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Boss 338 wheels on a 1963 Riviera


patrickaturner
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Today I bought one (to be cautious) 18 x 8 Boss 338 wheel to test on my 1963 Riviera. I removed a front wheel to try the new wheel on, and was disappointed to find that the wheel doesn't clear the hub on the stock front end. Everything else about the wheels fits well—backspacing, drum clearance, etc.

I've read several threads here about the need for a spacer, but I'm wondering if anyone has a spacer they recommend? I probably need a .5 inch spacer to clear the hub and still have enough lug to safely hold the wheels on.

My main concern is finding a spacer that will work with the rivets on the stock brake drums.

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You've only tried the fronts? If you tried the backs, did they work? You have an option of putting a set of '65 or later front hub/drum assemblies on your '63 spindle. The later years have a smaller hub diameter and your wheels should clear. Another option would be to have a machinist look at them, or contact the Boss Wheel company, and see if there's enough material around the center of the wheel to machine some of the wheel so it will fit over the hub. Did you check to make sure that the rivet that attaches the hub to the brake drum isn't interfering with the fit?

Ed

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Ed, thanks for the reply. The wheel has a good amount of relief on the back of it that allows it to clear the rivets. If I had a spacer that cleared the rivets as well and had a large enough center hole (3.375" by my calculations), I'd be in good shape. I have been considering converting the front to disc brakes, so maybe I'll just go that route and solve the problem that way.

I haven't pulled a rear wheel yet. Do the back drums have the same hub size and the rivets?

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The hub is the same size. You'll notice that your stock wheels will center themselves on the hub. The center hole in the stock wheel in '65 was smaller. The hub on the end of the rear axle is the same size as the one on the front and there's no rivet on the rear so the brake drum will slide off the studs. Once the brake drum is off the back, it's easy to put in longer studs so a spacer in the rear is no problem.Easiest to swap some '65 or later drums on the front. You could also swap rear axle shafts. If you swap out the front drum/hub units and install longer studs in the rear axle, you can get rid of those pesky left hand treads as well.

Ed

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I used a simple .375" universal pattern aluminum spacer available at any auto parts store. All you need to do if you go that route is clock it so that it fits on and it naturally goes over the rivets. I did use mag lug nuts on my Astros and they center my wheel correctly on the hub?

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Thanks again for all of the info Ed. I'll do a little more tinkering on the car and then update you on what I decide. Any idea what a set of 1965 front drums should cost? There's a Riviera parts house nearby called Rivi Central that I can probably get them from.

All you would actually need is the hubs, not the brake drums. The drums you have could be riveted to the '65 hub. I also think that if you were to remove the rivet, you could treat the drum and hub as two separate assemblies. Most cars don't have the drum riveted to the hub. No room in the back of the wheel to machine the opening a little larger? What did the folks at Boss wheels say?

Ed

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All you would actually need is the hubs, not the brake drums. The drums you have could be riveted to the '65 hub.

I found it odd that the drums are riveted to the hubs. I've never seen that before. If I switch the hubs, I'll definitely leave the rivets out.

I'm going to start with a universal spacer and see how that works out. If I'm not comfortable with how that comes together, I think I'll go with the idea of converting the front brakes to disc. There is room to machine the wheels to fit the large hub on the rear, so that'll solve the problem on both ends.

Edited by patrickaturner (see edit history)
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Running spacers means that you're not getting quite as many threads holding your lug nuts. If you add a 1/4" spacer, I'd also add 1/4" longer studs to the rear axle and the front hub. It's easy to change the front hubs, changing rear axles to match is a little more difficult. You have lots of options, don't get in a hurry, look over every possibility, and list the pros and the cons. You'll have an easier time making the right decision.

Ed

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Where did you get the wheels? I had my Billet Specialities wheels notchd to clear the hubs and axles. As Ed says, you have to do all 4. Billet or cast centers are 1/2-5/8" thick. You need a 3/16" wide, 3/16" deep notch all around the back of the center hole. Contact who you bought the wheels from and see what thy say. You have to be careful adding spacers with wider wheels, as they will rub the outer fender lips.

