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Guess I need new wheels for my 1940 Super


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I am getting ready to put new tires on the car. The existing tires are G78-15. i know the original wheels for the Super were 16", so at some point somebody swapped them out. The current tires are so old that there isn't any date code, so likely pre-1985. Tread is good, no visible cracking, but I don't trust them for touring. Plus they are too wide and scrape the fenderwalls. And the overall diameter is about 1.5" too small. Plus I want wider whitewalls! ;)

 

So I pulled the spare off the wheel to see what rim width I have. Unfortunately it's a 6" rim (measured on the inside of the rim). This means that the tires I have been looking at (Lester 7.00x15 of Goodyear 7.10x15) won't fit. I need max width 5 1/2" or, ideally, 5". Anyone have any leads on where I can locate a set?

 

Thanks, Dave

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Well I spoke to Dave, he didn't have anything, but he did say that 5" width in a 15" rim would be very hard to find. So I pulled the trigger on a NOS set on flea bay that is 5 1/2". It's for later Buicks but I think it will fit OK after comparing pics of what they are vs what I have now, which are definitely later than 1940 anyways. So all I have to do is get the hubcap clips and get them riveted on and get them painted. Guess I'll stick with the Dante red.

 

Cheers, Dave

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1940 Super and Special required 6.5 x 16 and tubes. Century and Roadmaster required 7.0 x 16 and tubes

 

You will never get the height you need with 15 inch rims, you need to find a junked Buick and get the 16" rims off it. Then go to Goodyear and get Eagle LS 205/70 16 and they fit just fine. But it will still need tubes, the bead on those old rims won't hold air. This way you'll have real tires not show tires. Show tires are for show, they blow out and don't hold the road and are worthless.

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Actually 1940 series 60 and 70 were 15" taking 7.00x15 tires. This is in the judging manual. But they were tubes as you said. I don't want tubes, too risky. The old rims will hold the tubeless tires fine as long as you watch the inflation, if it gets below 10 lb it can break the seal.

 

Cheers, Dave

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  • 1 month later...

I run 7.50x16 Coker Firestone wide whites on my 1940 Super Sedan. I decided to have my wheels blasted and powder coated red a couple of years ago.  I had then broken down at the shop where I had bought them and get all my work done. When I got the wheels back I decided to splurge for new tubes. They are still a regular stock item for trucks and now I have heavy duty tubes.  Any time in the past they had bubble balanced the wheels, this time they did the whole computerized spin balance and it made a difference.

 

Yes, the 7:50's are too big, but they fit and only rub a bit in the front when in a full turn.  With 3:90 Century gears and the big tires it thinks it is putting along at 50 or 55 at highway speeds.  I considered leaving 6:50's on the front but figured I might want to rotate some day.DSCF1338.JPGDSCF1372.JPG

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Looks pretty good Tom! I swung by Universal Vintage Tire on my way home from Allentown and picked up 4 Lesters, 7.00x15, and had them mount on my rims and balance. I will start swapping out my current G78-15s on Wednesday. If all goes well I will soon have 4 Buick 15" x 6" wide rims to sell.

 

Cheers, Dave

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10 minutes ago, Daves1940Buick56S said:

Looks pretty good Tom! I swung by Universal Vintage Tire on my way home from Allentown and picked up 4 Lesters, 7.00x15, and had them mount on my rims and balance. I will start swapping out my current G78-15s on Wednesday. If all goes well I will soon have 4 Buick 15" x 6" wide rims to sell.

 

Cheers, Dave

 

Oh boy, I wish you hadn't done that. Here's my brand new $385.00 7.50-16 Firestone purchased on the Friday before the Allentown show from Universal Tire in Hershey and installed by them:

 

IMG_20160731_153604109_HDR[1].jpgIMG_20160731_182643621[1].jpg

 

Note that this tire was 48 hours old when it failed on the drive home from Allentown while the other three on the car are 20 years old and did not have problems.

