mikesbrunn

radial tires

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we will be touring this summer in a 1936 Packard with 7.50 x 17 tires and I would like to find someone who supplies radial tires. I heard they were available but haven't come up with much yet.

thanks - Mike

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Lots of people like them, and others don't. I had a set of them on a 1936 Pierce 12(same size), and removed them. I didn't like the look. They were a good tire, but they are just off enough in look that makes me uncomfortable with them. They are very expensive, and make sure you get TRUCK RADIAL tubes, or you WILL have problems.

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I've been desperately looking for 750R17 radials for my '35 Lincoln and they don't seem to exist in the US. Michelin makes a 750R17 XCA truck radial but it does not seem to be available in the US. Of course, they're blackwalls so if you want whitewalls, you'd need to contact Diamondback Classic--they inform me that if I can find the tires, they can put whitewalls on them. When I talked to them, they mentioned that they have sold tires in this size in the past, but I think they quoted me a price of something like $650 each. EACH

 

The large antique car tire manufacturer appears to be saying that they'll make the 750R17 XCA radial available someday, and I've seen sites with a ship date of 12/21/18, but I'm EXTREMELY skeptical of anything a collector car tire manufacturer says regarding delivery dates.

 

That same large antique car tire manufacturer currently makes a 700/750R17 Excelsior radial, but it looks like it was designed for European cars and might not look right on our big American cars, and it is a blackwall (Diamondback could surely whitewall it). I think they're too narrow and the tread pattern is too aggressive for an American luxury car.

 

I'm sold on the improvement that radials represent over bias-ply tires, particularly given the quality control issues recently experienced from the large antique car tire manufacturer and their bias-ply tires. However, given that my current tires are octagon-shaped from sitting for decades, anything would be an improvement. I'm looking at blackwall bias-plys simply because they would be less expensive until I can figure out the radial situation (Lucas Tire has 750-17 blackwall Denmans identical to the whitewalls currently on the car for $159 each, which is a screaming bargain). Or maybe I'll like how they look, I don't know. But I need new tires and I've been searching for radials for about a month without any real success.

 

That said, I can probably buy a pallet of the Michelins XCA (96 tires, I believe) from Mexico. What are the chances that I could sell 23 other sets?

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Don't forget rim or wheel failure is also possible with radial tires on pre war cars. I have seen several issues with them. Also, on the Cadillac's, the rims flex so much the hub caps keep falling off, unless you weld stiffeners on the rim. I recommend caution on any pre war car running radials, I get why people want them. There are so many potential issues, unless you car is at 100 percent, you could end up with lots of other problems. It's also much easier to drive faster with them, which is probably not a good idea either. 

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56 minutes ago, edinmass said:

Don't forget rim or wheel failure is also possible with radial tires on pre war cars. I have seen several issues with them. 

 

Show me a picture. I hear this all the time, everyone has dire warnings about radials creating some kind of additional stress, but in years of combing the internet, I can't find one old car wearing radials with a rim-related failure due to radial tires. You'd think if this was a common problem, people would at least snap a picture and say, "Holy cow, look at this!" But no, not one documented incident beyond heresy and vague warnings. Not. One.

 

Substandard or damaged wheels don't count because they would break no matter what kind of tires are on them.

 

Show me a wheel that broke because a radial was on it that wouldn't have otherwise broken with a bias-ply tire on it.

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I can vouch the 'hub caps falling off' statement. (full wheel covers)

However I have run lots of miles with poverty caps.

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4 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

I'm looking at blackwall bias-plys simply because they would be less expensive until I can figure out the radial situation

 

You might want to check out Simpletire.com. I found a good deal on that site for tires for my 1938 Century. A quick glance at their site seems to show that they might have several options in 7.50 x 17. Here is one, but you might check out their other options in the same size.  https://simpletire.com/universal-75017-u71015-tires  These show as in stock for immediate shipment.  You will recognize the manufacturer of some but not all of the ones that they have.

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Deal of the century right here if you want period-correct blackwall bias-ply tires (ignore the picture, they show a whitewall but the blackwall should have the same tread): https://www.lucasclassictires.com/750-17-Denman-Blackwall-255.htm 

 

I have Denman whitewalls on the car right now and they are almost an exact match for the tires shown in the catalog image, which I like. The catalog image also shows whitewalls, and I prefer whitewalls on this particular car, although if I could find a set of chrome 17-inch trim rings for my painted wire wheels, I'd consider doing blackwalls. They would help break up all that dark color and keep it from looking too much like a Nazi staff car. That can wait until we sort out the engine, though...

