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cozmo4A
05-06-2012, 07:07 AM
What can I use for tires on my wire wheels? I really don't want to spend a small fortune on Michelins, so what are my options? They are 15x4.5" I believe. Thanks.

Wifesmainwrench
05-06-2012, 09:06 AM
Hey cozmo. I just got what I think was a good deal on a set of Hancook 185 65R 15's from Coker. I did get a set of Michelin tubes and liners from another source. The liners will have to be modified from 17" to 15", but that's just a matter of cutting and glueing. BTW the tires come w/ an 80,000 warranty, although I doubt I'll need it.
WMR

3798j
05-06-2012, 09:20 AM
Here's another option. Pep Boys shows this Nexen 165/80 - 15 for under $65.
https://www.pepboys.com/tires/sbs/165/80/15/P/ALL/00017/

tdskip
05-06-2012, 10:06 AM
Just be aware that the tire quality, and more specifically the sidewall stiffness, will vary a great deal in this price range.

Geo Hahn
05-06-2012, 10:48 AM
Here's another option. Pep Boys shows this Nexen 165/80 - 15 for under $65.

Those are what I went with...

https://members.cybertrails.com/~ahwahnee/Nexen.JPG

Seem quite satifactory. Not the last word in handling but a traditional tire means tires that look like a super model -- tall & skinny.

cozmo4A
05-06-2012, 01:07 PM
I'm looking for something to just get her down the road. Pep Boys it is then.

Forgive my ignorance, but do I need tubes with newer style tires?

Wifesmainwrench
05-06-2012, 01:11 PM
I mostly based my decision on the improvement in handling and predictability of a new set of Hankooks I put on the Boxter. They are, of course, a totally different design and formulated for much higher speeds, but I think the quality and feel should be similar. I was also suprised by the low price ($76 + tube & liner). Came in 3 days, too. Free.

Wifesmainwrench
05-06-2012, 01:18 PM
The tires might be "new style", but the WW are "old style". You'll need tubes and liners both.
WMW

Willie_P
05-07-2012, 08:39 AM
What is the appropriate bias-ply/(non radial) tire size for these wheels?

thks, w.

JohnB
05-07-2012, 09:32 AM
Willie,

For the TR2, TR3, TR3a and TR3b factory standard was 5.50x15.

As an option, and/or perhaps US export you could also get 5.5/5.90x15 bias or Michelin radials in 165x15.

My TR2 appears to have come with the 5.50x15 originally.

sail
05-07-2012, 10:03 AM
My 4A Handbook list the following:

Goodyear
6.95-15 G.P.
165 -15 G800
5.90-15 G8S

Dunlop
165-15 SP

Michelin
165-15 'X'

I have 165/80R15 Kumho's on my wires.

martx-5
05-07-2012, 11:49 AM
What is the appropriate bias-ply/(non radial) tire size for these wheels?

thks, w.

Is there any particular reason why you would want bias-ply tires instead of radials?? The advantages of bias-ply tires over radials is far exceeded by the advantages of radials over bias-ply.

More info here... (https://www.businessweek.com/autos/content/may2006/bw20060504_512529.htm)

TR3driver
05-07-2012, 01:37 PM
Is there any particular reason why you would want bias-ply tires instead of radials?? The advantages of bias-ply tires over radials is far exceeded by the advantages of radials over bias-ply.

More info here... (https://www.businessweek.com/autos/content/may2006/bw20060504_512529.htm)

It's interesting that they don't address the most believable myth (IMO), that bias-ply tires don't wander as much as radials (due to stiffer sidewalls).

Also, they mention "flat spots", but neglected to mention that they are a problem only with nylon-cord tires. One of the last improvements before radial tires was the use of polyester cords rather than nylon, which among other things greatly reduced that distinctive thump-thump-thump on a cold morning. (Not that it was ever a problem, it quickly went away, but it was noticeable.)

And maybe they do exist, but I've never seen a radial tire that didn't look a bit under-inflated, compared to a bias ply with the same pressure.

All that said, I still wouldn't use a bias-ply if a radial was available.

cozmo4A
05-07-2012, 03:16 PM
So, what size tire will fit on my 15x4.5? I can't remember if I had 165 or 185 before they were removed.

Geo Hahn
05-07-2012, 03:52 PM
So, what size tire will fit on my 15x4.5? I can't remember if I had 165 or 185 before they were removed.

