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Bolt Patterns, Number of Studs, Etc.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Drive Em, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. Drive Em
    Joined: Aug 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,748

    Drive Em

    I've often wondered why car manufacturers didn't standardize bolt patterns long ago. Why are there so mny different bolt patterns? Ok, I can see why bigger trucks have a need for more lugs, but alot of the 8 lug vehicles are standardized between the makes. The smaller cars have far too many bolt patterns. Imagine a world where everything was a 5 x 5 bolt pattern, searching for wheels would be a breeze.
    Also, why does there seem to be a need to ditch whatever bolt pattern you have on your vehicle to get to the 5 x 4 3/4" bolt pattern? I can understand that 40 years ago there were not alot of aftermarket wheels available for cars, and that is why alot of the older stuff had the bolt patterns converted, but you can pretty muck buy any wheel you want with any bolt pattern today. I think that the six lug pattern on older Chevy trucks looks pretty cool, as well as the 5 x 5 1/2" on older Ford trucks. There are disc brake kits made for both patterns, so why not keep the original pattern? Any thoughts.
    Joined: May 29, 2013
    Posts: 27


    You know, thats a damned good question. I was actually just checking the bolt patterns on my '54 F100 last night and found that I have a 5x5-1/2 in the back and 5x4-1/2 up front. Whatever was done to change this was done a loooong time ago, and nothing looks out of place so I got to wondering what is the right pattern? Looks like I've got a little research ahead of me. Thanks for posting this, gonna be interesting to keep an eye on.
  3. bowie
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 2,298


    All 1954 1/2 ton Ford pickups came with the 5 and a half pattern all the way around.
  4. I think this can be applied to a lot of different things:

    "I've often wondered why car manufacturers didn't standardize engines long ago. Why are there so many different blocks? Ok, I can see why bigger trucks have a need for more horsepower, but alot of the bigger truck motors could be standardized between the makes. The smaller cars have far too many engine styles. Imagine a world where everything was a 350 Chevy, searching for a motor would be a breeze."

    I don't think that many car manufacturers want to encourage brand interbreeding. Besides, where would the fun be if everything was standardized. Variety is the spice of life.

    I love the look of Wide 5s. I also love the look of 5x5.5 40 Ford wheels. I'm glad that I have both in my garage.

    As for original bolt patterns... the original bolt pattern on my 34 was 5x5.5. I converted the front to 40 Ford hydraulic drums, also 5x5.5. I put a 1957 Ford 9" out back, but the rear was 5x4.5. Now I have to change the bolt pattern to fit my planned wheels.
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  5. It's just to piss you off.
  6. mustangsix
    Joined: Mar 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,296


    Now, rewrite this using the word "breast".........
  7. 26 roadster
    Joined: Apr 21, 2008
    Posts: 2,015

    26 roadster

    Like flat head screws, phillips head screws, clutch head screws, square head screws, torx head screws, allen head, standard and metric...............keeps you buying tools
  8. Ice man
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 968

    Ice man

    One of the reasons is because of theft. Make it to easy for them buggers to get what they want. Mixen it up limits the supply and demand.
  9. ParkinsonSpeed
    Joined: Oct 11, 2010
    Posts: 429


    Yea, why don't they make a universal battery size?.... Because if it wasn't specific to your ot car then there would only be one brand, one size, one price...
  10. And them damn cordless tool manufacturers .... why don't their batteries interchange??
  11. badshifter
    Joined: Apr 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,169


    We should all just eat bacon.
    Sorry pigs.....
  12. 302aod
    Joined: Dec 19, 2011
    Posts: 275

    from Pelham,Tn.

    Ford trucks from 48 to 96 were 5x5.5 Ford cars, most were 4.5. I thought all engines were sbc..................
  13. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,140


    Design exclusivity.
  14. This is a good reason to play with big trucks. Almost all wheels interchange, bellhousings are 3-4 different sizes,but simple adapter ring changes from one to the next, Cat Detroit or Cummins all fit in about the same size hole.
    If you don't like the toys find a different playground, just quit bitchin'!
  15. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,154

    Rusty O'Toole

    Chrysler for years used the same bolt pattern on all their cars and light trucks except limousines and Imperials, they got a larger bolt pattern. This may have been because the wheels off the smaller cars were not strong enough for the heavy models and they did not want anyone to put the wrong wheels on by mistake.