 

2052377139_Lincoln3.thumb.jpg.23b60ba9bb6e111716dbfe5a6d456a01.jpg

 

85def4262f2d09b259396b7dfe0e961a.jpg

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Matt......you can choose as you wish. I have seen wheel failure myself with them on a Cadillac. If you think a rim that flexes so much that the hub caps keep falling off is OK, then run them. Myself, my safety and cars are too important to take a chance with. Just wait until the first loss of life happens with a car with radial tires on it that the car WAS NOT DESIGNED FOR. Watch the insurance company not want to pay out. I recently made a new set of wheels for a car we have, and I worked with the the company to make them out of a stronger and thicker type of steel. I did it in the event I wanted to place radials on the car. On the last tour I was on in September, there were FIVE wheel failures.........FIVE. And by the way, one of them was BRAND NEW! Made the guy who had them made give up on driving the car, as he no longer trusted the other wheels. 

IMG_8094.jpg

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With all due respect, Ed, that's a repro Coker/Firestone bias-ply tire on that wheel, strongly suggesting that the problem lay with the wheel, not the tire (actually, it looks like the lock ring had an issue). I've heard the horror stories and the warnings, but nobody has ever produced genuine evidence of a wheel that was damaged because it had a radial tire mounted on it instead of a bias-ply. Will it happen someday? Who knows? But the lack of evidence suggests it hasn't yet.

 

I just can't believe that the wheels on these insanely heavy, expensive, well-engineered cars are so close to their failure point that a tire change can cause them to fail in spectacular fashion when driven at moderate speeds on modern paved roads. Perhaps the failure you describe is BECAUSE the new wheels weren't original spec, not in spite of it. Bigger and stronger isn't always better and smarter. Perhaps the wheel didn't flex properly. Perhaps the steel used had a different failure point or less elasticity. Perhaps the added weight of the heavier-duty rim over-stressed different parts of the wheel's center section. Maybe whomever was driving the car curbed it or crashed through a giant pothole. Maybe the tire was under-inflated and offered insufficient protection to the wheel rim. It isn't logical to assume that a wheel failure like that on a car wearing bias-ply tires also makes a radial more likely to cause such a failure.

 

Hubcaps coming off large cars is a known issue--for example, the shop manual for late '50s Lincolns specifically recommends installing the hubcaps with the wheels in the air and not loaded for this very reason, and as you know, those cars came standard with bias-ply tires. I also had a late-model Lincoln Mark V that tossed hubcaps like Frisbees, but it came standard with the same 15-inch radials that are on it today. Are the wheels dangerous? Should it be retrofitted with bias-ply tires? I don't know, but until the center gets torn out of one I'm simply going to accept that a little flexing is probably normal on a heavy car and that the wheels were designed to withstand it. Besides, is anyone driving their antique cars at 10/10ths and throwing them into corners hard enough to find the limits of tire adhesion? That is one situation where I can see radials' superior grip being a factor in a failure, but that's apparently not an issue, either, because it doesn't seem to have happened.

 

Like I said, anecdotal evidence is certainly a kind of evidence, but I have yet to see a photo of a wheel that failed because a radial tire was mounted on it. Like the leaded gas scare, the synthetic oil myth, the wrong color anti-freeze will kill your radiator warning, and other persistently incorrect stories in the hobby, the "radial tires can damage old car wheels" story is probably one part truth and nine parts speculation rather than empirical evidence. I certainly understand insurance concerns about "what if it happens," but the evidence isn't on the side of it happening and if it were, the insurance companies would already be making that exclusion on our cars. My policy says damage from superchargers, turbochargers, and nitrous and other "performance modifications" are specifically excluded, so if they know which owner-installed changes can cause expensive problems, why not exclude the radial tires, too? A tire failure is much more likely to cause expensive loss of life than a supercharger. If an insurance company can't find a reason to charge you more or deny a claim, I would put my money on the side of it being a non-issue.

 

And to argue in favor of radials, how old was that Firestone in your photo? Even if it was "brand new" to you, I bet it was already 2-3 years old when you installed it. My most recent Coker/Firestones for my 1929 Cadillac (which have now been replaced twice under warranty) were 28 months old when I got them. The radials I installed on my '41 Buick were two months old and came with a 40,000-mile warranty. Which ones seem safer to me? Do you even have to ask?

 

All I'm saying is that before I advise against radials or choose not to use them on my own vehicles, I'd like to see just one old car wheel that was damaged because it was driven normally with a radial tire on it. I don't care one way or the other what people put on their cars; I think they should do what they feel is proper. But as someone who, like you, goes through a lot of tires each year and drives a lot of cars and sees a lot of broken shiat, I just can't point to radials as a problem. I don't have a dog in the fight, I just think the fear-mongering regarding radials on old cars is unwarranted. That's all I'm saying.

