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Dynaflash8

What to do with beautiful original tires - 27 years old

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I just purchased a 1991 Buick Park Avenue with only 3,061 miles on it.  The title was signed by a personal representative of the last listed owner.  It was kept in a heated building.  Apparently it moved from one family member to another as each passed or went into assisted care.  I hope that isn't an Omen since I'm 80. 😯  Everything is original and perfect, right down to the tires.  The tires are U.S. Royal white walls.  They have "Royal" in black letters right on the white walls.  They are beautiful and look perfect.  That said, I can feel some bumping as I go down the road, but inspection does not show any ply separation (yet).  This car is like a museum piece.  I almost hate to use it as my AACA/CHVA/BCA tour car, but that's what I bought it for.  Monday I have to convert the A/C to 134 because the R-12 is down.  And unless I never take it out of town I guess I've got to buy new tires.  Does anybody know if you can still buy an equivalent U.S. Royal white wall?  I don't think so.  I'm going to change the oil next week too, for fear it's never been changed since it left the factory.  The car runs and drives perfect and the underside appears never to have been wet.

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)

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You can pick up another set  of wheels for the new tires. Keep the old ones with factory air.

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Show us some pictures, if you will---

 

Earl, even though your car has just 3000 miles on it,

don't fret over putting some more mileage on it.

Cars need to be driven, not warehoused.

While you're enjoying some AACA tours, treating your

car carefully, you're doing it a better service than the

previous owners who let it stagnate.

 

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Look around on ebay. You can probably find some R12 refrigerant. Some of those old Uniroyal tires with whitewall lettering were self sealing "puncture proof" tires. My friend had a 92 Roadmaster. The tires were called Royalseal meaning they were self sealing. The inside of the tire was coated with a tar like substance in the tread area. This would seal a small punctures. Forget those tires for highway use.

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R12 is readily available. We just rebuilt the AC on a '59 T Bird and used R12. Downside it's very expensive.

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For $207 conversion to R134 I don't think I need to find and pay for R12.  I can envision being on a tour in Nebraska and a leak coming on and needing R12 at that moment.  MisterC9 they say "self-sealing" on the tire, so you're on it.  As for the four extra wheels and tires where would I put those.  Would I put them in the Suburban and them roll them out at a car show?  No, no, no.  So, I'll take a few close-up pictures of them.   And finally, John, I bought this car to run the AACA Tour road without a trailer not to go to the grocery store.  At my age, I can probably put...maybe put...hopefully put maybe 5000 a year on it for 5-7 more  years....and just think it'll still have only 25-35,000 miles on it at 32-35 years old for the next guy.

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Seems a shame to change the parts that need to be changed to use R134 given the amazing originality of the rest of the car.

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Right now I am slowly changing out the Gehrig tires on my 1923 Hupmobile. My parents bought those tires when they first got the Hupp, in 1962, and the car has been driven on those Gehrig tires ever since. When I mentioned that tire brand to my buddy Corky Coker, he looked at me in surprise and shock and asked me, "Do you know when Gehrig Tire went out of business?" When indicated that I did not, he continued, "1961! And you're hauling your grand babies around in an open touring car on 57 year old tires?" 

 

I knew he was right, and I had experienced one failure a while back, when a bulge and big crack developed on the sidewall of one tire. I switched it with the spare, and kept on driving on the other four. But now, thinking about the safety factor in our open touring car, I bought 4 new BF Goodrich tires. I'll save one of the Gehrigs for a spare, just for nostalgia. LOL

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sell them on CL as rollers- I do it often with model A tires and they go pretty fast.

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1 hour ago, Restorer32 said:

Seems a shame to change the parts that need to be changed to use R134 given the amazing originality of the rest of the car.

It isn't a museum car, albeit it could be I guess.  Sometimes you have to use common sense.  I believe the only way to tell the conversion is by the blue plastic cap on the Shrader valves, but it really doesn't matter.  I want a dependable tour car I don't need a trailer to get it to the tour and get it home.  And, if it fails, some local garage can fix it.  I found out with our 1971 Buick Riviera when it still had points & condenser that when they failed "Joe Average" mechanic could fix it even if I gave him the parts.  That's the fact of this brave new world.

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13 minutes ago, mercer09 said:

sell them on CL as rollers- I do it often with model A tires and they go pretty fast.

What is CL?  I probably won't throw them away.  Some museum will probably want them.