    Chevrolet did the same thing, different wheels on pickup trucks and vans than on the cars - except for station wagons which used the truck wheels.

    Then again, maybe the engineers for the different companies had different solutions to the same problem and once they started using a certain type of wheel it was most convenient to just keep on doing the same thing.
  16. Don't know about eating bacon but we should definately all be makin' bacon.

    The reason for different bolt patterns is the same reason for Ford to make small blocks that the parts don't interchange from one year to the next. it has to do with selling parts.
  17. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,060

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    For decades, I've wondered the same about oil and air filters!
    Sure there's some oddball engine/chassis combos that require a very specialized size, but do we REALLY need 200 different sizes of each!?

    50 years ago, the SAE should have standardized 6 different oil and air filters. When an auto maker tooled up a new engine, it would accomodate the most appropriate standard filters. No Rube Goldberg shit.

    Oil filters would be 1-6.
    Air filters A-F.

    55 Chevy? 2B.
    63 Dodge? 1E.

    And so forth. The parts store wouldn't have to blow half an aisle to stock every filter in the world and would never be out of a given filter. No pain in the ass phone book size application book either. You'd just remember your car was a "5C".
    Repair garages could easily service anything on the spot w/o having to order a filter from the parts house.

    Too late now I guess...
  18. plym_46
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 3,951

    from central NY

    And why are some bolt centric and some hub centric???? Like you can put dodge wheels on a ford but not Ford wheels on a dodge event though their bolt patterns match.
  19. And why is it that we learned righty tighty and left loosey but it dont always work on Dodges? HRP
  20. mike in tucson
    Joined: Aug 11, 2005
    Posts: 490

    mike in tucson
    from Tucson

    Since an auto manufacturer builds thousands of a particular platform and each style of wheel is high volume, it doesnt matter about interchangeability. What they DO care about is minimizing cost. We worked on some equipment for the 1990s Chevy trucks.....they changed a screw style mid-design because it saved 1/10 cent per screw. Not a big deal? There were 8 screws per truck and they built maybe 750,000 trucks..... about $6,000 savings. There are many of these instances on a vehicle. That's why shit boxes have 4 lugs....saves a drillling a hole, a lug stud and nut plus installation times 4 wheels. The shit box car doesnt have enough torque to cause a problem with the 4 lugs. The larger the lug circle, the more torque the pattern can take using the same sized components. In summary, from the manufacturer's perspective relative to interchangeability, it just doesnt matter.
  21. chromeazone
    Joined: Apr 23, 2009
    Posts: 231


    I have always been a '50's MOPAR guy, mainly the fin cars. But the part I always "loved" was Right Hand and Left Hand BOLTS ! (Don't get a flat in the dark on a country road with a handful of greasy bolts!) Now if that doesn't chap your hide, nothing will! And then in the early '60's they got sexy with 4" bolt circles. I always believed Chrysler had the "ENGINEERING", but I gave them a pass with their bulletproof engines and drivetrains! (Some will always disagree.)
  22. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,453

    from Quincy, IL

    Hmmmmm...........must be a slow day in the neighborhood!
  23. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 5,684

    from Oregon

    One of the reasons so many people switch their cars to 5x4.75" and also 5x4.5" is the abundance of wheel choices both old and new in these sizes. Regardless of how many wheels were ever made in other bolt patterns, none of them are as common as these two sizes.
    I too wish they had standardized on one 5 bolt pattern, one 4 bolt, one 6, and one 8. I can understand having various numbers of studs for strength, but they should all use the same pattern, and same stud diameter and thread.
  24. Reman
    Joined: Jul 8, 2010
    Posts: 305

    from Florida

  25. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,154

    Rusty O'Toole

    Up until front wheel drive came in they did standardize on things like wheels, oil filters, batteries etc.

    Years ago if you were doing oil changes Fram PH8, PH30 and PH13 filters would do about 90% of the cars on the road.
  26. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 5,684

    from Oregon

    What was standardized about wheels before front wheel drive became popular? There were tons of different spacing, and patterns well before front wheel drive came around. even within one maker there were lots of bolt pattern choices. Ford had 5x5, 5x5.5, and 5x4.5, plus various truck patterns. Chevy and GM had 5x4.75, and 5x5, plus truck patterns. Mopar had cars with 5x4.5 and 5x4 too. All well before front wheel drive.
    Same with batteries. All different sizes, shapes, top post, side post. Nothing standardized there either.

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