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Spokes Loosening

Phil Mahood

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
The rear wheel spokes of a section C Rapide have all become a bit slack. There was only a few hundred miles on the bike after the wheel build. The rim is still running true. But, we'll still need to demount the tire and re-true the wheel.

The 19 inch rim, spokes, and nipple are all stainless, and all new. The threads were coated with copper anti-seize compound. After the lace up, all the spokes were tight and had the same tension and sound when struck - ie. a good job. I've never seen this happen.

Any thoughts on the cause of things coming loose? Has anyone else had this happen?
 

Prosper Keating

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
A dab of light oil or grease is alright on spoke threads but if the spoke threads and the nipple threads are well-formed, you should be able to dispense with lubrication, especially if different metals are involved. I would say that "Coppereaze" or any similar copper-based anti-seize compound, being very slippery stuff, would impede or prevent the threads from maintaining a torque figure, especially under the stresses in question, thereby allowing them to slacken off quite quickly in use. This may be the cause of your problem. Once set up, spoked wheels should only need tuning up comparatively rarely under normal road conditions. A well-fitting, robust spoke nipple spanner or key is indispensable as the threads do tend to oixidise, rendering 'tweaking' difficult. An old wheel will often have spokes that need to be cut away for this reason.

So, I'm afraid you have to remove the rubber, slacken off the spokes, exposing the threads, rinse off the anti-seize and true the wheels back up. That done, you shouldn't have anymore problems. It's a bore, but having a wheel collapse on you at 80 or 90 mph on the motorway is also a bit of a bore.

Get a square metre of marine ply and some little blocks of wood of various thicknesses, lay a wheel on it, resting on its bare brake drum, and place said blocks under the rim at three or four points, until they just support the rim with the brake drum on the base. Fix the rim blocks in place. You now have a rudimentary jig for maintaining the correct offset, if any.

As Vincent wheels are - theoretically - interchangeable front and rear, there is no difference. Use this jig when tightening all your spokes back up again and you will have a sound starting point for final truing up of the rim, spinning on its axle and bearings with a pointer against the rim, when retensioning the spokes.

Hope this helps,

PK
 

Phil Mahood

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
P.K.,
Thanks for the thoughts. They correspond with my suspicions. It was my thought that the nipples themselves were undoing because of the copper compound. I've always been told that anti-seize was advisable on like metals. I've had to cut many wheels apart where the threads had galled. But, on this forum, there is another thread where anti-seize was recommended for like metals in a wheel build.

It's been my experience thatl the wheels I've built stayed true, as they should. The only difference this time is the use of a copper compound.

Anyway, don't worry. We're not going to be taking any chances with safety. We'll just redo the job without the compound. If someone, some day needs to cut some spokes, so be it.

Cheers, and thanks for the suggestion.

Phil Mahood
 

vin998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
Spokes

On the topic of spokes, I have always been advised to use Chrome plated brass nipples when using stainless spokes, as stainless against stainless threads can lockup before the spoke has reached the required tension when not using lubrication or anti seize. With brass nipples on stainless spokes no thread lubrication is required.

Cheers,
Simon.
 

indianken

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
SS Spokes

Phil,

I have built quite a few wheels, most using
Buchanan's stainless steel spokes and nipples. Buchanan's recommends using an anti seize compound during assembly and they sends it with their spoke kits.

One thing I do that may help you is, I have made up a punch, formed to the nipples shape, that I use to set the nipple after an initial tensioning. Place it over the bottom of the nipple and give it a good rap with your hammer. This should set the nipple into the wheels spoke dimple and help keep their final tension.
Retention the spokes and check for run out.

By doing this I seldom need to retune any spokes more than 2 or three flats after a good 100 mile run in.

It's worked well for me.
Ken Smith

 

A_HRD

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Spokes

Phil,

Ken makes a very valid point about seating the nipples in the rim-dimple. That could well be the problem with your wheel.

You mention that your spokes and nipples are both stainless. If that was me I certainly wouldn't be dispensing with the lubricant on the threads. You might want to tweak them up after a few hundred miles only to find that some have seized... :eek:

Peter B
Bristol, UK
 

indianken

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Phil,

Ken makes a very valid point about seating the nipples in the rim-dimple. That could well be the problem with your wheel.

You mention that your spokes and nipples are both stainless. If that was me I certainly wouldn't be dispensing with the lubricant on the threads. You might want to tweak them up after a few hundred miles only to find that some have seized... :eek:

Peter B
Bristol, UK

Peter,

I have done many set of wheels with Buchanan's stainless steel spokes. My problem has been my friends,:confused: knowing I can respoke a wheel, will drop them off with a, "NO RUSH, GIVE ME A CALL WHEN THERE FINISHED". Most times a case of my favorite beer will be accompanying a sad set of wobbliers. When I have finished them , I ask my friends come back with in 200 miles or so to check on them and, as in my original post, no major adjustment has been necessary except for one friend who seems to play "Pot Hole Pool" with his BSA.

My Vincent, PIP, now has well over 20,000 miles on new spokes and wheels done in this fashion and only needed a nip up at the first 200 miles. I have never had one of Buchanan's spokes seize on any of the ones I have built and checked. SS steel will readily seize to itself so I have always wondered what grades of SS Buchanans used. Looking for an answer I came upon this
web site,

<http://www.estainlesssteel.com/gallingofstainless.html>.

I found it very informative.:rolleyes:
Ken Smith
 

Phil Mahood

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thanks, everyone.
There is a lot of good advice here. I think we can take a couple of tips out of this to resolve the problem. In particular, setting the spokes with an impact tool, and using a non-copper lubricant, seem to make sense. I'll give it a go.
Phil
 

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