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Wire Wheel Discussion

Wire Wheel Discussion

Boyd, Downes, Wells, et al

Hello list, There has been some discussion about wire wheels. IMHO there is NO repair work that can be done by the amateur, myself included. These wheels must be tuned and that doesn't mean to make a ringing sound, but to establish the right balance of tightness and in such a manner as to make sure that the runout is correct. There are very few places that can do this properly and it is rapidly becoming a dying art. If you get the spokes too tight, they will snap, too loose and the wheel will flex. The rim must be soft so that spoke breakage is minimal from shock stress and over time the wheels get loose and the rim has a tendency to get out of round. All this must be taken into account to tune the wheels. THAT's why I hate the daggone things.......but they do look good! Cheers, Jeb

Hi Gregory. I am not the sort to disregard free advise and your comments have given me reason to doubt my decision to install these wire wheels on a car that has just under gone a costly restoration. However I did contact Dayton Wheels in Ohio to find out more about these wheels that I have. They told me this particular series of rims where produced specifically for use on Jaguars and are suitable and safe to install them on my XJ series Jaguar. The type that I have are simulated knock on's with a simulated knock on nut (cap). They actually bolt directly to the hub. A phone call too Jaguar's Coventry headquarters' got the answer to this same question "We do not recommend any rim to be installed on our cars other than what we manufacture for safety reasons". Gregory, do you have any personal knowledge or know any one that has used these rims and experienced problems. I thought the questions in my mind about what to do with the engine was going to be the hard one this has turned out to be twice as hard. If I decide not to use these rims do I just eat the cost or do I sell them and pass the problem on to someone else, tough decision. Regards Bob.

Keep the wheels. Use them. Enjoy them. I have had a set of Daytons on the SIII for 5 years. It came with them. I drive the car very hard. I use Eagle One cleaner. Works great. The safety issue with these wheels is in my opinion mostly bafflegab. Dayton did upgrade the number of spokes to 70 for the heavier cars. There is no way, in our current litigious times, that Dayton would continue making them if they were dangerous. Regarding phone calls to Jaguar, remember a) the people that you talk to are employed to sell Jaguars and Jaguar parts only, and they, more than likely, have never even seen a set of Dayton wires up close. Secondly, Gregory, I think you need to ease up on chastising newbies regarding 'purity' of the car and it's fittings. As I recall when you get a car, you change the purity of the trunk by installing an extra light. You prefer the 7 inch headlights to the smaller ones. It appears that a double standard exists. These are changes you make that you feel are acceptable. Other purists may feel that they destroy the car. I know a few 'concours' types here in San Diego (from other marques) and they would be horrified at the idea of screwing a light fixture from an xjs into something like the v12 you just bought. Jim Downes

I have had three different sets of Dayton wire wheels on three different Jaguars (S3 xj6, xj-s & x300), and had *zero* problems of any kind. I also know a couple of owners of Series IIIs with the 60 spokes who had no problems, but my jag shop had several 60 spoke wheels which would not stay true and couple of actual breakage incidents. When I purchased the xj-s it already had the Dayton wires installed and I was going to swap them out for Jaguar alloys, but the shop owner talked me out of it (even though I was going to buy the wheels from him). He has many customer's cars who got the 70 spoke as dealer options, he's installed some per customer's request, has them on his wife's Series III, and in his experience the incidence of trouble was consistent with Jag alloys. One of the downsides to the 70 spoke steel wire wheel is that it weighs more than the alloy wheel, but Dayton now has new wheel called the LW. This excellent wheel has an aluminum rim, is stronger than the steel version, but weighs the same as the factory alloys. They developed this because there were problems with the 70 spoke wheels at 17" diameters with low profile tires when installed on the XK8. I put 16" LWs on the x300. All that said, from your description of the wheels I suspect you might have 60 spoke wheels. You should check yours. If you have 60 spoke wheels and want to continue using spokes call Dayton and demand their upgrade program. You might also use it as an opportunity to go to 16" so you have more tire options as 15" selection is dwindling. Also if you are going to compete in concours you should use one of the correct Jaguar alloys, else suffer the deduction. I also wouldn't seriously take up autocross on wire wheels, but then I wouldn't autocross on 15" tires either. I love the wire wheels and over the years now look at every Jag thinking how much better it would look with spokes. However, that is my completely subjective option, just as you should base your decision on only your own personal desires for your Jaguar. I hope you find this helpful. Cheers, JT

I hated them with a passion. While they did indeed look good on the car, they caused no end of problems for me, even though I had them serviced several times by the local Dayton dealer. 1) Creaking when being slung around corners. Yup, even though they were properly tensioned and almost new, you could *hear* them creak when I cornered. 2) Vague steering feel - also when cornering, they car felt very vague and would wander a bit. This I attribute to wheel flex, which is not a good thing when the wheels are under a 5000lb car. 3) Air leaks. Even though I had my wheels resealed several times, I always had slow air leaks. 4) High maintenance. Although supposedly maintenance free, I always had spokes coming loose or loosening up. Every week, had to get out there and check each one of the spokes... The first chance I got I traded them for Kent alloys. All these problems suddenly disappeared. I personally view any wire wheel on an XJ to be unsafe, even for Sunday driving, due to the lack of capability for emergency maneuvers. - Henry Fok

We've had a lot of posts from wire wheel owners stating they've never had a problem with broken spokes. Coventry West has probably had as many wire wheels through our salvage department as anyone in the US the last two decades and I can say that we see a high percentage of these wheels with broken spokes, such that it is frequently difficult to assemble a four wheel set without stripping 2-3 cars. You folks with "no problem" posts: have you "rung" the spokes on your wheels? That is, have you tapped them with a metal rod or small wrench and listened to the "musical" notes. I'm betting a number of you will find loose, dead-ringing spokes on your wheels that you didn't know were there. Try this, please, and report to the list. Best regards, Gregory Wells


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