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Thread: Wire wheel conversion question

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    Freshman Member Leatherman's Avatar
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    Wire wheel conversion question

    Hello folks. I am converting from steel wheels to wire wheels on my 61 TR3A. I was told by the seller that I could put 6" wide wheels using a 185 to 195 tire with no issues. So I ordered Dayton 6" 72 spoke wheels. But when I ordered the splined hubs I was told the conversion offsets the wheel 1 1/4" over stock. When looking at all the different wire wheel makers they recommend the 4 1/2" wheel for the TR3. Looking at my clearance at the rear fender I am doughting if this is going to work. Is there anyone who has run a 6" wire wheel with the conversion hub kit. I know you can run TR6 6" steel wheels with no problem. Believe it or not I called Dayton and they couldn't advise me one way or another. Nor could the company who I ordered the spline hubs from in England. Surely some has tried this before me.

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    Great Pumpkin TR3driver's Avatar
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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    TR6 wheels are only 5.5", and a very tight fit with 195 tires on them. I run TR6 wheels with 205 tires, and they rub (lightly) on both rear fenders even after massaging the fenders just a bit.

    I don't know about the 72 spoke wire wheels, but the original 48 spoke wire wheels and adapters added 1/2" over steel wheels (per the owner's manual). There is no way stock TR6 wheels and 195 tires are going to fit with an additional 1/2" offset from the steel wheels, unless you start modifying the rear fenders.
    Randall
    56 TR3 TS13571L once and future daily driver
    71 Stag LE1473L waiting engine rebuild
    71-72-73 Stag LE2013LBW waiting OD gearbox rebuild

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    Yoda martx-5's Avatar
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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    I have 72 spoke, 5 1/2" wires with 185/70s on my TR3A. I get no rubbing, but it's close.

    IMG_0797As.jpg
    Art
    '58 TR3A TS236xxL
    '92 Mazda Miata -- Supercharged
    '07 Mazda RX-8
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    Freshman Member Leatherman's Avatar
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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    Martx-5, was your car an original wire wheel car from the factory or did you add a spline hub kit?

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    Yoda CJD's Avatar
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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    By ‘61 the factory used the spline hub kits to add wires. Only the first 5500 TR2’s had integral wire hubs. In other words, it would not matter if Art’s were original wires or not, as far as fit and finish.
    John

    1955 TR2

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    Great Pumpkin TR3driver's Avatar
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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    I believe the integral hubs persisted until the introduction of front disc brakes, at TS13046. At least that's what Piggott and the SPC say.

    Lots of earlier cars have been retrofitted with the adapters, though.
    Randall
    56 TR3 TS13571L once and future daily driver
    71 Stag LE1473L waiting engine rebuild
    71-72-73 Stag LE2013LBW waiting OD gearbox rebuild

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    Yoda martx-5's Avatar
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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    Quote Originally Posted by Leatherman View Post
    Martx-5, was your car an original wire wheel car from the factory or did you add a spline hub kit?
    As John mentioned, it does not matter on my car whether or not it came with wires from the factory. But, as it turns out, it did and as a result, it has the shorter hub studs. If the car had the longer studs, I would have used spacers rather than cut them. It would be nice to have the option to use other style wheels. If it wasn't such a PITA to change the ones in the rear, I think I would have installed the longer studs.
    Art
    '58 TR3A TS236xxL
    '92 Mazda Miata -- Supercharged
    '07 Mazda RX-8
    '11 Mazda CX-7

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    Yoda Marvin Gruber's Avatar
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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    Art,
    was about to ask short or long studs. Adapter plate under hubs would have helped with wider wheels.
    Marv

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    Freshman Member Leatherman's Avatar
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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    Martx5-I thought of using a spacer under the splined hubs so I wouldn't have to shorten the lug bolts but that would move the tire/wheel out another 5/16" at least and I don't think I will have enough space based on what I am hearing. You said above that your 185/70 tires were a tight fit without spacers. Do you think you could run a 1/2" spacer on your setup?

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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    Well, Moss shows the spacers as 1/4". I believe that is the proper thickness. My car would be able to handle that OK. 1/2" would not leave enough thread for the nuts holding on the spline drives.

    https://mossmotors.com/wheel-spacer-...MaAlC1EALw_wcB
    Art
    '58 TR3A TS236xxL
    '92 Mazda Miata -- Supercharged
    '07 Mazda RX-8
    '11 Mazda CX-7

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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    Easy enough to check. After you've mounted the wires and run them for a bit, check for shiny spots on the outside ends of the studs. If they contacted the wheels, you should see definite wear marks. Grind or file the shiny areas, and try it again.

    Shortening by only 1/16" isn't going to hurt anything, in fact the original steel wheel studs aren't even threaded all the way to the tip. They have a short blank area, to make it easier to start the nuts.

