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Old 04-30-2011, 10:02 AM   #1
NO HUMBLE OPINION
 
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1968 20' Globetrotter
ANN ARBOR , THE GREAT LAKES
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 374
1968 GT tires that will fit... RECOMMENDED

1968 GT tires that will fit... RECOMMENDED


Hi There, Just recently signed on to this forum.


Bought 1968 GT partly gutted off ebay for $5433 in January 2011. Seems like a lot to pay for a rebuildable core, but after years of searching, and much restoration experience, I knew a few thousand $ over-priced “up front cost” will be a drop in the bucket over the years of rebuilding.


Paid in full so I could get Title, legal plates and insurance. Drove 500 miles down into the hills of Tennessee to get it. I had one day to get there and one day to get back. I expected the GT to be worse than described, and it wasworse. Seller turned out to be a used car salesman and knew less than nothing. His claim of “road-worthy” was grossly misrepresented (He said his mechanic had gone through the wiring and brakes, so I guess he “went through”, but didn't “fix”!!) I'll skip some details, but dysfunctional tow-light harness, no brakes... dragged out of the woods and washed condition... but... nearly perfect skins, and that's what I wanted most... Excellent original skins, perfect vinyl walls and flawless plastic bath and bulkheads... To me, that made it worth it. Everything else is easy. I was a finish carpenter/general contractor in the historical restoration biz, and a race car fabricator for IMSA. We'd wear out thirty tires in a 24 hour race. I know tires too well.
I can tig, mig, gas and arc, know paint, plastic, wood and metal. All phases of household and automotive mechanicals, electric, plumbing, hvac. I have nearly (I say nearly, 'cause one can never have them all) every tool to build houses and restore cars.


So far, It's been fun and easy to work on it, but I am very disappointed with the build quality. I understand that Airstream does not need to employ certified air-frame mechanics, but maybe they should hire fabricators that can read a tape-measure and use a framing square. Why are they built with such disregard? I've seen bamboo and thatch huts built to closer tolerances. Really Not Kidding!


Even though over the phone, the seller claimed tires were good to tow, I did have the foresight to bring a pair of new 235/75/15 XL Michelin LTX M/S2 tires mounted on new AS steel rims, “spider” balanced (that's what they call the six-lug mount balance plate), with steel valve stems... Yes, I'm very aware of the endless inquiries and debates this forum has on brands and sizes and ratings and ranges and... blah blah... don't care to argue. Every tire choice is a compromise.


I had read in this forum that a modern radial tire “might” have to be deflated to fit into the wheel-house. Slight understatement. Even tho the axle arm angle was totally correct, I could not get the new deflated tire squeezed and wiggled into the wheel-house, so went to local tire shop for bigger tools. Owner of shop couldn't get them on either, and walked away, urging me to buy his smaller Chinese trailer tires.

I'm thinking of greasing them up and using thin plastic shims to protect the moldings and maybe fabricating some kind of clamp... Then, emerging from of a cloud of cigarette smoke, over by the back door of the shop, I heard, “Ah'll git dem tars in dere fer ya.” punctuated with the classic flicking of the butt onto the ground and grinding it out with his boot, then a long exhale of smoke. He was about 6' 8”, 300 pounds with hands the size of fielders mits. With little effort, he squeezed the sidewalls of the deflated Michelins close together enough to slip into the wheel-houses. So it is true, they'll fit, and once they're in, there's plenty of clearance, but don't plan on a roadside tire change without a “gentle giant”. I privately tipped him very well, and paid his boss for two tire changes.


BTW, the seller's “good to tow” 7.00/15 tires were rotted junk, and wheels were so rusted out, that I was later able to push a scratch awl through one of the pits in the steel rim and deflate the tire. Hard to believe, huh? (Did I mention he was a used car salesman?)


I'm no rookie at towing. I duct taped all the windows and doors and wagged it back to Ann Arbor through freezing February wind, ice and snow... No equalizer hitch, No brakes (Not unlawful in MI if under 3000#), No signal lighting(hand signals are still legal in MI). Yes, I agree it was foolish, risky, almost illegal, exhausting, stressful and a tad irresponsible... but it towed flawlessly in all respects, and is now resting peacefully in my driveway, beaming with gratitude for it's rescue, and eagerly anticipating it's restoration/upgrade, and getting back on the road. oops, forgot not to anthropomorphize it... (I'm told they don't like that.)