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Regarding lumps comments.  It is a whole big difference between old-time bias tires and modern radial tires.  I ran a set of Universal double white wall 6.50x16 tires for over 30 years on the car in the picture until one of them wore bald.  Those kind of tires did not ply separate.  My Dad wore tires bald before he bought one.  That was life in the time of the "greatest generation".  I did the same thing.

 

However, radial tires have a built-in "age factor".  You're advised never to run them anymore after they get 6-7 years old, even if the thread is good.  I bought a set of radial trailer tires on the way to the 2016 Sentimental Tour and the Goodyear dealer told me...."when they get 3 years old throw them away and get new tires, no matter how good the tread looks."  I bought a 76 Lincoln that had sat in a garage for a number of years before I got it.  All of the Michelin tires look absolutely new.  Every one of them ply separated within 1,100 miles.

 

What I was hoping to find out here without a lot of research (lazy) was did somebody know of a current radial tire that would approximate the look of these 1991 U.S. Royal Safety Seal tires?  What modern tire might look something like the same to the passerby or even a judge?

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1 hour ago, Dynaflash8 said:

It isn't a museum car, albeit it could be I guess.  Sometimes you have to use common sense.  I believe the only way to tell the conversion is by the blue plastic cap on the Shrader valves, but it really doesn't matter.  I want a dependable tour car I don't need a trailer to get it to the tour and get it home.  And, if it fails, some local garage can fix it.  I found out with our 1971 Buick Riviera when it still had points & condenser that when they failed "Joe Average" mechanic could fix it even if I gave him the parts.  That's the fact of this brave new world.

Dynaflash, I'm betting you meant to say, "...'Joe Average' mechanic COULDN'T fix it, even if I gave him the parts. " Right? 

 

I have encountered technicians who were mystified by ignition points too. And once when young technician was teasing me about my ignorance re all the wiring, electronics, digital crap, and high-tech gadgets under the hoods and dashes of today's motor vehicles, I asked him if he had any idea how to install and adjust a set of points. He said he was sure he could look at it and figure it out in a second, 'cause all that old stuff was so crude and simple. I thought about that for a second, and then challenged him with this: "Ok, here is a simple and crude question for you: A Model T Ford has 3 main foot pedals on the floor. NONE of them are the "clutch" or accelerator. One is indeed the brakes. So, what are those other two?" I HAD him, he was totally stumped, and everyone had a chuckle at his expense when I explained it. 
 

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1 hour ago, Dynaflash8 said:

the Goodyear dealer told me...."when they get 3 years old throw them away and get new tires, no matter how good the tread looks."

 

Because they want to keep selling new tires. My work involves procuring tires. Some of the ones we get from the supplier are 2-3 years old. Sometime we'll put a tire on a newer car that is older than the car and the tire we had to take off.

 

We've got tires on display in the waiting area that have three different colored stickers on them from the past three annual inventories.

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3 hours ago, lump said:

And you're hauling your grand babies around in an open touring car on 57 year old tires?

 

That's when I started getting legal state inspections instead of the $20 Lick'Em Stick 'Em's.

 

'course the babies are all growed up now, how easily we slip back into old habits.

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Oldsfan, I have no doubt you are correct.  I have a friend who is a long retired manager of a Firestone store.  He tells me as the radial ages it gets minute cracks or pores in the rubber which allows enough moisture to intrude that it rusts and weakens the steel belts.  I don't now if he is right or not.  But in the case of the Goodyear dealer who replaced all of my trailer tires in the middle of that trip, he was in Smithfield, NC and he knew very well that I was from Florida.  He certainly wasn't expecting to sell me anymore tires.  Also, I've never gotten any sort of decent service with ST trailer tires.  I can't tell you how many blowouts I've had with those.  So, this last trip to the Sentimental Tour in Natchez, Miss. I replaced those same trailer tires with a set of four new ones and I didn't have any trailer tire problems on that trip.  Of course I also slowed down from 72 mph and limped along at 65-67 mph in the 70 mph speed zones.  I haven't measured the white wall width of these Royal tires yet, but I'm guessing one inch.  Who sells a modern radial with a one inch whitewall?  Any suggestions, especially of an American manufacturer?

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)

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You are risking a catastrophic event by driving on such old tires.  It's not worth risking your life or damaging the car when a tire decides to blow up or get a tread separation.  Keep one as a spare for car shows and just find some tires that looks appropriate. 

