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Vibration around 55mph

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  • Vibration around 55mph

    My 58 Tbird has wire wheels, with Coker tires and tubes. Around 55mph it starts ti vibrate or shimmy. I had a similar problem with my 65 Mustang with unilug wheels. I bought new wheels and the issue went away. I like the wires wheels. I have only had the car about 4 years, Went through the front end, new ball joints, etc. My mechanic seems to have a hard time getting these wheels balance. I really do not want to buy new wire wheels, so is there someone that can work on these wheels and true them up?
    Dena & Dennis Gorder
    1958 Coupe
    Registry # 3422

  • #2
    Wire wheels can be a challenge at times.

    Do the normal vibration diagnostic steps.

    - look for marks indicating a missing balance weight

    - spin the wheels manually and see if it runs out or is bent. Use a dial indicator if you have one & measure/record run out.

    -Put front wheels on back, back on front, or borrow all 4 from another car. If vibration changes or is eliminated you indeed do have a wheel problem.

    - were your wheels balanced by a stud centric or center centric method? Proper way is stud centric.

    Yes they can be "trued" just like a motorcycle/bicycle wheel, but finding someone to do it will be difficult.


    • #3
      Just re-read your post and saw:
      My mechanic seems to have a hard time getting these wheels balance.
      Tell him the recommended procedure for these wire wheels is to be stud centric balanced ESPECIALLY if the large center hole of the wheel is larger than the OD of the hub on your car. If he is balancing the wire wheels using the center hole, he will indeed have trouble.


      • #4
        You can get beads or BB's to put in the tire, and it
        will self balance all the time. Does not always work,
        but many have been happy with using that method.


        • #5
          ^^ where there's a will, there's a way ^^


          • #6
            Are you running radial tires?

            There is some evidence that radial tires load the rims a lot more than the old bias ply tires did. If these are old wire wheels and you are running radials that might be an issue?

            Just a guess.

            Let us know what you are running.


            • #7
              First thing I would do is, rotate the wheels (frt to back) and see if the vibes change. Could just be a bad tire.

              Take the whees to a (good) tire shop
              and get their Ace to balance em for ya.

              Try another set of tires/wheels.

              If you have eliminated that issue, I'd move on to u-joints, motor mounts (trans mount) etc.

              I had wires on mine for a few years. NEVER AGAIN!! Unless I had a car that I was just going to back off a trailer and park at a show. That ship sailed for my car the day it came off the assm line.

              Wire wheels look kinda cool - But too many problems. And tubes . . . . No thanks.

              Good luck
              John Byers
              1960 Convertible (Orig owner)


              • #8
                John good advice but I still like the Kelsey Hayes my wife has in her 58
                Just noticed something on your bio. Looks like your Dad bought the 60 convert the year you were born ?
                Dano Calgary,Alberta Canada
                Thunderbird Registry
                58HT #33317
                60 HT (Sold )


                • #9
                  Unless a wheel is bent, or has lost a weight, or the a tire is faulty, the problem could be elsewhere. It could be ball joints, universal joints, tail-shaft. But wait a minute, you said the ball joints, & universal etc., were done, therefore it has to be one of the first 3.
                  At a guess I would have to go with a faulty tire. But then again you say that the mechanic has a hard time balancing the wheels, not wheel. Try a different wheel balancing place, just in case there's a problem with his balancing machine.

                  Chris......From OZ.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for all the suggestions. i am running Coker radials. I have rotated the tires front to back and side to side. I have had these tires balanced 4 times in the last 3 years. His balancing machine is the standard center hole. I have heard of tires being balanced on the car. maybe i will see if someone does that in our area. I have used the balancing beads in the wire wheels on my 1926 Model T speedster. They did help on that car. But tires are much smaller and car is about 1/4 the weight. I guess the next thing I do is take my new rims off my Mustang and try them on the Tbird. We really like the looks of the wire wheels.
                    Dena & Dennis Gorder
                    1958 Coupe
                    Registry # 3422


                    • #11
                      His balancing machine is the standard center hole.
                      As mentioned earlier, this could be the root of your problem. You are not locating the wheel on your car using this center hole because the center hole is larger than the hub of your car. This is why the recommended balance procedure is called "stud centric" because you are locating the wheel by the taper on the lug nuts.

                      It can't be helped when the wheels are not located by the same method as mounted on the balancing machine.

                      All you need to do is to look and see if there is a gap between the center hole and the hub to determine the balance method.


                      • #12
                        The hole in the wheel is larger than the hub. Yes there is a space. I will try to find someone that can balance it differently.
                        Dena & Dennis Gorder
                        1958 Coupe
                        Registry # 3422


                        • #13
                          I knew a friend that had a similar issue, and his turned out to be there was a balance weight on the front side of the brake drum, and the wheels he had on it fell right against that small raised weight. Not sure that would be your issue, but worth a look.


                          • #14
                            Most of the relatively modern passenger cars (this includes T-birds) manufactured in the the U.S.A., that I have been involved with, have utilized the "hub centric" intention rather than "lug centric". This engineering provides an accurately located center hole intended to register the wheel "on center" as mounted to the axle which provides the hub register protrusion, with the responsibility of retention allocated to the lug studs & nuts. Hence the reason the wheel balancer locates off the center hole also. In wheel applications without this locating feature, each time the wheel is removed and reinstalled one will often have an off centered installation providing the felt vibration. We have encounter this repeatedly, and found the proper solution is to machine adapter rings, pressing/shrunk over the axle register and providing an O.D. appropriate to locate the wheel correctly. Note that proper rebalancing of the wheel may be required.

                            How is it, that the after-market wheel producers can decide (for a more universal application product) to reassign engineering responsibilities without anticipated failure? Unfortunately, this is a problem that persists. Also, keep in mind that another responsibility of the hub register is to support the wheel in impact loads perpendicular to the studs, to resist their shearing in their weaker plane.

                            These are not ten hole Budd rims on your old truck; note that even most newer trucks no longer use lug centric but have converted to hub centric for the notable benefits.



                            • #15
                              When I bought new wheels for my 65 Mustang to replace my unilug wheels, they came with centering rings. This assured the wheels fit tight against the hub. Since replacing the wheels I have had no shimmy at all. Maybe years ago these wheels had centering rings as well. I have no idea when these wheels were added to the car.

                              I will get through this without replacing the wheels.
                              Dena & Dennis Gorder
                              1958 Coupe
                              Registry # 3422