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MG MGA - Wire wheel and hub problem

I have been contacted by a swiss gentleman living in the USA with some questions about his wire wheels. My car has disc wheels, so I turn this over to the experts:


I just started a limited (so I hope) restoration. So, yesterday I removed the wire wheels in order to get the 30+ year old tires exchanged with new Nexen SB802 tires (165/80R15) . I then took a closer look at the hubs’ and wheels’ splines and noticed some very strange signs of wear.

Here are a couple pictures which seem to be true for all four wheels:

It seems like all of the wheels are resting more on the hex nuts holding the brake drums than on the taper.

See the marks

dominic clancy


You can see the raw metal on all the hex nuts and bolts holding the brake drums. Another concern are the spline bite-marks the wheel splines cut into the cylindrical hub shaft. As if the wheels splines’ diameter was too small.

dominic clancy

and finally

Another strange thing is that the ridges of the wheel splines are like grinded flat. Whereas the ridges of the area which are not engaging with the splines of the hub, these ridges are much taller

Only the left rear wheel seems OK. Yet, it is also grinding on the hex nuts and bolts as with the other wheels. The rear right hub was the worst (not pictured). Its hub splines are small, sharp and bent. Yet, the splines on the wheel seem to look quite normal.

What do you think happened here? Could it be that the knock-offs were over tightened, pushing the wheel too far onto the hubs? Do you see a chance that I could use these wheels and hubs or do you think it is time to replace all wheels

End of Quote

My feeling is these are ABSOLUTELY to be replaced, and I will be doing the same job on a coupe for a friend in a few weeks. But what do the experts feel is the cause of this?

dominic clancy


I wonder if it is a ww conversion on a standard disc wheel axle. When I did it Bob West supplied me with thinner nuts and instructed me to cut the stub bolts flush with the thinner nuts. Not much space in there with that modification.

Steve Gyles

This just looks all wrong. On a standard wire wheel car, the hub flange sits inside the brake drum. Perhaps this is some sort of conversion.
DM Gibson

I think Steve's advice is spot on. Our converted car had a relatively narrow nut holding the hub to the drum and the bolt had been ground flush with the edge of the nut.

It is possible for wheels to spin on the splined hub but if that was the case, the scratch marks on the wheels woild go all the way round the wheels' centre hub. I don't think you need worry about worn splines just yet.
Roger Walker

which wire wheels are they? the standard wires supplied by mws have a part no, on their website the offset and measurements are documented,

front drums are held on with 6 studs and very thin nuts, easy to check

of more concern is that rear drum picture, its inside out, the drum goes over the hub.
the hub is pressed on the half shaft, so is there a disk wheel flat face under it all, or is it just wrong?


Mog has a point. That's not the mod I did. The hubs on the standard disc to ww conversion with the disc axle have the hub inside the brake drum.

Barney shows something similar:

Steve Gyles

I believe there are two types of wire wheel conversion kits. The correct and proper way is to press the hub onto a splined half shaft which then fits into the inner hub which supports the wheel bearing. The brake drum then sits on top. This looks like the cheaper, quicker conversion where the splined hub is simply put on top of the brake drum and held in place by the wheel studs - which haven't been ground down sufficiently to allow for the wheel to bed down onto the splines. David
D Jacobs

Paul. Of course. I had this nagging feeling that I had taken the motor off my 1958 model quite happily in my early days of ownership without taking off the oil filter. But back in 2000 I fitted the high starter position back plate with my 1800 engine...... How memory fades over time. Also, not sure if the spin on oil filter mod has any bearing on this issue.

Steve Gyles

I had that type of conversion on my 57 coupe, done by previous owner. the nuts were certainly shallow and the original wheel stud ends had been flushed with the nuts. I removed them and got a set of steel wheels, painted yellow which goes with the BRG of the car, my choice/taste. I had to get new wheel studs and nuts.
now to stick my neck out, the wire wheel should sit on the conical part, to centre it and the knock off nuts will also hold it when tightened. the splines only transmit the torque to the wheel.
as in the original question, describes marks on the wheels caused by the long studs, if it is only marks and no serious damage, distortion, grooves and the conical surface is unmarked I would suggest the wheels would be OK.
I like the idea of a limited restoration, how long is a piece of string?
Ross McIntosh

Sorry. Posted on the wrong thread above. No delete button.

