The MGA With An Attitude
A Personal Experience

On April 12, 2010, mjamgb wrote:
"To purchase 60 spokes, nipples and the rubber band from Moss will cost you ('book' price) $420. Each. Plain. Much more for chrome. SS unavailable individually from Moss. Paint extra.

I did this several years ago. I bent two rims (It's unimportant how, but they were useless). I got two used "replacement" rims. They had awful centers (hubs). So I thinks to myself, "Self, you could take apart the four worst wheels, mix-n-match parts and make two good wheels for nearly free!!!"

Self was onto something, but "nearly free" ended up being a somewhat wallet-benign $120. Very few of the bent rim spokes were useable, the hubs had to be removed from the rest of the wheels by blue crescent. The "replacement" rims gave me variable results, I soaked, heated, and banged to get the spokes loose but ended up ruining about a quarter of them anyway and a handful more were unusable after they came off. Later experience would indicate that I got very lucky as they usually break if not taken care of very conscientiously (loosen, lube, tighten periodically).

So, I finally had two decent rims and two decent hubs and a collection of spokes and nipples. I ordered new spokes and a bunch of nipples from Moss (about $90 worth 25 years ago, lots of extra nipples as those were VERY easy to damage and I had to use vice-grips a lot) and rubber bands. While waiting I stripped and wire-brushed the rest into some semblance of "OK." All the parts were Red-Oxide primered (rattle can) and then assembled.

First thing I learned: the spokes all had to be in the hub and close to the right orientation BEFORE starting to attach the rim with the nipples to the spokes because some of the spokes WILL NOT go in once their neighbors are already at home! Don't recall the exact lacing technique at the moment but it was pretty clear from looking at one of the still assembled wheels and it went pretty quickly once I'd done a few dozen. Once they were all laced up, tension had to be put on the spokes a little at a time and then trued. For all the talk about truing, it isn't that big a deal. In the ball-park with setting up dual SU's I'd say.

I trued them on the car, jacked up, installed one on the curb-side front, set up a measuring pointer and went at it. Biggest help was starting with the spokes "about right" judged by the amount of spoke protruding from the nipple or the distance down in the nipple it was. No spoke should be showing! You have it waaay off if it is poking out. Other spoke suppliers may vary. I also "pre-trued" by rolling the wheel across the floor periodically while initially tensioning the spokes. Wobbles and Wows are pretty clear. Another big help was using anti-seize on the threads and on the head of the nipple. Yeah, it took the better part of a weekend to build and true two wheels, but it was certainly worth it. The tire shop was pretty impressed by how straight they were :) The Moss "Hammered Silver" also looked pretty sharp.

Couple other things I learned. Simply replacing any broken, bent or otherwise damaged spokes is sometimes possible, unless it's one of those boogers that has to have five other spokes out before it will even think about going in! Which leads me to my other find. Tightening spokes can be hazardous to you sanity. I was feeling all accomplished so I tried to true the other three wheels with tires still on them. Sure as sunshine the first one I tried to tighten broke and it was one of the ones you have to remove others to replace (not to mention the tire). I gave up".

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