Banded wheels, retro steels, widened steelies, whatever you like to call them, have been popular since the 1960’s. Many mk2 escorts were seen driving about with widened wheels to give that retro wide wheel look, and with them still popular today we thought we would give a quick Q&A on some of the most frequently asked questions about wheel banding.
What is a Banded wheel?
A Banded wheel is where a standard steel wheel off a car which consists of a outer rim, or sometimes called a barrel, and a centre pressed plate is then welded together to make a wheel capable of fitting a tyre to it. The wheel is then cut on the outer edge and a rolled steel band of a certain width is then added to make the wheel wider, this is welded in place safely and a wider tyre is then fitted.
How is it done?
The outer edge of the wheel is cut away from the barrel, this can be done in several ways depending on the wheel itself, sometimes with a Grinder etc, but we prefer to cut with a lathe as this keeps the cut true and clean and helps when re-assembling. A band is measured and cut to length, which is then formed in a set of rolls, this is then inserted and tack welded in place between the outer edge and the barrel where the first initial cut was made. To check for trueness we place it back in the lathe and spin it up before welding.
Once the outer edge is welded, we then sand and dress it up to give a smooth finish and shows a deep dish look. After cleaning the wheel it is then placed back in the lathe once more and checked/altered to ensure the wheel is true before the inner seam is welded.
Will I need an inner Tube?
No. After welding is done the wheel will hold air the same as it did before banding, and we have a pressure tester that we use to check all wheels after welding to ensure there are no leaks.
Can I band wheels myself?
We do not advise that you band wheels yourself. We use specialist machinery and tools to band them in the safest way possible, whilst keeping a very high standard. It is a difficult process, and if done incorrectly could be dangerous.
How do I know how wide to make them?
There is some measurments that will need calculating to ensure you get the right widths. If you band inwards, there is the inner arch and shock asorbers to consider which the wheel could foul on. If you go too wide on the outside you can scrape on the wheelarch, so it’s better to take a bit of time measuring up to get the look you want. We have a video on our youtube channel that helps with measuring your wheels. Click this link to view our video https://youtu.be/V_GoHSQdaNE
Are they Safe?
If the wheels are constructed and welded correctly, they are considered to be as strong as the original wheel, in the 10 years we have been banding wheels we have never had a wheel fail, and we band wheels for motorsport and contact stockcar racing where they are properly put to the test.
Are banded wheels Legal?
There is no law in the uk regarding banding steel wheels, although we advise that they have been carried out by a competent engineer and must be safe.
If you require any wheel banding please get in touch.
Steve Usher 07823889541