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Old 09-10-2012, 07:04 AM   #1
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Tire to wheel well clearance

Ran into an issue yesterday. The inside of the street side tires are rubbing on the inboard side of the wheel well. I can fix that - no problem, but it led to the question of how much clearance do the tires need between them and the wheel wells? On the curb side, we have about 1/4". Is that enough?

Chris
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Old 09-10-2012, 07:35 AM   #2
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I have a half inch, it really bothered me at first, but .250 Wow, it would bother me too.
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minno View Post
Ran into an issue yesterday. The inside of the street side tires are rubbing on the inboard side of the wheel well. I can fix that - no problem, but it led to the question of how much clearance do the tires need between them and the wheel wells? On the curb side, we have about 1/4". Is that enough?

Chris
You need to have some clearance at all points of spring travel, including when one side is higher than the other (as when you hit a pothole) and the axle is at an angle. Jack up each side one at a time, with the jack under the axle (repeat for each axle, to simulate upward travel), and again with the jack under the frame instead (to simulate downward travel), to approximate all possible positions of wheel and wheelwell.

With each jacking, measure the clearance on BOTH sides of the trailer.

As long as there is no contact at any point of wheel travel, that's usually enough clearance, unless you routinely have problems with caked-on mud or snow while traveling. However, the ideal would be to center the wheel from side-to-side in the wheelwell, if possible. Just plucking numbers out of the air, if the wheelwell is ten inches wide and the tire is eight inches wide (for example - I don't know the actual widths), you'd want one inch of clearance on each side of the tire.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:49 AM   #4
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I just crawled under my '72 and got some measurements...

Wheels lifted off ground & hanging as 'low' as the ancient torsion axle allows.

Left to right dimensions follow each other pretty accurately (unlike my '73 which was +/- off center over an inch)

Call if you need any details.
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:08 AM   #5
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Sounds like you're running radials?

7.00x15 bias-ply are a taller/thinner tires that was put on the trailer when new.

Enjoy,
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:19 AM   #6
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Quick note: wheel rim on the petrified rubber radials on '72 parts trailer is recessed 1/8" - 3/16" from sidewall bulge... And wheels are not originals.
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:45 AM   #7
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When measuring for replacement axles recently, I found that my original axles from 1975 were narrower spindle-to-spindle than spec, and when the axles were removed from the trailer we found that dimension differed slightly from one axle to the other!

We ordered the new axles at the "standard" width and my tires are centered (inboard-to-outboard) in the wheel wells now.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:43 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the replies - they help! I have the street side mostly fixed now, and I have almost an inch of clearance now. I cut the black plastic and metal that form the bottom of the liner back under the trailer to gain the extra clearance. Tedious, but not really very hard. I made some corner trim out of galvanized sheet metal to repair and cover the new seam I created. It’ll get caulked well as I install it. I did need to cut the plywood floor back about a 1/2" as well. Fortunately, this is the side that we haven’t built-in anything on top of the wheel well yet.

Once I have her back on all four tires, I’ll measure the curb side to see how much clearance I really have on that side.

Chris
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:47 PM   #9
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Oh, and yes we are running radials now. But after fixing the problem, they are not the issue. When I repaired the wheel well liner years ago, I didn't think to make it bulge out away from the tire. It bulges in slightly. If I had made the repair so the liner bulged the other way, or at least was straighter up and down, I wouldn't be doing a fix today.
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Old 09-11-2012, 12:26 PM   #10
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Just finished fixing the other side. Second side only took about half as long to make the repair, and I was able to do it all from underneath the trailer. Now both sides have just over an inch of clearance from the inboard side of the tires to the wheel well liner. When I looked at the curb side yesterday after finishing the street side, I discovered that the rear tire was indeed rubbing on the liner, but not all the time. Resting, there was maybe 1/8" of clearance, so it was close enough that the tire rubbed on turns. Anyway, all is good now. Thanks again for all the replies yesterday!

Chris
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