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    Freshman Member Leatherman's Avatar
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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    Great this all makes me feel better about my choice of the wider wheels. I'm going to get the spacers and try them first. Wheels are a few weeks away yet. I'll come back and let you know how things turned out. Thanks

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    Freshman Member Leatherman's Avatar
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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    I am bringing this post back to update my situation mentioned above. I finally received my Dayton 6" 72 spoke wheels and have 185/70 Vrederstien tires mounted. I also installed the Moss 1/4" spacers so I wouldn't have to cut the lugs shorter. Everything went on fine but wow these wheels and tires really fill the wheel wells. I took it for a ride and sure enough the tires are rubbing front and rear! I took the spacers out and trimmed the studs down to the shorter supplied lug nuts and so far so good but I haven't hit any bad bumps or holes yet. The rub marks on the tires front and back were far enough down on the sidewalls that I think the extra 1/4" will do the trick for all but the extreme suspension travel. So there you have it. 5 1/2" wire wheels and 185/70 tires with 1/4" spacers is about all you can safely run on a TR3 with out tire/fender contact. Steel wheels or mini light alloy wheels may be a different matter because the spline hub for ​wire wheels adds additional offset. I hope this helps someone else trying to deside which wheel/ tire to get for their TR3

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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    Here are pics
    image.jpg
    image.jpg

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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    Leatherman,
    Beautiful car and I'm lovin that Bimini top! Did you make it our buy it? If purchased - source?
    I made one for my car from fabric backed vinyl early this summer, but struggled with the front corners. It looks like it was sewn by an old guy who learned to sew on bean bags at age 8. I used two back straps and two side straps, probably overkill. It did make the car more drive able this summer.
    I'll be up State College in a month doing grandkid duty and look forward to driving my son's TR6 in some cooler weather!
    Jim Farris
    56 TR3 - Salvador Blue
    73 TR6 - Pimento
    13 Mini Cooper S Bayswater Edition - Blue

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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    Even though my car came with steel wheels from the PO, when I pulled them off, I found washers on each of the studs. I installed a spline adapter to the hub and put lug nuts back on without any washers and had no threads to spare. Wire wheel (48 spoke) went on without a hitch. Didn't have fenders or tires on so can't tell yet if it will rub with the 185s that I have.

    After this thread, I've concluded that my car probably had wires and adapters from the factory, if stud length is compelling evidence.
    I must keep telling myself, it's a journey, not a race...

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    Great Pumpkin TR3driver's Avatar
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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    The wire wheel adapters also take special nuts, that are quite a bit shorter than the steel wheel nuts. The wire wheel adapter nuts are also tapered on both sides, while the steel wheel nuts are flat on one side.

    If you put it together with the steel wheel nuts, then your wire wheels are resting on the nuts instead of the taper built into the adapter.
    Randall
    56 TR3 TS13571L once and future daily driver
    71 Stag LE1473L waiting engine rebuild
    71-72-73 Stag LE2013LBW waiting OD gearbox rebuild

  18. The Following User Says Thank You to TR3driver For This Useful Post:

    Andrew Mace  (09-03-2019)

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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    Mine are pretty old, but no taper. They, however, are short and not resting on the wheel as far as I can tell.

    I am missing a few, 4 in fact, not to mention the rust, so was planning to replace all 16.

    Funny, the hubs, those washers and studs look brand new, but the lug nuts look like they're been soaking in rainwater.

    Since mine came with two front aprons, one that matches the steel wheels , fenders and doors, I suspect a parts car somewhere is running around naked.
    I must keep telling myself, it's a journey, not a race...

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    Great Pumpkin TR3driver's Avatar
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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    BTW, the right nuts are also high tensile, which is why they can be (and should be) tightened to 65 ftlb; instead of the 45-55 ftlb for the steel wheel nuts. The higher torque is important, especially on the left side.
    Randall
    56 TR3 TS13571L once and future daily driver
    71 Stag LE1473L waiting engine rebuild
    71-72-73 Stag LE2013LBW waiting OD gearbox rebuild

  21. The Following User Says Thank You to TR3driver For This Useful Post:

    Andrew Mace  (09-03-2019)

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    Freshman Member Leatherman's Avatar
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    Re: Wire wheel conversion question

    I did make my Bimini top. I make leather goods for a living so I have all the necessary machinery and attachments to make a proper top. I am making a couple more to work out any fitment issues between different cars to see if there will be any problems if I were to offer them for sale. I have tried mine on another 58 TR3 and the front fit the same but the frames were adjusted differently for different tops so I had to make an adjustment to the length at the back for the other guys car. It may come down to just getting a measurement of the frame spacing of the car and I can make it fit from that. I am going into semi retirement next year so I don't know if I want to get into making a lot of these. We will see.
    As far as the wire wheel conversion goes , I was not aware of special lug nuts or spacers needed to allow wire wheels to properly fit when I went shopping. There just isn't any information from the catalog houses stating what needs done and no information from the wire wheel makers either. I found out talking to other TR owners who clued me in on what I needed to do. I am finding more about my car on the forums than I could ever find in manuals. So I wanted to put my experience and results on this forum so it will hopefully help someone before they make a costly mistake. Keep in mind I am running a wider wheel than is recommended (6" versus 5") so I would recommend no wider tha a 51/2" wheel and 185/70 tire to be sure of no issues. And buy the special tapered lug nuts.

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