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I want to investigate changing some 15 inch steel wheels from 7 to 8 inch wide for use on my 54. I have heard of a place in the Houston area that cuts the barrel out and welds it to a new rim but cannot find any information on this business.

If anyone knows of this outfit I hope you can share the information with me. If there are other places that do this work in Texas they would also be options.

Recent pics of our progress can be found here if interested.
http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?p=999&gid=8309838&uid=2902753

Thanks for the help.
 

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I am not sure why you would want to widen your wheels. I think they are 5 X 4 3/4 inches that would fit the Grand Prix front and Trans Am rear. These wheels were very common on GM models from 1949 into the mid 80's. You must be able to find 8 inch rims in that bolt pattern. Perhaps a Toronado or Corvette.

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Nice article in that last link! An old-time dirt track racer in my home town is doing this same thing YEARS ago, without a dial gauge to measure runout. He used one of his solid axles clamped to a work bench for a holding fixture, then used a nail clamped to run just inside the edge of the rim. If the tip of the nail doesn't just touch, it's not right! He told me once that this was good enough for dirt track, but didn't think he'd do it for a street car. The dial indicator probably doesn't get any closer, depends on how much contact with the nail he felt was good enough.

I think he just didn't feel it was worth the risk of a failure on the street -- street wheels were available (still are!) for most applications. If you wanted wide wheels, you bought aftermarket in the "old days", you didn't worry about using the stock "dog dish" hub caps. That's a more current trend for "retro rods" and "nostalgic" builds. Back then (and even in the early 80s when I started rodding) most people wanted custom wheels, not custom width stock looking wheels!

This guy is in his mid 60s now and still runs his own shop. Doesn't do much heavy work like building and replacing engines anymore, but still has his old dirt trackers and lots of parts. I visit every time I get a chance when I'm back home, he's a wealth of info on all sorts of things, and for some reason I remember most of what he's told me over the years. The wheel info is something he told me 15-20 years ago when I noticed the welds on one of his dirt car wheels. He's "restored" the old things (early 30s modifieds) and occasionally takes one of the two out for exhibition runs at local tracks -- at least he used to. Haven't stopped by in nearly two years!! Will have to make it a priority next visit.

On the back of one of the cars is a Barris style painting of a guy with a flat head sticking out of the top of a 30's style dirt track car with the shifter sticking out too. This fellow ran flat head Ford V-8s well into the 70s until they finally stopped running the early modifieds, and usually placed 2nd-4th in a pack of 10-20 cars, depending on track location and attendance. He ran alcohol blends against much larger OHV SBCs and a few SBFs, and even had an occasionaly first place in the later years. Really impressed/ticked off the guys with more modern, larger engines. Under the painting was this: TEARHISASSOFF. So the guys following got to see the "mad flat head driver" and read that!! No wonder some were ticked off!! :thumbup: :evil:
 

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farna said:
I think he just didn't feel it was worth the risk of a failure on the street -- street wheels were available (still are!)
That is cool. Definitely stop and see the guy every chance you get. You will learn something and pass it along to us.

Why would they fail on the street though? If they are welded properly, I don't see a problem with them. yes...they are available (in my case), but are very expensive. Ford never made any over 5 1/2" wide for mine.
 

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Brian_B said:
Ford never made any over 5 1/2" wide for mine.
The newer full size pickups and vans (up to 86) used the 5 X 5 bolt pattern. As well all 5 lug Jeep and all American Motors 2 WD cars(Except 79-85 Eagle,Cherokee, Cherokee Chief) from 1942-86 used that bolt pattern, You could also try to find a set from a 1954-66 Chrysler Imperial (Special HD).

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Check with www.earlywheel.com you can get them in any width and back space. The original dog dish hubcaps will fit on them...You can buy them brand new here cheaper than you can get yours widened out. They will also be DOT approved which they need to be to legaly run on the street. These wheels are on the car in my avitar......My back ones are 8 inches wide and my front ones are 4 and a half.
 

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home brew said:
The newer full size pickups and vans (up to 86) used the 5 X 5 bolt pattern. As well all 5 lug Jeep and all American Motors 2 WD cars(Except 79-85 Eagle,Cherokee, Cherokee Chief) from 1942-86 used that bolt pattern, You could also try to find a set from a 1954-66 Chrysler Imperial (Special HD).
Ford trucks are 5 X 5.5, so that does not fit. Plus I need the inside lugs for the dog dish caps. Ford only made 5" and 5 1/2" wide ones and stopped making those in 64. Aftermarket ones are wide now, but $$$$$
 

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Brian_B said:
Ford trucks are 5 X 5.5, so that does not fit. Plus I need the inside lugs for the dog dish caps. Ford only made 5" and 5 1/2" wide ones and stopped making those in 64. Aftermarket ones are wide now, but $$$$$
Sorry those wheels in my post above are 5 X 5.5. Must have missed typed in the above post. You hadn't said you need to mount dog dish caps.

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Brian B -- he was just concerned about balance more than failure. Wasn't sure they'd balance good enough for street use. There's enough bouncing and vibration on an old dirt track in a car with solid mounts that you don't notice, even if you do manage to top 50-60 mph on a short circle track!
 

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farna said:
Brian B -- he was just concerned about balance more than failure. Wasn't sure they'd balance good enough for street use. There's enough bouncing and vibration on an old dirt track in a car with solid mounts that you don't notice, even if you do manage to top 50-60 mph on a short circle track!
The balancing I do not know about. :confused:

Since it won't cost hardly anything to find out, it is worth a try. I am getting old ford wheels for free and the junk ch**Y ones shouldn't cost much.

If they don't work, then its time to order new ones (cheap ones at $66 each plus shipping).
 

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Memories..The neighbor guy used to do that sort of thing with wheels..used Buick rims reversed on ford or chev centers to make a reversed wheel..also he had an old brake lathe that he cut the wheels on that he was going to widen..

Worked out fine at the time..Guess we did not worry about DOT back then,,

BTW all we had was one of the old bubble balancers for wheels and tires..seemed to work out OK..

Sam
 
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