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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White walls are a blond brunette thing.  For those folks that insist on whitewalls on pre 1938 cars,  they need to be on BOTH sides.   The picture above is a artist rendering. 

It seems to me that fewer and fewer big classic cars are running white walls.  To me, they seem to take the focus away from the car and to the tires. 

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https://www.sema.org/files/attachments/WTC-2011-05-Bias-vs-Radial-Tire-Wheel-Fitment.pdf 

 

 

Try reading this on bias VS radial tires. Notice at the last page where it says some rims are NOT made to run radial tires. As for actual failure, I have seen a 1941 160 Series Packard with a failed rim, and a 1935 Pierce. Radial tires place higher loads on the rim, no question about it. I also have spoken to manufacturers of wheels about this issue. Just in the last few weeks I spoke to an engineer at Hunter Engineering on this topic. They make the most modern and sophisticated wheel and alignment equipment in the world.  They specifically spoke about the poor quality of steel wheels built before World War II, and how they didn’t have good quaility control while manufacturing them. We spent the most time talking about Kelsey-Hayes wheels.  We also covered run out, off center wheels, new tires that are manufactured out of round, static and computer balancing, and a bunch of other details. Ultimately radial tires on a pre war car is a solution in search of a problem. The last five world class collections I went to didn’t have any pre war cars with radial tires. Add it all up, with the cost, rim problems or possible problems, and running tubes in the radial tire, there just isn’t enough benefit in the final analysis. 

 

 

 

 

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Matt please take your place at the head of the class. This sounds like the global warming story if you ask me. I'm running radial tires on my 1963 Avanti for about 25k miles and yet to have a rim problem and it's been coast to coast hard.

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1963 Avanti is a bit different to a 1935 Lincoln or Buick or Chev or Studebaker or whatever, pre-war car. 20 years more technology, better metallurgy, more engineering mathematics known and so on.

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13 minutes ago, Spinneyhill said:

1963 Avanti is a bit different to a 1935 Lincoln or Buick or Chev or Studebaker or whatever, pre-war car. 20 years more technology, better metallurgy, more engineering mathematics known and so on.

 

This is a PRE WAR radial discussion.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Mike .....all is well. No worries. I’m the most guilty party on this sight hijacking threads and changing subjects. 

 

Question on for you on your Avanti........do you know why the logo has an arrrow through it?

 

 

 

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It seems to me that fewer and fewer big classic cars are running white walls.  To me, they seem to take the focus away from the car and to the tires.

 

Well said. Every time a non-car person comments on my 1940 LaSalle, they always say "Look at those whitewalls!". It irks me. 

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I don't know the answer to the logo please inform me . Back to the wheels   Hunter makes top of the line equipment don't get me wrong but that's all the make ( no wheels or rims) that would be like saying Champion Spark plug Co were electrical engineers and a expert on ignition systems all Hunter sees it the results.  My 2¢ Mike

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4 hours ago, Mikefit said:

that would be like saying Champion Spark plug Co were electrical engineers and a expert on ignition systems

Which they most definitely are, else how could they design spark plugs for all types of ignition at all voltages and speeds, for injected and carburetted engines, for 1500 rpm and 15000 rpm machines at different temperatures and compression ratios. In addition, they must know about combustion chamber design and flame propagation and other things of which I am completely ignorant. 

 

And for Hunter to design testing equipment, they must know all about what they are testing. They don't make these things in isolation by poking a stick in a black box and churning a sausage machine.

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Champion did not design any ignition systems  they only make a device to ignite the fuel charge. Hunter doesn't make wheels or have a degree in metallurgy. No Judge would allow their testimony that they are experts in wheels or ignition system

 

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Mike......the arrow is a left over from the original name of the car. It was going to be called “Pierce-Arrow II”, and it was changed at the last minute. The arrow through the logo remained. Hunter Engineering has extensive background in dealing with pre war and post war car and truck wheels. The are the premier equipment company for wheel balancing, alignment, and other chassis components. There isn’t anyone better in the business. 

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Ed. Thanks for the information about the arrow in all the books I have on Avanti there has never been mentioned about the arrow thanks I have found out about another fact.   My back ground. All most 40yrs as and alignment technician   used  Hunter.  Bear and my old friend Jim Beam all good equipment. My point is and was all 3 companies do not make wheels and would not be an expert on why a wheel failed  only that it did fail  I saw more wheels fail in the center some from loose lug nuts some just plane over loading side stressing.  Thanks.   Mike

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