Nick V

39 Buick Special tires

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Hi everyone,

 

A few days ago, I had the fortune to stumble across a 39 Buick Special Sedan and fell in love with it.  I can't wait to dig into it, but first things, first, I need to replace the flat, dry rotted tires so I can get it home.  I've removed the old ones, and find them to be a mish mash of 6.00-16, 6.50-16, and one 6.00/6.50-16.  I checked in with Coker Tire and they recommend the 6.50-16.  Anyone deal with this before?  I'd hate to make the order, and discover I left out some small but extremely crucial detail.  Thanks.  

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600R16 or 650R16 wide whitewall radials from Diamondback (I think the 650 would be taller to help the car cruise a little better on the highway). You won't regret it.

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At the time I thought Coker were too expensive for my '40 Buick Special, I used Goodyear Eagle LS2. I forget the numbers but it got very close to 6.5 original size. Of course I had to use tubes. That was 4 years ago and they are still doing the job 4,000 miles later.

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Welcome to AACA forums, Nick V ! It is often a good idea to use the search box for info. You should normally just enter one word. TMI can flood you out otherwise. See if entering just 6.50-16 gives you anything useful. Many of us here regard some Cokers as just show tires. Coker keeps old cars rolling, and the hobby could not be what it is without them. But, shop around if you are interested in putting miles on your Buick. And ask for any help for anything here. The Buick folks are the most active and largest sub set among the most helpful and knowledgeable car people on the internet. That is AACA. Glad you joined us !          Old and rolling slowly these days,     -   Carl 

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Check the specifications carefully and not just by stated size - especially if you are looking at Bias-look radials.

The overall diameter on the Diamondback Auburn is significantly shorter than the Coker, at least in the sizes I looked into.

 

If you are putting tubes inside a raadial tire, BE SURE that the paper tags inside the tire (which may already be vulcanized into it from adding the whitewall, ARE REMOVED. The movement of a radial against a tube will cause abraision of the tag wearing a hole in the tube. I had three out of five go bad within the first 100 miles during my first Diamondback experience as a result of the tags.

 

Despite any comments others have made on this subject, I've received excellent support from Coker,

and have had Diamondback reneg on their warranty. 

 

Also from my personal experience, Coker is the one of these companies who supports AACA-

Diamondback, in my experience does not

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Depending on what you're going to do with the car (ie. a cosmetic vs. a full restoration) you might consider a cheap used set of tires to get the car home and move it during the restoration - and then buy a new set towards the end of the restoration.

 

Bill McLaughlin

1929 McLaughlin Buick

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OK I got the numbers.

 

Goodyear Eagle LS2    205/70/R16

 

Half the price of Coker

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How close is 205/70 to 6.5 inch?

 

205 mm x 70% = 144 mm

 

144 mm = 5.7 inches so maybe  not close enough to 6.5. Maybe spend the extra dough if you want 6.5. 

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I noticed my car rode an inch lower than before when I got them. Actually, 0.8 inches, and highway cruising is probably a little worse. But I saved 800 dollars.

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Specials have low gear ratios as it sits. Buying undersize tires just exacerbates the problem with high engine speed, and to my eye, it looks weird. If you want some relatively low cost tires to roll on, how about this :https://www.tirebuyer.com/tires/size/205-80-16

Tall, narrow tires are pretty much the domain of antique car and truck specialty shops nowadays, and if you're not concerned about "old-timey" appearance, truck shops offer MUCH better prices. There's an ongoing conversation about radials, but I've used them on my '38 Buicks and my '37 LaSalle (no tubes, of course), and they work great, handle better and roll smoother than bias ply.

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18 hours ago, suchan said:

 There's an ongoing conversation about radials, but I've used them on my '38 Buicks and my '37 LaSalle (no tubes, of course), and they work great, handle better and roll smoother than bias ply.

 

Thats an interesting point. I was concerned that the rims would not seal a tubeless tyre, so was not thinking a radial tyre. However in your experience they work ok. Interested in what others have found too!

Rodney 😀😀😀

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Quote

 

Tubeless tires, radial or otherwise, will seal on any modern-style solid rim. I think the main argument put forward against radials is that they can place more lateral stress on old rims in cornering, and if your rims are in poor condition, or you drive your car beyond its capabilities, they may fail. Tubes should only be used if the rims aren't airtight (wire wheels, etc.). Instead of added security, using tubes when they're not needed just introduces another unnecessary source of problems.

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Posted (edited)
On ‎5‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 9:53 AM, suchan said:

Tubeless tires, radial or otherwise, will seal on any modern-style solid rim. I think the main argument put forward against radials is that they can place more lateral stress on old rims in cornering, and if your rims are in poor condition, or you drive your car beyond its capabilities, they may fail. Tubes should only be used if the rims aren't airtight (wire wheels, etc.). Instead of added security, using tubes when they're not needed just introduces another unnecessary source of problems.

 

'39 rims were NOT made for tubeless tires. Tubes prevent slow leaks, which are a constant problem in these old cars when using tubeless tires with pre-tubeless rims. Without tubes they often lose air when the car sits. I never check the tire pressure on my '40, never even think about it anymore, and I've had the tires for 4 years. Never had to add air even once. Tubes don't introduce problems, they solve problems. 

