There is something about wire wheels that says “this is a British sports car!” Years ago, when I
was the proud owner of a disc wheeled Triumph, I discovered how easy it was to convert any TR2, 3, 4, 4A, 250 or 6 to wire wheels. It’s also a relatively inexpensive task and, as wire-wheeled cars usually sell for more than their disc-wheeled counterparts, the conversion is a good investment. To make the conversion, you will need:
1. A Jack and Jack stands.
2. A lug wrench and an 11/16″socket.
3. A hacksaw with high quality blades.
4. A file to clean up after the hacksaw.
5. Four splined hub adaptors, two left(Moss #661-420), two right (Moss #661-410).
6. Four knock-oils, two left (Moss #674-680), two right (Moss #674-670).
7. Five wire wheels.
8. Sixteen special Moss #675-070 nuts to secure the adaptors to your hubs.
9. If you choose not to cut your original hub studs, you can delete #5 and #6 (above) and substitute new short studs, front #661-100 and rear #674-100 (solid axle) or #674-980 (I.R.S.).
Oh, and one other little thing…you’ll need a couple of spare hours one weekend or evening to put these pieces to use! Forge ahead with the following:
Jack up the car, set the jack stands in place, then remove your disc wheels. Be sure to save the lug nuts with the disc wheels. (You can’t use them to secure the wire wheel adaptors, and, if you ever have to re-install the disc wheels, you can’t use the adaptor nuts for this purpose). Switch your tires to your new wire wheels (unless you have new tires for them) and give the side walls a good coating of Armorall. Clean black tires will definitely set your wire wheels oil nicely!
Fit the chrome knock-offs to the splined adaptors so you can easily see which adaptors go on which side of the car. This is important! If the hubs are installed on the wrong sides, the wheels will fall off with alarming regularity. If your knock-offs do not happen to say “left” and “right”, remember that the left side knock-off tightens clockwise, and the right, counter-clockwise. (Left is left as you sit in the car facing forward.) Install the adaptors over the wheel studs, tightening the special nuts to 65 lb. ft. with your torque wrench.
The original studs will protrude approximately 5/16″ through the new nuts. This must be cut off to avoid contact with the wire wheel. Use a hacksaw to trim the studs flush with the nuts, and the file to clean off there resultant burr. This may sound like a crude way to do the job, but the 1959 Service Instruction Manual Supplement includes a photo of a mechanic busily sawing away at a hub stud with a hacksaw.
In essence, that’s all there is to the conversion! All that remains is to grease the hub splines, install the wheels, tighten the knock-offs and set the car back on its wheels. A couple of hints worth remembering: if you put silicone sealer around the heads of the spokes inside the wheel and allow it to dry before installation, you’ll prevent the spline grease from finding its way onto the spokes. Check spoke tension on new wheels after the first 500 miles or so to make sure none have “settled
in”and become loose. Tapped with a pencil or screwdriver, the row of spokes should sound more or less the same. A much lower note indicates tightening is needed.