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keithb7

Thoughts About Upgrading To Radial Tires...Photos?

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Hi folks, I have been thinking about tires. My 1953 Windsor Deluxe came to me with Dennman Classic L78-15 bias ply tires on it.  They have a 4" wide whitewall.According to my owners manual, my  understanding is stock size tires for my car was 760-15.

The tires are are in good condition. Tread dept is very good. I like the big wide whitewalls.  What I don't like, is how the tires handle. The cars seems to want to track every little seam, or lift in a road. Pulling the car slightly to weave different directions. I am wondering what the benefits are of going to a radial tire? Will the car ride and steer better? 

I have been doing some research online and it seems that Coker makes vintage style, whitewall radial tire for my car. The closest radial equivalent seems to be 225-75R15. The whitewall I have found so far for this tire size is 2 3/4". To get a wider whitewall it seems I need to go to 235-75R15, which gives me a 3 1/8" whitewall. The wider whitewall is preferred, but I am thinking that tire is wider than I'd like. The 78-15 bias tires on my car now will rub the steering parts on a full, cranked to the stops, turn. That does not happen very often however I think I'd rather get back to a stock sized tire, with a wide whitewall.

I am wondering if any of you folks have any photos of your tires and know the width of your whitewalls? Seeing some pics of our cars with the 3 1/8" or so whitewall will help me get an idea how different they will look, compared to my current 4" wide whitewall. If you could post any pics here with details, that would be appreciated.

Here is mine now, below. Thanks in advance. - Keith

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If the whitewall width is a major concern for you,look for a set of 4 "Porta Walls". They fit between the rim and the time,and look like whitewall tires.  I am fairly certain you can find them in a 4 inch width,but will probably have to do a little searching.

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i use 235 75r 15 on my 54 Windsor. no rubbing and they handle well. no whitewalls though. i used to use skinnier whitewalls as they can be gotten anywhere and much cheaper than cokers. wide whites are nice, if i could afford them.    capt den

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Suggest you take a look at the Diamondback Tires website. I bought tires from them for my P15.  You can specify the whitewall width you want, since they attach the whitewall to the tires.  I don't recall what the price was, except that they were cheaper than Coker.  I've been very happy with mine, and they've been on the car for about 6 years now.  (Mine are 3" wide)

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Edited by Oldguy48
Added info

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My '47 P15 had Coker bias ply tires on it when I got it. I didn't like them and changed to 215/75-15 Hankook narrow whitewalls. They're inexpensive, ride and handle fine.

Edit to add: Now I wish I'd had them mounted with the blackwalls out. :(

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Edited by MackTheFinger
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Lots of info, videos on the web about grinding narrow whites to expose more white.  Most manufacturers put about 2.5/3 inches of white under the thin layer of black.  Several suggestions of Cornell brand from pep boys.  I have a pair of them  225/75 15's on the rear of my business coupe on 5.5 inch aftermarket wheels. They have been on for 10 years and +35000 miles they still have 7-8/32nds tread on them.  I did have a bit of rubbing on sharp turns, but new shocks, and spring hanger bushings took took care of that.  I mounted them white wall in on my business coupe.

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20 hours ago, Oldguy48 said:

Suggest you take a look at the Diamondback Tires website. I bought tires from them for my P15.  You can specify the whitewall width you want, since they attach the whitewall to the tires.  I don't recall what the price was, except that they were cheaper than Coker.  I've been very happy with mine, and they've been on the car for about 6 years now.  (Mine are 3" wide)

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I like your car. Looks a little lower in the front than mine but it may be an illusion. I really need to find some rocker trim.  What size tires are you running?

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Clean white rags and Dot 3 brake fluid will make white wall tires look like brand new.

People have told me this is bad for the tires but if brake fluid is bad for rubber I don't know why we're putting rubber pieces inside of brakes?

 

Anyhow just keep rubbing with brake fluid and a clean white Rag and don't rub the dirty stuff around in circles. Wipe it off the tire and turn the rag and then wipe with a clean spot, then turn. Go in One Direction Around the Clock.

This will make the oldest yellowest Whitewall tire white again, because we understand that yellow rubber is slightly "burned" by oxygen and sunlight. The brake fluid removes the burned rubber, exposing the pure white rubber underneath.

Regarding portawalls I think they are a bad idea unless you trailer the car. You'll find that out the first time you drive through a pothole. Actually you might find out just backing the car off the trailer. Unless they have improved remarkably in the past 50 years portawalls suck & are only for show cars.