 

Maybe you won't have problems (I really sincerely hope not!) but to date I have a 100% defect rate of one kind or another with tires from Coker/Universal on several of my personal cars and about a 40% failure rate on all cars coming through my shop that are wearing Coker products. I ordered new Diamondback radials today for the Limited. The Coker/Universal junk is going back in a body bag. If there is any kind of alternative to their tires, I will always choose not-Coker. Their quality control has slipped to the point where I don't think the tires can be trusted.

 

I'm sorry to say this to you and rain on your parade, but I can't keep pretending that there isn't a massive tire problem in the hobby, because someone's going to get hurt.

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So, just to jump in here, I too am considering the Lester tires for my '40 LTD, ( 7.50-16's), to replace my Martin B-16's.

Is there a connection between Coker and Lester ?

I thought they were separate, and I do like the smooth tire edge of the Lester's rather than the "pie crust" edge on the Coker's.

Plus the white wall is a bit bigger on the Lester's

 

Mike in Colorado

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Maybe Matt can jump in here with better info, but my understanding is that Coker owns Universal. All, or most anyway, of the tires are made by one company that subs to them but I do not know who it is. Cokiversal bought all of the old molds so what you are buying is a tire style, not necessarily a differently constructed tire. So if that company has quality issues it will affect all of the lines. I knew this going in but their guarantee is good and I bought the $10 "insurance" so they pay shipping both ways for a defective tire. If the numbers of defective tires were as high as 40 or 50 percent they would not be in business much longer as they would lose money overall, but I dunno - I estimated losses using 15% to 20% profit/tire, maybe I am too low.

 

Cheers, Dave

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Perhaps it's just me. This morning, we pulled a 1970 Buick GS Stage 1 out of the showroom for an inspection. The front end was going up and down like one of the tires was egg-shaped or something. As soon as I was out in the parking lot, BANG! It was like a gunshot. Yet another Brand X tire exploded, this time at about 1 MPH. Fortunately, I was not on the road, but it did happen in front of an inspector, and you can imagine how that inspires confidence. My tire shop says the belts let go. You can see how much tread was on the tire, it was not worn out, and the car has been sitting in my showroom for three months, so it's not like this was on a long, hot drive at high speeds or something. We pulled it out and it exploded. Also note that it's a radial, so they're not immune to these issues.

 

IMG_20160802_112839399_HDR[1].jpg


In regards to other comments, yes, Brand X tire company owns all the molds to your favorite brands, Lester included. Every single old car tire with a wide whitewall that isn't a radial is made by this company. It is a virtual monopoly. I don't know if the carcasses are the same and they just vulcanize the various makers' treads onto them or what, but when you are next at a car show, look at all the big Full Classics and their whitewalls--you are sure to see a gray/brown haze forming around the outer perimeter of the whitewall. That's just one of the quality control issues this company faces. It's epidemic and I'm guessing if the guys at Pebble Beach can't get a fix, then no fix is forthcoming.

 

On my '41 Limited, I believe it is the tube that failed, not the tire. Does that make it OK or better somehow? I don't think so. The tubes they use are paper thin and in an effort to save money, they buy generic tubes without valve stems. When someone orders tubes for their application, they glue a valve stem onto the tube, whether it's a straight one, a metal one, an angled one, or whatever. It's by application. As a result, there's a built-in failure point, which is where I believe my tube failed. I can wiggle the valve stem and more or less air will escape. Crappy tubes and/or crappy tires, it makes no difference. Stranded is stranded and a flat at highway speeds in an old car, regardless of the cause, can be catastrophic. Knowing that the tire itself didn't fail is little comfort, I was still screwed and stranded because of cost-cutting and quality control failures. The tire and tube are going back for a full refund, of course. I will not be paying shipping and I am expecting to be reimbursed for the cost of scraping their turds off my wheels.

