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Old 05-14-2009, 10:21 AM   post #1 of 12
Tractor-Holic
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Angry Best way to enlarge a rim's center hole?..

Well,I discovered some 13" rims I'd bought for my tractor (trailer rims originally) have the correct bolt circle,but the center hole is about 1/8" shy of fitting over the hub pilot on one of the tractor's I may use them on..

I've had to do this before and it was always a pain--hours of hand filing,or using a air powered grinder with a carbide burr,or grinding stone,and the results were always less than "good" as far as fit or appearence..Used a cutting torch too,but I aint hacking up the rims that crudely..

Anyone have a better way of doing it?..I just mounted the tires and hate to have to take them off again..if I'd have had a brain,I'd have tried them o the tractor when the tires were off,then maybe I could have had someone put them in a big lathe and open up the center hole,but of course that would cost money ,and I aint got any to spare right now..

I was thinking of trying a hole saw or a circle cutter thing I have,by bolting a block of wood or plywood to the lug holes,so the center drill bit on them wuld have something to help guide it..I have a circle cutting tool that is adjustible and will cut metal,I've used it to cut out 6" holes in my quonset hut wall for stove pipe to pass through..the rims dont have the usual "punched out" lip like most car rims do there,just the 1/8" or so thick steel the rims are made from..I'm not to worried about a close tolerance fit or even great looks,but want it to look better than a hack grinding ot torch job if possible..

I thought of just adding washers behind the rims between the hub,but the all the weight is only on the lugs ,and the rims wont be making full contact with the hubs..I suppose a spacer might work though,like the cheap aluminum ones they sell for mag wheels..

Sigh...I knew it was TOO easy,when I found the rims cheap,the lug pattern was correct,and the free studded snows I got for free at the dump weren't puntured or dry rotted!..it's always something..
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:29 AM   post #2 of 12
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Default Re: Best way to enlarge a rim's center hole?..

I was going to say try using a holesaw on a drill press, but I see you've thought of that. What about one of those small reciprocating saws used for auto body? I think they sell cheap ones at harbor freight. Other than that, do you know anyone with a big metal lathe?
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:34 AM   post #3 of 12
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Default Re: Best way to enlarge a rim's center hole?..

I use a black magic marker ( prmanant type ) and mark the circle on and use an air die grinder. Never takes to long and results are good if one is able to grind with in the lines.
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Old 05-14-2009, 11:55 AM   post #4 of 12
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Default Re: Best way to enlarge a rim's center hole?..

Either use the hole-saw like you said - but use either hard-wood for a base for the center drill, or a piece of metal. Otherwise you'll wiggle out the hole in the time it takes to saw through the rim, and you'll lose alignment.

Alternatively, try to find a machine shop with a lathe that can take this size object. To machine out the center would take maybe 10 minutes per wheel, and that includes set-up.
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Old 05-14-2009, 12:27 PM   post #5 of 12
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Default Re: Best way to enlarge a rim's center hole?..

I thought of using a ridge reamer,but I cant find mine,been years since I used it,and dont plan too again,so I dont care if it finished it off!..someone else I talked too suggested a pipe reamer,but I dont have one that big!..

I'm going to see if these rims will fit the Suburbans first as-is ,the hubs on them may have a smaller pilot on them(doubt it though)....if they do I'll just put them on one of them and "borrow" the old turf tire/rim off one for my Compact,since they are the same size ..or put a tube in the dry rotted one that keeps going flat instead..I have a pair of 5 and 6 lug wheel spacers kicking around in my garage somewhere,I suppose I could just use them too,IF I can find them!..
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:53 PM   post #6 of 12
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Default Re: Best way to enlarge a rim's center hole?..

Put them in your milling machine and bore them out with your boring bar...
Thats the right way...
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:43 PM   post #7 of 12
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Default Re: Best way to enlarge a rim's center hole?..

But I ain't GOT no milling machine!.. ..and a few friends that had one and a lathe,are both deceased now..

..by "best" way,I meant best way to do it at home and preferably for free,because I simply dont have cash to spend taking them to a machine shop now..and the other methods I've used are borderline butchery..(but worked)..

I've been feeling kinda crappy lately, and dont feel like spending an hour or more filing them by hand or using a die grinder again,or drill with a cheap grinding wheel that will dissapear quickly...maybe I'll just wait,its not a must have thing that I need desparately right now..I think the ridge reamer would have worked,IF I could have found it..I may have lent it out or lost it,I dont remember..been 10 years since I last saw it probably!..

I did find the wheel spacers,but they were for 6 and 8 lug wheels..no fit!.they might be the easiest way out and cheapest,I can buy ones that will fit for about 10 bucks..
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:59 PM   post #8 of 12
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Default Re: Best way to enlarge a rim's center hole?..

What about the step bits? Like these... http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=96275.

Cheap at harbor frieght... or more expensive at most any hardware/home store. Not sure what size your dealing with or what they go up to, but I've had great success with them drilling bolt holes larger in some pretty heavy steel... and stayed centered, too because the previouse step acts as a guide of sorts ... though it takes some time to eat through the thick stuff.

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Old 05-14-2009, 09:25 PM   post #9 of 12
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Default Re: Best way to enlarge a rim's center hole?..

I've used smaller step-drills ("uni-bits") like those--but I'm dealing with a hole about 3" in diameter,I measured it earlier but forgot the exact size I need to elnlarge it too,3-1/8" I think..be a pretty expensive step bit that size!..

I dont know why there cant be a "standard size" on anything automotive?..

I suppose if I go and get 10" rims with 5 lugs for the nice ATV tires I recently got that are 10",I'll run into the same thing with those rims too,seeing they were made for utility trailers too..(spent hours searching the web to see if anyone makes wheel adapters that would let me bolt 4 lug,137MM rims to my 5 lug 4.5" pattern--a few places make 2 peice ones,if you've got 360 bucks!.)..I'd be better off adapting the rims I have on those tires now,they are 8.5" wide,the trailer ones would only be 6" wide..kinda skinny for 11" wide tires,IMO..

Nothing is easy..
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:17 PM   post #10 of 12
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Default Re: Best way to enlarge a rim's center hole?..

if you can find one big enough the step bits work very well, I use to use them all the time.
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:34 PM   post #11 of 12
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Default Re: Best way to enlarge a rim's center hole?..

I've used worn grinder disk to enlarge center holes a few times with good results.
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:55 PM   post #12 of 12
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Default Re: Best way to enlarge a rim's center hole?..

Your not gonna find one that size either Robert ... If I am correct .. they only go as big as 1-3/8

I use the 7/8" and 1-3/8" sizes all the time .. and not the cheapies sold at HF .. I buy only the Greenlee or Lenox brand


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Originally Posted by Tractor-Holic View Post
I've used smaller step-drills ("uni-bits") like those--but I'm dealing with a hole about 3" in diameter,I measured it earlier but forgot the exact size I need to elnlarge it too,3-1/8" I think..be a pretty expensive step bit that size!..

I dont know why there cant be a "standard size" on anything automotive?..

I suppose if I go and get 10" rims with 5 lugs for the nice ATV tires I recently got that are 10",I'll run into the same thing with those rims too,seeing they were made for utility trailers too..(spent hours searching the web to see if anyone makes wheel adapters that would let me bolt 4 lug,137MM rims to my 5 lug 4.5" pattern--a few places make 2 peice ones,if you've got 360 bucks!.)..I'd be better off adapting the rims I have on those tires now,they are 8.5" wide,the trailer ones would only be 6" wide..kinda skinny for 11" wide tires,IMO..

Nothing is easy..
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