 

I had a tread separation on my '77 Eldorado in 1998 while it was parked at work.  Fortunately for the car and me, I wasn't driving when it happened.  I went out and got new tires right away.  It also had its original tires, and looked nice. 

 

I also had a rear blowout on my '71 Eldorado while driving on a freeway.  Fortunately I was able to safely bring it to a stop.  The tires on the '71 were not very old.

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Not American Branded, but here is an (offshore) option:

 

Here is a Hankook Optimo H724 Modern Narrow Whitewall Radial ordered online at Sam's Club,

and for another $15 each hey include the entire "package":

 

 

This is a 215/75-R15 with a 70,000 mile warranty - $65.63/each

https://www.samsclub.com/sams/p215-75r15-100s-h724-70000/prod20190418.ip?xid=plp_product_1_2

 

This is a 235/75-R15 with a 70,000 mile warranty - $71.77/each

(500 A B means Treadwear-500 Traction-A Temperature B)

https://www.samsclub.com/sams/p235-75r15x-108sh724-70000/prod20190430.ip?xid=plp:product:1:1:

 

Maybe not the quality of Michelin at half the price (and maybe half the quality?),

but maybe ok for a tour/driver, especially as a modern whitewall radial at a cheap price.

 

I'm not trying to promote this brand - just noting an alternative.

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2 hours ago, Dynaflash8 said:

... I haven't measured the white wall width of these Royal tires yet, but I'm guessing one inch.  Who sells a modern radial with a one inch whitewall?...  

 

Earl, I think your whitewalls may be 3/4 inch width.

That's a common width for 1970's cars, for which

I've bought a few sets at:

 

Universal Vintage Tire, Lancaster, Pa.

Toll-free Phone 877-454-3954.

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John,

 

     I've thought about the collector car market as a possibility; particularly Diamondback who can make the whitewall any size you want.  But, they are horribly expensive.  That's not to say Universal is any less expensive.  But,  I want to check the regular tire market, especially for Firestone, Goodyear, maybe Cooper, or whoever in America is still making and selling tires....particularly white walls.  I have had a dance with the dentist the last two days, so measuring those Royal whitewalls has sort of been off my list of things to do.  Maybe tomorrow.

     I think regular modern tires for this car suit me better then collector tires...you know, major companies.  I like Kumo and Toyo, but I don't want foreign tires of the car if I can help it.  They look perfect and I'm not going very far for a few months so I'll just take my time and do some shopping when I get my wife well and get some other stuff off my back.  This car came as a surprise......an amazing surprise...and when I was able.  I might even leave these tires on for the 125 mile trip to the AACA Winter Nationals in Ocala in February, but I'll certainly replace them before the April tour in Wilmington, NC area if all goes well and we can go. 

     I hope to be able to drive 70 mph on long trips and most collector tires aren't really built to expect that.  Thanks for the tip.  I was one of the first buyers from Universal Tire when Ann Klein opened that business around 1970 and those tires lasted me 35 years or more.

    Earl

 

    

    

 

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IIRC there are codes on the tire that show where it was made. If it is made in the USA you are looking for, don't go by the brand name, as it doesn't really relate to the country of origin anymore. A tire made in the USA today could have anyone's name on it.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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11 hours ago, Dynaflash8 said:

For $207 conversion to R134 I don't think I need to find and pay for R12.

 

For less than that you can buy a couple of cans of R12 with a can tap and do it yourself! How many pounds does the system hold? 2.5 to 3? If there is any in it, then you don't need three pounds.

Here is a three can with hose for ~$60:

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/INTERDYNAMICS-R12-12OZ-REFRIGERANT-THREE-CAN-LOT-W-HOSE/352533736787?hash=item5214a5ed53:g:FPIAAOSwU1NcBFhl:rk:11:pf:0

 

Running about $25 a can right now, winter. Not that much more than cans of R134a.

 

Is there a sight glass? If not, then you need gauges. Well, that runs the price up..... Harbor Freight no longer carries R-12 / R-22  1/4" flare type gauge sets .😁

 

11 hours ago, Dynaflash8 said:

I can envision being on a tour in Nebraska and a leak coming on and needing R12 at that moment.

 That's when you consider converting to R134a, when you and your wife are hot and R134a is available at a nearby shop. They will need to replace the failed hose anyway....  A small leak at the compressor seal you would have topped it off before you started the trip. Needing refrigerant in the middle of nowhere is usually a result of part failure.

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