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Re: Stressed Wires!

To: MG List <>
Subject: Re: Stressed Wires!
From: Max Heim <>
Date: Mon, 17 Feb 2003 13:39:58 -0800
If lateral acceleration was sufficient to noticeably distort your wire
wheels, they are in serious trouble. Get that car up on jacks, and see if
you can wobble the rims by hand. Then try the "plink" test -- using a small
tool like a 3/8-inch box wrench, held loosely in the fingers, tap each spoke
sharply and listen to the note. It should be a clear ringing sound, and they
should all be roughly the same pitch (fat chance!). A dull "clunk" means a
spoke is not tensioned correctly. A clatter or rattle means the spoke is
broken, usually where it disappears into the hub, where you can't see it.
You can try to tighten the "clunky" spokes using a spoke wrench (a very
long, deep-slotted 1/4" open wrench), but if they have seen any weather
whatsoever they are likely to break off where they enter the nipple. A good
soaking in PB Blaster beforehand would be a prudent precaution.

Broken spokes are not a good thing, as they cause more stress on the
remaining spokes, which can start a cascade of rapid failures, especially on
elderly wheels. I once went from one broken spoke, to 3, to 11, in a matter
of days. Needless to say, 11 on the same wheel is a catastrophic accident
waiting to happen. I was lucky. My advice is, don't mess around -- check
this out ASAP.

If you have one or two broken spokes, and the rest sound reasonably healthy,
you can replace them yourself if you get the tire dismounted. Might as well
put in a new inner tube while you're in there. If there are more than a
couple of clunkers, or if the wheel is noticeably out of true when spun by
hand (sight along the edge of the tread for lateral runout), then it is
probably beyond amateur repair. Given the costs of specialist attention, it
is cheaper to replace standard painted wire wheels than to have them
rebuilt, at least in the USA. Chrome wheels, and possibly some unusual sizes
or types, might be economically rebuildable.


Max Heim
'66 MGB GHN3L76149
If you're near Mountain View, CA,
it's the primer red one with chrome wires

on 2/17/03 12:41 PM, Colin Brown at wrote:

> My wire wheels have been perfectly balanced for the last 10K miles,   smooth
> motoring up to  the UK legal maximum, 70mph.( but not beyond of course)
> Last week I took a slightly cambered 110' right turn at full chat in 4th gear,
> ( motorway  spur road) and for  the next mile or so, I had to slow right down
> as thought I was riding on cobbles, with severe rear end and some steering
> vibration.
> Then slightly alarmed ..speeded up on the straight and she rode as smooth as
> silk again.
> I put it down to slack spokes, and wheels temporarily distorting under lateral
> G.
> Clearly something needs attention, does anyone recognise the symptoms, if I am
> right  is it a home job or one for the experts?
> Colin
> '67B

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