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Radial tires on old rims

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by greaserjohn, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. greaserjohn
    Joined: Dec 30, 2011
    Posts: 17


    So my son brought home some rims from a swap meet. Sellers says they are from a 53 chevy. Sounds about right based on the looks. My question is can a set of radial tires fit on the rims and will the rims leak without tubes. Thanks.
  2. Mopar Menno
    Joined: Nov 26, 2011
    Posts: 7

    Mopar Menno
    from Manitoba

    So far, my '51 Dodge rims are doing fine with radials, though I haven't put too many miles on just yet. 215/75 rear, 205's front. The rims are slightly narrow for these though.
  3. aircap
    Joined: Mar 10, 2011
    Posts: 1,525


    Never had any problems on any of my old Studebakers.... and the ride was sure smoother than bias-plies.
  4. metal man
    Joined: Dec 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,948

    metal man

    Dad ran radials on a set of '48 Merc wheels for 20 years or so before I talked him into the more attractive bias-plys.
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  5. Dog Dish Deluxe
    Joined: Dec 23, 2011
    Posts: 778

    Dog Dish Deluxe
    from MO.

    You'll be fine. They say that because radials put more stress on the rims that bias plies. The old rims weren't hardened like the newer ones are, so they will flex a little more but not enough to cause any problems. I've had countless old cars with old rims with radials and the only issue that I've ever had was the front hubcaps would sometimes pop off of my 50 chevy when turing sharp in a parking lot due to the rims flexing.
  6. Old Tin and New Tin
    Joined: Jun 2, 2011
    Posts: 301

    Old Tin and New Tin

    Two safety factors I have observed.

    Early wheels designed to be used with tubes do not have the safety bead built into the wheel (this is a raised bead about 1/2" inside the lip of the wheel. If this bead is not present you run the risk of the tire bead moving inward on the wheel and causing failure.

    Observed an original Kelsey-Hayes wire wheel on Corky Coker's 32 Brookville at SEMA in 2010. He had driven the car to Las Vegas and on the way out the rim exploded at the bead. Tire wasn't hurt but rim was destroyed. I was told the radial flexes so much it twists the wheel and if the wheel is not designed for a radial it can fail.
  7. Old Tin and New Tin
    Joined: Jun 2, 2011
    Posts: 301

    Old Tin and New Tin

    Photo of wheel that failed on 32 roadster pickup

    Attached Files:

  8. You will be fine. We have all done it for years. Corkys deal was a fluke.We all expect his tires to go before the rim.
  9. Dog Dish Deluxe
    Joined: Dec 23, 2011
    Posts: 778

    Dog Dish Deluxe
    from MO.

    True that.
  10. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,778

    from California


    spokes are different, plus that rim is 20 years older than a 50's rim as he is asking about.
  11. metal man
    Joined: Dec 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,948

    metal man

  12. I always run tubes on rims without safety beads.
  13. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,956

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    They work just fine for me,the only fail I find that can happen is the very same fail that can happen on a very new rim as well,but for if old rim is rusty don't use .
    Blue wheel fail looks more like someone did something stupid and had nothing to do with type of tire.
  14. Rob68
    Joined: Jun 16, 2011
    Posts: 495


  15. Cosmo49
    Joined: Jan 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,155


    65K miles on stock tubeless rims 215 85R 16 '49 Chevy 1/2 T, daily driver only vehicle. Check air pressure maybe a couple times a month, rarely add more than a few pounds of air.
  16. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,422


    Never had any serious problems and even ran them as tubeless on the old rims too,had to replace one since the full hub cap would not stay on but thats it.
  17. SakowskiMotors
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,240


    Sometimes my old 50s wheels will loose air around the bead if they are not driven much. A little fix a flat in each tire usually seals the leaky beads.

    I have to put some in my 54 Buick every 4 years.
  18. BuckeyeBuicks
    Joined: Jan 4, 2010
    Posts: 2,074

    from ohio

    Roger that on the hubcaps coming off! Ran radials on a 55 Merc with stock wheels and moons, had to check them every time I left home and before coming home from a cruise. Screwed up a fender skirt one time when one come off on I70 at about 80MPH!
  19. My 55 Pontiac has run radial tires since 1995(I think I'm on my 4th set) and I have never had a problem with them losing air or anything else.I do have occasional problems with hubcaps either flying off or rotating around and bending the valve stem but that is the fault of the caps.The little teeth that grip the rim wear down or bend and lose their grip. A little bending with a pair of pliers and some filing with a triangular file usually cure the problem.
  20. Cruiser
    Joined: May 29, 2006
    Posts: 2,240


    I have radials (a better looking tire then bias plys:D) on my '52 stock wheel with no problems. Most hub caps coming off is a problem with the hub cap and not the wheel.

  21. Kiwi 4d
    Joined: Sep 16, 2006
    Posts: 2,763

    Kiwi 4d

    No problems with radials on older rims. Just avoid corkys mishap by always using tubes. Older rims can be porous as well as having no safety bead.
  22. fordcragar
    Joined: Dec 28, 2005
    Posts: 3,180

    from Yakima WA.

    The only problem that I've known of is a possible leak; which could be taken care of with sealant.
  23. Scumdog
    Joined: Mar 3, 2010
    Posts: 622


    I've had exactly that happen on my '48 F1 pickup

    And I only ever used cross (bias?) ply tyres on it.
  24. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,046


    I've had radials (Diamond Backs) on my '37 Chevy coupe's O.E. rims for 10-years now. I tour with the car and have around 25,000 miles on them with no issues. I check 'em over periodically for any signs of deterioration, but so far, they are fine.
  25. My personal preference is to have a saftey rim if I am going to run radials. but it is a quirk of mine. I have run radials on old rims that are not saftey rims without a problem. Like I said it is just a quirk that I have.
  26. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,428

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    I have stock 53 chevy wheels on my 53 Chevy

    Been running radials for 10 problems , no tubes
    wheels are in good shape

  27. Irish Dan
    Joined: Jan 19, 2006
    Posts: 1,231

    Irish Dan

    I just ordered a set of Coker classic wide white radials for my 57 chevy, & will mount original 56 chevy 15" rims on them. I don't anticipate any problems or concerns about them. Good Luck!
  28. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,758

    Member Emeritus

    What makes you so certain that the tire construction CAUSED this problem?
  29. Dog Dish Deluxe
    Joined: Dec 23, 2011
    Posts: 778

    Dog Dish Deluxe
    from MO.

    Everybody bitches about radials looking ugly. I put a set of Coker bias wide whites on my car for a while but then I went back to my Runway Enduro 75 1.3 ww radials because I actually think the look better. I also solved that hubcap problem and started runnin' dog dish caps.
  30. chevyshubox
    Joined: Dec 31, 2007
    Posts: 62

    from Australia

    My 51 Chev also had radials and no tubes never had a problem.

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