 

As for the car looking weird by sitting 0.8 inches lower, you can't tell the difference, here's a pic of mine. Lowering the center of gravity makes the car handle better as well. And you save a lot of money and I guarantee 40,000 miles out of these Goodyear tires or you get a full refund and a toaster. 

 

Coker tires are too expensive and if people bought other brands they'd have to lower their prices.
 

 

 

 

DSCN2576.JPG

Edited by Morgan Wright
change pic (see edit history)

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I must respectfully disagree that tubes are problem solvers. They do prevent slow leaks but if they give way they go all at once. I would much rather have a slow leak than BOOM! Flat tire. If they were better they would still use them. I dont mind putting some air in my tires once in a whiel if they leak down alittle but the tubes have to many things that can hurt them and they are all or nothing in terms of holding air. Pick up a screw with no tube and you can probably limp home. Pickup a screw in a tube and your going home on a flatbed or changing a tire. If your wheels will handle no tubes that is what I would do. No disrespect just another opinion.

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Posted (edited)

Tubes should not be used in tires that were not designed to have them.  Tubes were used in older cars that were driven less at lower speeds and the technology for tubeless tires was available.  The only place that I have used tubes on a tubeless tire in on my garden tractor. Ten MPH vehicle cutting grass.

 

Tubes in the tires generate heat by the tube rubbing on the inside of the tire as the tire is moving down the road. Higher heat will cause the tire to wear out sooner and possibly "go boom".  

 

I would NEVER put a tube in a tubeless tire.  If a tubeless tire leaks air, then fix the root of the leak which many times is corrosion on the rim or a bad bead on the tire.  Don't forget the valve stem.

 

I would guess that tubes in tires were a carry over from the bicycle industry and with spoked wheels, tubes were only the solution.  The high pressures were used to keep the tire from moving on the rim and causing the valve stem from being severed.

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
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Tubeless tires came out in the mid 1950's and late 50's. The shape of the rims on 50's cars was changed to accept the tubeless bead, to make a tighter seal. Older rims have a different shape and tubeless tires are prone to leak at the bead on those rims. Maybe you don't mind slow leaks but I do, I hate them. Tubes were the standard before 1955 and people drove faster than 10 MPH.

tire.jpg

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Well, if the beads won't seal then you need tubes. Personally I would rather run tubeless unless some factor makes it impossible.

 

Leaks from punctures are usually slow ones. When a tube gets a puncture it is more like BANG!!! flop...flop....flop...

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On 5/7/2019 at 10:04 AM, Matt Harwood said:

600R16 or 650R16 wide whitewall radials from Diamondback (I think the 650 would be taller to help the car cruise a little better on the highway). You won't regret it.

Matt, 

I am looking for a spare tire in this range. I thought you posted a very reasonable option at one time. I was hoping to find something around $100.

 

Thanks,

 

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On ‎5‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 4:20 PM, kingrudy said:

Matt, 

I am looking for a spare tire in this range. I thought you posted a very reasonable option at one time. I was hoping to find something around $100.

 

Thanks,

 

 

Mine were around $100 each, and even though they are not 6.5 inch as original equipment, they would make a good spare tire.

 

DSCN2576.JPG

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Posted (edited)

Morgan,

Am I reading the outside diameter as 38.1? This is my major concern.

Thanks,

Edited by kingrudy
clarity (see edit history)

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The 38.1 is some other tire size. I think the point of that graphic was to show the difference between a tube-type rim and a tubeless one. It missed the mark slightly because the tube type rim shown has a locking ring, and a 39 Buick does not.

 

Assuming you are in the US, cheap tires do not exist in an appropriate size. I have never seen anything close under $100. Modern tires have a different aspect ratio, and on a Special (and many other cars) it makes an already bad gearing situation worse. The outer diameter is going to be too small.

 

For a spare it won't matter though, as long as you aren't trying to put it in a sidemount.

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Nick V is the one with the 39 Buick, I don't know what car King Rudy has other than his car calls for the same size tire 650R16.

 

I paid a little over $100 each for the Goodyears, plus $29 each for the tubes. You absolutely have to have tubes if your rims are not designed for tubeless tires, especially for a spare tire which will sit in the trunk for many years, the whole point of a spare tire is to have air.

 

Tubes don't leak at all. When I bought my car it had sat for 30 years from 1985 to 2015, the tires were extremely dry rotted, but they all held air because they had tubes. Here is a picture with the old tires before I bought the car. They are 6.5 x 16 they have a higher profile than the new ones have, you can compare the pics

buick.jpg

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I think we've whipped this dead horse sufficiently.

Folks have been putting radials on cars that were delivered on bias ply tires for a long time. I've been doing it myself for 40 years without a problem. The only difference I noticed is that I got fewer flats and the tires handled and rode better.

Here's a tire, 6.50-16, the size came originally came on '39 Specials, $130, that would be fine for a spare, or a set to drive on until a restoration is finished and the owner chooses (or not) to spring for a set of Cokers or Diamondbacks: https://www.millertire.com/products/truck-tires/antique-truck-tires/6-50-16/6-50-16-deestone-hwy-rib/

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