 

I should go on record and say that Universal has very good customer service. They've always been good to me. They've replaced every faulty tire and tube I've sent them over the past three years (more than I can count) without complaint. But is that really how we want it? Is that really good enough? Sorry you didn't like your first shiat sandwich, please have another one, on the house. And we as hobbyists say, "Wow, for free? Gee, thank you, Mister Mustache!" I've given up trying to get good tires and tubes for my '29 Cadillac because the wheels were getting torn up from taking them off and putting new ones on. I'll live with the brown whitewalls and leaky tubes and just make sure to fill my tires every time I fill the gas tank. Their alternative is EVEN MORE work than that.

 

I'm glad you bought the guarantee, but it won't cover being stranded, damage to your car, the aggravation of this kind of situation, or the wear and tear to your wheels if you have to keep taking tires off and on. My experience says that you didn't need to buy the guarantee, they'll replace failed tires for free and they'll pick up the shipping both ways if you yell loud enough, which I now do. Mr Nice Guy gave up on them two years ago, now they've got me.

 

Or they could, you know, just make a good quality product that would last, say, 10,000 miles or 7 years, which isn't an unreasonable expectation from a modern tire. Their solution seems to be free replacements in perpetuity. You'd think that eventually making better tires would be cheaper than handing out freebies to everyone all the time, but maybe not. I bet the profit margin on these tires is MASSIVE, perhaps on the order of 100% or more. My tire cost $350 or thereabouts, plus a $45 tube. I think they were both made in a third-world Asian country where workers make $35/week. I'd be flat-out shocked if Company X paid more than $25-50 to have that tire made. They bought the molds, so there's no investment in tooling beyond the purchase price, and the raw materials are not particularly expensive, and they ship them here in bulk. There are marketing expenses and other overhead, but nevertheless, these tires have to be insanely profitable, even with a high failure rate.

 

There's no alternative for bias-plys, but if you can put radials on your car, call Diamondback instead. Remarkably, their radials were cheaper than the Brand X bias-ply Firestones and carry a mainstream manufacturer's warranty (for something like 60,000 miles). I still trust Goodyear tires, but not the tires made by Company X that merely say Goodyear on them. If your car can wear radials, do yourself a favor and get those instead. I know they don't always look right, but avoiding this kind of nonsense is totally worth the small difference in looks.

 

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I had my 40 in the shop this morning and spoke to the tire guy I have been dealing with since 1975. He ordered a set of Coker Firestones for me years ago and they are still fine.  I asked him about today's Coker tires.  The first word out of his mouth was "Show Only."  He then said they may not be DOT rated anymore.  He also said a customer had wanted a set of wide whites to put on a HHR. Coker said they would not sell them for a modern car.  He called back and said 57 Chevy and they sent him the tires. I still hopefully have years before I need tires, or maybe it will be up to my grandson, But I will keep researching.

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I have read, and reread this thread, and now you guys have me scared.

Like Dave I would like to throw a set of Lester's on my '40 LTD. If for no other reason than to save my 70 year old Martin B-16's.

The Lester's have the widest whitewall and the smooth tire edge, which replicates the Martin's that I have grown accustom too.

But reading the above, about NOT using them on a "driver". really scares me out of plunking down a thousand dollars for what appears to be an inferior product.

Is there nothing that the DOT or NHTSA folks can do to prevent the sale of inferior products, or at least help bring them up to code ?

Has anyone in the "old car" community filed a formal complaint about what we are forced to buy ?

 

You would think that these kinds of negative comments would somehow get back to Mr. Mustache, and would be addressed via a better product. 

 

Dave, now that you have your Lester's, please report back on how they work for you. I will follow this thread very closely, as I may soon walk your path.

