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To Tube or Not to Tube

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  • Wheels: To Tube or Not to Tube

    Hello All,

    I'm in the process of getting some new tires on my 49 Commander and when I arrived at the tire shop to have the old swapped to the new we found a tube in there.
    Obviously back in the the day most if not all tires were inflated with a tube but the ones previously mounted were tubeless models as well as the ones I bought to replace these rotted ones.
    Are there any others out there who have attempted going tubeless and it worked out well? It has been a bit complicated finding affordable tubes that are with an offset valve.
    A mechanic friend said to just mount them and see if there are any leaks.

    Thoughts?

  • #2
    My 50 Champion has metal stems held in place with a nut, and tubeless radial tires. I haven't had to add air in the past 5 years.

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    • #3
      You don't need tubes if the rim surfaces and the valve stem surfaces of the wheel are in good shape. My cars have been running tubeless tires since 1973.
      RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

      17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
      10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
      10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
      4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
      5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
      56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
      60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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      • #4
        I may be the minority here, but I like tubes. I mounted five new, wide white wall bias plys for my Hawk, on the original wheels. There was no issue with trying to get the beads to catch air on inflation, and tubes are a simple fix if they need to be patched. Another plus, my father in law would always inflate his tires with a bicycle pump. Hard to do on a tubeless tire.

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        • #5
          Seating a bead with a bicycle tire pump might not ever happen,

          but just inflating the same size tire with or without a tube should be the same number of strokes.
          Frank DuVal

          50 Commander 4 door

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          • #6
            The only problem I've seen with tubeless tires on old wheels has been on GM wheels with riveted centers. They'll occasionally leak around the rivets. The simple fix is to clean the "drop" section of the wheel and run a layer of silicone RTV around the drop and across the rivets. I've been running a set of '32 Ford spoked wheels with tubeless tires for 30 years this way with no issues at all. Take a look at modern aftermarket spoked wheels; this is what they do too.
            sigpic

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            • #7
              FWIW, when I changed my tires on the Hawk, I found tubes all around. So, I used them again with the new tires. Never had any problem. Of course, I would not advise this with high performance cars, but it perfectly fits my 6 cylinder car which cruises at 55 mph. You'll have to use adapters on the stem if you use standard TR13 tubes.
              Nice day to all.
              sigpic

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              • #8
                running tubeless myself on a 2R5 and 3E7.

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                • #9
                  Howdy All,

                  Thank you for all the info. Bought the metal stems, went to the tire shop down the way - popped out the old - popped in the new sans tube and voila!
                  So glad that worked - will be so much easier to have them serviced in the future as they told me its been 20 years since they stopped working on tubed tires in CA.
                  Front are on, now onto the rears tomorrow, hopefully a first Sunday cruise if the planets align with brake parts shipment

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                  • #10
                    I have a '50 Commander and just put new tubeless tires all around on it. I was a bit worried about the slight pitting around the stem holes and some along the rim bead. But, as a couple of the members on here told me, they have seen worse that still held air just fine. So, I went ahead and mounted the new tires and am watching the pressures closely. So far, not a bit of loss.
                    Here are pics of the pitting after being sandblasted and painting with Rustoleum, baked. I just used the normal pull-in valve stems.
                    BTW, these are rivetted centers/rims.

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                    • #11
                      If the rubber stems wind up leaking, then you can try the metal stems, which aren't expensive from AutoZone. I've had very good luck using metal stems, and consider them a permanent part of the wheel. Many tire shops like to cut and replace the rubber stems any time they work on a tire.

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                      • #12
                        I go tubeless every time I go swimming......I've only had one leak, but that was in a river....besides that I haven't had any issues!!!

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                        • #13
                          Fronts and rears are fully tubeless! Definitely not going on the river w/treblig anytime soon - hear leaks are contagious ...

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                          • #14
                            The tires are holding up great! Thank you everyone for the input.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Treblig View Post
                              I go tubeless every time I go swimming......I've only had one leak, but that was in a river....besides that I haven't had any issues!!!
                              Skinny Dipper!

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