rims were made for 30x3-1/2 on the 23" demountable rim wheels too. They were mostly in South America I think. You don't want them. Tires for those, for historical reasons are marked 31x4 in the US, but are the same size as 30x3-1/2. They just cost a lot more for no benefit, and are probably a lot harder to get.

 

If you want the standard wooden-wheels-and-skinny-tires Model T look, stick with 30x3-1/2 clinchers.

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Bloo said:

Ok that's confusing..... Hopefully I can make this a bit less muddy. A "typical" model T tire is a 30x3-1/2 clincher. It goes on a 23" clincher rim.

 

In 1912, before demountable rims, you would have had these 30x3-1/2 clinchers on the back, and 30x3 clincher tires on 24" rims on the front. Well maybe. I think if you were in Canada you would have had 30x3-1/2 clinchers all the way around.

 

During the Model T's peak years, when demountable rims were common, 30x3-1/2 all the way around was the norm. Those are the rims (and wooden wheels) we have been talking about so far. 23" clinchers.

 

 

So, I am building a speedster using a Curriers long body.  Sort of like this drawing I did.  I would prefer to have white tires with tread just because I like the look.  I also like the look and function of demountable rims with wood spokes and steel felloes.  So, I gather from your info what I want is 1925-27 in 21" but do they make a white tire for those?

If not, I would rather have all 30x3-1/2 with white clinchers.  But do they make those with steel felloes?    And my final question would be, if there is only one combo that will work for what I want what is it and what do I tell the people at a swap meet?  "I am looking for a set of four ... made by ... for my T, got any?"

Thanks!

 

 

Blue T small.jpg

Edited by dirtywaterdiver
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I don't think white tires are available for the 21 inch rims. But I could be wrong. I know I have never really seen any. And almost nobody with the cars that used 21 inch rims would want white tires on such a car. Most cars using them were later, mid 1920s to early 1930s cars, and a bit heavier than a model T. You should check with the major tire suppliers and ask to be sure.

But even if they happened to be currently available? I wouldn't count on replacements later.

 

You should be able to find some local model T club members around Florida. Check with both the Model T Ford Club of America and the Model T Ford Club International for local chapters and contact information.

 

It sounds as though you could use some hands-on instruction about the differences in the wheels.

For some really good background information, do read through all the links Bloo provided on Saturday. I did a quick check on them and they all have very good information (thank you Bloo!)

Then, with a bit of background information you could look at someone's extra junk and get a better idea of what you want to find.

 

Which felloes or rims are best? Really is mostly a matter of availability. I don't know how it is in Florida, but here in California the Hayes rims seem to be the most available. However, the fellies to match them are harder to find.

Condition of the rims is extremely important! The inner edge of the clincher cannot be rusted away very much. Even a short area rusted too thin can destroy the clincher tire's bead and result in a blowout. I have often considered cutting and welding good sections of rims to repair rust damaged rims. But so far I have still always been able to find good rims for my cars. 

I would tend to avoid the wheels and rims for model Ts that the rims do not have the lugs attached to the rim. Although it was much more common for non-Fords to have separate lugs, and they work fine. I don't like the way most of the "loose lug" Ford rims and wheels secure the rim onto the wheel. That, coupled with the convenience of attached lugs would have me choosing the attached lug rims and wheels. 

There was one loose-lug Ford wheel that would work fine. But they are very rare and I wouldn't recommend putting a set together. IF you found a full set with all the lug pieces and two spare rims, they would be great and fun to have. Otherwise, too much trouble. They are so rare that MOST model T owners have never seen even one such wheel! And I have never seen a full set.

 

Happy hunting!

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Thanks for all the great info.  I have been searching around the interwebs and hope to hit a swap meet or two, but I found this site American Vintage Rims and was wondering.


I want to go with demountable 30-3-1/2 all around on my car.   If I bought their 30" x 3.5" (23") rims with their 23" steel felloes.  Wheel hubs and spokes from Lang's and a 23" clincher.  Would that get me to where I want to be?

I know they are not as cool as original steel but finding one's in great condition is getting harder and harder every year.  
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