 

Mike in Colorado

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I ordered a set of 750R16 wide whitewall radials from Diamondback Classics for my '41 Limited. They're actually a Cooper truck radial onto which Diamondback vulcanizes a whitewall so it's permanent. A friend has these on his Limited and they look right--I've seen them in person. Here's a similar set on a 1940 Cadillac, which are 215/85/16 Kumho radials, about an inch shorter than the 750R16 but the same section width. The 750R16 is correct for a bigger car like the Limited. Width is about the same and I find it acceptable--nobody notices on this convertible. They're a little fatter than the usual bias-plys, but I think given the many, many safety, performance, and durability advantages, it's an acceptable trade-off for me.

 

001.JPG045.JPGIMG_20160805_121950174_HDR[1].jpg

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood
Added section width photo (see edit history)
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Oh, also, the Diamondbacks are cheaper than the Firestone bias-plys I currently have on the car and do not require tubes (in fact, they recommend against using tubes). I paid extra for the "beauty ring" around the perimeter of the whitewall ($20/tire) because I like how it looks, but even with that it's about $200 cheaper for a set of four ready to go.

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Matt,

 

Now if they are ROUND, and BALANCE well.

 

One thing in your favor, is you don't drive high speeds.  My limited has P 275/60R17 tires, measure approx. 30" in diameter, and have seen 80+ many times, and no issues on ride/balance.

 

Wishing you well,

 

Dale in Indy

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As of right now I've had the Lesters on for 2 full days and so far so good! Today I took it out on the local freeway for the first time and it got into its "happy place" of 53 mph quite nicely. The ride is good and smooth. Still getting a tiny bit of rubbing in a full turn but much less than the old Commanders - I measured the section width on the G78-15 Commanders to be 8.25", on the Lesters it is about 7.5", tread width is about the same on both. The overall diameter on the Commanders is about 28", on the Lesters it is about 29". But they really change the look of the car - before and after pix attached.

 

One interesting point about DOT rating - do bias ply tires have to have a DOT stamp? The old Commanders seem to have something like that although the format is not like today's, but I haven't been able to locate any DOT stamp on the Lesters.

 

Matt, the Diamondbacks look good, too bad the whitewall isn't wider! Maybe on my next set ;-)

 

Before pic

_DSC3038 (Custom).JPG

 

After pic

Stovall 1940.jpg

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Dave,

In flipping back and forth on your 2 pic's, those Lester's really jump out at ya !!!

I too like their look.

Keep connected here and let us know how they perform.

 

Matt,

Those Diamondback's look great, and I would not hesitate to try a set, if Dave has ANY issues with his Lester's.

 

Mike in Colorado

100_1234.jpg

Edited by FLYER15015 (see edit history)
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Matt,

 

Did you check into the diamondback radials that look old?  I can't think what they call them off the top of their head.  I think they are in the works now but they look good.   Please let me know on the height of your new tires when you get them.  I recently picked up a 42' Cadillac 67 series that is in need of new tires.  Bias plys are out after your experience.  I know other guys with similar problems.  

 

I run Cooper 215/85/16 on my 59' GMC 250 and they have a 30" height and a 6" tread width that look good.  Only downfall is they load rated E but that is fine on my work truck.  They would look  pretty good if diamondback did a set of whitewalls on them for my 42'.  The E range might not be bad for such heavy cars.  Otherwise these heavy cars tend to make other radials look flat.  These tires are made for dually trucks.  That is why they are narrower than others.    

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2 hours ago, Janousek said:

Matt,

 

Did you check into the diamondback radials that look old?  I can't think what they call them off the top of their head.  I think they are in the works now but they look good.   Please let me know on the height of your new tires when you get them.  I recently picked up a 42' Cadillac 67 series that is in need of new tires.  Bias plys are out after your experience.  I know other guys with similar problems.  

 

I run Cooper 215/85/16 on my 59' GMC 250 and they have a 30" height and a 6" tread width that look good.  Only downfall is they load rated E but that is fine on my work truck.  They would look  pretty good if diamondback did a set of whitewalls on them for my 42'.  The E range might not be bad for such heavy cars.  Otherwise these heavy cars tend to make other radials look flat.  These tires are made for dually trucks.  That is why they are narrower than others.    

