In a letter from Mr Wilkin to Mr Laine (the first and second owners of Peabody) Mr Wilkin said “changing a wheel is straightforward when you know how”. The handbook doesn’t show you how to do it. The internet doesn’t tell you how to do it. So, I grabbed the bull by the horns and did it myself without instruction.
How to change a wheel on a 1934 Rolls-Royce 20/25
Knowing where the jack was was my first test. Lifting the right hand side of the bonnet reveals a small bottle jack, a long metal rod (folded in two) and a shaped piece of wooden dowel. Also a huge c-spanner situated right next to the bulkhead.
Place the bottle jack under the main axle and unscrew the disc on the top of the jack until it reaches the bottom of the axle. Make sure the handbrake is fully applied. Locate the jack arm into the ‘bobble’ at the base of the bottle jack and insert the wooden dowel into the end of the arm. Turn clockwise to raise the jack. Raise until the wheel is nearly off the ground.
I quickly realised that the c-spanner fitted into the retaining ring for the spoke cover disc, so, I carefully unscrewed the air valve from the retaining plate located in the disc so to be able to completely remove the disc from the wheel thus revealing the spokes. I believe that it is possible to remove the wheel without removing the spoke cover disk however, be careful with the hammer not to dent the disc when removing the big nut in the next paragraph.
Next the large chrome nut with the RR insignia. There’s a special spanner tool for removing this located in the right hand engine compartment. It looks a bit like a ping-pong bat with a long handle and a large hexagonal hole in it. Removing the wheel without this would be near impossible. Place the tool over the big chrome nut and secure in position with the two spring-loaded clips located on the spanner. The tool has a redeeming feature – a screw down pressure plate which applies pressure to the castleated disc in the centre of the hub. Once this is screwed down the chrome retaining nut is free to move. Take your 2 pound rubber hammer and strike the handle of the tool to loosen and unscrew the big nut. Once this is removed the wheel can be removed. Remember to jack up a little bit more so the wheel is completely off the ground. Grasp each side of the tyre with your hands and pull firmly towards yourself. The wheel should slide off into your hands. Hurrah!
Take your spare wheel and check there is a good smear of grease on the splines inside the hub of the wheel before locating the wheel on the end of the axle.
Continue to assemble the various components in the reverse order that you removed them.
Be sure to stow the jack, arm, handle and c-spanner back into their correct place for use next time.