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1939 - 47 Mopar Job Rated 1/2 Ton Pickup Truck Wheels


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Greetings!

Anyone know if there are any 16 inch wheels (either new or used) that would go on these trucks and are a bit wider to accept modern radials? I'm also hoping that I could use the original hub caps and trim rings. I think bolt pattern is 5 X 4.5.  Also it's difficult to measure the offset and backspacing without removing the tires. Anyone have this info? I'm hoping to install a set of Michelins 215/85/R16. Anyone drive one of these trucks with radial tires?

Any advice would be much appreciated!

Regards,

Steve Lowe

 

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I drove my 46 Dodge pickup everyday, and hauled my kid and his racing go kart all over NY and Pa for a couples years with 15 inch Diplomat cop car wheels and 235/75/15 radial tires with no problem. Musta' put 20/30 thousand miles on it. Only upgrade was 12 volts and a more modern late 60's 8 3/4 rear end with flanged axles from a Chrysler B body car. Stock steering, brakes, suspension, etc. Stock 4 sp tranny, but with the 3.55 rear end ratio, keeping up with traffic, even at highway speeds was no problem. Had no speedometer, but I passed as many cars as passed me, so I'm sure I was cruisin'  along at about 65. Also had 70's Chrysler ralley wheels on it too. I think they and the cop wheels where 61/2 inches wide.

As always......your results may vary.

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Although they say you need wider rims I've got those same tires on my stock 4.5 wide rims. Been on there about 12 years and 5-6K miles

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That's interesting Ed!  I have been told that my rims are too narrow and also because the rims are riveted to the center part of the wheels they probably would not hold air without tubes?  Are you using tubes? Did you find your vehicle drove much better after installing?

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2 hours ago, PT81PlymouthPickup said:

That's interesting Ed!  I have been told that my rims are too narrow and also because the rims are riveted to the center part of the wheels they probably would not hold air without tubes?  Are you using tubes? Did you find your vehicle drove much better after installing?

No tubes. Can't say how it compares because I've only driven it with these tires.

 

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We have used radial tires on our 47's original  wheels with good success .

Another option is the 15 x5 1/2 wheel used on Chrysler and Desoto '48  to 54.  The hub caps fit if the wheel has the 5 clips to hold the cap.

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  • 3 years later...
On 7/17/2017 at 9:06 AM, dpollo said:

We have used radial tires on our 47's original  wheels with good success .

Another option is the 15 x5 1/2 wheel used on Chrysler and Desoto '48  to 54.  The hub caps fit if the wheel has the 5 clips to hold the cap.

Yes, the clips are the issue for me. I really want to put some wider rubber especially on the rear of my truck to fill some of that excessive space and give it a bit more eye appeal. At the same time, I would also love to keep my original Plymouth hubcaps. I guess it's just wishful thinking? I'm wondering if Mopar made any wider 16" wheels that have the clips? There are some lug centric aftermarket wheels that would work but can't use the oem hubcaps. I also have always preferred hub centric wheels. I need to make a decision soon. Although my bias ply tires still hold air, they are 25 years old and have many small cracks appearing.

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I've got one wheel of unknown origin that has the factory clips and it stamped 15x6. I do wonder if later trucks came with wider 16s?

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Any specialty wheel manufacturers companies in your area?  A company by the name- Detroit Speed or Wheel? has done this in the past maybe even all new as someone on this forum said they sell hubcap cllps as repo's I believe?  Anyone still on the forum with info?

 

 

Some So. Calif. companies and others used to mount your stock wheels in a lathe and cut off the original welds and take just the center portions and install them on wider wheel hoops and reinstall/weld them back in wider Hoops.

 

What sizes are available?  You will need to do some checking around for that info.

 

Should be able to be be done if what you desire is available.

 

Good luck, not the cheapest  way to get it done but if you really Need them!  😎

 

Happy Hunting,

 

DJ

Edited by DJ194950
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  • 1 month later...

