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Safety-wiring knock-offs

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I have been considering safety-wiring the hub knock-offs to one or more spokes. Though I cannot find a reference to anyone who has done this to their Healey or other albc it does seem a common practice in the Cobra world where center-locked wheels are used.

There seem to be two schools of thought: Some advocate making the wire tight to prohibit any movement while others suggest leaving a bit of slack to serve as any easy indicator that the knock-off has moved slightly from its position when the wire was affixed. Members of each school of thought are positive that the others are all wet....

Any thoughts/experience?
 

dougie

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Hi Michael -

I use stainless wire ties on my "lightened" knock-offs when I run my 72 spoke wire rims. I have Avon CR6ZZ's mounted on them and use as my wet track tire. I'd say, I tighten the wire snug, but not super tight. If they start to loosen, I'll know it. I wish I had better pics for you.


'57 414 Wire Wheel w:Lightened KO.jpg

'57 414 Front of House.jpg
 

roscoe

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Safety wire should be pulled tight. It is used to prevent loosening. Let it do its job. If you are on the obsessive cumpulsive side, you can use a dab of torque stripe goo ( link below is not an endorsement there are several brands that all work the same). Safety wire comes in .016, .020, .032 and if you are feeling your oats .040" stainless. If you are paranoid as well as OCD you can use both( some folks call torque paint " anti sabotage paint" but if I were a saboteur I'd carry several colors in my evil doers kit and just reapply it after performing sabotage). I always thought that using both was a bit over the top but in a big shop if each mechanic was assigned a particular color of torque seal it could help when you needed to review who worked on what.

https://www.amazon.com/DYKEM-Cross-Check-Tamperproof-Marker-Torque/dp/B01HC3QIGM
 

Patrick67BJ8

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I safety wired probably a few thousand switches, plugs, etc in my 10 years as a Navy Aviation Electrician and safety wire is never loose. We used safety wire players in most cases but I understand that now the pliers are outlawed due to people pulling them fast causing the wire to heat and lose its strength. I wouldn’t safety wire anything without the plies myself. Micro switches have a hole(s) in them as well as electrical plugs on aircraft and it’s important to have the holes so the wire can be threaded through the nuts so the safety wire can’t come off.
 

steveg

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Cobras have Halibrand pin-drive knockoffs in which the knockoff spinner seems to sit flat against the wheel hub face. This might make it more likely to loosen as it doesn't have the cone-type seating of the Rudge-Whitworth design. Halibrands may not self-tighten as the Rudges do, therefore the safety wire is more necessary than on our cars where it would seem to be redundant.
 

Healey Nut

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Simple question.....Why ..... thats why the threads are right and left hand so that when your going forwards the action is to tighten the knock offs .
The PO of my 64 drilled the knocks offs and had set screws in them as he used to tow the Healey backwards on a dolly behind his RV and he was concerned about them unscrewing.
Other than that I can see absolutely no reason the wire them .
 

HealeyRick

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If you'd like to give yourself a major headache, I refer you to this thread on the "self-tightening" action of the Rudge knock-off: https://forums.jag-lovers.com/t/self-tightening-wheel-spinners/372613 If Rudge knock-offs are indeed self-tightening, there should be no need for safety wiring, but after reading the thread I'm afraid there's little agreement whethey they are self-tightening, and whether it's different for pin-drive alloys like the Cobras than for wire-wheeled splined-driven. For a race car, it probably couldn't hurt unless you're doing pit stops, but probably overkill for a street car that you give a few whacks to every once in a while to ensure they are done-up.
 

steveg

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If you'd like to give yourself a major headache, I refer you to this thread on the "self-tightening" action of the Rudge knock-off: https://forums.jag-lovers.com/t/self-tightening-wheel-spinners/372613 If Rudge knock-offs are indeed self-tightening, there should be no need for safety wiring, but after reading the thread I'm afraid there's little agreement whethey they are self-tightening, and whether it's different for pin-drive alloys like the Cobras than for wire-wheeled splined-driven. For a race car, it probably couldn't hurt unless you're doing pit stops, but probably overkill for a street car that you give a few whacks to every once in a while to ensure they are done-up.

Rick,
I used to mark mine with a sharpie between the knockoff and wheel hub - every time I replaced them. In every case they tightened a little after some driving. If they're loosening, the hub's on the wrong side of the car. This is why the hubs are marked.
 

HealeyRick

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Rick,
I used to mark mine with a sharpie between the knockoff and wheel hub - every time I replaced them. In every case they tightened a little after some driving. If they're loosening, the hub's on the wrong side of the car. This is why the hubs are marked.

Steve,

That test sort of started the whole thread I referenced which led to a discussion of whether Rudge knock-offs were "self-tightening" meaning they would tighten if they were installed loosely or "self-locking" meaning they wouldn't tighten, but wouldn't loosen either. From what I gathered of the discussion, they were self-tightening, but only if they were already hammered on tight. Purely anecdotal, but despite mine being properly greased with anti-seize, they always seem a lot harder to loosen then they were to hammer on.
 

steveg

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My experience similar to yours - always harder to undo than tighten, in spite of ample anti-seize.

What I wonder is whether the Halibrand knockoffs are self-tightening.

The Motor article Bob linked said Rudge wheels were widely used from 1913 on. I wonder if the Halibrand design was an effort to circumvent paying royalties to Rudge.
 

HealeyRick

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My experience similar to yours - always harder to undo than tighten, in spite of ample anti-seize.

What I wonder is whether the Halibrand knockoffs are self-tightening.

The Motor article Bob linked said Rudge wheels were widely used from 1913 on. I wonder if the Halibrand design was an effort to circumvent paying royalties to Rudge.

Don't know about the Halibrand design and royalties, but in the article I referenced there's a discussion on how Colin Chapman designed his pin-drive system to avoid paying royalties to Rudge. There's also a discussion that the self-tightening aspect may be a function of the eliptical effect of the weight of the car hanging on the top spokes of a wire-wheeled car which wouldn't apply to the Halibrand alloys. I wonder if any vintage-racing organizations require knock-offs to be safety wired, not that it would be dispositive, but it might give a clue to its necessity.
 

rr64

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Cobras have Halibrand pin-drive knockoffs in which the knockoff spinner seems to sit flat against the wheel hub face. This might make it more likely to loosen as it doesn't have the cone-type seating of the Rudge-Whitworth design. Halibrands may not self-tighten as the Rudges do, therefore the safety wire is more necessary than on our cars where it would seem to be redundant.

The custom wheels Ted Halibrand’s company made for multiple types of street and race applications utilizing a center locking nut, wing nut or hex nut, were made with female tapers for a center lock nut with a male taper to wedge into. I cannot discuss all the different cars and applications but I do have some Cobra experience.

The stock Cobra arrangement was Rudge-Whitworth “spline drive” with different thread directions for the different sides of the car as usual. With the stock arrangement the normal issue to how much effort and how large a hammer it takes to get them loose even with generous use of anti-seize compound on splines, threads, and tapers at last installation. To me the term spline drive seems misleading because the clamping compression created by the center lock nut between tapers holds the wheel pretty firmly.


The so called “pin drive” arrangement favored by Ted Halibrand is for sure a misnomer as the pins his company supplied were very soft mild carbon steel and were not strong enough to do much but resist wheel slip on the hub during center lock nut installation or removal.

So why have some Cobras had trouble keeping wheels tight? There are so many variables that an in depth coverage in a forum thread would not be practical. The root cause I see is too many variables and users not understanding what all those variables mean. Variables? Cobra wise a top few:

- front and rear Cobra 'pin drive' wheels required different center section thicknesses because front and rear hubs were significantly different lengths. Front wheels installed on rears leaves few threads exposed. Rear wheels on front are too narrow in cross section for the center lock nut to clamp.

Click the image to enlarge.
Slide 3.jpg

- because of the item above a racing Cobra that was factory prepared had four different center lock nuts. There was left and right of course but there was also front and rear. Yes, four different center lock nut parts per car. (This problem was not addressed with a design set change until mid 427 Cobra production.)

-Halibrand made wheels for other types of cars had their own set of design dimensions that usually would not just ‘bolt on’ to a Cobra.


- Halibrand produced many variations in center lock nut critical dimensions depending on the wheel and car they were intended for. The critical ones, means required to fit and work properly, length and diameter male center lock nut cone, working diameter of threads, and thread angles (like 55° or 60°).


-Reproduction wheels and nuts made by many people in multiple countries since the mid 1970s are not always dimensionally (critical) the same as genuine factory parts.


-Reproduction hubs made by multiple people over decades of time since the mid 1970s are not always dimensionally (critical) the same as genuine factory parts.

There are others but for brevity I’ll stop there. If a user combines parts (hubs, wheels, and nuts) that are not dimensionally compatible no amount of safety wiring is going to do any good except provide a type of warning. The tapers of wheel center and nut center must engage sufficiently that no other interference is encountered. Example: A certain Cobra participating in a tour Martha and I participated in came with seconds of losing its right front wheel more than once in a single day of touring. Safety wire stretched and broke, multiple wraps of safety wire broke, and finally on the last leg of a day’s driving back to the lodging for the night multiple wraps of safety wire, two very large plastic wire tires, and two large band type hose clamp all used together would not stop the center lock nut from backing off. I tried to tell the man that he the center section of the reproduction Cobra style (looks like something Halibrand made) wheel was too thin and that when they beat the wing nut on they just ran out of threads of the hub. To illustrate, the offending front wheel was still loose enough to shake and rattle against the hub with the nut beat ‘tight’ to their exhaustion. Subsequently a restoration shop solved the problem with parts that would tighten in the taper zones.

We have a modified (was vintage raced about a decade) Cobra that came to us with the magnesium Halibrand made wheels from one of the cut back door Shelby prepared race Cobras. I am not keen on playing / hard driving on old magnesium wheels so I had a custom set of aluminum wheels made to Shelby dimensional specifications where front wheels and rear wheels have different and correct thickness center sections. I also used 1960s Shelby nuts correct for not only left and right but front and rear. I do not safety wire the nuts. I do use black ink to match mark nuts and wheels. If the marks get out of alignment, rare, it is because the nuts get tighter if they do move, usually don’t. Getting the nuts back off after hundreds of miles driving can be difficult, I finally upgraded from a 2 lb lead hammer to a 6 lb lead hammer and it can still be tough to get the nuts loose.

Conclusion: To me if a Cobra (427 Cobra, GT40) has trouble keeping center lock nuts tight it is a sign of at least one dimensional issue in the mating parts.

Dan
 
Last edited:

blueskies

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From experience, I can tell you that Healey wheels can come off while driving. This happened to my BN6, twice, in one evening when I was 20 years old. I was only a few hours into a 1,400 drive when it happened. The first time it happened, there was still enough daylight that I could easily find the wheel and hub. The second time it happened, darkness had fallen. It took a long time to find the hub; finally I realized that it had stayed stuck on the outer part of the wheel.

Why did it happen? More than one person has told me that the only possible explanation is that a previous owner had installed a right side hub and knock off on the left rear of the car? As far as I know, that was not the case. And I put many thousands of miles on the car during the time that I owned it. It was my only car at the time and saw daily use.

The good news is that I can tell you that when a rear wheel comes off a Healey at highway speed, the car can be very easy to control. A small bump as the brake drum hits the road surface and then controlled slowing down. I do recall that on one of these occasions I watched the wheel roll by in the next lane as the car slowed. Fortunately, there was no oncoming traffic.
 

blueskies

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healeyblue - thanks for correcting my lapse in terminology. I meant the knockoff - the hub had not come off. The first time it happened, the knockoff was found separate from the wheel. The second time, the knockoff had stuck to the outer edge of the wire wheel center section.
 
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