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Guess I need new wheels for my 1940 Super


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Janousek, I have the same exact problems on my '29 Cadillac. Brown whitewalls and tubes that go soft but not entirely flat. I've taken to filling them up every time I stop for gas and there's an air pump available. 10 PSI per month sounds about right. I put it on jack stands over the winter, so I don't know if it would be sitting on four flats by April.

 

Although in my business I go through a lot of tires and I do install radials quite frequently on cars that I sell, this is the first time I've had a back-to-back comparison on a car with which I am already very familiar. I've always been a proponent of radials, but not at the expense of an authentic look. I've long thought that the difference just can't be all that great--round is round, and we aren't driving old cars hard enough for greater cornering and braking to show a difference. While the cars that I've sold with Diamondback radials on them have always driven well, I haven't had anything to which I can compare that ride quality. Well, now I do, and the difference is pretty significant.

 

While I still think a car being used for judging should have correct tires instead of radials, if you're going to drive your old car, I would recommend radials 10 times out of 10 after this experience. If i could get 20-inch radials for my 1929 Cadillac, I would do it tomorrow, and throw away $3500 worth of bias-ply Firestones with 800 miles on them. Granted, I've not driven very far on these, but it took only a 40 MPH cruise up the road to reveal a very profound difference between the tires. It felt like a different car, a better car. It was the car I always expected it to be, even with mushy shocks.

 

Yes, bias-ply tires are correct, and if they were good enough in 1941, they should still be good enough today. And if 71 octane gas was good enough back then, it should be good enough today. And if lacquer paint was good enough, it should be good enough today. My point is, if you can fit radials on your car and be satisfied with the look, you will enjoy a vastly superior driving experience that also improves safety (because of the noted defects in the available bias-ply tires, not because bias-ply tires are inherently unsafe).

 

Will be cleaning the car up today and putting more miles on it, weather permitting, and I'll post photos of the final look.

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2carb40, in the before and after photos that you posted above, I have a question for you.  The color of the wheels looks to be a different shade of Red.  IMHO I like the color better in the before photo.  Did you intentionally change the wheel color?  You have a very nice looking Buick there.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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One thing I've noticed on a few different cars I've worked on over the years.  Our 31' Buick is a great example.  It had a set of 30 year old Denmans that looked new.  I replaced them because they were old.  Not worn out.  The new tires drove like a million bucks compared to the old.  The car tracked straighter and was less likely to follow grooves in the road.  It also would stop without wanting to skid easily and the ride was much improved.   

 

I've seen it numerous times over the years.  So I do take it with a grain of salt when someone tells me radials are night and day better.  Yes, I know they are better but most guys are comparing a set of dinosaur rubbers with a fresh set.  I've never heard of anyone putting a new set of bias tires on and then a new set of radials to make comparisons.  I don't always think it's leaps and bounds better and nobody is really comparing apples to apples.  

 

 I'm definetly not knocking radials either and I sure don't believe bias tires are better because I don't.  I've just replaced numerous sets of bias with fresh bias tires and those were night and day better from the old tires.  I know they are not as good as radials but certain cars like our 35' Auburn can't pull off radials and look good.  To much fender lift in the front allows full view of the tread.  That has been a deal breaker in the past but with the safety concerns mounting I've been rethinking this.   

 

This is an interesting topic and if I can ever get time to finish our 48' Sedanette I will put radials on it.  

 

 

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Thanks Matt for your sage advice, really appreciate it . I will have to buy at least two tires to fit to the spares in the front fenders as I want to fit factory accessory  metal tire covers on them and the stock size for the 1930 Packard std 8 was 600 x 20; the 700 x 20 on there now wouldn't allow me to get the metal covers over them . As to other comments, I too have heard that Michelin tubes are the way to go some years ago from a friend with a 34 Packard super 8. I also have a 36 Packard std 8 sedan I put new Lester tires and tubes on about 7 or so years ago, don't drive the car here on long island over the winter and don't put it up on jack stands. After a 3 or 4 month dormant state of hibernation I find the tires are down about 4 lbs all around. I don't think that's bad. The same was for the radials that are now 12 years old on my 40 Buick Roadmaster, car sat 4 months over the winter and needed about 4 lbs of air added to each tire.

Re the discoloration of Lester whitewalls, this was also true back in the mid 1970s, when they were known as Lester brown and black walls.

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Here are the tires on the car with the hubcaps and fender skirts reinstalled and the blue coating washed off. I really like the look and if you Google 1941 Limited ads, you'll see that the tires shown in those ads have whitewalls more the size of these than the wider ones that were on it before.

 

I've also driven it more and I'll stand by my earlier remarks--a BIG difference. The only thing that I don't like is that there's a bit more impact harshness on big bumps. The initial hit is a bit sharper and more sudden, if that makes sense. You don't feel the bump as much, but the initial hit is much more pronounced. Hard to explain, but I believe tire engineers call it impact harshness. I'm going to check air pressures tomorrow when it's not getting dark--the tires are rated for 2400 pounds each at 65 PSI, and if the tire shop aired them up to 65 PSI, that would explain the more staccato feeling. I may air them down a bit to improve ride quality even more and since 2400 pounds each on a 4800 pound car is overkill, there's no reason to run them at that pressure except maybe on long highway drives.

