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Old 10-04-2003, 11:00 AM
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I need to un-rivet some old custom wheels

I have a pair of old 60s Radir 5-spoke wheels that I want to take apart, have chromed and reverse for a deeper look. They have a steel rim and cast aluminum 5-spoke web. The web is held to the rim with two 1/4", round head rivets on each spoke that penetrate thru the rim into the spokes about an inch. I have access to the rear of the rivets but they are very tight.

Does anyone know how to take these rivets out without danger of damage to these rare wheels?

I though about using a hand held pneumatic impact tool with a 1/4" probe on the back end of the rivet to back it out. Maybe that plus heating up the aluminum with a torch to expand the holes and lossen the grip. The last thing I want to resort to is grinding off the rivet heads adn trying to drill out the remaining rivet shaft. That is always a sloppy task with usually poor results.

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Old 10-04-2003, 02:37 PM
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I would throw it up on a milling machine and use a two flute end mill to locate the center of the rivet, go in with the right size two flute milling cutter 1 1/2 diameters and then go through with a drill. This way you won't kiss the edge of the hole and a small tree shaped abrasive point can be used to grind around the periphery of the hole until you grind through and "pop" the head.

If the length of hole engagement is not critical you could always use the end mill to machine off the head and then punch it through. If your careful you might only take off a couple of thou of aluminum of the length of the hole.

Probably the fastest an safest way to do it. Those are high strength rivets that precipitation harden on assembly, an aircraft parts supplier should be the best place to find them. They are a bugger to machine, use a carbide milling cutter if you can.
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Old 10-04-2003, 03:08 PM
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Thanx Chuck. Hadn't thought of a milling machine (probably 'cause I don't have one!). However, the rivets are the usual ones you think of with the peened tails. They have round heads and the tails lack protruding from the back side of the hole by about 1/4". They look like they are some sort of interference fit in the hole rather than the classic peened over mechanical lock. I envision the shanks may have some sort of fluting and they were simply interference pressed in at the factory. Makes sense since these wheels were affectionately known as "rattlers" 'casue the rivets inevitably loosened and started rattling.

A previous owner did the ugly "grind the head off" routine on a couple of the rivets and they are as resistant to the hammer and punch from the head side as they are from the back side. Even with the heads gone, the rivets are firmly planted.

I plan on going back in w/ grade 8 flathead Allen screws so won't need to fool with rivets. Just would like to get the old stuff out and retain the clean original holes to ease installation of the new hardware. It's going on a show car so miles will be very gentle and far between.
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Old 10-04-2003, 04:47 PM
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Oh I see, bolting it together sure would look nice. Once you have drilled a hole through them, some Super Cold will shrink it and perhaps break the steel/aluminum bond. I think those fasteners had a steep helix and you may have to turn them out, if your hole size is close to a standard inch or metric size it might be best to just locate the hole center and put an endmill right through. A little bigger shouldn't hurt strength much. Ideally you would want your bolts to fit size for size into a reamed hole so they locate the whole assy and don't eventually work loose. A mill is definetly the best place to do it.

Unfortunetly I don't have a mill big enough either.
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Old 10-04-2003, 05:03 PM
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What you may be looking at are Ice Box Rivets. I work at Boeing and we use them at times. The rivet is usually a few thousands oversize and frozen in liquid nitrogen and shrinks to the hole size. It's then installed and upon thawing out tightens up in the hole. You'll break the wheel long before you punch it out. They are hard and you'll have to drill them out. Get some quality cobalt or titanium bits, center puntch the head and work your way up to the shank size. At this point the head will pop off when you reach the depth of the head. Be ready and don't let the drill walk on you and mar the wheel, remove the head and continue thru the shank. I'd consider tapping the wheel for your allen heads as you'll have to go one size larger anyway so a minor opps won't be a biggie. A good machine supply distributor can get you what's called Double Margin Drills or Stepped Drills. They'll have a pilot size (the original hole) and a larger finish size for your tap size. With patience you can do what you are considering fairly cheep and good enough for what you'r doing. Hope this helps - Good Luck..
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Old 10-04-2003, 06:35 PM
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A picture is worth a thousand words and I'm thinking my words are near enough the thousand mark to paint you guys a good picture of what I am talking about so take a gander at this 3000 word essay and tell me what you think. Fluted, pressed in rivets right?

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Old 10-04-2003, 08:34 PM
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Willys...What Chuck said is a good way to do it or if you know someone who has a lathe that is large enough to chuck up the wheels then you could sneak in with a turning tool and turn them down to within a few thousands of the actual wheel. Then you can take some ribbon cloth sandpaper and while they are still on the lathe and turning sand them down to the wheel surface. You will need to spot them directly in the center to be able to drill them but I would not attempt to drill by hand. They need to be set up on a larger, preferably radial drill press where you have enough room to clamp them and drill them straight. There are numerous machine shops around that you should be able to find someone. If I was back to work and you were closer I'd be more than happy to do them for you. But you know how that is. If you do have someone else do them I would think that you would want to be there to oversee the process. Good luck.

