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Projects All you 'steelie-wheel fellas' You ever reverse 'em(home made)?

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by 6sally6, Oct 14, 2019.

  1. 6sally6
    Joined: Feb 16, 2014
    Posts: 1,591


    I remember when I was a young'un hang'in out with a shade-tree mechanic that race dirt tracks. He reversed the tires on his dirt car by.........grinding out the rivets(or welds) and taking the center section out of the wheel. Then flip the outer rim over and on a flat concrete floor slip the center back in and weld it up. Do the same thing with wide rims and put his center section in the middle and weld them up. I guess his floor was pretty level because the wheels turned pretty dog-gone true.
    Won races too!!!
    Y'all ever do that?
  2. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,403

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    We used a hub{right lug pat. n spindle} mounted to big old workbench. That let us tap the outer rim to were we wanted an spin it,to check ture by spin. Used same jig for cutting rims in 1/2,so could add strip between 1/2 for wider an weld ture. The first home made rollers to bend center strips,was made from washing machine rollers{to mash water out of clothing. Stick welded every thing back then. Not floor for ture.
  3. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 2,648

    from NKy

    I did many years ago Chebbie Rally Wheel center , space saver rim . 15 x 3 1/2 rally wheel . I used a flat piece of steel across the rim and tape measure . Once close I had old Chebbie spindle and hub welded to pipe clamped to in a pipe vice with a pointer similar to trueing a bike wheel . I could get them to run more true than OEM wheels I checked .
  4. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 6,903

    from Idaho

    Wheel kid posted a superb "how to" on here a while back .. do the search.
    Texas Webb and lumpy 63 like this.

  5. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,424


    Put a lot of centers that matched my bolt pattern in many wide hoops for our dirt track cars over the years. Some of them we even got to spin pretty true. Nearly everyone in our racing class made their own wheels, it was too expensive to buy wide wheels with the correct bolt pattern.

    We could buy new farm implement wheels for $15-$20 each, weld our centers in and go racing on the cheap. We were all buying used 11" wide dirt track tires from the late model guys for $5-$10 after the tires got hard, or wore, and the guys couldn't use them anymore. $80 would put 4 good used tires and 4 new wheels on the car that would be good for 3-4 weeks if you didn't kill them in a crash.

    Back in those days, "racing was rubbing" and the tires and wheels stuck out past the body work. I'd bet probably 90% of the guys had wheels that wobbled, either by being bent, or by not being welded quite true. Surprisingly, very few ever came apart, short of a hard crash. Fun times! Gene
  6. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,743


    Used to do it all the time when most wheels were riveted together, Drill the rivets, knock 'em out, and weld it back together. We had a gizmo like "Dana Barlow" described to true them. We didn't have any fancy stuff like dial indicators, so we used feeler gauges to check for trueness. The advent of welded wheels put a stop to most of this, for my crowd anyway. We would haunt the junkyards looking for Buick wheels because they were the widest available back then. The Buick hoops were a bit smaller in diameter than the Ford centers, so it took a bit of grinding and trimming to get them to fit right, but we got it done. Nobody got killed or even had a failure using our wheels, so they must have been OK.

    Those were the days.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  7. D2Denny
    Joined: Jan 17, 2012
    Posts: 59


    Back in the 60's I did this for my A. Merc wheels were wider than the Fords. Easy to drill and drive out the rivets and reverse the centers. Hammer the centers in, mount up on the hub, using a concrete block and a steel straight edge spin and check the axial runout at the outside edge of the rim. Keep tapping until running true, weld up, wire brush. paint, and mount up. Did the same with the rears (Chev rear end) using Chev center sections and Buick Roadmaster rims which were about 8" wide. The attached photo shows the front rims well. Sorry about the rears but borrowed a buddies slicks
    for a little bling at the time. ZZ Den's Model a coupe 001.jpg
  8. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 1,192


    Back in the late 60's I watched a guy I knew sit on a bucket and torch the back half of one wheel off and the front of another. Then he took the back half and tapped it onto the wheel that had the front cut off. Next he took his stick welder and made it permanent. All that was left to do was trim the spare center and double the center of his new right front for that night's racing.

    In the 80's I widened a set of 5 1/2's to 8 1/2. I used the brake lathe at school to cut them just inside of the outer edge of the center. Used the slip ring former at my brother's work to form the hoops. With C clamps and vice grips I tacked the hoops to the outer rings then pushed them down on the protruding lip of the centers and tacked them. A former student was a welder and he finished them for me. A little RTV over the welds and they were air tight.

    On edge welded centers I have used a tool steel bit in the brake lathe to cut the welds. Slow, slow process.

