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MG MGB Technical - wire wheel adjustment

how do you adjust the spokes on a 73b wire you need any special equipment. thanks les

Hi Les

You need a wrench that fits the nut and a truing device. I use a bent wire attached to a magnet and then work off the back axle. (if your bearings and axle are running true)

Here is a link to pictures of the device I use. There are also a couple articles on how to do this.

It takes time and you will need some extra spokes and nipples. You will most likely break a couple or find some nipples that will not turn and you will have to cut the spoke.

To be done correctly, the tire should be off the rim, I spray the nipples with a penetrating fluid for a couple of days to help loosen the threads.
Bruce Cunha

Wow! Thanks Bruce. What a great but simple idea.

Tony OIiver

Hi Les,
The attached articles from Bruce are quite self explanatory so I won't go into too much further detail. The most important point is not to attempt to try to true the wheel without first relaxing the tension in the entire spoke set first. Those that build racing bicycle wheels will know this as the rims and spokes are much more delicate than those of a car .Take note of the lacing patten and wheel offset before starting work; at least keep one good wheel as a referential. I prefer first to send the entire wheel to a chemical derusting firm for a prolonged soak in a derusting bath ( usually inhibited phoshoric acid).The wheel should be returned to you neutralised and nice and clean. The nipples will then unscrew from the spoke ends with very little fuss. All broken spokes will need replacing which will entail the removal of some of their partners to refit them. The purist will replace all spokes after any breakage as a matter of course, but this is not strictly necessary on a road car.All new chromed spokes should be annealed in an oven at 180-200 deg.C for about 4 hrs prior to lacing to reduce hardness from the chroming process.The inner shorter rows are built up first , moving to the outer longer ones last. All nipples should be lubricated with a never seize compound. and then the tension is built up in the wheel using a well fitting spoke spanner, paying attention to the vertical and horizontal runout and the offset( axial position of the rim in relation to the hub). This is best done in a jig made from a wire wheel hub and axle, with a fixed point near the rim on which to mount a pointer.The finished wheel will be very acceptable with a runout within 1.5mm in vertical and horizontal directions and the spokes nice and tight with a sound ring when tapped; the inner spokes are always higher pitched than the outers owing to their shorter length. All spokes must be checked not to protrude too far from the nipple or else tube failure will occur; they can be redUced with a file.Finish the job with a couple of coats of good wheel paint( if they are not a chromed set) and a new inner tube protecting band over the spoke ends.
Wheel building is a skill that is not too difficult to aquire, and is certainly in short supply in the modern world of the aluminium wheel. One can always retreat to the knock on Minilite if the above seems too much and you are looking for long term reliability, which wires won't give you ,unfortunately, in high powered applications.

Best Regards,



Most excellent advice. I had not thought about a chemical derusting company. I have used a electrolysis rust removing tank (home built)for those rims that were really rusty.

I have a 1/2 of a 55 gal steel drum. I hang the rim off a wood pole into a caustic soda solution. Positive pole a 6 volt battery charger to the rim and Neg to the tank. Need to keep the rim in the solution and not touching the drum.

It works very well at derusting and loosening spokes.

Do be careful with the not getting splashed. The caustic soda I use is household Lye drain cleaner. Add a bit of heat and you have a great paint stripper.

Neet thing is you can neutralize it with an acid.
Bruce Cunha

This thread was discussed between 18/08/2006 and 21/08/2006

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