Steve Gyles

O my. I feel so spoiled...! Many thanks for Dominic who helped me with his expertise and posting my MGA-issue on this forum. Also, many thanks to all of you MGA-comrades for your valued input.
What sticks out for me is that it seems that you all noticed that the wheels seem to be too far onto the hub and consequently pressing against the bolts and nuts rather than against the hubs' taper.
So, the questions that I have are:
- I know, one wheel's splines are really bad. The ridges are like milled down. This wheel would definitely have to be replaced.
- Do you think I can save the three wheels that appear to be somewhat acceptable?

However, all four wheels show signs that they do not rest on the tapered parts of the hubs and the wheels but rather press against the bolts and nuts holding the brake drums.
On the other hand, why do almost all wheels create these spine-bite-marks?

Would this suggest that even if I were to replace the hubs that that the same (unacceptable) spline-carving would occur?

As far as the bolts and nuts attaching the hub to the brake drum are concerned, I heard that there are special low profile nuts available from Moss and that the bolts have to be grinded down to the nuts. Would this solve my problem?

And then, do you think that my axels were converted for wire wheels or are they fine as is?

I know, I have too many questions. But I am so thankful for all your thoughts to solve this puzzle.

Again, thanks for Dominic and all of you.

Best regards,

PS: Following are a couple more pictures

Hansueli Ryser

additional document

Hansueli Ryser

I would certainly not replace wheels with worn splines without also replacing the hubs. My father did exactly that, and despite the "new" wheels having only a few thousand miles on them, I wound up replacing them all again. The worn hubs caused premature wear of the new wheels, particularly on the rear.

Given that those appear to be conversion hubs, hopefully replacements are still available.

D Rawlins

"Hansueli Ryser, Colorado, USA,

And then, do you think that my axels were converted for wire wheels or are they fine as is?"

Your car is a steel wheel car with adapters fitted. It would appear that all the problems have been caused by the wheels fouling the studs/nuts and subsequent overtightening. Ideally you might fit a complete front wheel wire hub and rear half shaft (for longer axle) wire hub etc. but that is a much bigger and more expensive way.

To keep the wires and get rid of the existing problems you first need to change the nuts and grind the studs, replacing the adapter hubs any obviously worn or damaged wheels in the process. You can then see if the remaining wheels will tighten on the splines properly without any play. If not they will also need to be changed.

Neil MG


I have the same adapters on my '56 1500 originally disc wheel car, and have driven many thousands of miles on the wire wheels without any problems. However, it is important that the nuts are the narrow ones, and the studs are cut down. The right nuts are tapered, as well as narrow.

A friend of mine recently (two or three years ago) fitted a similar set of adapters to his coupe he was rebuilding. I believe he got them from MOSS in the US. But he hardly drives his car, so we do not know if he has a problem or not!

Obviously, the wheels should bottom out on the taper of the splines, and not on the bolts/nuts. You could replace the nuts on one wheel, cut down the studs to match the top of the nuts, and then fit a wheel after cleaning both the wheel and the splined adapter. You should then be able to tell if the tapers are making contact using a little grease on one, or by using a thin piece of paper.

If they make contact, and there is no movement on the splines, then the adapters should be OK to use.

P. Tilbury

I don't see any provision for locking these nuts. How have others done it? Is there space for original style lock tabs?
John DeWolf

Dominic - your car has Triumph wire wheel adaptors fitted, or rather incompetently fitted.

There is nothing wrong with using them, I have often done so myself, but you need to do the following:

1 - either saw off the studs so they don't interfere with the wheel, or fit a spacer, which you can have made. I have attached a picture of how to do this properly.

2 - you MUST use the proper Triumph nuts, NOT the ones on your car, which are patently unsafe. You can buy the nuts from the usual sources; they are tapered on both ends to fit in the seat of the adaptor - picture attached to the next post.

Both must and adaptors aren't particularly expensive and you should buy a new set. Be aware that the Triumph adaptors have coarse thread knock offs, but presumably you already have those on the car (MGA normally had fine thread).

