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Tire width
#1
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CartRich
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I am in the process of deciding on new tires for a 115C. The owner's manual shows tire specs of 650-16. In looking at the tires I will be replacing, they show that they are 600-16. Aside from going back to the manufacturer's specs because they are specs for a reason, should I expect any difference in handling? I'm not worried about it, just curious.

Posted on: 2019/12/1 11:54
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Re: Tire width
#2
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Joe Santana
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If you can duplicate original spec whitewalls at Diamond Back, Coker, and other antique car tire vendors, I would try for that. In my experience, a major difference in handling is achieved with antique style radials over 4-ply.

Posted on: 2019/12/1 14:01
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Re: Tire width
#3
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PackardDon
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If your tires are more than a few years old, it's probably time to replace them anyway even if they don't look worn and switching to the proper size will look better in my opinion. One of my Packards currently has 7.00 X 16 when it is supposed to have 7.50 X 16 so I'm switching but in this case I'll be using light truck tires as it's a commercial chassis. For yours' Joe's suggestions and advise are spot-on!

Posted on: 2019/12/1 15:10
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Re: Tire width
#4
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Packard Newbie
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Cartrich - 6.50's are pretty skinny as it is, and are the CORRECT spec for your car. The difference between 6.00/6.50 isn't that huge, but irrespective, the more rubber on the road (within spec) the better. I went from nylon bias-ply 6.50's that came with the car to Coker radials and the difference in ride and handling was really significant. Like Don says, if your tires are of some age, replacing them is a good idea, as sidewall cracking is common and CAN cause catastrophic failures, depending on the severity of rubber deterioration. Not sure what the thinking of those on the site is, but when I researched the radial conversion on the net, there seemed to be a trend toward going tubeless. Not sure if the prewar rims can even work with tubeless tires, but the 6.50/16 Cokers are tube-type tires and IMO, I would go with the tube option. Chris.

Posted on: 2019/12/1 15:47
'If you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right!' Henry Ford.
1939 Packard Six, Model 1700
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Re: Tire width
#5
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CartRich
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As far as I know, the tires on this car are ancient although they don't show signs of cracking. However, I know that regardless of how good they may look, they are way way way past their replacement date (I'm embarrassed to tell you how long ago it was that I think my father had replaced them). Much to my unease, I did take the car about 10 miles away to a Packard show a couple of weeks back and breathed a great sigh of relief when I made it back into the garage. My plan has always been to replace the 600-16 with 650-16. I'll probably stick with bias ply because I really can't see me taking this car too far out into the wilds of Florida.

Posted on: 2019/12/1 16:25
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Re: Tire width
#6
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Tim Cole
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A lot depends on the brand and type of tire. Radials are belted tires and age differently than plain old bias ply tires. The old Martin brand tires would last for years and years and tens of thousands of miles. Lester tires would fly apart and Denmans would get flat spots.

If a car is only being used on low speed back roads the issue is different. As well, tires today are supposedly made from more degradable rubber, but those old tires may only need some talcum powder to prevent blow out.

If you plan to drive on interstates the blow out risk is higher for any tubed tire, but the quality of everything is going down the toilet so, sure I agree that today's crappy rubber doesn't hold up.

Things are getting really bad. Try buying decent eye glasses for instance. In the old days glasses could be ordered to fit your head and look good. Today they sell crap and don't want to do any work. I tell these clowns that I can buy better eye glasses at the grocery store, and they don't even care. If my employer told me he was sending my work over to the local high school I would be ashamed of myself.

As for the tire size, I always hated when they wanted to put non-stock sizes on. For one, the steering would be harder, and that puts more strain on the steering gearbox. Today they are putting fat tires on everything and ride quality is rotten. The other day I rented a Lincoln Limo. for a doctor's appointment and the thing rode like garbage. I keep telling these managers they need to set up a ride quality department, but they don't give a hoot.

Posted on: 2019/12/2 15:08
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Re: Tire width
#7
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Owen_Dyneto
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I don't know if they are still made in the same way and of the same materials but my experiences with 17" Lesters on my '34 Packard has been wholly satisfactory, even exceptional. I had two sets, both sets were in service for over 20 years, tens of thousands of miles, many on tours, nary a problem.

Lester did have a quality problem at one point some years ago (as did Coker with their first radials), both resolved a long time ago.

Posted on: 2019/12/2 15:33
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Re: Tire width
#8
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Packard Newbie
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Re: Tire width

Rubber quality varies greatly from one manufacturer to another. I spent the majority of my working life in the rubber manufacturing/distribution business and GENERALLY SPEAKING, North American made rubber tends to be superior in quality and service life to 'offshore' products, offshore generally referring to Asian-made elastomers. Other than abrasion wear and the heat associated with it, the biggest enemy of rubber is sunlight and UV, which can degrade even the highest quality rubber in prolonged exposure. When I first got my car, it had nylon bias-ply tires that had virtually no wear on the treads, but were severely cracked all over the sidewalls. Even with tubes, these tires presented a significant safety hazard. I took the car to several garages to see if they could figure out what was wrong with it and while none of them wanted to work on the car, they ALL advised me to 'lose' the tires due to the cracking. Tim, I do 'get it' when you say 'quality has gone down the toilet', but I also think if a guy looks long and hard enough, there are still excellent products out there. And, like the president of my company used to say: 'make no mistake about it, gentlemen - quality costs'; and I think that is where a lot of mistakes and concessions are made, we opt for the less expensive product option and then decry the lack of quality. One can't have it both ways, and at the end of the day, its a 'get what you pay for world'. I go to great lengths to find and buy products made in the US or Canada, in everything I buy. There was a time when I would ask a store clerk if they had anything made in this country and they would look at me like goats stare at thunder; they don't anymore. There has been a real resurgence of bringing our manufacturing home and I think it will continue. Makes good sense for our economies, keeps people here in jobs and, at the end of the day, the product quality is superior. Chris

Posted on: 2019/12/2 19:26
'If you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right!' Henry Ford.
1939 Packard Six, Model 1700
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Re: Tire width
#9
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CartRich
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The ones I have on the car are Garfields. Not the reproduction that Coker sells, but from back when Garfield was a tire company and my father's buddy owned a tire store. As far as I know, they are the only tires that have been on the car since the old man got it back on the road and registered. That would make them over 40 years old . I'm not sure why he didn't go with the 650 instead of the 600 because he did have the owner's manual that showed the correct tire size. Maybe the buddy got him a deal on the 600 (?) . Anyways, I have gotten used to the narrower white wall that the Garfields have over the wider on the Firestones and other makes and will probably go to the repros from Coker.

Posted on: 2019/12/3 7:04
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Re: Tire width
#10
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bkazmer
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while I'm not current on tire compounds, i also worked in supplying that industry. I wouldn't say that "offshore" compounds were generally inferior - the major Japanese, French, Italian, German manufacturers were as demanding of quality as the the US ones, and often more so than the cheaper US brands. Now China is a different story...

Posted on: 2019/12/3 12:14
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