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I picked up a pair of Mr. Gasket (http://www.summitracing.com/nv/parts/mrg-2371/overview/) 5/16 wheel spacers from Summit Racing. They fit the lug pattern and around the rivets on the front hubs, but the center bore isn't large enough to fit around the hub. Even if it did fit around the hub, it doesn't look like the lugs would be long enough to show enough thread to safely keep the lug nuts on. So, I guess I'm back to square one.

I'm thinking the best approach is going to be converting the front to disc brakes and machining the back wheels to fit around the stock hubs.

Any other ideas?

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The rear axle studs are fairly easy to remove, so you could use an adapter with longer studs on the rear. Chances are the rotor you use on the front with a disk brake conversion will fit into the center hole of the wheel.

Any reason you're not going to machine a larger hole in the rear of the wheel?

Are you stuck on the Boss 338? Would your seller take it back and let you choose a different wheel that will fit your hub?

Ed

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)
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I'm sure Summit would take the wheel back, but I really like the looks of the Boss 338 wheel. Since the wheel clears the rivets on the front drums, I supposed I could just have them all machined to clear the hubs. I will probably still need a 1/8" spacer on the front to clear the steering control arm, but that shouldn't be hard to find or have made.

When I finally solve this puzzle I'll post some images so you can see how everything turned out.

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  • 2 years later...

Update on this thread: I was finally able to get all four wheels on the car. Here's what I ended up doing:

 

1. Removed stock front drum break setup and installed a Wilwood disc break kit (https://www.opgi.com/riviera/1963/brake-systems/disc-brakes/BR03001/)

2. Had a machine shop mill a chamfer on the end of the rotors to fit inside the center bore of the wheels—the end of the hub on the rotor was hitting the outside end of the center bore of the wheel.

3. Also had the machine shop enlarge the center bore on all four wheels slightly. That way they fit perfectly around the hub of the front discs and on the stock rear drums.

 

I'm pleased with the ways the wheels fit. No spacers needed. No funny mill work that will keep me from being able to rotate the tires front to back. And best of all, it rides great and stops much better.

 

Next up I plan to rebuild the front end and install 1" lowering springs on all four corners.

IMG_5124.jpg

IMG_5125.jpg

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Just as a tip to anyone else who likes these style of wheels, Ridler makes almost the exact same thing, in chrome, grey, or black, and they fit my 1963 without any modifications to the car whatsoever.....I've got 20s on this, and 18s on my Mach 1 in the same style.  Just thought I'd try to help if anyone wants to step up to a newer style 5-spoke without shelling out the money for 4 wheel discs. Lucasridler4.thumb.png.111d62323eb2e7cf6f5351e8b1d9f230.png

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IMG_2547.thumb.jpg.6329896ffd9e903fff04d42037fad3fb.jpgIMG_20161124_121745_640.thumb.jpg.b225f4c5d318d8abb73cf299bf90a90a.jpg5.5 on the rear, 4.5 on the front. The fronts will rub the inner fender liner slightly at full lock, but I added a 5/16" spacer and no rubbing whatsoever. These photos are before I put the spacers on, you can see how much room on the outside it had on front. Lots of room in these for big wheels and tires :)

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Lowering springs?  Tire sizes front and rear?  

 

I put a set of 8.5" wide  20" Boss 308s on my '64 for fitment. 245/50R20s all around.  No need for adapters or spacers and they fit over the hubs with no problem.  One simple way to get around spacers on the front is to swap 65 front hub/drum assemblies on the 63/64 spindle. You might need to run a spacer on the back, but that's not that big of a deal. 

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)
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31 minutes ago, EmTee said:

How's the ride with the cut springs?  Does it bottom-out at all?