Bill Spohn

Proper adaptor nuts.

Bill Spohn

Fitted adaptors (front wheel in this case).

Bill Spohn

Bill Spohn

That answers the question of how the nuts are locked.
John DeWolf

Thanks Bill

It's not my car, it belongs to Hansueli and is in Colorado, USA. The only reason I posted is because he asked me the question and I am not at all a fan of wire wheels and know almost nothing about them, so passed the question on for the experts to help him out. I am sure he will be very happy to at last have a definitive answer (and solution) to his problem.

I would agree with your assertion that the adaptors should be replaced, and I would personally get new wheels too.

I have a car coming in next weekend where the original splined hubs are also in a *very* marginal state, but it has new wheels. The rest of the suspension is also in a sorry state, so it's getting a complete suspension rebuild and new springs, bearings, seals and rubbers front an back, as well as new brake lines. It's a typical example of a really superficial cosmetic restoration that is now costing the new owner money to get safe and reliable ( I did the wiring in November which is how I unearthed the other issues) I'm just hoping that the brake cylinders and linings are OK, because I have not had to deal with front drums on an A before and have no parts in the cellar and it has to be a fast job......

dominic clancy

Hello Dominic and hello to all other LBC enthusiasts who have contributed to my MGA’s wheel/hub issues.
Thank you all for your great advices and thoughts to what is going on with my wheels and hubs. And, you all were correct; my wheel-hub-drum-axel configuration has nothing to do with any standard disc to ww conversion. Of course, the biggest issue with my wheels is that the wheels were sitting on and pressing against the hub’s bolts and nuts rather than the tapered flange! This uneven mounting surface also caused bending of the wheels, creating a wobble.
Furthermore, when I compare the disc-to-ww conversion kit MOSS-USA is offering with what I have, the discrepancy is as follows:
Front wheels:
- I have: 4-bolt hub adapters with 8TPI thread mounted on top of the brake drums
- MOSS: 6-bolt hub adapter mounted inside the hub, 12TPI thread
Rear wheels:
- I have: 4-bolt hub adapters with 12TPI thread mounted inside the brake drums. Because these hubs were mounted inside the hub, this brought the drums further out so that the brake pads pressed only partially against the brake drums…..
- MOSS: 4-bolt hub adapter with 12TPI thread mounted on top of the brake drums
As you can see, it is a big mess.

So, as a fix, I ended up buying for new wire wheels and the conversion kit which includes four new hub adapters. I better find a second job now…..
Again, I want to thank you all for your help “in getting this cow of the roof (a Swiss saying). You truly helped me bunches.

Dominic, a special thanks to you again and I am looking forward to meeting you in Zuerich this summer.

Sincerely, Hansueli
Hansueli Ryser

Hi Hansueli

I am happy to have helped out and introduced you to this group. I hope you visit often

dominic clancy

Isn't the 'net grand? I've gotten more info in this thread than I could have in a year back in the 80's.

I'm looking at picking up an A (got a '53 TD with wires last year). I now know what to look for as far as wire wheels go, as I embark on the safari.

Thank you all for sharing so much knowledge.

Brit sports cars = wire wheels. I wouldn't own one without them.


MAndrus, I do agree with you. I am so thankful for all the input I have gotten.

Anyway, as I moved forward to replace all the spline-hubs, I realized again, things do not go as smooth as I had hoped.
The front spline-hubs that were mounted on top of the drums. The spline-hubs and the drums came off w/o much trouble.
However, the rear was a little different. As mentioned earlier, these spline-hubs are mounted inside the drums. After prying off the drums, I pulled on the spline-hubs however, withit came the half-shafts.

My question to the forum members: Am I assuming correctly that the spline-hubs have to be separated from the half-shafts by use of a hydrolic press (~50 tons+)? If that is correct, I would have to take the shaft/hub assemblies to a garage that has such a press.

My second question is, how do you re-assemble the new spline-hubs with the half-shafts? Via the press (what pressure)? Or just with a non-metallic hammer? Use of locking paste?

I attached a couple of pictures.

I am looking forward to your thoughts.

Hansueli Ryser

This thread was discussed between 13/03/2015 and 26/04/2015

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