 

The 1940 Cadillac above wears 215/85/16s and I think they look pretty good. They are truck tires, although those appear to be made by Kumho or Yokohama, I forget which. Those I ordered for my '41 Limited are 750R16 Coopers which are also load range E truck tires and those should be good for the 4800 pound limousine. They have an eight-inch section width and are about 31.5 inches tall, so the same width but more than an inch taller, which is right about the same as the 750-16 Firestone bias-plys on there now (even taller, which will help on the highway). They're the same tires that a friend is using on his '41 Limited and they look very convincing.

 

I tried to order the 750R16 "Auburn" radials from Diamondback, which are a bespoke radial they're making that has the pie-crust outer edge and looks even more authentic. Sadly, while this tire has been in their catalog for more than a year, the tires are not yet available. When I tried to order them, they said, "Maybe in the spring," which says to me, "We don't know, but not soon." That's kind of a stupid situation they've put themselves in, but whatever. I could either have my car sitting forever waiting for a tire that may never come or put something that's pretty close and works well for a tour car and get back on the road. I chose the latter. They will look 90% as good and only a few people will ever notice that they're not correct for the car. On the other hand, the car will be safe, smooth, and quiet. On that 1940 Cadillac, the previous owner said the radials "eliminated half the noise and half the bumps." I hope I get equally good results. I'm very eager to get it back on the road.

 

Diamondback does currently make a smaller 700R15 Auburn radial, which is available now and they are what I expect to put on my 60S if I don't sell it. They look pretty darned good:

 

http://forums.cadillaclasalleclub.org/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=140835.0;attach=89015;image

 

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On 8/9/2016 at 6:33 PM, Daves1940Buick56S said:

As of right now I've had the Lesters on for 2 full days and so far so good! Today I took it out on the local freeway for the first time and it got into its "happy place" of 53 mph quite nicely. The ride is good and smooth. Still getting a tiny bit of rubbing in a full turn but much less than the old Commanders - I measured the section width on the G78-15 Commanders to be 8.25", on the Lesters it is about 7.5", tread width is about the same on both. The overall diameter on the Commanders is about 28", on the Lesters it is about 29". But they really change the look of the car - before and after pix attached.

 

One interesting point about DOT rating - do bias ply tires have to have a DOT stamp? The old Commanders seem to have something like that although the format is not like today's, but I haven't been able to locate any DOT stamp on the Lesters.

 

Matt, the Diamondbacks look good, too bad the whitewall isn't wider! Maybe on my next set ;-)

 

Before pic

_DSC3038 (Custom).JPG

 

After pic

Stovall 1940.jpg

100_1259.JPG20160617_165810.jpgbefore and after,650/16,700/16gimmee some of them big wide whites. TwoTums way up Dave!

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This has been a very interesting and informative thread to read through.

 

I don't own a Pre-WWII vintage vehicle (yet), but, if I did, I would want to drive it and not just own it for show or use it to try to win show prizes. And when it comes to a choice of either original design & construction reproduced bias-ply or close to original radial tires, there is no contest. I'd go with the radials. When it comes to ride comfort, handling, braking, reduced rolling resistance (better mileage) and SAFETY, the radials are the choice. If you want pure originality to score points, then go with the bias-ply. But if you are going to do road trips, then my two cents is in favor of radials, even if they don't make the car look like exactly like it did originally.