Been working on other projects, but beginning to think about wheel / tire replacement again. My old bias ply tires have considerable cracking and I'm tired of fighting the steering when the bias ply tires follow imperfections in the road. Anyhow, I really would like to keep the wheels at 16" dia. I just think they look better (eye appeal). I believe the rims are only 4 - 4-1/2" wide? Sounds like a few of you have been able to run modern radial tires which are designed for wider rims without tubes. I'm a little skeptical if that's safe? Getting back to eye appeal; The stock sized front rims and tires fill the front wheel wells nicely, but on the rear they look really wimpy in those huge openings. To achieve the look I would like, I would have to have wider wheels and tires for the rear only. I know lots of street rodder's do this, but I'm wondering how that might affect the handling on the 39-47 trucks? I'm fairly certain if I had slightly wider (6-7") 16" rims made to fill the rear fender openings better, that same size would likely rub the fenders on the front axle.  Seems like nothing is ever simple with my Mopar truck? Well, usually caused by me changing things. Any opinions on running wider rims and tires on a rear axle and narrower ones on the front?

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I've had radials on my 46 for 20 years. No tubes. The biggest issue I've had is the LF rubs the pitman arm on lefts so I had to adjust the steering stop. I might add a spacer to try and fix that.

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on my 49 with 1988 wheels the only issue was tire close to the tie rod end...with possible flex it could have hit while driving....did not give it a chance to do that, installed a smaller wheel spacer and solved that issue from the get go....so much nicer ride with radials.  When I sold the car I ask the buyer if he wanted the original or the 88 rims with wire basket caps....he chose the 88's

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On 7/13/2017 at 10:03 PM, Young Ed said:

Although they say you need wider rims I've got those same tires on my stock 4.5 wide rims. Been on there about 12 years and 5-6K miles

Ed, were you referring to 215/85/R16 tires on your truck? Is yours a half ton pickup? The 215/85/R16 has a 30.4" diameter. My original 6.50-16 tires are 26.4" diameter. I'm thinking these may not fit my front fender-wells?

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I think I got some bad web information. I just measured my tires with a tape measure; The 6.50-16 tires measure 29.5 diameter inflated and a 215/85/R16 I had laying around measures 30.4 not inflated. Not sure how much difference inflation would make?

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3 hours ago, PT81PlymouthPickup said:

Ed, were you referring to 215/85/R16 tires on your truck? Is yours a half ton pickup? The 215/85/R16 has a 30.4" diameter. My original 6.50-16 tires are 26.4" diameter. I'm thinking these may not fit my front fender-wells?

Yes that's what I have on my truck. They state they should be on a wider wheel but I haven't had any problems beyond the steering rub

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My '51 half ton came with 215/85 R16 on the original 4.5X16" rims. This size tire was a bit taller than the original original 6.00X16 tires but the main draw back was that they were for  a dually  application and meant to run around 65 psi. The tires were hardly worn but probably 25 years old. I went to a 215/75 R16 which is a half inch shorter than the 6.00X16 but they are made for an SUV and I run 32 psi which definitely improves the ride.  There are no clearance issues on the 215/75 R16 tires.

 

On my '42 half ton the previous owner went to a early 50's 15 inch rim. I am running  215/75 R15 with no clearance issues. The radials are the only change from stock on the truck.

 

You could probably find a spacer to fill in the rear wheel wells. This would also allow you to rotate your tires.

 

Radials I find make a huge difference in handling on windy days. I had a  stock '49 sedan with radials that drove so easy on an extremely windy day, I would take my stock '41 coupe with bias tires and you spent the whole drive compensating for wind breaks and probably looked like a drunk driving down the road.

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Edited by 1949 Wraith
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I am also running 215/85R16 modern tires on the original wheels.  Looks and works great and the taller tires do kill a little top end RPM when cruising.  I happen to really like the tall/skinny profile for classic trucks but also dig the big & little style.  When I was a youngster there were a lot of pickups rocking stock front wheels with street treads and some fatter wheels and mud grips on the back for traction on the farm. 😎  I don't see any reason why you can't do that on your truck without issue.  I have only dealt with Stockton Wheel for custom stuff  but I know there are other shops that can widen your wheels for you so it will be exactly what you want.  

 

There are two other common truck tire sizes that are basically the same height as the 215/85R16:  245/75R16 and 265/70R16.  They just get progressively wider at the sidewall, the 215 is about 8.5", 9.5" for the 245 and the 265 is 10.5".  265/70R16 on 16x7s would look pretty good on the rear with pizza cutters on the front.  

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3 hours ago, 1949 Wraith said:

My '51 half ton came with 215/85 R16 on the original 4.5X16" rims. This size tire was a bit taller than the original original 6.00X16 tires but the main draw back was that they were for  a dually  application and meant to run around 65 psi. The tires were hardly worn but probably 25 years old. I went to a 215/75 R16 which is a half inch shorter than the 6.00X16 but they are made for an SUV and I run 32 psi which definitely improves the ride.  There are no clearance issues on the 215/75 R16 tires.

