So I had some time to kill tonight and got around to a project I've been meaning to tackle for a bit now. I have a set of Mavic Cosmos wheels that I bought a few years back and put about 7,000 miles on (lots of miles near the beach and in the winter). They are currently on my wife's bike and the last time I was checking out the bike I noticed that some of the rear non-drive side spokes had very little tension. The wheel was plenty true but I didn't like the idea of letting those loose spokes go untouched.
I start retensioning tonight and realize that many of the nipples, especially on the drive side, are really difficult to turn (straight pull spokes twisting isn't helping either). I get the tension evened up and proceed to start retruing. That's when one of the drive side nipples decides to disintegrate. Basically, the flats of the nipple broke off but the spoke is still tight as it's still threaded into the remains of the nipple. Thankfully, the nipples have a hex on the backside which will allow me to back the remains of the nipple off easily, as soon as I find an extra 5.5mm deep socket to machine down small enough to fit inside the rim.
Finally my question, in your personal opinion of maintaining wheels (for those of you who do such things), what would you recommend:
a. just replace the broken nipple, lube up the others, and go about truing
b. replace all of the nipples before going any further as I'm likely to encounter similar problems later on if I don't get any lube on the spoke threads (of course I'd be greasing the spoke threads when I install new nipples)
Option b is a lot more work but I'm leaning towards it simply because I like knowing a job is done right. I have plenty of extra nipples to use too. Dripping lube onto tight nipples isn't likely to really lube the threads all that much and certainly won't get rid of the existing corrosion.
I also half-heartedly considered respoking with double butted spokes as well although straight pull spokes seem to be a real pain to source, at least online. I'll be calling the LBS tomorrow to check on the cost though I doubt I'll do it.