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Technical Model T wheels on model a axle

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by DEVILSorchard, Nov 23, 2018.

  1. DEVILSorchard
    Joined: May 18, 2015
    Posts: 3


    I'm building a 27 roadster on model A frame but want to keep the model t wood wheels.

    Has anyone done this before. I know it can be done with A wheels on a T with adaptors or front hub swap. Would these same adaptors work in reverse or T hubs on A spindles.

    Also is there a safe speed, power level on wood wheels. I'm not thinking v8 just a mild banger with some bolt ons with new spoked wheels.

    Thanks. -Steve
  2. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 2,165


    I can't vouch for the strength of the wooden wheels but here is a sketch on how to machine Model A, or for that matter '28-'48 spindles to adapt Model T hubs. It was a popular conversion to use the T six lug, wooden wheel hubs on early sprint cars.

  3. jaw22w
    Joined: Mar 2, 2013
    Posts: 837

    from Indiana

    I like the wood spoke wheels, too, but IMHO, I wouldn't use them on anything but a stock T. Remember the T only made 20 HP and would only do 45 mph flatout going downhill with a tailwind.
  4. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,922


    The 1926-27 T large brake drums were used with 12 inch utility tire rims to make early Midget Race Car wheels. That 6 lug center was made standard up through the 1940's race car wheels made by others. T wood wheels with modern speeds and brakes just don't seam safe to me. Remember T's never had front brakes and the side loads on a wood wheel braking in a turn, could put more side loads on it than the engineers planned on 100+ years ago. Bob
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  5. DEVILSorchard
    Joined: May 18, 2015
    Posts: 3


    Thanks for the responses and the diagram that's immensely helpful.

    I was fairly confident this was possible it's nice to know I'm not pioneering this idea.

    The sideloading was my big concern as well. I cannot imagine new hickory spoke wheels will not hold up to any speed they are reasonably balanced for unless there's some serious flaw or slop in the wood that's causing movement while they roll.

    I was just watching "the river runs through it" where they crank the wheels sideways on an old T and skid to a stop. That has made me curious just how strong these truely areor can be.
  6. A movie.
  7. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 5,727

    from Idaho

    You need to listen to those guys - the wood wheel is not up to the job.
  8. DEVILSorchard
    Joined: May 18, 2015
    Posts: 3


    Thanks guys glad I asked before that idea really took root. I will use the wire wheels as Henry intended.
  9. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 5,706

    from Michigan

    Or you could do what this guy did...have wheels cnc machined out of aluminum to look like wooden wheels.
    I know...I wouldn't have the money for it either...just thought you might enjoy the idea.
    First 2 minutes is a ride in the car.
    Outside shots after that.
    Good close-up shot of the wheels at 2:54

  10. I had a stock '24 roadster and never really felt too comfortable with the wood wheels. On the other hand, I know of a lot of guys who have driven cross country with them and no problems.
  11. 270ci
    Joined: May 17, 2010
    Posts: 348


    I used to re-spoke wooden wheels and I did hundreds of sets over the years for many makes of cars, but most of them were T wheels.
    In my opinion, even a newly rebuilt T wheel with spokes so tight you can make the wheel "ring", is not up to the task you are asking it to do.
    A wood spoke wheel from a larger car such as a Buick, Olds or such, with shorter stouter spokes, much huskier steel felloes, and large outside flange hubs with hub bolts that go through to inside brake drums, might be considered, but I would never trust a Model T wood spoke wheel on anything other than a stock Ford T with their poor brakes.
    Another issue with a wood spoke T wheel is that you're stuck with the demount-able rims that bolt to the wheels. T wheels were not made to come off the car at the axles for anything other than service work. You change a tire on a T by removing and replacing the demount-able rim, which is held to the wheel's felloe with four lug nuts.
    I think you've made a wise decision to go with the wire wheels. There's a reason wood spoke wheels became extinct after the 30's, while wire and solid disc wheels continued on, and that reason was not a shortage of good hickory wood.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018
    GuyW and The37Kid like this.

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