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52 Champion - How will Radials work?

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  • 52 Champion - How will Radials work?

    Interested in putting radials on my 52 Champion Commander. Wondering how the car will react and whether or not I need to replace the rims in the process. Someone said the radials cause flexing in the rims that may be too much for the old rims to handle and that there are sometimes issues with the wheel covers staying on because of this flexing in the rims (upgraded rims or not). If the rim does need to be replaced is there a later model car that has a rim adequate for the replacement? Does anybody have experience with this? Thanks!

  • #2
    Those radials will make one BIG improvement in the way that Champion drives and handles! You'll LOVE it.

    My observation has been that the stock wheels on a 52 are heftier than later, Lark era wheels. I've run radials on my V8 Lark for years, using wheels off a '51! Whereas I did have wheelcover walk with the original Lark wheels, it stopped when I went to the earlier wheels.
    Get 195X75 R15s if you can. They really look right, size-wise. And their smaller "footprint" will lessen the effort required to turn them while parked![:I] 205s look OK and will fit alright but every part of the steering gear is stressed more (including your arms[:0]) when you add more footprint than you really need.

    Miscreant at large.

    1957 Transtar 1/2ton
    1960 Larkvertible V8
    1958 Provincial wagon
    1953 Commander coupe
    1957 President 2-dr
    1955 President State
    1951 Champion Biz cpe
    1963 Daytona project FS
    No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

    Comment


    • #3
      There is a safety hump around the rim of a tubeless tire to keep it from dismounting itself on a turn or in the rear when you get on it hard. Also the rivited rims on some of the older Studes will leak at the rivits unless you use a tube. The best thing you can do before you spend a lot of money and grief is dismount your old tire and inspect the rim.

      Comment


      • #4
        I've yet to need tubes on stock rims with tubeless tires. Not to say it doesn't happen - just that maybe I'm unusually lucky[}]

        You could seal the rivets on the inside before letting the tire shop install new tires if it would afford you peace of mind.[:I]

        Miscreant at large.

        1957 Transtar 1/2ton
        1960 Larkvertible V8
        1958 Provincial wagon
        1953 Commander coupe
        1957 President 2-dr
        1955 President State
        1951 Champion Biz cpe
        1963 Daytona project FS
        No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

        Comment


        • #5
          Riveted vs. welded wheels and radial tires...
          Not sure "I'd" run riveted wheels with radials.
          On the other hand, if you drive it like an older car and don't induce all that heavy duty side load that the radial tire is designed to handle, you should be fine....maybe with an every 6 month, rivet air leak check as a verification.

          As far as wheel vs. radial tire tread width...
          The radial tire was designed and works "best" with the tread and "rim" width being +/-1.00" (total). A slightly wider wheel is better than a narrower one.

          Watch out for those Coker prices......

          Comment


          • #6
            I've been running radials on riveted rims for years. And I drive them hard. No problems.

            In fact, the only Stude wheels I've had trouble with were the flimsy, early Lark wheels. I finally reverted to using earlier 50s Stude wheels because they don't bend. "Bend" as in the center portion, so the wheels didn't track true anymore.
            I also had a set of truck wheels that cracked around the lug holes![:0] And this was even with bias ply tires on them. I've heard of others having the same problem with stock Stude truck wheels. OF course.... trucks typically get more hard use with high loads, so that might cause a problem well past the age that engineers ever envisioned these vehicles serving![}]
            Almost 42 years now, since the last Studebaker truck was assembled. And wheels have to handle loads and stresses in many directions over all those years.[xx(]

            Miscreant at large.

