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Old 04-10-2007, 04:46 PM
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how to widen track?

Hi, I just bought a 1955 Buick Roadmaster in Finnland a couple of weeks ago. Great looking car except for the fact that the front track is about 11cm (4.5 inches or so) narrower that the rear track. All the 54-56 Roadmasters are like this. It looks silly that way. I believe this is because the Roadmaster shared the same frame as the Cadillac. The Cadillacs of 54-56 had these odd front fenders that hung low over the tires, sort of like a high fender skirt. So the engineers probably had to tuck the tires in closer together so the tires could turn without hitting the fenders. But the Buicks have a normal wheel opening and don't look good with those narrow front tracks.

How can I widen the front track 4 inches so that the front tires will match the back tires as far a looks and track are concerned? The front wheels are bolted on, no studs. Can I sandwhich in a 2 inch thick disc between the wheel and drum? If so, where do I get such a thing? Or do I have to get a machine shop to make it for me? Any other solutions?

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Old 04-10-2007, 05:45 PM
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Use wheel adapters, they bolt to the wheel , then the wheel bolts to them.

Or get custom wheels with more offset.

Wheels would prolly be better

Keith
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:16 PM
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Widening the track using spacers or different wheel offset is a bad idea. This overloads the wheel bearings and ball joints since you've effectively lengthened the lever arm applying loads to those parts. If this is a rarely driven collector car then custom wheel offset will probably be OK, but I'd be carful if the car sees a lot of miles (kilometers?) and/or a lot of potholes.

Offset wheels (or spacers) will also change the effective spring rate, again due to the longer lever arm effect. This will make the front springs appear to be softer than with the stock offset. It will also change the scrub radius, increasing steering effort and potentially causing premature wear in the steering linkage.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:16 PM
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Get some wheels with two inches less back spacing...that will increase your track width 4 inches. Check here www.earlywheel.com
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Old 04-11-2007, 03:46 AM
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Two inches is a lot to ask for just a wheel change. As others have mentioned, its a strain on bearings, but more importantly you're totally changing the steering geometry.

Take a look at the kingpin inclination, draw a line down to the ground, and that line should intersect close to the centerline of the tire. Deeper dish wheels (less offset) changes that geometry. Two inches per side will make a whole different animal. Bumps will provide much more input back to the steering wheel, impact forces on the steering components will be exponentially higher, and every little imperfection in the road will cause the tendency to hunt left and right much more noticeable.

Not to mention, a car with deep dish wheels in the front and not the back just looks weird to me.

American cars of that era have tall "hats" on the brakes placing the mounting face of the wheel a few inches to the outside of the kingpin axis. What I mean by that is that when you turn the wheels, the tires move in an arc front and back instead of modern cars which just twist the wheel in place. If you widen the track with a simple wheel change you'll make that arc even greater and there is a very good chance that you'll contact the fender with the tire at a very bad time, like mabye when you're moving at 45 km/h and swerve to avoid that kid chasing a ball into the street. At that point you will scream "Dritt" because you have just mangled a fender with the tire.

I know its frustrating to see Audis, BMWs, and VWs with the tire fitting so snugly in the wheel opening, but they have carefully engineered the steering to not contact the fender. I've been struggling with the same thing on a 66 pontiac. I want the track to look a little more modern but I've mangled both fenders trying to do it. My 60 Pontiac I left alone Fenders are too expensive for it!
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Old 04-12-2007, 03:05 PM
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Well thanks for all the advice, I had no idea of what a can of worms I'd be opening. If 2 inches is a lot, how about just one inch each side? Is that significant with regards to all of the above mentioned aspects? It's not that I'm trying to get a modern look, its just that fact that the front tires are so much closer together than the back ones, it just looks odd...
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Old 04-16-2007, 12:47 PM
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It was designed that way and so it goes. Be happy you own one of the few that there are and are able to enjoy owning and driving it. You're probably the only guy who notices that "BIG" defect anyway.
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Old 04-16-2007, 02:50 PM
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Actually.....with the front track being narrower than the rear.....It should take high speed curves a lot better. By the way...alot of cars are made that way.
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