 

Matt Harwood has already shown and described the risks of what the old car hobbyist must deal with today. Perhaps I can add to his experience with a tale of my own. I remember, as a kid, being responsible for checking the tire pressure on our family vehicles before we departed on family vacations in July and August, when temperatures were at their summer peak. I always took the tire pressure measurements of those bias ply tires with a gauge and when the cars were cold in the garage. I would then compare the reading with what I got after the cars were driven some distance. The thing I remember most was how, at the end of the trip, I would often feel the carcass of the tires and was surprised at how they actually got hot. Not just warm, but actually HOT. I never felt a radial tire carcass ever get as hot that. It is heat that is the enemy of tire life and integrity. And knowing how much cooler radials are than bias ply, why would one ever risk the safety of their old car - or their loved ones - by knowingly choosing to mount a less safe tire design for a long trip?

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Way to go 2 carb !!!!

What make are your new skins ?

As stated in a previous post, I too am looking for a new set of shoes for the "Baby".

I sure like the Lester's 5" white wall, but now I hear they come from the mustache man and Matt's comments have me scared.

 

I saw a picture of your garage in another post, and there was a '40 "uick" in the background.

I know it is a uick, 'cause I've got your "B", and it is very much loved and appreciated !!!!!

 

I fired that foundry in MPLS a couple of years ago, so I don't get up that way any more.

 

Mike in Colorado

 

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Here's an update. My Diamondback radials showed up yesterday and the guys at the tire shop are in the process of putting them on the car now. I got the flat changed out first and put the new tire on the car first. My first impressions are:

  1. The Diamondbacks look awesome! No markings on the outside wall of the tire, all on the inside. Very clean and smooth, nothing to catch dirt, so it should be easy to keep clean.
     
  2. Whitewalls are about 3/4" narrower than the Firestones. It's visible when they're side-by-side but I doubt anyone will notice and I'm happy with the look. There's still plenty of whitewall to make the car look flashy.
     
  3. I got Hercules 7.50R16 load range D tires instead of Coopers. Not sure there's a difference and I don't particularly care. It's a modern, name-brand heavy-duty truck radial that should be vastly superior to the Brand X junk. Load range D is plenty for this giant car and should ride considerably better than the bias-plys. Comes with a 40,000 mile warranty. Forty. Thousand.
     
  4. They balanced up EXTREMELY well. One small weight on the back of the one that's on the car, the others seem just as good.
     
  5. No tubes. Not necessary. I had one of the old Firestones moved to the spare without a tube as well. If nothing else, I'll have it for emergencies and it'll look proper in the trunk.
     
  6. The radials don't seem much wider than the old Firestones. SIde-by-side maybe, but that's because the Firestone is not on a wheel and deflated. I tried to brighten the photo enough so you can see the tire treads on both sides of the car in one of the pictures, and it looks like the radial is about an inch wider. Overall diameter is almost identical--the radial might be a fraction of an inch taller, but not a whole lot. I actually think it looks better in the head-on view than the Firestone, which kind of looks puny in comparison.
     
  7. The radial is pretty close to the leading edge of the inner fender up front, but the Firestone on the other side is pretty close, too. No issues with turning radius.
     
  8. Cost was actually even cheaper than expected, as I got $20 per tire discount (which pretty much offset the cost of the "beauty bar" around the perimeter). I don't know why I qualified for a discount in this instance, since I buy quite a few tires from them, but I'll take it.

I'll clean off the blue stuff tonight or tomorrow and get some fresh photos with the car completely reassembled. There's a day trip this Saturday that will be a good test of the tires' roadworthiness, but I'm expecting it to be a fairly big step forward. I'll post more photos with the car all cleaned up and the tires white again.

 

IMG_20160817_130820294[1]a.jpgIMG_20160817_130750488[1]a.jpgIMG_20160817_130846469[1]a.jpgIMG_20160817_130834033[1]a.jpgIMG_20160817_131932537[1]a.jpgIMG_20160817_131947955[1]a.jpgIMG_20160817_132001571[1]a.jpg

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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OK, the tires are on the car and... WOW! The difference in the way it rides and handles is, well, extreme. Not just a little different, but vastly better. No rubbing, and I made sure to do some sharp, low speed turns in the parking lot, lock-to-lock. The comment that half the noise and half the bumps vanished is appropriate, because this is a very different car now. I only ran it up and down the street on my usual test route, about 4 miles, but many of the bumps that I am familiar with on my test route are now gone. The hum that I figured was bearings or driveshaft or rear gears is gone. Steering effort is still reasonable, even at low speeds--hard to say if it's lighter, but it's certainly not heavier. I am EXTREMELY impressed. I honestly did not expect this much of an improvement. Granted, my shocks are shot, but I can only imagine how well this thing will ride with a fresh set of shocks in a few weeks. I can't wait!