            1957 Transtar 1/2ton
            1960 Larkvertible V8
            1958 Provincial wagon
            1953 Commander coupe
            1957 President 2-dr
            1955 President State
            1951 Champion Biz cpe
            1963 Daytona project FS
            No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ah radials, the difference between herding and driving![)]

              Comment


              • #8
                Going from x-ply to radials would have to be the single most cost effective improvement you can make to your car.
                The car suddenly gets so much better road behaviour.
                To be honest, I didn't notice any worse parking effort (and I went from 5.90x17 to 205x16 on a non-stude car). It's still a wee bit heavy to park, but that's to be expected from a heavy car without power steering.
                BUT, no more fighting to get around corners, no more sudden course changes from road surface roughness and a much smoother ride in general.
                Go for it.
                /H

                Comment


                • #9
                  quote:Originally posted by montereystude

                  Interested in putting radials on my 52 Champion Commander.
                  Is that a Champion with a V8 or a Commander with a 6? [}]

                  -Dick-
                  Dick Steinkamp
                  Bellingham, WA

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Cooper Tire has a P195/75R15 but not in the wide whitewall

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Mr. Biggs,

                      Seems we have another bit of a difference of opinion!
                      My statement stands...as far as "my" cars go!

                      With a riveted construction..you have what is concidered a "flexable" joint...in the Areospace industry. We aren't talking spacecraft or aeroplanes here...but it's still a flexable joint. It may take 10lbs to make the joint flex, it may take 10,000lbs to make the joint flex. But without testing...the wheel in this case, you simply don't know how that 40+ year old wheel will stand up to the added load of a radial tire.
                      Notice I said flex, not break, like a weld might. A proper weld will out live a riveted joint...in this case "nearly" every time. Could that be why the industry went welded wheels...beside of course the overall cost in the two wheels! And yea....the earilier wheels had thicker material, I'd be willing to bet somewhere in later years, the material got better.

                      While you may have had wonderfull luck over your years of driving on riveted wheels....I'd still "caution"....notice I haven't said "DON'T", I'm just saying...do it with caution. Make a scheduled check of the rivets in the back of ones wheels. Or else the center and the rim....could part company at a very inopertune time.

                      And to all a good night.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Only thing I'll add to what was said here is to watch the tire size.
                        Pay close attention to the tie rod end to tire sidewall clearance.
                        Radials squirm more side to side on turns and you don't want your sidewall to rub on the tie rod end.
                        Make sure to service the shocks (or add new ones if they are tube shocks)
                        Jeff[8D]





                        quote:Originally posted by montereystude

                        Interested in putting radials on my 52 Champion Commander. Wondering how the car will react and whether or not I need to replace the rims in the process. Someone said the radials cause flexing in the rims that may be too much for the old rims to handle and that there are sometimes issues with the wheel covers staying on because of this flexing in the rims (upgraded rims or not). If the rim does need to be replaced is there a later model car that has a rim adequate for the replacement? Does anybody have experience with this? Thanks!
                        DEEPNHOCK at Cox.net
                        '37 Coupe Express
                        '37 Coupe Express Trailer
                        '61 Hawk

                        http://community.webshots.com/user/deepnhock
                        HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

                        Jeff


                        Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



                        Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Radial Tires are a HUGE improvement over bias tires - a safety item. Even with a solid front end, bias ply tires would track in truck tire grooves on highways and street car tracks. Radial tires stop the wandering.

                          I have had no rim problems on any car. (40 years)

                          195 75R15 are best. My fender skirts won't fit on my 55 with the 205s.

                          Paul

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thank you for sharing your experience with switching over to radial tires. This vehicle has a 6 cylinder and is driven pretty mellow like the older vehicle it is. Sounds like a pretty solid stock rim as I didn't hear anyone say they've had a problem with rims splitting. We will most likely make a visual inspection and seal the rivets from the inside before having the new tires mounted up.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well now! montereystude E-mailed me to ask just WHERE he might find a set of 195X75R15 tires like I'd recommended. Since it's been 3 years since I bought any, I had to look before I could give him an answer. HAH! There ain't much out there!
                              I found one brand of blackwalls that had terrible feedback ratings about the tire they had of that size.

                              The last set I'd bought were Kelly-Springfield so I visited their site and it was no go there as well. Closest thing was a 14 inch version.[V]
                              Last resort was Coker. They've got them! Nice wide whitewall too! Only $145 each.[:0]
                              Will 205s be next to disappear from the racks???[}]

                              Miscreant at large.

                              1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                              1960 Larkvertible V8
                              1958 Provincial wagon
                              1953 Commander coupe
                              1957 President 2-dr
                              1955 President State
                              1951 Champion Biz cpe
                              1963 Daytona project FS
                              No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                              Comment

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