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Old 06-11-2004, 08:35 PM   #1
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14.5 rims...how wide?

Does anyone know how wide the stock steel rims on my 59 traveller are?

It currently has 8x14.5 tires on it, and I have a set of 7x14.5's that I'd like to use (as they are new). I seem to recall reading that they came with 6 or 6.5" wide rims but can't find anything to back that up...

Most 8x14.5's I've located locally have an OD of 28+ inches, and I need something in the 26.5 range like the 7's I mentioned...

Any thought or suggestions?

Thanks.
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Old 06-11-2004, 08:50 PM   #2
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I have 7-14.5 Kumho tires mounted on original rims that appear to be 6" wide.
That's measured inside, where the bead sits. If I measure the overall outside, including the lip, it's about 7" wide.
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Old 06-12-2004, 11:26 AM   #3
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Traveller.

Airstream "NEVER" used 14.5 wheels.

Someone, many years ago, looked for "bargain" wheels, didn't consider safety, so they bought used "mobile home" wheels, which are 14.5 inch.

Mobile home wheels are made for a very short mileage life span.

That "incorrect" size has been perpetuated ever since.

The correct wheel size is 15 x 6, with 6 lugs on a 5 1/2 inch bolt circle.

Andy

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Old 06-12-2004, 12:09 PM   #4
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Well, Andy, I guess if you say so it must be true.

I have all the receipts since this trailer was delivered from the factory in 1959, and my wife's family kept meticulous records.

I guess either the dealer switched them out before delivery (?), or the tire dealer put 14.5" tires in 15" rims.
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Old 06-12-2004, 12:14 PM   #5
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I have had no less than 4 1959 and 1960 Airstream trailers that had 14.5 inch steel wheels that were not Mobile home wheels.
I find it odd that all these particular trailer of this year range had those wheels.
Also I have seen alot of questions about this size and almost always it is on a 59 or 60 model.
Isnt it possable that Airstream got a deal those years on some 14.5 rims and went with it?
Perhaps this was a common size available in those years to replace split rims?
what was the last year of split rims?
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Old 06-12-2004, 12:46 PM   #6
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Unfortunately, there is no information available from the Airstream archives that bear out the 14 1/2 wheels.

However, it's really besides the point.

15 inch wheels are much easier to find as well as 15 inch tires.

A smaller cost is usually true when something is available in abundance instead of a rarity.

I believe, like for like, that is true in the case of the wheels and tires.

Also, not that it matters that much, but a 15 inch wheel turns less times per mile, (three percent) than a 14 1/2 wheel and their associated proper size tire. Therefore that would mean a cooler operating tire at a given speed.

At today's highway speeds, anything helps.

Andy
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Old 06-12-2004, 01:39 PM   #7
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I'm planning to replace my 14.5s with 15" wheels as soon as I get everything back together, but it sounds like Traveller has a set of tires he wants to make use of.
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Old 06-12-2004, 02:54 PM   #8
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Don.

There is another fringe benefit to using 15" wheels.

If your out there some where in Airstreamland, it's much easier by far to find a 15" wheel than a 14 1/2 inch wheel.

Andy
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Old 06-12-2004, 03:40 PM   #9
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Interesting debate...

Markdoane guessed correctly. I've got two very nearly new 7x14.5's that I was planning to use primarily to get it home (just purchased!).

I agree Andy. I would not want to go through any of this 'out on the road'. I plan on switching to 15's as part of the resto.

While I'm thinking about it; I wanted to ask Andy about the '59 (leaf-spring?) axle. Is it a general practice to replace the axle just because its nearly 50 yrs old or is it safe to use if maintained and service properly?

(if I need to start another thread, please let me know)

Thanks.
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Old 06-12-2004, 04:06 PM   #10
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Traveller.

An axle such as you have, "IF" proper serviced, and used, has an almost unlimited life.

However, the old leaf spring axles as well as the 1961, 1962 and 63 axles, all had small bearings, therefore small spindles. Unfortunately, many of the spindles have failed, due to metal fatigue, as reported by Henschen.

That being the case, there are several things that an owner can do.

1. Change the original spring type axle out with a new type that has larger spindles.

2. Upgrade the trailer with a Henschen axle. This is not hard to do. Several owners have already completed that task.

3. Be extremely careful that the "entire" running gear be properly balanced, so as to not aggravate the condition of the old type small spindles.

4. Make sure you take care of the preacher, on a regular basis.

Andy
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Old 06-15-2004, 10:15 AM   #11
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In trying to anticipate the unknown, when I go to pick up the A/S, I'm planning on having a shop (there) mount the newer 7x14.5's onto the existing A/S rims. My (probably dumb?) question is; is it the tires or the rims that determine whether I have to use tubes or tubeless? the newer tires are tubeless and I'd prefer to go that route if possible.

Thanks.
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Old 04-28-2006, 06:55 PM   #12
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This issue came up for me today. I, too, have a 1959 model, appears not to have been altered in any other way, has two 14.5" wheels with 6 lugs on a 5.5" bolt circle, mounted with 8-14.5 LT load range F tires.

The tires need to be replaced, local trailer place is recommending also changing rims out to 14" or 15". They say that 14.5" tires are often hard to find, especially in remote areas where I am likely to be. I have confirmed by calling around several places that a 14.5" might take me a day or two to get, whereas 15" replacements are in stock everywhere I called.

So I'm thinking they're giving me good advice. Are black-painted steel wheels the appropriate original equipment style for my Overlander? And are "baby moons" available for 15" rims?
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Old 04-28-2006, 08:16 PM   #13
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newbie,

Definitely go to the 15" wheels, but you should also switch to radial tires. If you want to stay with bias tires, you might find that the wheel well is too short.

The wheel well on my '59 is 30" long and will not accomodate a 7.00-15 bias tire. It will fit a ST225-75R15 (like a Goodyear Marathon) ok. In 1960 the wheel wells were made 32" long.
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Old 04-28-2006, 09:02 PM   #14
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Yes Airstream did use 14.5 rims in 1959. Fred has had a item on this in the Vintage news letter about the trailers made back then . I have them on mine and just bought some new tires last year. you can still find them at a good farm and truck tire dealer they are use today on some lowboy trailers and farm implements. the ride is a little harded but the ones I have are 10 ply and will never blow out like all of the radials do. My grandfather ran one set for over twenty years before replacing > I would not do that but the will last much longer than radials Just my two cents.
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