No, no bottoming out.  It's a little stiffer than stock, as the shorter you make a spring, the higher the rate gets.  But, it's not uncomfortable at all, just doesn't "float" like a stock one anymore.  I think having the low profile tires makes a bigger difference in ride quality than the springs do. I'm going to put the 15" Supremes and Coker wide whites off my Caddy on it this summer when I get it re-aligned (the alignment machine can't clamp on the 20s with them tucked in like they are), then I'll know for sure, but on my F100 when I switch from my 18" summer tires to my 15" winters, it rides like a completely different truck.  Lucascadriv.thumb.png.df54c5637b22582ff309750e4d336e21.png

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I love the 338 wheel. It's an interesting take on the classic torque thrust. Ridler makes some beautiful wheels too. The wheel fitment issues on Riv's are the only really disappointing thing about the car. It seems to take some work to get different wheels on them. The wheels I like seem to be only in Chevy 5x4.75 and Ford 5x4.5. I've been looking for some 3/4" (20mm) thick spacers to convert the bolt pattern. That should still fit some 15x7 wheels, without having rubbing issues. I think.

 

I've researched into changing the bolt pattern, but the rearend gets expensive, because it requires custom made axles, and I'm not sure what for the rear disc rotors.

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I'm really curious about those spacers. Do you know how thick they were? Do you know how wide, and what the back spacing is on those old wheels? I agree.... they're... well, not good looking. But they seem to fit into the fenders well.

 

Stock Riv wheels were 15x6, with a 3 3/8 back spacing. The wheels I want are 15x7 with a 4" back space. I'll have to push them out a bit to get them to clear the drums. I found a place that will make billet spacers any thickness, I'm thinking 3/4" thick, and i'll get short studs so they don't stick out past the spacers. That should get the wheel away from the drum, but still have it tucked under the fender a bit.

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On ‎2‎/‎4‎/‎2017 at 10:36 PM, patrickaturner said:

Update on this thread: I was finally able to get all four wheels on the car. Here's what I ended up doing:

 

1. Removed stock front drum break setup and installed a Wilwood disc break kit (https://www.opgi.com/riviera/1963/brake-systems/disc-brakes/BR03001/)

...

 

 

Was there any issues with installing the Wilwood brakes? I really like them but I'm concerned about the rotor and caliper, if they're an off the shelf piece or I can only get it from Wilwood.

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6 hours ago, jsgun said:

I'm really curious about those spacers. Do you know how thick they were? Do you know how wide, and what the back spacing is on those old wheels? I agree.... they're... well, not good looking. But they seem to fit into the fenders well.

 

Stock Riv wheels were 15x6, with a 3 3/8 back spacing. The wheels I want are 15x7 with a 4" back space. I'll have to push them out a bit to get them to clear the drums. I found a place that will make billet spacers any thickness, I'm thinking 3/4" thick, and i'll get short studs so they don't stick out past the spacers. That should get the wheel away from the drum, but still have it tucked under the fender a bit.

I believe they were 3/4", but not 100% sure. To be honest was just happy to get the fugly things off of it.......

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On ‎2‎/‎9‎/‎2017 at 7:22 PM, Black River said:

Thanks, and you too.  Mine is stock drums all the way around.  I run Ridlers on pretty much all my cars.  Fit great.  These are 20x10.5s on back and 20x8s on front.

Lucas

Amazing fit for a drum car. Nice

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  • 11 months later...

The diameter is no problem.  You have to get the width, offset, back spacing and tire sizecorrect to make it work. This is where you take the car to a wheel shop where they can put a tool that can be adjusted to show you what wheels with different dimensions along with different tire sizes will give you in your wheel wells.

 

Wheels-10.jpg.ba41f2e5ae6189372aa702ed93af84e2.jpg

 

Different wires represent different tire sizes.  The tool can be adjusted for wheel diameter, width, offset, and back spacing.  Wheels come in many different widths and backspacing for 20 inch wheels and probably the same for 18 inch ones as well.  It's not a one size fits all like your socks.  Do it right and do it once.

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http://tire-size-calculator.info/

 

I found that site some time ago. It allowed me to compare the stock wheel dimensions to the wheels I wanted. My reasoning is that if it's not too far from dimensionally stock, it should fit.

 

http://www.gtsparkplugs.com/Offset-to-Backspace.html

 

How to figure the difference between offset and backspace

Edited by jsgun (see edit history)
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I looked at a set of 19 X 9 and 10 wheels yesterday. They were still attached to the V12 BMW and I think it will look real nice next to my Riviera with the stock wheels. The clearance it the garage is just right.

 

I still have these if anyone likes the old school Cragar SS look:

Bernie

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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