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misercola

bias ply tire question - 1960 Oldsmobile

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One of my 1960 Oldsmobiles needs new tires. A friend with the same car recently replaced his standard bias tires(8.50 x 14) with a set of H78-14 bias ply tires from Coker. He says the tire's width is wider than standard bias and the car rides much better.  The question is if I buy a set of these and then take the car for judging, will I get dinged because the H designation was not available in 1960 as a bias tire? I know it's splitting hairs but I figure it's better to ask before taking my chances on the show field. 

Mark  

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On things like that it usually depends on the judge that's looking at the tires. If he merely knows it should have 14-inch bias-ply tires, you'll be fine. If, on the other hand, he's an expert on 1960 Oldsmobiles and knows that they didn't come with H78-14 tires, then he may very well ding you a few points for having the wrong size. Knowledge vs. expertise. I would venture to say that at any show other than the Oldsmobile club national meet, nobody will know the difference. But at the national level of a marque club there are very knowledgeable guys who really nail the details. You never know who's looking. It comes down to how high are you trying to go with judging this particular car and is it nice enough to where 2-10 points off will affect its standing?

 

Ultimately, it's your car, you should do it the way you want. If being absolutely correct matters, than that's your answer. If "mostly correct" is OK with you, then that's a different answer that's no less right for you. If it ultimately makes you smile, that's always the right answer.

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1 hour ago, Matt Harwood said:

On things like that it usually depends on the judge that's looking at the tires. If he merely knows it should have 14-inch bias-ply tires, you'll be fine. If, on the other hand, he's an expert on 1960 Oldsmobiles and knows that they didn't come with H78-14 tires, then he may very well ding you a few points for having the wrong size. Knowledge vs. expertise. I would venture to say that at any show other than the Oldsmobile club national meet, nobody will know the difference. But at the national level of a marque club there are very knowledgeable guys who really nail the details. You never know who's looking. It comes down to how high are you trying to go with judging this particular car and is it nice enough to where 2-10 points off will affect its standing?

 

Ultimately, it's your car, you should do it the way you want. If being absolutely correct matters, than that's your answer. If "mostly correct" is OK with you, then that's a different answer that's no less right for you. If it ultimately makes you smile, that's always the right answer.

Many thanks for the great response. Would like to keep it original but have not been happy with the performance of the standard issue bias. Am still thinking it through but do appreciate the guidance. Mark

 

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It will be a deduction that most chassis judges should catch.  A few years ago I replaced the 12 year old correct size bias ply tires with new Coker correct size bias ply tires before a 300 mile drive to an AACA National Meet.  Wonderful great ride and handling.  Could not believe the difference in just having new, correct size tires on the car.  An H tire is much wider than your original tire and it may not even fit under the rear wheel well and a spare will not fit in the spare tire well.

Louise New Bern 3X.jpg

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5 hours ago, misercola said:

Would like to keep it original but have not been happy with the performance of the standard issue bias.

What are your issues with the 8.50x14 tires?  My Buick runs 8.00x15 as standard issue.

Edited by 61polara (see edit history)

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The 8.50 x 14s I have on the car now swim all over the road. It feels like there is not enough rubber under the car.  Am also not happy with the White walls on the Lester’s ... very hard to keep clean and I had dimples showing up after a year. Mark

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11 minutes ago, misercola said:

The 8.50 x 14s I have on the car now swim all over the road. It feels like there is not enough rubber under the car.

Have you checked for worn suspension / steering parts.  It sounds like that is the problem.  These cars didn't swim all over the road when they were new with bias ply tires.

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It may be time to really scrutinize your front end alignment, the condition of your front end, and make sure your steering box is adjusted correctly.

 

Swimming all over the road is a default behavior for bias ply tires. Good wheel alignment and tightness of steering components is what kept them straight.

 

Some do it worse than others, but they all do it. Stretch a piece of cloth on the bias, and you will see why. The tire deforms as it goes around, squirming the tread. If any little bump or ridge deforms one side of the tire a little more than the other, that becomes a steering input.

 

Wider won't help, although sometimes a different set of tires will seem to help a bit. The cars drove fine when new on bias, though you were correcting a little more than you would with modern tires.

 

On the other hand, if there is a little slop and one tire can steer a little without dragging the other tire and your hand along with it, you might be in for a wild ride.

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Spend  your money on looking at the front end before you spend it on new tires.  My '60 Buick runs straight as an arrow even on the 15 year old bias ply tires.  The car only has 60,000 original miles on it.  Your Olds should do the same with a rebuilt front end.   I drive this car long distances as well as local shows..  Charlotte to New Burn, NC; Charlotte to Atlanta; Charlotte to Hagerstown, MD and on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Never a moment of steering instability or constantly needing to correct the steering.

Edited by 61polara (see edit history)
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Had the front end rebuilt five years ago. But will check again for common problems. I have another Olds -- a 66 -- that I replaced with bias with radials and saw a huge improvement in the handling. I haven't entered the 60 for judging yet so am debating which way to go. My convertible has had two sets of Lesters and definitely not going with another set. Mark

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On 8/7/2019 at 9:10 PM, misercola said:

The 8.50 x 14s I have on the car now swim all over the road. It feels like there is not enough rubber under the car.  Am also not happy with the White walls on the Lester’s ... very hard to keep clean and I had dimples showing up after a year. Mark

That is because the big heavy trucks on the roads now have grooved the roads.  I don't think an "H" size tire will be any better.  If your car is power steering you need to decide: judging deduction (and the judge will catch the "H" if he's worth his salt.  I have 251 National judging credits and I'd certainly catch it.)  Your other choice (if you decide against judging) is to just get radial tires and they will make the car run strait, look funny because of the squash, and steer hard if not power steering).  I built a tour car, a 1941 Buick Roadmaster and decided to go the radial route ($1600 for 5 about).  I was also thinking that CCCA doesn't deduct for radials, and I want to sell my trailer next year and that will end AACA judging up north for a pre-WWII car and me.  The car steers like a truck and looks funny with the squash.  Coker told me they wouldn't squash.  It doesn't wander tho.  When I get enough money  again, I'm going to throw them away (nobody will way 8.20-15 wide whites) and go back to 7.00x15 tires and accept the wander.  The reverse of that is I had a prize-winning 1971 Buick Riviera.  With the judging required J78x15 tires I could NOT keep the thing in the road.  After my Senior I sold them and put radials on it and it drove fines.  In the end you have to name your poison.  I had open heart surgery six weeks ago and may not be able to steer that 41 BUICK car for a lot longer than 8 weeks.  Also, if a radial tire ply separates or blows my restored rear fenders and/or skirts will be history.  I didn't think of that common problem with radials when I bought them.

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)

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