I've seen both those sizes (and larger) used but my personal preference is the 165s. IMO wider tires look and perform best on wider rims.

cozmo4A
05-07-2012, 04:06 PM
Thanks. I'll be ordering them soon.

cozmo4A
05-07-2012, 04:06 PM
165/80 correct?

TR3driver
05-07-2012, 04:48 PM
IMO wider tires look and perform best on wider rims.

I agree, but sometimes a wide tire on a narrow rim will perform better than a narrow tire on a narrow rim. I ran a set of 185/65 tires on stock TR3 rims for awhile, and the handling was enough better to convince me to go to wider rims as well. The difference is in the tire construction IMO; no one makes "performance" tires in those old skinny sizes.

And the look wasn't all that bad, IMO. Rather like a "balloon" tire on a bicycle.

Geo Hahn
05-07-2012, 04:49 PM
Yes, 165/80 is the closest size (very close) to the old 'metric' 165/15.

Isn't is odd that tires and one other car part are generally measured in a combination of both metric and SAE?

Geo Hahn
05-07-2012, 04:52 PM
...And the look wasn't all that bad, IMO. Rather like a "balloon" tire on a bicycle.

Or maybe Unca Donald's car...

https://img.izismile.com/img/img2/20091110/donald_duck_car_02.jpg

panther49
05-07-2012, 09:25 PM
Hi to all the experts here, from a new member in St. Petersburg, Florida.
I too will need tires for a 1967 TR4A with wire wheels that I just got for restoration.
I saw in Wikipedia (which at times is notoriously wrong!) and quote:
"TR4 were originally fitted with 15x4.5" disc wheels. Optional 48-lace wire wheels could be ordered...... Tyres were a problem for original owners who opted for 48-spoke wire wheels, as the correct size radial ply tyre for the factory rims was 175x15, an odd-sized tyre at the time that was only available from Michelin at considerable expense. The much more common 185x15 radials were too wide to be fitted safely. As a result, many owners had new and wider rims fitted and their wheels re-laced"
So, what gives?????????
I don't want to kill myself.
By the way I will be posting some pics of the car soon, don't expect too much since it was FREE!!!!!

Geo Hahn
05-08-2012, 08:19 AM
...I saw in Wikipedia (which at times is notoriously wrong!)...

Such as this time.

Willie_P
05-08-2012, 06:20 PM
some questioned my choice for bias ply, here's my response (let the argument begin, as I am sure there are many "experts" out there). ultimately, it's my choice.

-bias are more fun to drive. sliding, noise, and more "feel"
-bias let you know when they will eventually loose traction, whereas radials tend to surprise you and next thing you know you are facing the wrong direction
-our LBC suspensions are designed to work with bias ply tires and when I've seen ppl put radials on their TR's, the next thing they are doing is having to mod-up the suspension to accommodate for the stiffness of the radial sidewalls
-i like the "look" of bias ply. I like tall and skinny (tires), with a bulbous side profile (whoa, I am now talking about girls!).
-I want to run WIDE white walls
-I always liked Max Bacholsky's story about putting buick sedan tires on ol' yaller and using that as his secret weapon to beat rich Euro-trash racers out in Cali in the 50s
-I have an urging desire to send money to Corky Coker
-i secretly would rather have a 36 ford roadster than a tr
-and so on...

hope that sheds some light on the inquiry.

-willie

TR3driver
05-08-2012, 08:13 PM
Your choice, of course. If you're into doing 4 wheel drifts at 30 mph then have at it!

But I disagree about "having" to upgrade the stock suspension. Instead, it's a matter of now that you've got tires that will actually hold the road, the limitations of the suspension become rather apparent.

martx-5
05-09-2012, 07:28 AM
Fair enough for the reasons you gave, it is, after all you car to do with what you want. However, the statement below is incorrect.



... the next thing they are doing is having to mod-up the suspension to accommodate for the stiffness of the radial sidewalls


It's the other way around. Because the radial sidewalls flex more, the contact patch remains planted flat on the ground despite the attitude of the wheel...well, to a point. It's one of the reasons why radials outperform bias-ply tires.

BTW, Diamond Back Tires (https://www.dbtires.com/) have radials with wide white walls if you thought they weren't available.

