However, many more cars left the factory without wire wheels. Fortunately, upgrading to a set today is as easy as 1-2-3 thanks to the Moss Wire Wheel Conversion Kits. Each kit comes with five wheels—don’t forget the spare—plus everything else necessary, including the adaptor hubs, knock-offs and all needed hardware. Finish choices include either silver paint or chrome plating.
We recently did a wire wheel conversion on a Triumph TR6, and the entire project took less than an afternoon.
Step 1: Remove the Old Hardware
This step is fairly self-explanatory, as the old wheels are simply removed and put aside.
Step 2: Fit Hubs
Since the wire wheels use a center mounting point, a splined adaptor hub must be bolted to the stock hub. The wire wheel hubs are threaded so that the knock-offs won’t loosen themselves as the car drives down the road: The left-side hubs have a right-hand thread pattern, while the right-side hubs feature a left-hand thread pattern.
Since the stock disc wheel studs are too long, two options exist:
• The disc wheel studs can be cut down by 5/16 inch. A hacksaw or die grinder will work just fine. If using a hacksaw, use high-carbon steel blades—and start a new blade on each wheel. When going this route, new full-length studs will need to be installed before the disc wheels can ever be reinstalled.
Photo: Step 2b.jpg
• The other option is to remove the hubs so that the stock studs can be replaced with shorter ones. A hydraulic press is needed to install the new studs. (Hint: Moss stocks the shorter, wire wheel-spec studs.)
• Now the hubs can be physically bolted to the hubs. Each mounting nut should be torqued to 65 ft.-lb. and then retorqued after the car has been driven about 10 miles. Another check should be done after 500 miles.
Step 3: Fit New Wire Wheels
Now it’s time to put the mounted and balanced wire wheels on the car. Apply a light coating of silver anti-seize to the splines and install the wheels. Each one is simply held in place with the center nut.
Properly balancing wire wheels takes a special technique, but fortunately Moss has some easy-to-understand directions. Moss includes a copy of these directions with every set of wire wheels sold, while a copy can also be found online at mossmotors.com/graphics/products/PDF/980-222.pdf.
Replacing Old Hardware
A lot of wire wheels have been in service for 40 or more years, and these components do age: splines become worn, while spokes loosen or go missing. If the hubs have worn splines, simply replace the unit. While wheels can be rebuilt, sometimes it’s just quicker and less expensive to replace them, too. Worn wheel splines are usually a sign that it’s also time to replace the entire wheel. Moss carries the wheels and hubs needed to renew most original equipment wire wheel setups.
Don’t drive around with dirty wire wheels. Moss stocks both Autoglym Wheel Cleaner and wire wheel brushes.
Wire Wheel Conversions
Most British classics can be converted to wire wheels, and each car has its own solution.
Austin-Healey 100 & 3000: Use hubs and wheels from a wire wheel-equipped model. (Moss still carries new hubs and wheels.)
Jaguar XKE: Moss now stocks replacement wire wheel hubs, and of course they have carried new wheels for some time.
MGA: Moss offers a conversion kit that works with the stock disc wheel-equipped rear axle. It’s no longer necessary to find a wire wheel-spec rear axle to convert to wire wheels.
MGB & MGB GT: Moss has a conversion kit that works with the tube axle-equipped cars. The kit includes the hubs, as well as the required replacement front wheel bearings.
MG TC, TD & TF: A full wire wheel conversion kit is available from Moss. It includes the wheels, hubs, brake drums and hardware. An adapter for the spare tire is also included.
Spridget: Use the wheels, hubs and rear axle from a wire wheel-equipped Midget or Sprite. Moss has new wheels and hubs.
Triumph TR2-6: Moss offers full conversion kits, although the lugs must be replaced or shortened.
Triumph Spitfire & GT6: Use the wheels and hubs from a wire wheel-equipped Spitfire or GT6.