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Bent early ford wheels...repairable?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hitchhiker, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. So I have a set of early ford solid steel wheels, 2 16x4 and 2 16x4 1/2. I went to get them powder coated at Les Schwab and one of the guys( friend of mine) noticed that the center section was bent. We threw them on the balance and 2 of them have a definite wobble. The other two are straight as an arrow....So my question is can these be fixed? How do I do it? I went and talked to a wheel repair specialist and he said they are junk.....but I'm not ready to give up so easy.....
  2. JeffreyJames
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 16,612

    from SUGAR CITY

    Wheel kid. He'd know how to save them and respects old parts enough to care. I'd think if they could be saved, he'd be the guy to do it.
  3. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,223


    Cost vs. replacement value. I fix stuff that most people would not bother with. I doubt I would try to tweak the center hub, too much work to get it perfect.
  4. The best guy I've found is Jim at True Design Wheel.
    He's in Denver, but I know his stuff is all over the country. If they can be fixed he'll do it!

  5. anyone else want to chime in.
  6. Dyce
    Joined: Sep 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,917


    I wonder how it would work to lay the wheel on it's side in the press and push on the center?
  7. Shaggy
    Joined: Mar 6, 2003
    Posts: 5,208

    from Sultan, WA

    I'd toss around throwing them on a dial indicator and hammering them, also make sure they arent bent because the rivets are loose

    Mabey try making a fixture with an old ford axle+hub to spin them on so you can check runnout too
  8. magneto57
    Joined: Feb 20, 2012
    Posts: 125


    Do not give up............!!
  9. Must have been a hell of a whack to bend the centre section where the bolt holes are.
    Rollover at one time or a decent side skid into a curb.
  10. junkman8888
    Joined: Jan 28, 2009
    Posts: 620


    Greetings! Years ago I worked for a body shop in St. Joseph, Mo. They had a wheel straightener, consisted of a big honking thick base plate and a trailer axle stub welded in the center sticking straight up, the axle stub was about a foot or so tall, braced by big triangular plates welded to the base plate. To use the tool you simply picked out the proper bolt-pattern hub, slid the hub down over the stub, spun on the spindle nut and then bolted the bent wheel to the hub. With the wheel mounted there was about a foot space between the bottom rim of the wheel and the base plate, that's where you put the hydraulic bottle jack. It used a 2 x 4 block of steel to distribute the force of the jack, had a groove cut in the top for the edge of the rim, on the bottom was a hole for the piston of the bottle jack. The way it worked is you pumped up the jack until it was fairly close to the rim, then rotated the rim while pumping slowly until you hit a low spot. Once you found the low spot you gave it a few more strokes, released pressure then rotated the rim again to see if it needed more work. Good Luck, Bro. Mike.
  11. I used Rim and Wheel Works @ 50 Sun Street, Waltham, MA 02453 (ph. 1-800-261-0495/781-547-5826).

    The website has a video showing how they repair steel wheels. Everybody locally told me that they do not repair steel wheels and that I should junk it.

    I sent it via UPS and Rim and Wheel Works had a real fast turn-around time. In December 2009, I paid $85.00 plus shipping/insurance.

    I was real happy with the results. There is a place in California I was going to use but I read a lot of negative posts about them here on the HAMB.
  12. saltracer219
    Joined: Sep 23, 2006
    Posts: 823


    Dennis Bradford down here in Camas Wa. has a Bear wheel straightener. He has done wheels for a lot of us locals and does a great job. I P.M.'d you his phone#. Hope this helps, G.....
  13. flthd31
    Joined: Aug 5, 2007
    Posts: 561


    We have a big truck spring shop here that also has a wheel straighter. They do a lot of semi wheels quite regularly.
    I had a pair of pit free 15" Ford smoothies that were blasted and primed when I got them. One had a couple of hammer marks on the outer I put in on a spindle and sure enough, it wobbled about 1/4 inch.
    Took it to the spring shop and they straightened that wheel to perfection and didn't even scratch the primer for 35 bucks.
    I'd try calling around your area for someone with the right equipment...big truck and spring shops. Those wheel straighteners were common back in the day...not so much now. Try some older garages.
  14. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,758


    I'd think that some shop would have a Bear or similar wheel straightener in The Tacoma/Seattle/ Everett area. If you were headed to the Portland Swapmeet Camas isn't that far out of the way and it usually only takes a few minutes a wheel.
  15. Modern hydraulic tire machine when removing the tires most likely.
  16. The problem I see with that is that it is a high spot I want lower not a low spot I want higher.
  17. thanks be giving him a call.
  18. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Consider your friendly local ghetto.
    A penniless kid we know bent the worthless steel wheel on her worthless off-brand or something. Here in suburbia, no one fixes stuff, just get new parts. Few junkyards, land too valuable.
    Five miles east...thriving ghetto! Drive down the street and there are tire places advertising new and used skins, used tires being an unknown concept in suburbia. The guy fixes steel wheels with just highly skilled hammering...he's good enough to move the steel just far enough with a couple of mighty whacks. Dirt cheap. Cheap enough that even complete failure would not hurt much.
    Poor people are not all shiftless welfare suckers! Some of them have survival skills entirely lost to the wealthy classes...checkemout!
  19. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Also...with center probably have an ideal candidate for work with a hydraulic jack if you can come up with an adequate anchorage for the wheel. If bend is simple, indicating to determine when you have sprung it back enough can be easy.
    Put wheel on something that your front hub...and clamp something like a screwdriver to a heavy block so that its tip is ~1/16" from the wheel. Rotate and you can detect VERY small changes by watching the gap.
    I once watched a guy in some awful slum in Brooklyn mounting tires and hammering wheels on a FIRE HYDRANT!!! I was seriously impressed by this guy, running a business with nothing but a plastic bucket containing a big hammer and 3 or 4 tire irons!
  20. I messed around with straightening one today, I was able to make it better. But it is still not good enough.
  21. fordcragar
    Joined: Dec 28, 2005
    Posts: 3,179

    from Yakima WA.


    You might try Foster Wheel in Ballard. If I find another source, I'll let you know. Usually the guys that did this stuff, were your frame and axle shops. There should be a few of them around still.
  22. A Rodder
    Joined: Jul 13, 2008
    Posts: 2,477

    A Rodder

    Call the Six Robblees Distributor in your area, ask them who three of there best customers are in the big truck wheel and tire / axle market are.

    You are bound to find one that can do the job.
  23. Dale Fairfax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,585

    Dale Fairfax
    Member Emeritus

    Too bad they're no old fashioned wheel & spring shops around anymore. A big heavy lathe with a chuckable dummy axle (with the appropriate lug pattern) and a couple sets of heavy rollers on the compound would let you force the rim back into concentricity with the center. You could tell immediately when it was running straight and concentric. Alas.

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