    The last set I did had spot welds and I needed to make them a little more deep dished to clear the body. I took chalk and outlined the spot welds. They were oval shaped. Then I measured length and width of each spot weld and marked the center. With the help of a jig to hold the wheel I drilled out the spot welds on the drill press. I didn't have to drill as big a hole as I thought I would. The centers came loose when the hole was just a little larger than the minor diameter. I used a rig like Dana used to true them up. To fill the holes, it turned out the head of a carriage bolt was the right diameter after cleaning the finish off of it.
    Elcohaulic likes this.
  9. My first attempt at reversing wheels did not end well. I was a teenager living with my parents in an old frame house with a crawl space underneath. I had drilled the rivets out of the wheels and had a sturdy bottle jack, but no way to press the centers out of the rims. The bright idea was to place the wheel under the house with the bottle jack in the center and jack against the sill of the house.
    I began pumping he jack, but the center did not move. I kept pumping, but still the center still stayed in the rim. Then I heard my parents yelling something inside the house. I went in to find that all the plaster had fallen off the bathroom ceiling. (Strangely, the bathroom was directly above where I had been jacking against the wheel.) I quickly and quietly went back out and dismantled my makeshift arbor press. My parents never could figure out why the bathroom ceiling collapsed.
  10. LSGUN
    Joined: May 26, 2007
    Posts: 1,327

    from TX

    I did a pair a few years back using Buick hoops and early Ford centers:



    Jet96, j-jock, rpm56 and 5 others like this.
  11. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 2,648

    from NKy

    Anyone ever determine a late model hoop or rim that the early Ford fits nicely into ? This would be a great help in widening at home .
  12. Dedsoto
    Joined: Jan 7, 2014
    Posts: 127

    from Australia
    1. Aussie HAMBers

    made these out of four wheel drive rims and customline centers for my OT wagon, trued them with a bar clamped to the leaf spring, idling in 1st
    20170121_183229.jpg IMG_20161113_130441.jpg IMG_20170313_192556_343.jpg

    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
    6-bangertim, j-jock, rpm56 and 4 others like this.
  13. Smokeybear
    Joined: Apr 20, 2011
    Posts: 325


    Did the rears of my 48 Plymouth. Cut the rivets out, then used 8" hoops from Speedway. I actually bolted them to the car and used a dial to true them. Here's an older pic. car2.jpg
  14. :p Ha ha. Great story. Sounds like something I would have done.
  15. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,417


  16. rooman
    Joined: Sep 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,052


    Apart from the width the other attraction of the Buick rim hoops is their profile. The wide angled surface from the well to the outer portion of the rim is visually pleasing.

  17. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,817


    What would be the ideal formula for making up wheels for a 30 model A? Not looking for massive width, just to be able to use modern 16" tires, on stock running gear.
  18. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 5,964

    Marty Strode

    I did these a while back, picked up a couple of inches in offset. IMG_2809.JPG IMG_2956.JPG
    Blade58, 6-bangertim, j-jock and 3 others like this.
  19. MO54Frank
    Joined: Apr 1, 2019
    Posts: 441


    Bad Chad posted a video on YouTube.
    TagMan and Pug}{maN like this.
  20. DocJohn
    Joined: Apr 22, 2014
    Posts: 21


    Yes, done 5, 6 and 7 inch on wide fives for my Pilot Woodie. These are the 5s, hoops from a London taxi, and 6s, hoops from an IVECO/Renault light truck. The 7s used hoops from a Land Rover Discovery.

    Attached Files:

    Mr. C. and j-jock like this.
  21. Jimbo17
    Joined: Aug 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,812


    I remember back in the mid 60's we bought them already done and many of the guy's had them on street cars and hot rods at the time.
    I think we bought them from a company named Appliance Wheels at the time.

  22. klawockvet
    Joined: May 1, 2012
    Posts: 424


    I recall the chrome reverse Appliance Wheels. Since I didn't have the money for those I reversed the rims on my 33 Ford in 59 or 60 and painted them with aluminum spray paint. They were still on the car in 2002. It was a PITA to crawl under the car to check air pressure.
    Driver50x, MO54Frank and Elcohaulic like this.
  23. Nice work Doc, How about a pic of the Pilot. I passed on a local Pilot Woodie about 35 years ago. Regrets now.
  24. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,257


    I did these last week. I was told that the beading is different inside vs outside and the beauty rim may not work. I had no choice and had to reverse these, the beads looked the same anyway. 045.JPG 003.JPG
    Elcohaulic, j-jock and eicke like this.
  25. Jimbo17
    Joined: Aug 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,812


    I remember how nice the combination of reversed wheels looked with baby moon hub caps.
    That combination gave the car a more smooth and low look.

    Elcohaulic and oj like this.
  26. Does anyone do this commercially anymore?
  27. eicke
    Joined: Jul 30, 2012
    Posts: 63


  28. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,257


    No donor, the rim part is new 10" and the inner is Wide 5. To be honest I widened these wheels ages ago and felt the steel Ford used was too thin and they worried me, I drilled out the rivets and got the new outer rim part.
    eicke likes this.
  29. DocJohn
    Joined: Apr 22, 2014
    Posts: 21


    Thanks! Yes, perhaps I should start a build thread. It might well have been my car that you saw, it was in Holland for nearly 40 years until I brought it back to the UK 6 years ago.
  30. one thing I don't mess with steel rims...let the pros do it..

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