Lotus Elan

Wheel repair - US

PostPost by: fattogatto » Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:14 pm

Unfortunately, the PO of my S3 decided that "more was better" when it came to installing the center lock standard wheels - to include the usage of a very large steel hammer when tightening the wheel nuts. Result - all wheels are somewhat wonky, from a max of 5/16 out-of-round to a mere 1/16 out-of-round. As these are riveted wheels, has anyone tried to dismantle the wheels, straighten the centers and either re-rivet or weld the centers into new appropriate rims?

Or, does anyone have a good wheel repair source in the US who will tackle steel wheels. All of my local wheel repair shops will only tackle ally wheels.

While discussing wheel repair, said PO was also ham-fisted and severely nicked the spokes on all of the Panasports the car wears. So, any suggestions as to repairing these nicked spokes?

Thanks
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PostPost by: tesprit » Sun Sep 25, 2016 6:24 pm

I too have been trying to find someone here in the States that can straighten these steel Lotus wheels. Just about everyone I have contacted will only work on alloy wheels and most are into simply refinishing, rather than actual straightening. This is good news for your Panasports because most all wheel repair guys offer refinishing services so it shouldn't be hard to get your banged up wheels refinished. Some wheel services even offer mobile repair and they will come to your house to do the work so you may not have to deal with shipping your Panasports to get then refinished. I only found two guys that would even consider looking at my steel wheels but both were thousands of miles away and would only work on them for $100 an hour with absolutely no guarantee that they could actually straighten them or that they would remain straight afterward. :(

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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:04 pm

Whilst I don't live in the USA, I have repaired steel wheels. Like you I could not find a company who would do the work, so thought I might be able to do the job myself. In Britain virtually all auto industy products have aluminium wheels. Commercial vehicles generally use steel wheels but are large. The trailer and caravan manufacturers use steel wheels. I visited my nearest caravan stockist who kept a stock of steel wheels, the manufacturer was MEFRO.

MEFRO are a German company, and they sold me rims for €20 each (that's about $20 each). I am fortunate to have a lathe and press that are large enough for the work. The Mefro rims are a little too large to fit the Lotus centres, so I cut most of the old rim away with an angle grinder, and then turned the remainder of the rim down until I had an interference fit of 0.001" per inch of diameter. I pressed new rims onto the old centres, put them back into the lathe to check if they were true, and had them welded. I left the rivets in to ensure the piece of rim that was left after turning did not move when I pressed the new rim into place.

Other things to check before starting. Are the centres cracked? Are the peg holes oval? Measure the position of the original rim with respect to the centre so that you don't alter the track of the vehicle.

I am guessing that you have steel wheel manufacturers in the USA and that you don't need to import from Germany. Any decent machine shop can do what I have done as it is pretty basic mechanical engineering work. As for the cost, I have no idea of hourly rates in the US. If you want to discuss further please send me a message.

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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:26 pm

Hello Charles,

I had my Elan wheels straightened years ago by Rite-Way Wire & Wheel Specialists in Walnut Creek, CA. (925) 933-4046. There is no website. These guys are truly analogs in a digital world. I worked with Jose.

They were able to straighten them pretty well. The worst wheel that had 3/16" runout was straightened fairly true. After about a month of use, the 3/16" runout returned to that wheel. I found another wheel that was true and refinished it to look like the rest of my wheels. I used the out of true wheel as a spare after I found the original spare was almost unusable.

Most wheel refinish shops can refinish your Panasports and make them look like new. Jose straightenend two Revolution Alloys for me and they came back true.

Regards,
Dan
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:18 am

RichardHawkins wrote:MEFRO are a German company, and they sold me rims for €20 each (that's about $20 each). I am fortunate to have a lathe and press that are large enough for the work. The Mefro rims are a little too large to fit the Lotus centres, so I cut most of the old rim away with an angle grinder, and then turned the remainder of the rim down until I had an interference fit of 0.001" per inch of diameter. I pressed new rims onto the old centres, put them back into the lathe to check if they were true, and had them welded. I left the rivets in to ensure the piece of rim that was left after turning did not move when I pressed the new rim into place.

Other things to check before starting. Are the centres cracked? Are the peg holes oval? Measure the position of the original rim with respect to the centre so that you don't alter the track of the vehicle.


Thank you Richard, would you have photos of the results (esp. welding area) ?
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PostPost by: Sandals man » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:34 am

Hello everybody,I live in holland and had my bent steel rim straightened by www.velgenrichten.nl in holland .Cost 55 euro.Regards
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PostPost by: fattogatto » Mon Sep 26, 2016 2:04 pm

Thanks Dan. I'll check them out.
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:11 pm

I don't currently have any photographs, and will not have any time tomorrow, but will try to photograph Wednesday.

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PostPost by: The Veg » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:29 pm

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PostPost by: fattogatto » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:34 pm

That is probably the way to go when all is said and done. To powder coat a set of steel wheels costs about $250 so you are getting a better product for around $130 each plus shipping. Machining new rims and checking centers would cost that much.
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:48 pm

Charlie,

I have taken some photos and sought advice on how to post them. I am an old analogue man in a digital world. This my second attempt to attach a photo. Hope it works this time.
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image.jpeg and
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:50 pm

Charlie,

I seem to have managed a photo. Hope you can see the detail you need. If not please contact me again.

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PostPost by: fattogatto » Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:01 pm

Thanks Richard. Good photo. Probably still best to go to Dave Bean for uprated wheels if needed.
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PostPost by: lotocone » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:45 pm



Unfortunately, the knock on steel wheels are not available from Dave Bean based on a phone call I made today. Sounds like they have been unavailable for a quite a while and a very large order would be needed to start making them again.. I'm going to see if anyone in the Detroit, MI area will repair steel wheels. I'll start by asking around at Cars and Coffee tomorrow.
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PostPost by: fattogatto » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:48 pm

Bummer
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