Wheel Machining

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comethead
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Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2003 7:44 pm
Location: Palmdale, CA

Wheel Machining

Post by comethead »

Hello all,
Ive noticed at the track that my aluminum Torq Thrust D wheels shed little pieces of metal every time I remove and replace them for rotating. To keep the wear even I’ll rotate them 2 to 3 times a day. Seems like the soft aluminum is no match for the steel lug nuts and the ARP studs.
Cobra Automotive installs steel inserts in the wheels they sell https://store.cobraautomotive.com/wheel ... -thrust-d/
Since I already have the 6 wheels, I just ordered the steel inserts to have my wheels modified. Im still searching for a local machine shop that’s willing to do this. Some wont even look at what I’ve got. They just say no :roll:
Anyhow according to the salesman at Cobra Automotive each wheel would need to be “set up on a milling machine, indexing each hole, boring then counter bore and press the insert in.” Got it. I also think he was trying to talk me out of the inserts and into a set of their wheels.
Im starting to lean toward doing it myself if I feel I can get the tolerances exact.
Here’s a similar operation https://youtu.be/TMV2afIJtmM?si=AklUaHk6naMqYfmO

So for anyone familiar with this kinda stuff-
Would this have to be done on a milling machine or would a large drill press be OK?
I may be dreaming but it seems like a straightforward operation- boring a straight hole slightly undersized for a press fit then counter boring for the conical step in the insert.

Heres an insert for reference-
Image
Image
Image

Im not 100% convinced on the DIY route yet but I’d like some opinions.

Joe
1965 Caliente HT- 289/4 speed
1964 Falcon HT- track car- 302/4 speed
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comethead
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Re: Wheel Machining

Post by comethead »

By the way Costa Mesa isn’t too far from me, I looked up the machine shop from the video and it seems like the fellow in the video passed away a few years ago and the shop closed. Bummer.

Joe
1965 Caliente HT- 289/4 speed
1964 Falcon HT- track car- 302/4 speed
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SASSY
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Re: Wheel Machining

Post by SASSY »

Bernie at Bernie's Machine in Saskatoon Sk. could take care of you. Lol
Im sure an independent machine shop with some ties to the racing community could/would help you.
Check with custom wheel shops and fellow racers for leads.
You know me ,Id throw those suckers on the floor face down on a piece of cardboard(if handy, lol) and drill from the back side with my big old 1/2" drill.
Do you use hub centrics?
I'd rather do it myself if it's done right or not,,,isn't that what hotrodding is all about

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A/FX
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Re: Wheel Machining

Post by A/FX »

Machining a wheel is serious, if it is not done correctly it could cause vibration, or a disaster. A mill is the only machine to use, a drill press is not accurate enough. The inserts should be installed with a zero clearance which means the wheel should be heated and the insert cooled, this expands the aluminum and contracts the steel. When installed in this manner they will never separate unless a press is used. The machining needs to be done precisely, the video made it look easy, believe me to do it correctly is not that easy.
A number of years ago I (we) built a set of Mini lite wheels for one of my projects, the front wheels were narrowed and inch and the rears were widened and inch in width and rim diameter. (14” to 15”) I also built a mold and had aluminum pressure plates and knock off’s cast for them. The machinists had to use special fixtures to make sure the lug nut holes were perfectly aligned to the center of the hub, we did not use the lugs as the centering point, there was an aluminum sleeve that was interference fit to the wheel that located the wheel on the axle stub, the lugs just held the wheel to the hub. The hoops were machined with a step so that when one side was hot and the other cool they would fit together, once together the perimeter of the machined area was tig welded by a certified welder.
Installing the tapered lug nut adapters to a shoulder lug nut wheel is not as complicated but just as critical. Make sure you find a machinist that is well versed in modifying wheels.
Here is how the wheels looked before powder coating, the wheel on the left was 14x7, now 14x6. The wheel on the right has been changed from 14” to 15” with a special offset.
Image


This shows the hidden lug nuts:
Image

Jim
‘64 Cyclone/ Boss 302,quads,4spd, Winters 9”

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Joe Travers
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Location: Louisiana

Re: Wheel Machining

Post by Joe Travers »

Joe,

Just my dumb opinion but have you considered a set of steel wheels for road racing?
TTDs are nice but I wouldn't try modifying them for the track. Keep a set of street tires on them, slicks on steel.

Joe II
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1963 1/2 Custom Hardtop
342 stroker, solid roller, T-10, 3.55 posi

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poboyjo65
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Re: Wheel Machining

Post by poboyjo65 »

Get a pro to do it Joe. have you ever had a hole go egg shaped when you tried to enlarge it? aluminum & alloys dont play nice all the time. it cakes up on bits & can have a mind of it's own sometimes. surely someone in LA has done this & does it often.
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Johno

A/FX
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Re: Wheel Machining

Post by A/FX »

Try this company:
https://ericvaughnmachine.com/
Eric is well known in the hot rod world as a premier machinist when it comes to wheels.
Jim
‘64 Cyclone/ Boss 302,quads,4spd, Winters 9”

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comethead
Posts: 5691
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2003 7:44 pm
Location: Palmdale, CA

Re: Wheel Machining

Post by comethead »

SASSY wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2023 5:44 am
Bernie at Bernie's Machine in Saskatoon Sk. could take care of you. Lol
Im sure an independent machine shop with some ties to the racing community could/would help you.
Check with custom wheel shops and fellow racers for leads.
You know me ,Id throw those suckers on the floor face down on a piece of cardboard(if handy, lol) and drill from the back side with my big old 1/2" drill.
Do you use hub centrics?
I knew you’d be the one saying GOOOO!! :lol:
Thanks for the input Fred. Im not sure what a hub centric is….pretty good sign i shouldn’t mess with it myself haha!