Bottom line: For a 1968 Globe Trotter, the LTX Michelins RULE!


Peace, Dudes,
Wm


Photos of the “untaping”, good skins, good floor, demo interior, (I'll re-cut and reuse all that fine ash interior)
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:55 AM   #2
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1975 Argosy 26
1963 24' Tradewind
Seattle , Washington
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Wow! That shell does look flawless! Don't touch it! I like the milled surface look on those trailers... Probably has the original clear coat too... nice!

No pics of the tires? I'm surprised a 235 DID fit! I have trouble getting my 225's on my trailer, that guy must have been a brute!

IMSA? I'd love to know what cars you worked on. I'm old enough to remember watching those races on TV and reading about them as a kid. Loved those cars...

Welcome to the forum!
Marc
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Old 04-30-2011, 06:59 PM   #3
NO HUMBLE OPINION
 
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1968 20' Globetrotter
ANN ARBOR , THE GREAT LAKES
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 374
Thanks Marc,
I'm not a great big fan of the mirror polished shell either. I could live with it, but I too prefer the original finish. It's like with many vintage items, There's a lot of value in the original patina. BIG mistake to shine that rare old coin.

He WAS a brute, with a kind and gentle manner. I'll always have a warm place in my heart for him.

IMSA was GP class. Raced special "furnished by GM" Camaros GM does not officially "race", but we had, quite literally, tons of factory support. They gave us all kinds of secret trick stuff to race against mostly BMW M1 and 944 turbo Porsches. Raced GTU class also, which was a space (Tube) frame, plastic body Mazda rotary against mostly Porsche 911. The only Mazda parts on the whole car were the Pony-Keg sized motor and the windshield. 24 and 12 and 6 hour endurance racing at Sebring, Watkins glen , Laguna Seca, Portland, Mid-Ohio, Daytona, Atlanta, Road America... All over the USA.
Probably the single most important part of racing is figuring out how to cheat and not get caught. We were supposed to use "factory" 5-speeds in the Camaros. GM gave us 6-speeds in 5-speed cases. And If you ever need a strait-axle rear-end with 2 degrees of negative camber (theoretically impossible), they're around. The Camaros slaughtered the BMWs and Porsches in the turns and straights, but had to come in for fuel and tires twice as often, so that evened things out.

So, that was then, now I teach ceramics in the Ann Arbor School System.

Wm
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Old 05-01-2011, 02:40 AM   #4
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1963 24' Tradewind
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Ha! Engineering always finds a way around rules! I always liked the spinning triangles...

Ceramics? Well, I'm sure that's a bit slower paced. I wish you were closer, I'd love to pic your brain. I'm trying to get back into the autocross scene... now more Grassrootsmotorsports than anything else. I hope to teach my daughter the ropes about driving, show her the cones, and do a driving school or too.

Back on topic... post more when you get more into the rebuild. I'm sure you have lots of ideas about what you want to do. Is that pile next to the trailer the stuff from inside?
Marc
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Old 10-31-2011, 12:27 PM   #5
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1965 20' Globetrotter
Keller , Texas
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Posts: 69
Thanks for posting your experience with the slightly larger tires ... I pull a '65 GT that has 5-yr.-old Carlisle ST tires on it that are starting to show some surface cracks on the sidewalls, so it's time to pop for some new rubber.

I'm always a bit anxious pulling a single-axle trailer, for fear of a catastrophic blow-out, so I've been reading up on the LT route. I would imagine my trailer's wheel-wells are the same size as yours, so I'm a bit torn ... I don't want to have to hunt down an irritated Dr. Bruce Banner to help squeeze my tires into my wells if I can avoid it ... Decisions, decisions.
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Old 10-31-2011, 12:30 PM   #6
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1965 20' Globetrotter
Keller , Texas
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BTW, excellent use of the stick to hold your door shut in transit ... classic! Sometimes, the easiest solution is the best. Best of luck on your resto.
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