 

On my '42 half ton the previous owner went to a early 50's 15 inch rim. I am running  215/75 R15 with no clearance issues. The radials are the only change from stock on the truck.

 

You could probably find a spacer to fill in the rear wheel wells. This would also allow you to rotate your tires.

 

Radials I find make a huge difference in handling on windy days. I had a  stock '49 sedan with radials that drove so easy on an extremely windy day, I would take my stock '41 coupe with bias tires and you spent the whole drive compensating for wind breaks and probably looked like a drunk driving down the road.

IMG_20190925_113012.jpg

 

Nice truck!  Aside from wheel color it could be my truck's twin!

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1 hour ago, Old CWO said:

On my '42 half ton the previous owner went to a early 50's 15 inch rim. I am running  215/75 R15 with no clearance issues. The radials are the only change from stock on the truck.

Your 51 truck is Sweet! Any photos of your 42?

Maybe the previous owner went to the smaller rims to have more options of tire sizes? Are the wheels on your 42 the 4-1/2" wide OEM Mopar wheels or aftermarket? I've read where running modern radials on our antique wheels is not always safe due to wheel design and rim width. Radial tires exert different forces on the rims than bias ply.  I believe my wheel center section is riveted to the rim. Seems like a potential for leaks? Some have mounted modern radials without tubes and have not had any issues. Some companies like Coker sell period sized radial tires that require tubes? I would like to eliminate the tubes. There are companies selling vintage looking wheels made for tubeless radials, but as discussed earlier don't have the clips for our oem hub caps. Some here have suggested having my wheels customized, but I'd rather stay away from that route. My head's hurting! Lols!  I'm also concerned if I mount wider radial tires on the front axle it may make the truck steer a lot harder when at very low speeds such as parking? I'm currently running 6.50-16 which measure 29.5" dia. and about 7" wide. Even with these skinny tires it turns a bit hard when parking.

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The '51 I know are the stock 16" rims and they are the ones for the 6.00 x 16" original tires I believe the rims are only 4.00 or 4.25 inches wide, so I personally would not go any wider than the 215's. I am not sure what the '42 rims are off off but they are the Mopar, but they have an offset and I think they were about 5.50 inches wide. I have 215/75 R 15 on my '38 sedan (late 40's 15" rims also)and went with that again on my Fargo. Popular size and cheap, about half an inch shorter than the stock 6.00 x 16 tires and calculator says 2500 rpm at 50 mph. Three sets of Mopar rims with no tubes, all hold air good.

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Edited by 1949 Wraith
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I learned how to drive on a Farmall M when I was 10, and the trick I was taught to turn that tricycle steering was to keep the tractor moving, even if that means feathering the clutch to rock the tractor back and forth to make a sharp turn in tight quarters...this transferred to the '48 with the 6.50-16s, for as long as the truck was moving, even just a little, the turning of the steering wheel wasn't an impossible chore...if ya are going to move to a wider tire, this trick will become even more invaluable as wider tires will have even more resistance to turning at a standstill...what is happening is that if you are rolling over the pavement or dirt, even at a very slow speed, the steering resistance is low, but if ya are not rolling, steering resistance is very high because a large portion of the weight of the vehicle is trying to twist the contact surface, be it hard pavement or dirt, and that ain't easy...

 

LT215/85R16s are a heavier tire than 6.50-16s, but them big radials do not need to be inflated to 50+psi during operation...they'll need a lot of psi to properly seat the beads (I usually put 70psi to make sure), but then deflate to 35psi and test drive...if still too harsh, deflate as needed but no less than 30psi...those radials will squat down at lower pressures, so your effective tire diameter has to be calculated as double the radius at the tire contact point...as a point of reference, the last 6.50-16s that were on the '48 were load rated C, and last time I checked, LT215/85R16 could be had load rated D, so those will be literally the next tire size up...if ya get E-rated, then you've gone too far  :cool:

Edited by JBNeal
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yep, JB has it nailed, any small movement will help get these boys turned.  Otherwise we'd all end up like Popeye!  Parking at Back to the 50's here in MN is always interesting, because unless you get there EARLY (and wait in line for hours) you end up parallel parking....always good humor for those already seats and relaxing as you fight to tuck a 1 ton into a small spot!

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