 

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Great info here folks. Thanks so far. 

I hear that radials handle better at speeds. Yet are a bear to manoever in low speed applications. For example tight parking spots. Parallel parking.  

Is the softer, squished bulging radial tire sidewall the cause for this? The tire bulge at a stop, offers wider contact area? Making it difficult to crank the manual streering wheel while stopped. Is this accurate?

Stiffer sidewall bias tires offer easier low speed, and stopped steering action? Does this seem plausible? 

What I may gain in hiway handling with radial tires, I give up in town, trying to manipute parking spots?

My ‘53 has a big steering wheel and manual steering. The car is big and weights about 4,000 lbs. 

Thanks. 

Edited by keithb7

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Regarding the original topic of radial tires on an old Mopar, I would suggest that if you are having bad handling with bias ply tires then it might be those particular tires; because I had excellent ones which I thought made the car ride better than radials.

Unless your wandering goes completely away buy mounting radial tires I would advise you to have your kingpins checked carefully and maybe replaced, because they are the major source of shimmy on these cars.

 

Edited by Ulu

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Who remembers when they invented the first Tire designed to resist squirm?

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If you think the radial tires are making your car wander try pumping them up a little more or letting out a little more air to see what happens to that effect. The more you pump them up the more you can feel the loose things in the front end as being distinct from wandering of the tires.

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Good point ULU.  I have a newer set of Coker bias (the car originally had generic radials when I bought it) and the car definitely doesn't drive any worse...just different.  I'm wondering if the new bias are perhaps built differently than the old hard bias I grew up with?  Its certainly easier to steer with the bias at low speeds and only wanders if I'm on a patch of asphalt that has grooves worn into it....but even then its not scary or anything.  It just drives as it probably did when new (which I kind of like).  Also to the cleaning topic above I bought an orange/lanolin spray from Coker that works really well.  (Its not that i'm 100% sold on the Coker brand...its just all I have experience with...plus they look exactly like the factory tire...which is cool)

 

 

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I'm not sure about the construction of the Cokers but when they added belts to the bias ply tire and came out with the belted bias tire that was a big deal for high-speed stability in heavy vehicles.

Until they started making radials, that was the state-of-the-art.

I definitely preferred the ride of the bias ply tires but the radials lasted longer.

Edited by Ulu

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I have had radials on my 1940 Dodge sedan since 1973, 205/65x14 and 275/65x15 and they are great........anyway when I bought the 1941 Plymouth Coupe it was an older restoration and came with Republic brand whitewall bias or crossplies, 600x16........I'd forgotten what a PITA crossply tyres  were & are, wandering & following every groove in the road.........I replaced them and the wheels with wheel Vintique 15x6 and 15x7 Chrome Smoothies with Coker Classic Whitewall Radials, 195/75x15 and 235/75x15.........the new wheels and tyres were a HUGE improvement, no more wandering, seemed to steer better, handled better, looked better........in every way just BETTER as I drove the car at least 3-4 times per week..........I know some people prefer crossplies , they supposedly "look" more original, traditional, etc, etc........but for my money and here in Oz the wheel and tyre combination was over $3300.00 Aus so it was a substantial amount of my money but if you can afford them go with radials, I had NO problem with Coker tyres tho' I've heard some people have had various problems, have also heard similar issues with Diamondback tyres also but I ran the tyres at 35psi and they were fine, also no issues with low speed steering input either...........yep.....my 3 Oz cents worth........Andy Douglas     

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7 hours ago, MackTheFinger said:

I like your car. Looks a little lower in the front than mine but it may be an illusion. I really need to find some rocker trim.  What size tires are you running?

I had a leaf added to the rear springs to get that stance, and the tires are 215/75R15 on stock rims.  Tubeless tires/no tubes installed.

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23 hours ago, White Spyder said:

I have a set of the Coker on my '48. Only thing I have an issue with is that they are hard to keep bright white. 

"Simple Green" cleanser seems to work well on my Diamondbacks whitewalls.

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Coker wide white radials. Drive great. Huge improvement over bias belted

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   I’ve been told that porta-walls don’t work well with radial tires, due to their sidewalls flexing more than bias-ply tires. However, as I hate whitewalls, I have no first-hand experience.

   As for the brake fluid trick to clean whitewalls, extreme caution should be exercised with that. True—the brake fluid won’t harm the tire at all. However, when the brake fluid slings off of the tire and onto the paint—that’s an entirely different matter—the paint will be damaged dramatically. Words of experience on that one . . . .

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