Thanks Fred!
1965 Caliente HT- 289/4 speed
1964 Falcon HT- track car- 302/4 speed
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comethead
Posts: 5691
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2003 7:44 pm
Location: Palmdale, CA

Re: Wheel Machining

Post by comethead »

A/FX wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2023 11:24 am
Machining a wheel is serious, if it is not done correctly it could cause vibration, or a disaster. A mill is the only machine to use, a drill press is not accurate enough. The inserts should be installed with a zero clearance which means the wheel should be heated and the insert cooled, this expands the aluminum and contracts the steel. When installed in this manner they will never separate unless a press is used. The machining needs to be done precisely, the video made it look easy, believe me to do it correctly is not that easy.
A number of years ago I (we) built a set of Mini lite wheels for one of my projects, the front wheels were narrowed and inch and the rears were widened and inch in width and rim diameter. (14” to 15”) I also built a mold and had aluminum pressure plates and knock off’s cast for them. The machinists had to use special fixtures to make sure the lug nut holes were perfectly aligned to the center of the hub, we did not use the lugs as the centering point, there was an aluminum sleeve that was interference fit to the wheel that located the wheel on the axle stub, the lugs just held the wheel to the hub. The hoops were machined with a step so that when one side was hot and the other cool they would fit together, once together the perimeter of the machined area was tig welded by a certified welder.
Installing the tapered lug nut adapters to a shoulder lug nut wheel is not as complicated but just as critical. Make sure you find a machinist that is well versed in modifying wheels.
Here is how the wheels looked before powder coating, the wheel on the left was 14x7, now 14x6. The wheel on the right has been changed from 14” to 15” with a special offset.
Image


This shows the hidden lug nuts:
Image

Jim
Dang Jim thanks for the eye opening!! You’ve scared the bejeezus outta me enough to not want to mess with this one. Im going to give the shop you linked a call. Thank you!
1965 Caliente HT- 289/4 speed
1964 Falcon HT- track car- 302/4 speed
Image

comethead
Posts: 5691
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2003 7:44 pm
Location: Palmdale, CA

Re: Wheel Machining

Post by comethead »

Joe Travers wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2023 11:50 am
Joe,

Just my dumb opinion but have you considered a set of steel wheels for road racing?
TTDs are nice but I wouldn't try modifying them for the track. Keep a set of street tires on them, slicks on steel.

Joe II
I had a set and they were heavier than these aluminum ones so I sold them. I think I’m going to stick with these and either A) destroy them beyond use lol or B) find a shop to do the wok for me

Thanks Joe!
1965 Caliente HT- 289/4 speed
1964 Falcon HT- track car- 302/4 speed
Image

comethead
Posts: 5691
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2003 7:44 pm
Location: Palmdale, CA

Re: Wheel Machining

Post by comethead »

poboyjo65 wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2023 12:50 pm
Get a pro to do it Joe. have you ever had a hole go egg shaped when you tried to enlarge it? aluminum & alloys dont play nice all the time. it cakes up on bits & can have a mind of it's own sometimes. surely someone in LA has done this & does it often.
Ugh thanks Johnnie.. you’re right. Ill sit this one out and try to find a pro

Joe
1965 Caliente HT- 289/4 speed
1964 Falcon HT- track car- 302/4 speed
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comethead
Posts: 5691
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2003 7:44 pm
Location: Palmdale, CA

Re: Wheel Machining

Post by comethead »

A/FX wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2023 1:25 pm
Try this company:
https://ericvaughnmachine.com/
Eric is well known in the hot rod world as a premier machinist when it comes to wheels.
Jim
Thanks again Jim!
1965 Caliente HT- 289/4 speed
1964 Falcon HT- track car- 302/4 speed
Image

User avatar
Joe Travers
Posts: 2423
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:23 pm
Location: Louisiana

Re: Wheel Machining

Post by Joe Travers »

comethead wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2023 3:01 pm
I had a set and they were heavier than these aluminum ones so I sold them. I think I’m going to stick with these and either A) destroy them beyond use lol or B) find a shop to do the wok for me

Thanks Joe!
Yeah, I figured the car handles better w/ aluminum but thinking of safety. Had a AR aluminum wheel crack on me many years ago. Thank goodness I wasn't driving 100+ mph when it occurred.

Don't destroy your wheels, man! :wink:

Joe II
Image

1963 1/2 Custom Hardtop
342 stroker, solid roller, T-10, 3.55 posi

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