 

Very pleased with these tires.

 

Before and after:

 

Limo1.jpgIMG_20160818_193102222[1]a.jpg

 

All around:

 

IMG_20160818_193117676[1]a.jpgIMG_20160818_193139000[1]a.jpgIMG_20160818_193156605[1]a.jpgIMG_20160818_193209748[1]a.jpg

 

1941 Limited ad, note the size of the whitewalls:

 

A0069483.jpg

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Just now, smithbrother said:

Nice, very nice!

 

I have been meaning to ask,,,,,,how happy are with your two side mirrors?

 

Dale in Indy

 

Thanks!


As for mirrors, the driver's side is great, very useful. Passenger's side is totally useless but there's a mark on the door where it's attached, so I'm going to leave it on there. It seems kind of busy with the spotlight and all, but it's a practical kind of busy.

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I have the same mirrors, I find the drivers side fair when 'vent' is open, and right side is as you say terrible.  Main reason is you can't adjust it enough.  Thinking about real small cameras on each side, and the monitor in upper dash area, I hate driving without super good side mirrors.  

 

Dale in Indy

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Mine has so-called peeper mirrors that attach to the rain gutter. I also found them relatively useless until I attached stick-on wide angle mirrors to the peepers. Now I have a nice wide view off of those tiny mirrors, and both mirrors are now quite useful. I also got a clip on 11 inch wide mirror for the main rear view and now I can see more than just a narrow sliver of the rear window. For a show it is quickly removable.

 

Cheers, Dave

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Matt,

 

The car looks great.  We picked up this 42' Cadillac 67 series because the price was right but I like the Buick's styling much better.  Also a fan of the 320 engine more than the flathead Caddy.  

 

 Thanks for all of the info on the tires.  When it's time I'll be going with those.   I service a 41' 75  series that has Coker wide whites on it.  Tires always look flat and the driver tells me people are always telling him the tires are low.   He has them pumped over 40psi to hold the car up.  

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I do not feel it is a wise move to pump the tires up high.  I have been running 35 psi in the Coker Firestone 7.50 x 16's on my 1940 Super. I know they are oversize but wanted the larger tire to raise the ratio a bit.  They have been running fine this way, it was the tire shop that installed them for me that recommended the pressure. Recently I have notised that if the roads are slightly wet, like an hour after a rain, the car has very poor traction. Probably only the center of the tread that is narrow to begin with is touching the ground. At 40 psi it would even be worse. I cut the pressures to 25 front and 30 rear as recommended on the glove box sticker and the car handles better. I guess Buick engineers knew what they were doing.

40seal4.jpg  

Edited by Thomas J. Bianculli (see edit history)
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On 8/18/2016 at 9:14 AM, Terry Wiegand said:

2carb40, in the before and after photos that you posted above, I have a question for you.  The color of the wheels looks to be a different shade of Red.  IMHO I like the color better in the before photo.  Did you intentionally change the wheel color?  You have a very nice looking Buick there.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

Sorry for the slow reply! When I took the old tires off, I was surprised how rusted the rims were under where the tubes sit on them. I made the decision to have them blasted and powder coated. No more rust potential becuz paint either non-exisistant or fails under tubes that chafe with condensation rusting rims over time. Unfortunately, his powder coating red selections didn't allow for original matching red, but for 40 bucks each out the door, I wasn't going to hold out for a better match. The biggest problem with the switch to those larger tires? Buick made a spare tire area in the trunk that fits the stock 6.50/16 laying down in the trunk. The bigger spare won't fit there! I'll need to carry a smaller spare, dang! Oh yeah, they weigh a ton, more seemingly, as I age!

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Had a day trip yesterday, about 150 miles, to the D-Day reenactment in Conneaut, Ohio (which is extremely impressive). It was 90 degrees, we were in a group of post-war cars with one other 1941 Cadillac with Hydra-Matic, so fast company. The big Buick never missed a beat save for puking a little coolant when we stopped. Tires were the least of my worries and the car drove beautifully. I aired the tires down to about 32 PSI cold and that removed some of the impact harshness, but it's still there--not severe but more pronounced than the bias-plys. On the other hand, expansion strips, grooves in the road, and other things that used to make me cringe in anticipation of the hit have completely vanished and more than once I braced for impact only to have it pass with almost no sensation at all. These tires are so smooth and quiet that I'm feeling and hearing other things that need to be addressed--I kind of think my U-joint is worn as there's a very subtle surging feeling at low throttle openings and there's quite a bit of driveline lash that I don't remember. Not sure how or if that's related to tires, but it was something I suddenly noticed that wasn't noticeable before.


Anyway, this is a digression from the topic at hand, I'm sorry. I am thrilled with the tires and can recommend them 100% to anyone who might be on the fence about radials vs. original bias-ply. They've transformed the car and made it a joy to drive.

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29 minutes ago, Den41Buick said:

Matt, Do you have pics of the Limited with the new tires? Looking at the same for my 41 Phaeton. Thanks

 

Dennis

 

All the shots in post #45 are with the new tires except the first one.

 

Diamondback has a 700R15 Auburn radial that would be perfect for your '41 Phaeton. I think I posted a photo of a '41 Cadillac 60S wearing them somewhere in this thread. They're what I would use on my '41 60S and will use when my '41 Century is ready for them.

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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