Willie_P
05-09-2012, 08:26 AM
Agreed on the performance aspect of Radials v. Bias. However, the suspension has to "work" more when using Radials (at least in old cars like ours), therefore a more compliant tire actually becomes a more significant component of the suspension and as a result you do not have to do all the camber modifications that so many do here (typically as a result of needing to accommodate their use of radials).

I understand this is a touchy subject and there's scores written pros/cons for either argument.

Before I posted I went over to Rennlist and read a great article on a vintage (race prep) 911 running bias plys that beats a competitive driven street prepared Cayman on a regular basis. the main theme of the article offered tips on how to set up your bias plys for performance driving.

again, one of the main reasons I am looking for bias is the "look" and not quite as much performance. although some performance is desired.

I also autoX'd a BGT in the mid 90's that was on it's original Michelin bias plys and took a couple trophies home. I also hit a curb once in an autoX and destroyed a wire wheel and slightly bent the frame!

anywhoo...

TR3driver
05-09-2012, 11:38 AM
Before I posted I went over to Rennlist and read a great article on a vintage (race prep) 911 running bias plys

Vintage race bias-plys are a different kettle of fish. Yes, they will out perform most if not all "street" radials. But they are also quite expensive and have practically no life at all. I regularly read about having to replace them every racing season or two.

And anyone who tries to run them in a class where radials are allowed (eg apples to apples rather than oranges) is going to lose.

BTW, TR3s were offered new with a choice of radial or bias ply. Although the speedometer calibration changed to match the slightly shorter Michelin X radials, there were no other changes to the suspension.

Willie_P
05-09-2012, 11:54 AM
I am not sure what I am getting yet..but I am looking at tire in the $200+/tire range. So, I'm hopeful they are of a high quality and offer some "engineered" performance characteristics.

cozmo4A
05-09-2012, 05:22 PM
Would a "normal" tire shop be able to mount tubes and tires, or should I find an expert?

TR3driver
05-09-2012, 06:33 PM
If you have wire wheels, I'd suggest calling or asking around for a shop with experience doing wire wheels. Not all tire machines will do them, and not everyone has the right adapters to balance wire wheels. Using the wrong equipment can result in vibration or even damage to the wheel.

Normally, any tire shop should be able to handle the steel wheels. And pretty much any shop these days should be able to handle alloys (if that's what you have).

Geo Hahn
05-10-2012, 04:33 PM
I have mounted & balanced my own using Harbor Freight Tools. I can see where a ham-fisted tire guy could do some damage to a wire wheel using the big equipment but with the simple levered tire changer I saw little chance I would hurt anything (including me!).

Really not much of a money-saving thing as it is a bit of grunt work but if you enjoy knowing you did it yourself then it can be satisfying.

TR3driver
05-10-2012, 04:50 PM
it is a bit of grunt work but if you enjoy knowing you did it yourself then it can be satisfying.

Depends on what tires you are trying to mount. I spent over 2 hours getting just one of my 205/55 tires onto an alloy wheel (that I was hoping to use on the TR3) and I was dripping with sweat by the time it finally went into place. Looked at the other one and decided I would much rather pay someone else to do it!

Then of course you have to balance them. I don't think HF has a machine that will grab wire wheels properly.
https://www.mossmotors.com/SiteGraphics/Pages/balance_wire_wheels.html

Geo Hahn
05-10-2012, 05:27 PM
Maybe it shouldn't work, but I balanced the wires using the Harbor Freight bubble-boy:

Bubble Balancer (https://www.harborfreight.com/portable-wheel-balancer-39741.html)

I had the splined hub installed in the wheel when I did this so I was using the inside of the that hub to center the wheel.

I do it, then remove/reinsert to get a different orientation and then confirm the balance -- anyway, so far those tires run very smooth and show no strange wear.

195/65/15s and 185/14s are the only modern tires I have mounted and those both have pretty tall sidewalls. I can see where shorter sidewalls would be more 'grunt'.

Oddly, a look at the HF site suggests they no longer sell their budget tire-changer.

martx-5
05-11-2012, 06:35 AM
Back in the late '60s when I used to go to Bridgehampton race circuit and walk around the pits, the Goodyear tire guys used bubble balancers. I've used them and they work very well. But, many years ago I loaned out the one I had and you know the rest of the story. Maybe I'll get another one. :smile: