Wheel Runout

I am working on my GowJob project, and I thought I would throw this topic out there for discussion, maybe we can all learn something.

What is acceptable wheel runout both around the circumference and side to side? Are there different variances for steel spoke wheels vs. wood spoke wheels.

Anybody care to add how to correct either wheel assuming it is otherwise solid and in good shape?

Here is what I have learned from my research. Generally 1/16" ( .0625" - or just over 1.5mm for our metric friends) seems to be acceptable runout on the circumference on all Model T / A wheels.

Wood wheels seem to be allowed 1/8 (.125" or 3.175 mm ) of “wobble” or side to side runout. I don’t believe I have seen a figure for steel wheels.

I have read that steel spoke wheels can be corrected via pressing in certain areas, but the preferred method seems to be heating spokes until hot (not glowing) and using a water soaked rag to cool the spoke and shrink it.

I have a set of Model A wheels of the 30-31 variety, I am in the process of straightening now. So this is a learning process for me as I go.

I think what you are saying is the accepted norm. Regarding straightening spokes I have always done it cold. I have a little hook shaped piece of steel that fits on the end of a small slide hammer that makes quick work of bent spokes.

The wire wheels on my speedster were out as much as 3/8". I measured them by jacking one front wheel and putting a cinderblock by it. I then spun the wheel and measured the in and out of the RIM. Being out this much made no difference in the ride at 30 mph, but above that it caused a lot of vibration, and it got incrementally worse as speed increased to 60. It was not safe to drive over 40. I cut a 1 X 2 to a length that I could lay it beside a spoke to check for straightness. Then using a rubber mallet when I could get a straight shot, or tapping on a board placed against the high side of the spoke if it had to come the other way, I got 3 of the wheels to within 1/8" . The other two wheels had kinks in the spokes, not just slightly bent, and I could not get them closer than 1/4". Maybe heat would work? I put the two straightest wheels on the front and I could cruise 55 without too much vibration. Then I added Balance Beads and they made a big difference. Now I can go 60m smoothly although I seldom run her that fast.

Three of the wheels were very easy to get right, the spokes were only bent. How does one straighten a “kinked” spoke, i.e. one that has a sharp bend in it?

Tom, I had to chuckle to myself at your technique , as I’m over here using dial indicators measuring in .001". Nothing wrong as it gets the same results, but it’s super low tech vs. high-tech, LOL.

I should have taken pics of the first wheel I did that had 4 bent up spokes. Two were really bad. I used heat from a Mapp gas plumbing torch to heat the spokes red and then start straightening with various implements. They don’t stay red once you remove the heat, but you know they are hot and pliable. They are not perfectly straight, but you’d have to get up on them at certain angles to see it. I’m going to try and work them more this weekend.

I believe my other three wheels are just minor tweaks if i remember right. The 5th “spare” wheel, actually has a broken spoke I am going to try and straighten and reweld. I’ll save that wheel for last I think.

The spokes are amazingly tough to bend cold. If I had a vehicle to attach them to it might be alot easier, but them being loose makes it a little more challenging. Working on these in my basement where it is warm, hoping to get them done and painted / tires mounted before spring arrives.