New Tires for Grand Prize George

Started making some progress on George the Model T – the first step being new tires so we can actually move the car around. George is equipped with wood spoke wheels with 21″ demountable, split rims. That is, the rim comes off of the wheel (it is held on by four bolts)so you don’t have to take the wheel off to change the tire and the seam on the rim is held together with a bolt, allowing the rim ends to slide over each other, making the tire change a little easier. The tire size is 4.50 X 21 – they look like overgrown dirt bike front tires (3.00 X 21 or 80/100 X 21).

We started with the front tires and went ahead and took the whole wheel off so that the wheel bearings could be greased and a coat of linseed oil with a little black paint could be applied to the spokes. Also, cleaned the rims a gave them a quick coat of cold galvanizing paint. The rims were originally cadmium plated, bright and shiny. Feeling that bright and shiny would be out of place on a decrepit old car that we are not planning on repainting, but wanting to keep the rims from rusting to death, I settled on the “subdued” look of the cold galvanizing paint.

The old tires came off pretty easy considering that they have been on there longer than I have been alive. Counted six patches in the driver’s side tube. Putting the tire on the rim was interesting. Unlike a dirtbike tire, you put the tube in the tire, the put the “flap” (a heavy duty rim liner that helps hold the tube in the tire) in the tire and then cram the whole mess on the rim. Larger tire irons would be advantageous, but I made it work with the motorcycle ones I had handy. Once the tire was on the rim, we had to use a jack (borrowed from the white Suburban) to spread the rim out and line the edges up so the bolt could be put back in. (This is how it was done; the Ford manual shows you how to do it with the jack that came with the car. Lacking the original tools, we had to make do with the jack from the Suburban).

As a show of how easy the model T is to work on, removing the front wheels and changing the tires was accomplished with five hand tools: a Ford hubcap/axle nut wrench, a 3/4″ wrench, a 7/8″ wrench, a pair of needle nose pliers and one tire iron. Now that the front tires are done, next step is the rear tires.

As a side note, the new tires were made in Viet Nam. I doubt 50 years ago anyone would believe that in 2016 tires for something as American as the Model T would not be made in the US, but imported from a united, Communist Viet Nam. The world is a funny place.

GPG 4a
– Wheel components
GPG 4b
– New, if somewhat commie, tire on the rim
GPG 4c
– Success! one new tire down, three to go

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