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Tire question


deaddds
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This is on the side of my 31 Olds. Treads are still deep but cracks are beginning to develop so I think I should replace. Leaning towards blackwalls instead of ww. Does this mean the tire can be 5.25 or 5.5x 18? Opinions on ww or bw?

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What does the original manual for the car say? For my '33 Plymouth the owner's manual calls for 5.25x17 which you can't get nowadays. As I understand it, over the years when demand dropped the manufacturers combined sizes. So you can't get a 5.50x17 or a 5.25x17 but you can get a 5.25-5.50x17. I am not sure if it is closer to the original 5.25 or the original 5.50 though I am guessing closer to 5.50 based on how hard it is to fit the spare tire cover on.

 

I took a quick look at the website for the vendor that I last bought tires from and it seems that most tires in the 18" wheel size are listed as 5.25-5.50 for the cross section.

Edited by ply33 (see edit history)
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If you have a tire cover/side mount cover, be sure what you buy will fit under it. Often times you need to buy a smaller tire for a spare...........be sure to buy good tubes, not the junk most places are selling. Try a truck shop for truck tubes. 

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2 hours ago, Paul Dobbin said:

Radial motorcycle tubes are available in that size, I think.

Valve stem diameter is smaller on motorcycle tubes. I’ve used them, with some washers to adjust for the larger hole in the wheel than they were designed for. But check edinmass’s advice: if you can find a truck tube that fits you will be better off.

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I agree with the recommendation for truck tubes.  On Pierces with 17" drop center wheels (1933-38), a 16" radial truck tube is fine.  By the way, use a 15" rim strip for those drop-center wheels.  Tire stores catering to medium-duty trucks also have round plastic stem size adapters to fill the gap between larger stem holes in the wheels and smaller-diameter truck tubes.

 

I went to truck tubes after losing two brand new, thin, reproduction tubes (1,000 miles) at speed in hot weather, despite thorough cleaning and painting inside the wheels and plenty of tire talc.  Both tubes failed on the bonded seam which was not at a potential chafing point.

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In the 1984 Great American Race, I ran 17" tires and tubes from a big supplier, the tubes said "Not for Regular Road Use" in white letters. Due to lack of time and a better source we used them for the 3000 mile event from LA to Indy.   The car was loaded with an extra gas tank in the trunk and spare parts and tools in the back seat.  We had 10 (TEN) flat tires!!  All separated at the seams of the tubes. 

For the 1987 Great Race I switched to 16" Kelsey Hayes wheels (Optional wheel in 1934) with 16" tires and radial tire tubes.  No (None) flats on the 4400 mile Disneyland to Disney World race.  Lesson Learned. 

On the 2013 Glidden Tour I bought new tires & tubes again from the old source and tubes no longer said not for regular road use.  I thought my complaints of 1984 had worked.  (Foolish thought)

Then on the 2015 Sentimental Tour in New Hampshire, with 4 people in the car, I had two more flats.  Truck tubes and radial tire tubes are the better choice, but harder to find, I've now tried BOTH and had zero flats since.  

Edited by Paul Dobbin (see edit history)
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