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Making your own White Walls?


MarkV
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Many in the Lowrider crowd have been doing this for years with tires having raised white letters. It is probably a really bad idea that may compromise the strength of the tire sidewall, which are miserably weak to start with in the pursuit of the tire improving ride. Yeah I know the white material is simply bonded to the sidewall, but I view the possibility of getting into the "real" sidewall at the edge of that white material makes for a problem since no one really knows the width of the white material before they start grinding.

Back in the 1950s when one's ride wasn't squat without whitewalls all sorts of more or less silly ideas cropped up from Port-a-Walls to paints. None really worked, but at least they weren't potentially dangerous.

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When Port-a-walls were popular in the 50's and early 60's, the radial tire was not available in the US. Even with bias ply tires, the port-a-walls would not stay next to the bias tire due to sidewall flex. It was easy to spot the fake white walls as the outside edge would be about an 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch from the tire. They looked good for a month or so but you very soon had a 20 to 30 foot car. The radial tire with it's greater flex probably will not work. I don't think grinding the black cover will weaken the sidewall, but give the tire greater flex the same as a similar black wall tire without the white strip.

White wall rubber is more expensive to make and the tire companies will not put a wider strip of white rubber than necessary. They will not put a 4" strip when they only need 1 or 1.5 inches. Yes, the white wall is created by grinding off the black wall covering to the width desired. The YouTube demonstration is a manual method of accomplishing approximately the results of the tire MGF.

Edited by huptoy (see edit history)
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back in the 70's, i bought a set of port-a-walls for my 1953 pontiac, they looked real good, you just had to stay away from the curb when parking the car, rub the curb, and the port-a-wall got a wave in the edge of it. i also remember at a used car lot, where i worked part time, washing and waxing the cars, a guy would come by about twice a month, he charged $5.00 a tire to jack up the wheel, spin the wheel with a electrical motor, grind a shallow one inch groove in the sidewall, and paint the groove white. then the price of the car went up $100.00 charles coker, 1953 pontiac tech advisor.

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When I first put my '57 Metropolitan on the road I didn't want to spend the extra for wide whites so I bought a set of portawalls for it. Mounting them on radials was OK for a few miles. They started making squeaking noises while I drove and the edge of the portawall was digging into the side wall of the tire. I finally spent the money and bought the correct bias wide whites for it.

As far as the video, what happens to grinding the sidewall when the narrow whitewall is already raised beyond the black, not recessed??

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It "usta be" (key word) that the sidewalls of a radial tire were pretty thick, but then this was also when most P225/75R-15 radials (and the H78-15 bias belted tires before them) had reasonably thick sidewalls and weighed between 28-30lbs/tire. Now, that same radial size usually weighs about 25lbs/tire (Tire Rack specs). Guess where that weight reduction came from? Sidewalls.

Therefore, although some brands of radials might have sidewalls that are a little thicker than others, or the white rubber might be closer to the surface than others, I would not consider it a good idea to remove any more rubber from that high-flex area--period.

In the middle 1980s and prior, some new car dealers would order cars with blackwall tires and then have an outside company "whitewall them" with their portable, "on the car" grinder. A reasonably simple process, as I observed.

Seems like Diamond Back Classics will bond a whitewall onto blackwall radials or bias ply tires?

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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...............Seems like Diamond Back Classics will bond a whitewall onto blackwall radials or bias ply tires?

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

$75.00 dollars for each tire at Diamond Back....or it uster be!:)

Forgot to mention, I now have over 40,000 miles on my pu Diamond Backs!

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Ustabe, when used car lots got cars in with mis-matched white wall tires, a guy would come by with a machine in his truck and cut the white walls all to the same width. With the white behind a layer of black rubber, it was easy to do. Then if he ran off the white rubber, white wall paint could be applied to the recessed area.

For the less than rich kids, like me, we just bought the white wall paint and made our own wide white walls. Like most kids, we had more time than money and re-painting the white wall happed every few months. Nobody in my circles ever bought new or matched tires. We liked the look of matched tires, just not the price.

Now if you can find the guy with the tire cutter, he can cut the raised white letter tires and maybe find enough white white to get them the same width,

but it leaves a rough surface that's had to clean. I also think the white wall paint is now obsolete.

post-32318-143138748094_thumb.jpg

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Growing up in Dad's recapping shop one of my jobs was to sand whitewalls that were always yellowed by the recapping process. We used a flexible shaft drum sander. Cleaned them up well but left a fuzzy surface that I'm sure was a dirt magnet. Don't remember anyone cutting whitewalls but there was a guy who came around and "regrooved" tires, illegal even back then as I remember. Still remember the smell of that hot regrooving iron.

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..................was a guy who came around and "regrooved" tires, illegal even back then as I remember. Still remember the smell of that hot regrooving iron.

Jeff, regrooving is still legal today, as long as the tire has "regroovable" stamped on the sidewall. Of course my frugal brother still does this with his road tractor tires, whether it is stamped or not. He claims a tire is still good, as long as it holds air. :eek::rolleyes::)

We've never seen a trooper question this practice yet.

Wayne

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  • 5 months later...
Interesting! There is another low-buget way to wide whites, faster and without the risk of an oops moment.... Port-A-Walls! it's been some time since they were around, but out from a time capsule garage (whose? Mine?) comes a NOS set of 14" ones that can be yours for $20.

PM me if interested.

I would like to buy these 14" Porta Walls. babrower@sbcglobal.net

Thanks

Bruce

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