 

I took a moment to take some additional shots, including one of the radials with the old Firestone bias-plys that I had mounted as a spare (no tube). As you can see, they're almost exactly the same size. The radial might be fractionally taller (and the bias-ply might actually be wider), but the difference is so small as to be academic. All four radials balanced with very little weight required.

 

I will get it cleaned up and the skirts put back on (I'm not usually a fender skirt guy, but this car just looks odd without them) and take some final photos so you can compare the whitewalls. Hell, even if they stayed blue, the big guy rides so well, I think I'd put up with it. Count me as a very happy customer, especially if my flat tires and brown whitewall woes are a thing of the past.

 

And just to be fair about a comparison to the Brand X tires, the total price, including tires, shipping, mounting, balancing, putting one of the old tires on the spare, and disposing of the old tires was $1348.62. I certainly can't complain about that.

 

IMG_20160817_155039963[1]a.jpgIMG_20160817_155026350a.jpgIMG_20160817_160811692[1]a.jpgIMG_20160817_160825919[1]a.jpgIMG_20160817_160843654[1]a.jpg

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Thanks for the write up Matt.

 

This was the information I wanted.  The tires look right and don't need anymore whitewall for me to like them.  I was a little concerned about muscling the steering wheel when stopped.  When we put radials on my Grandfather's 40 Buick it made the car a bear to turn in a parking lot.  

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When I bought my 1940 Roadmaster 71-C in 2004 I had Doug Seybold go through the car mechanically and wanted radial wide white walls. He mounted Daytona tires and they have been great.

 

Now lets move to a little bit older car, my latest project - I want new tires for my 1930 Packard, tire size is 700-20 , what do you suggest? (the tires on the car look good but were fitted in 1980 and I don't trust them)  I looked in the Lester tire catalog I got at Hershey last year (never dreaming I would wind up with this Packard) and like the Lester's but I think the issue to me as I have been reading all of the comments , is not so much the failure of the tire (except for the brown and gray edge discoloration) but the tubes. Let's hear from you.

 

PS I still own the Buick, a 49,000 mile from new car that has never had the engine opened up, but received a full cosmetic restoration in 1972 that is now showing its age, but is to much fun to to take off the road to do over.

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41 minutes ago, Janousek said:

Thanks for the write up Matt.

 

This was the information I wanted.  The tires look right and don't need anymore whitewall for me to like them.  I was a little concerned about muscling the steering wheel when stopped.  When we put radials on my Grandfather's 40 Buick it made the car a bear to turn in a parking lot.  

 

Its interesting because different cars respond to radials in different ways. Most seem to have no effect on steering effort, some get lighter and some get heavier. It's hard to predict. For example, I have two 1951 Fords in my showroom right now, both sitting on white whitewall radials. The reason the owner of one of the cars is selling it is partially because the steering is too heavy for him. I have driven the car and while it's delightful at speed, yes, at low speeds it's almost unbearably heavy. The other car, however, drives great and has no low-speed issues with the steering, even on similar radial tires. Why, I can't say, but some cars get better and some get worse with the application of radials. I certainly was prepared for mine to get worse and would live with it, but I can detect no real change. I'll know more after more driving this weekend.

