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Tips

Tubes in radial tires on wire wheels - what do you do?

blueskies

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Someone recently told me that it's not safe to put a tube inside a radial tire. But an old wire wheel, as on Healeys, likely won't hold air without a tube.

A search suggests that there are tubes for radial tires and tubes that are not meant for radial tires. But info seems confusing and inconclusive.

What are you guys doing with your radial tires on wire wheels? Any tube? Special radial tubes? Or?? Thanks for any help with this.
 

Grantura_MKI

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Yes, you need to fit tubes for radial tyres. Using the wrong tube leads to blowouts when the tyres warm up.
 
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Yes, I've used tubes in my radials for almost 20 year without a problem. Easier to change broken spokes (I have broken numerous spokes over the years). You can "tune" spokes. Older wire wheels do not have the ridge that the tire holds onto. Tubeless require a bigger hole for the valve stem. You need the band that protects the tube from the ends of the spokes. I carry a tire patch kit that I have never had to use. Bottom line, they make different flavor ice cream cause we don't all like chocolate.
 

Healey Nut

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My Dayton wire wheels were made to be tubeless.

I wouldn’t use anything else but after having them on both my now sold BJ8s , guaranteed never to need trueing triple chrome , stainless spokes .....why would you go with anything else .
 

British_Recovery

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Blueskies,
To start off, what do you have on the car now? What is your overall plan for the car?
Hendrix wire wheel has the answers that will help you.
Bob
 

Jack T

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You can readily find proper tubes at Tire Rack, Coker, etc. It's unlikely you will see any in a passenger car size that are not suitable for radials. How many bias ply tires have been sold for street cars in the last 40 years?
 
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Tires are the easy part. There are precious few shops that can properly mount and balance tires on wire* wheels. There used to be several in the Bay Area--one in particular in Santa Cruz who worked out of his garage--but he and others that could do it are long gone. Some chains have 'one guy' who could do it, but those guys tend to move around, and you need special cones to spin balance wires (yes, you can balance wires 'the old-fashioned way,' but spin is usually better).

* Real wires, not the fake kind you see often.
 

Jack T

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+1 on what Bob said. I'm lucky to have a local independent tire shop where they actually take an interest in doing a good job. Check with other British car clubs near you to see if they have any recommendations.
 

gonzo

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Is it difficult to remove a tire from wire wheels - let's say to fix a broken spoke or patch a leaky tube. If on the road, what tools are needed for the job? On longish trips where boot space is a premium, I pitch the spare tire and carry a spare tube and e-pump. What sort of tire irons work?

Wonder if we would even know the difference driving on wheels that we not balanced?
 

RDKeysor

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I have had tubes on two sets of tires with my 60-spoke chrome wires, presumably from Dayton (where I once lived and did business with Dayton Wire Wheel), without any noticeable problems. I bought the tubes online for my current tires and did not specify that they must work with radial tires. I'm sure there are rubber liners over the spoke area in my wheel. I had a wheel with broken spokes, had a shop take off the tire, and then replaced the spokes myself. I actually had to remove or loosen an additional spoke ors two to fit the new ones. I simply snugged up the new spokes, had the tire replaced, and have had not issues. I own a lot of road bikes, have lots of repair gear, and regularly respoke and true bike wheels. But I think that gave me no advantage if I had to true a car wheel, and I haven't and won't try to do that. There is a small shop in Green Cove, FL, that has installed new tires on wire wheels for a number of members of the St. Johns Austin Healey Club to their satisfaction. Nice people to work with.
 

Keoke

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Is it difficult to remove a tire from wire wheels - l-----NO!.


Wonder if we would even know the difference driving on wheels that we not balanced?___ Yes Sir! .
 

HealeyRick

Yoda
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Is it difficult to remove a tire from wire wheels - let's say to fix a broken spoke or patch a leaky tube. If on the road, what tools are needed for the job? On longish trips where boot space is a premium, I pitch the spare tire and carry a spare tube and e-pump. What sort of tire irons work?

Wonder if we would even know the difference driving on wheels that we not balanced?

I remember an article by Norman Nock who showed how to change a tire using a pair of Dunlop tire spoons and putting the wheel under the jacked-up wheel of another car and lowering it to break the bead. Those old-time mechanics knew how to improvise.
 
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I remember an article by Norman Nock who showed how to change a tire using a pair of Dunlop tire spoons and putting the wheel under the jacked-up wheel of another car and lowering it to break the bead. Those old-time mechanics knew how to improvise.


I remember that (probably in one of the club mags). Somewhere, there's a photo of Norman's wife Shona standing on a rim with a couple of spoons.
 

Editor_Reid

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I remember an article by Norman Nock who showed how to change a tire using a pair of Dunlop tire spoons and putting the wheel under the jacked-up wheel of another car and lowering it to break the bead. Those old-time mechanics knew how to improvise.

I was the editor, and Norman's wife, Shona, was the demonstrator for procedure! Like many other tech tips, I seriously doubt anyone ever tried it.
 

HealeyRick

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I was the editor, and Norman's wife, Shona, was the demonstrator for procedure! Like many other tech tips, I seriously doubt anyone ever tried it.

If only the major clubs could distill their magazines into the tech and historical articles and make them available online. There's so much good content available and for those going forward that will have to maintain these cars, those articles would be invaluable. I store this dream right next to the one of a central warehouse that we could ship all our unused Healey parts to for use by future restorers. Maybe if I was younger I could build my Healey empire!
 

AUSMHLY

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I was the editor, and Norman's wife, Shona, was the demonstrator for procedure! Like many other tech tips, I seriously doubt anyone ever tried it.
Tech Talk is available from British Car Specialists.

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