1919 Runabout wheels

I am new on this Forum. Not sure how it works. I have a 1919 Runabout and the steal part of the wheel is loose on the wooden spokes. What is the fix to this problem?

I may catch flak for this, but if the spokes are not rotten or cracked, I have had good results using a spoke jack to create a gap between the end of one or more loose spokes, then inserting a shim to fill the gap. You will likely have to do it to a few spokes to get the wheel really tight again. Try to space the shims around the circumference of the wheel so that it doesn’t create one high spot.

If your spokes are rotten and/or cracked, then spoke replacement is your only safe option. The vendors sell replacement spokes. You will need to build a wheel press to install the spokes, it takes a lot of force to accomplish. Please post a picture of your wheels so that we can see what brand they are, the spoke lengths vary slightly between brands.

Here are some pictures of a spoke jack with shims, and some pics of using a wheel press to install new spokes.

Thanks Mark. I will get you a pic or two.

If you have demountable wheels, we will need good views of how the rims attach to the felloes, i.e. whether they have loose or welded on lugs.

They are not demountable wheels. The spokes are tight in the fellow. Someone suggested placing them in a tub of water for a few days.

Placing the wheels in a tub of water will make them quiet but dangerous since the water will lubricate the loose spokes.

Where can one find a spoke jack? Will this method work for clincher wheels?

I found mine on eBay, but if you can’t find one you can make your own using some all-thread, some nuts, and a couple of blocks of hardwood. Yes, it will work for clincher or straight sided wheels, as long as your wheels have metal felloes. If your wheels have wood felloes, then sending them to Stutzman or another reputable rebuilder is your only option.

I am not a fan of using original, 100 year old wood wheels on a car that I plan to drive. I had an incident where a non-demountable wheel that looked sound and restored, broke apart while making a gentle left turn. Fortunately, no one was injured and the car came to a safe stop, but this could have been a disaster. I’ve read many comments about people “restoring” old wood wheels, but I always ask them a question when the cost of replacing the wood in the wheel is discussed.
That question is: “What is your life worth??” I respect everyone’s opinion about driving on old wood wheels, but I will never do it again!