 

We had a resto-mod 1948 Lincoln Continental a few years ago and it was on Coker WWW radials. You could hardly keep that car on the road, it was all over the place. I aired the tires up to like 50 PSI and it helped, but it was squirrely. Then a friend brought in a stock 1947 Continental and on a whim, we put the bias-plys on the resto-mod. Boom! It tracked like a cruise missile. Why, I can't say. Usually radials are a cure-all in that department, but in this case, the car wanted something else. So odd.

 

35 minutes ago, Walt G said:

When I bought my 1940 Roadmaster 71-C in 2004 I had Doug Seybold go through the car mechanically and wanted radial wide white walls. He mounted Daytona tires and they have been great.

 

Now lets move to a little bit older car, my latest project - I want new tires for my 1930 Packard, tire size is 700-20 , what do you suggest? (the tires on the car look good but were fitted in 1980 and I don't trust them)  I looked in the Lester tire catalog I got at Hershey last year (never dreaming I would wind up with this Packard) and like the Lester's but I think the issue to me as I have been reading all of the comments , is not so much the failure of the tire (except for the brown and gray edge discoloration) but the tubes. Let's hear from you.

 

PS I still own the Buick, a 49,000 mile from new car that has never had the engine opened up, but received a full cosmetic restoration in 1972 that is now showing its age, but is to much fun to to take off the road to do over.

 

Walt, I might recommend keeping whatever tires and tubes are on the car. I know it sounds crazy, especially 35 year old tires, but I regret taking off my ancient Lesters and the heavy-duty tubes inside them. The new tires have two separate issues, and you will face them both. One, your whitewalls will turn brown, and two, the tubes you'll get from company X will be junk. I think I've mentioned that I needed to go through something like 13 tubes from Company X to get 6 good ones for my '29 Cadillac (which also uses 700x20 tires) and I'm on my third set of Firestones from them, which, predictably, turn brown at least as fast as the others. I'm going with blackwalls next time.

 

The whitewall problem is merely cosmetic and you can manage it if you don't mind cleaning tires all the time. The tube problem, however, is safety. If you do get new tires, have the tire shop pull out the existing tubes and look them over carefully. If they are still supple and not cracked or dry, I would strongly consider reusing them. They will be far thicker than the new ones and I'll bet the valves are an integral part of the tube, not glued on later. In fact, when the tire shop was mounting the radials today, they pulled out the tubes and showed them to me. The old ones were obviously old but they were pretty thick and heavy. The guys laughed out loud at the puny one that I bought a few weeks ago, the one that failed. "Where did you get this, a bicycle shop?" they asked. No comparison--it's like a balloon, not something that needs to support a 5000 pound car. There's a possibility that truck tubes would fit and be heavier-duty and with built-in valve stems, but with your 20-inch wheels, there's no such animal. If I had needed tubes in my 16-inch Buick tires, that's the route I would have chosen.

 

My advice? Blackwalls and reuse your old tubes. Eliminate the problems at the source!

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Camber should be the only thing logically that would effect hard turning when sitting still with radials vs. bias.   The tread pattern might be flat footed on one car vs. the other.  The aggressive tread pattern and softer compounds amplify this vs. the hard old rubber in a set of bia plys.  Now I wish we had the 40' back so I could experiment.   

 

We put Coker 7.00-19 Firestones on our 31' Buick probably 6 years ago.  We have had two problems the entire time.  Whitewalls go brown usually in 3 weeks time.  Scrub like heck to get them white again.  The tubes all go flat at the same time.  Usually every month they are 5-10 lbs low.  Everymonth and all 4 are the same and they never drop completely flat over the winter.   Always been like this.   They have probably 4,000 miles on them.  No more whitewalls after this set.  Tread wear has been excellent.  

 

Guys in the ACD club run Michelin truck tubes.  I haven't been down that route yet but I do know that is what I'm going to look for when I replace the next set.  Our Auburn will be needing some tires in the future but I'm watching how things develope.  Wife's car and she doesn't want radials on it but with these failures on Bias I'm watching the Diamondback Auburn radial progress.  

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