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The 100 Forum

Wires to steel wheels?

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filospinato Avatar
filospinato Jake Voelckers
Manassas, VA, USA   USA
Has anyone put steel wheels on their 100? I've got a line on steel wheel BN4, wondering what I should scavenge to do the swap. Ideas?

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cpcooper Craig Cooper
Chico, CA, USA   USA
Get the rear axle, complete with brakes, for sure. The BN4 up hypoid axle is far more rugged than the BN1 spiral bevel unit, but it is heavier and the swap will not be to the liking of purists. If it is from a non-overdrive car, you'll have The added bonus of 3.55 or thereabouts axle ratio vs the 4.10 used in OD cars. (Disc wheel cars are more likely to be non-OD than their fancier wire wheel counterparts). The other important things with the disc wheel axle are difficult to find brake drums incorporating a thick spacer and long hub studs to accommodate them. If you decide to go with wire wheels, you can still use the BN4 axle, but you will need to get different brake drums, shorter hub studs, and splined hubs, all of which are readily available and relatively inexpensive.

You might as well grab front suspension, spindles, hubs, and brakes, but they will be drums, I believe comparable to BN2. A disc brake set up for disc wheels will be much harder to find.

filospinato Avatar
filospinato Jake Voelckers
Manassas, VA, USA   USA
Thanks, Craig. Though I'm not concerned about purism, I do like period mods. The donor is a rolling car, I'll check and see about the gearbox.
Would the later uprights that take a caliper work with this setup? Might need a spacer on the hub in place of the drum?
Thanks,
jake

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sliproc Avatar
sliproc Kevin Quistberg E
Long Beach, CA, USA   USA
Jake,

If you like steel wheels you might consider a set of steel knock offs that will fit your w/w car. If you can't find a set on the market you can probably have a wheel specialist make you up a set. It might be easier and cheaper than swapping out major suspension parts and your 100 can be quickly returned to stock if needs be.

Albuquerque, NM, USA   USA
I believe you will need to change out the front hubs and, I think, the spindles as well as the rear brake drums and studs. If you are planning to stay with drum brakes in front you will find these parts thin on the ground as they were only used on the BN4s and BN6s between 1957 and 1959.

All in all I think the better solution is a set of center lock Panasports. Leave your wire wheel headaches behind. If you do decide to go with center locks, With either new wires or Panasports, you need to check the condition of the old splines on the hubs. Otherwise you will risk damaging the new wheel centers.

Bill Lawrence
BN1 #554

Guido36 Avatar
Guido36 Guy C
Ventura, CA, USA   USA
1953 Austin-Healey 100 "Aggie"
Depending on budget you might consider saving yourself the work of swapping out the hubs, brakes etc. and going with a set of Dunlop D Type wheels. They are available both splined from www.cape-international.com and splined or,bolt on from other vendors such as Realm Engineering and Image Wheels in the U.K. These wheels are period correct (unlike the Panasports/Minilite clones which did not first appear until a decade later) as they were first fitted to all three Healey team cars entered into the 1953 Mille Miglia and are available either in 15” or 16” diameter, the latter giving you a bit of mich needed additional ground clearance. This is not a cheap exercise but they look killer if you like the competition look.

See here for how they look on a 100-4:

https://www.classiccarratings.com/auction-results/austin-healey-100-special-test-recreation-1954-bn1222062-monaco-8010

And here:

https://sportandspecialty.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/1955-AH-100R-7.jpg

Cheers

Guy

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