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Old 10-04-2003, 08:38 PM
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Yep, those are the ones. They are the same as the type used to hold on the heat shield on the bottom of intake manifolds except they are shrunk in like Pony mentioned. Heating the wheel in the oven at 350 F for a few hours and then hitting it with a impact hammer equipped with a pin punch from the wheel flange side might be worth a try, they just might come out.

I remember these rims and your right they do rattle after being subjected to high horsepower engines because the rim is so thin and the holes end up getting egg'd out. To fix that problem I would weld on some solid rings for the bolt to bear on which would prevent the rim from trying to shear such a thin section. Fine pitch Helicoils in the center might be a good idea too.

Not bad shape Willy, definetly worth saving. Thinking of putting some winter tires on the Willys this year.
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Old 10-04-2003, 09:02 PM
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Those are some cool looking wheels. Ansen made some like that back in the 60's too. I know your not going to like this reply, But, I really don't think you ought to be using any kind of force on those castings. I'd hate to see you crack one. Fluted or not I'll stick with my above fix. If you're that uncomfortable drilling them out your self, run out to the airport and look up the guys that do repair work. They drill out rivets for a living, are usually car nuts too, and could fix you right up. (ok I've hit 3000 words too!!) Good luck and post some pictures when done. p.s. Love your Willys.. used to race a C/G 57 chevy in the late 60's and got to see the back of K.S. Pittman's S&S Willys. TWICE!!

Ok!Ok! I hear the keyboards clicking already. "What's he mean C/G" .. The year was 1967, the track Capitol Drag way, Bladensburg Md. (the Downhill Drag strip)(another story). East coast Gasser Wars. The S&S boys showed up (out of Kansas I think) With three cars. 1.A/G 40 Willys Supercharged, Stone/Cook/Woods. 2. A/G 34 Willys Supercharged, Pittman. C/G 34 Willys Injected (Olds motor I think) Pittman. I had a steel body they were Fiberglass. See ya!!

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Old 10-04-2003, 10:22 PM
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Thanks guys. Guess I am going to have to drag out the old titanium bits and break a few. Just though there might have been an old timer out there who came up with a nifty way to beat the system. Chuck - they better be worth saving, just spent $160 on them this week end! Here is a picture of the car I am reproduction. In summary Ed Roth built it in '63, the frame kept breaking just being hauled from show to show due to bad design and a lot of weight. Ed got disgusted and they pushed it off the trailer somewhere in Tennessee and it disappeared. Spotty info is that it was parted out for engines and the body and frame were destroyed. These wheels have been the hardest part to find by far. Already have the engines, trannys, front axle (thanks Dinger!) rear ends, parts to make the front wheels, lights, etc. You may notice the wheels I got are 'no rib' version while Ed's were 'one ribbers'. They also made two and three ribbers too. When I get the webs out, I'll just run a bead of aluminum with my TIG, chrome everything and bolt the webs back in reversed and I should have an identical match.

PS - I have the big headlight pod and stem finished in plaster ready to pull a fiberglass mold from which I'll make the final fiberglass part. Will do the front 'grille shell' next.


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Old 10-04-2003, 11:45 PM
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Willys, I forgot about your Roth project.....Project of the month story and now this.....might I pass out from coolness overflow factor????
Whew......what a guy!!!!
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Old 10-04-2003, 11:57 PM
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Not to mention my king cab '53 Chevy pickup project which is in the paint booth right now waiting for etching primer!
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Old 10-05-2003, 12:10 AM
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eyes roll back.....head sways.....knees buckle.....flat on floor.......ammonia, oxygen and water over here STAT!!!!
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Old 10-05-2003, 03:26 PM
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We have a code blue in suspension and steering! Stand back please! Resusc team coming through!...

Hang in there buddy were here to help, I need a large bore needle and 50cc of adrenalin STAT! Madd, elevate his feet! C-mon man your not dying on me today.

Ok we still got flatline, I'm gonna have to shock him...hand me the paddles and lube...give me 1000 joules on the machine...quickly dammit!

I need accesss to the sternum, someone cut the shirt...stand back. Keep baggin him Madd!

BEEEEEEEEP!...CLEAR!...Thuuuuump!

BEEEEEEEEP!...No go, give him another...2000 joules this time...stand back...CLEAR!...THUUUUMP!

BEEEEEEEEP!...be bop...be bop...c'mon man your almost there...be bop be bop be bop be bop be bop...

Ok, looks like he's out of danger...start him on some IV beta block and check his wallet for insurance. That was close.

Can you hear me Sandflea? C'mon wake up...you gave us quite a scare there. Do you know where you are? Your at Hotrodders.com and you overdosed on Willy's...you have to take those things in moderation buddy. It's Ok now, we will move you into one of the private rooms at the end of the corridor and send in some student nurses to sponge bathe you...you'll be just fine. If he starts to crash give him some IV lager beer, pump it in you have too. We might need the candy stripers too, page them once the student nurses are finished with him.

I'll be in the garage if you need me.
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Old 10-05-2003, 05:06 PM
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Willys, guys, you are making me feel ancient and inept!!!!

Trees
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