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Old 02-28-2021, 01:37 AM   #1
Bud
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Default Wheel Size regarding Radials

For many years I heard that 16" rims and tires were used by some to get a better ride and braking than the standard 19" rims (I am only going to refer to 30-31 wheels in this thread). These comments were made many years ago in the bias-ply tire days. But with the advent of 19" radials and the use of modern radials on 16" tires, is there really a difference? I would like to know--aside from the "I prefer the looks of the original 19" rims versus the 16" and vice versa"--is there really any difference to ride and braking? I have read that the 16" radial tires are less costly, but is that true today? I believe (but may be wrong) that both 19" and 16" can be run tubeless, is that correct? Other than looks, is there anything to be gained one way or the other? Thanks.
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Old 02-28-2021, 07:18 AM   #2
nkaminar
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Default Re: Wheel Size regarding Radials

As you stated, radials are available for the 19 inch wheels in both blackwalls and whitewalls. They look like the original tires but have the radial cords. People have reported that they handle better, ride better, steer better, and brake better. The steering in a Model A is not meant to handle the 16 inch tires and my experience with those tires is that the steering is more difficult. I also think the 19-inch wheels and tires look better and more appropriate on a Model A. But lots of people like the 16-inch wheels and tires.

Braking is a function of the coefficient of friction, not the width of the tire. Braking force is proportional to the downward force times the coefficient of friction, nothing else. Modern tires have a better coefficient of friction. That includes the modern 19-inch radial tires for a Model A. I don't think 16-inch tires will buy you much over the radial 19-inch tires.

Tubeless tires have to be used on rims that are designed for them. The radial 19-inch tires have to be used with tubes. I don't know about the 16-inch rims but suspect that tubes are needed there too.
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Old 02-28-2021, 07:22 AM   #3
McMimmcs
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Default Re: Wheel Size regarding Radials

I agree with you Bud about the 19 inch rims looking much better. If you see two identical A ‘s side by side, one with 16 and one with 19 rims you’ll choose the 19 every time.
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Old 02-28-2021, 07:29 AM   #4
Patrick L.
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Default Re: Wheel Size regarding Radials

If and when the old 19" Sears tires ever wear out they'll be replaced with radials.
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Old 02-28-2021, 10:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: Wheel Size regarding Radials

I've read that when people started collecting and restoring Model A's in significant numbers back in the '50s, 19 and 21 inch tires were not being manufactured any longer. Restorers had no choice but to put the 16" wheels from a '35 on their A's as the lug pattern matched and 16" tires were available. I don't know when 19 and 21 inch tires started to be reproduced, but thank goodness they were, as imo, A's look terrible with the smaller wheels.
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Old 02-28-2021, 11:38 AM   #6
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Default Re: Wheel Size regarding Radials

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will N View Post
I've read that when people started collecting and restoring Model A's in significant numbers back in the '50s, 19 and 21 inch tires were not being manufactured any longer. Restorers had no choice but to put the 16" wheels from a '35 on their A's as the lug pattern matched and 16" tires were available. I don't know when 19 and 21 inch tires started to be reproduced, but thank goodness they were, as imo, A's look terrible with the smaller wheels.
I agree it definitely detracts from their looks!
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Old 02-28-2021, 12:05 PM   #7
Jack Shaft
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Default Re: Wheel Size regarding Radials

Traction is vital for proper braking,a skidding car is out of control.

16" ford wire wheels offer a number of advantages over 19 or 21" wheels. Modern radial 16" tires are inexpensive,offer a greater sidewall flex and tread contact than the A sizes...a better ride with more flex,better stopping with more contact. I run a modified f100 steering box,steering effort is minimal.Cast iron drums,woven shoes and Teds floaters along
With the increased contact area means stopping with mechanical brakes easy,I run a modified engine with OD,and the brakes keep up with the increased speed and better handling.
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Old 02-28-2021, 12:18 PM   #8
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Default Re: Wheel Size regarding Radials

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Originally Posted by Jack Shaft View Post
Traction is vital for proper braking,a skidding car is out of control.

16" ford wire wheels offer a number of advantages over 19 or 21" wheels. Modern radial 16" tires are inexpensive,offer a greater sidewall flex and tread contact than the A sizes...a better ride with more flex,better stopping with more contact. I run a modified f100 steering box,steering effort is minimal.Cast iron drums,woven shoes and Teds floaters along
With the increased contact area means stopping with mechanical brakes easy,I run a modified engine with OD,and the brakes keep up with the increased speed and better handling.
If I remember correctly your car is also fenderless? Which would make it lighter? Kind of an unfair comparison with a stock Model A in regards with steering and braking isn't it?
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Old 03-27-2021, 10:26 AM   #9
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Default Re: Wheel Size regarding Radials

I suspect the increased effort in steering is due to the size of the contact patch of the 16" tires. I have heard that the 16's are much smoother riding than the 19's.
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