I read your article on the 7.00-15 Coker vintage mud tires. I have a 1945 Willys MB that was a deal that I couldn't pass up. The jeep seems all original with a few changes, including a swapped in T-90 transmission and a neat crankshaft-driven winch. It also has 15-inch wheels, and I'd like to run a stock-looking, smallish tire. The wheels appear to be 15x4.5-inch and I am thinking of using them. I've only had the Willys a few months and haven't really gone completely through it yet, but it does start and run. I also have a project CJ-3A I've been working on for a while but couldn't pass on this MB when I found it. My real question is: How do you like the 7.00-15 Cokers you are running? Do you have any side pics of the tires and wheels on the Jeep? Here are some pictures of what I'm starting with.
—Wes Zehnder, via FaceBook
Wes' 1945 MB has some cool upgrades including a hard top and a crank pulley-driven winch. His wheels seem to be older (tube type?) 15-inch units, originally from who-knows-what, and lack a safety bead.Four Wheeler Tech Editor Verne Simons' Response
Hi, Wes, thanks for the question, and thanks for joining the ranks of folks who want to restore, rebuild, and most important, use a vintage Willys 4x4 on the trail. I've tried to convey how much fun actually wheeling these old jeeps is and I hope everyone will jump on board the trend. Side-by-sides or UTVs may be fun (and fast), but Flatties are every bit as fun, are road-drivable (slowly), and much less expensive by comparison. The trend or fad of a "locker/stocker" flattie—a jeep that looks stockish but gets wheeled—is hot and growing, which means that finding an affordable, decent-running flattie to start with has become more difficult, but it also means that more functional parts are becoming available to meet rising demand. These include suspension parts, brake upgrades, functional skid plates, and more.
Tink, The Wonder Jeep. This is our 1946 (first full production year) Willys CJ-2A. Tink is a testbed for various repop parts including a set of Coker's 7.00-15 STA Super Traxions on newer ('70s-era) Jeep or International 15-inch wheels.Safety Beads for, Well, Safety
The short answer to your question is, yes, I'm still loving these 7.00-15 STA Traxion tires from Coker and would opt for them again for this vehicle given the same choice. But there are many other stockish options available—I'll talk more about those in a minute—that friends of mine have had experience with. One benefit to the 15-inch wheels and tires in my eyes (although some may consider it cheating) is that they are later Jeep Wheels intended for non-tube tires, and therefore have a safety bead pressed into the wheel. That safety bead helps keep the tire lip on the rim of the wheel when the jeep is aired down and ready for the trail. It's simply a ridge that sits just inside the tire bead of the wheel making it slightly more difficult for the tire to slide inward on the wheel. The stamped steel factory 15-inch wheels from a '60s or '70s CJ-5 also look correct on the jeep even though it should have 16-inch wheels from the factory. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have a set of "correct" 16-inch wheels on Tink (that's my 1946 CJ-2A's nickname), but finding a usable set of wheels is tough and most of the original 16-inch wheels do not have safety beads as these wheels were intended to be used with tubed tires. The few factory 16s with safety beads that folks have found are off of the heavier and later Willys Trucks and Wagons or M38s. You can also get reproduction 16-inch wheels that look original and have a safety bead, but they are relatively expensive and may not be as high-quality as the original 16s, though many have had good luck with them.
You can see the safety bead from the outside of stamped steel wheels like the ones on Tink. The safety bead helps keep the bead of the tire pressed firmly up against the rim of the wheel. It's less necessary with tires running inner tubes, but helps keep aired-down tires on the wheel whether using tubed or tubeless tires.
Truth is we "helped" Trent buy this 1947 CJ-2A. Part of what convinced us to force him to buy it was the original 16-inch wheels and these rad Coker 6.50-16 STA Super Traxions.More Bias-Ply Options
Getting back to the other "stockish" tires that you could run either with 15s or 16s, here are a few bias-ply reproduction or vintage style tires that I know folks have had luck with. My best buddy and wheeling friend Trent McGee is running a set of 6.50-16 STA Super Traxions PN71031, also from Coker, that have a different tread pattern than mine, similar to a Super Swamper tire. These tires are about 32 inches tall, though. There are also the 600-16 Coker Firestone Vintage Bias-Ply Tires that look kinda like a dirt bike knobby tire. These tires are small (about 28 inches tall), which helps improve a Willys' crawl ratio and is easier on parts than running taller tires. These tires are preferred by my pal Eric Filar, who wheels the poo out of his Lock-Right-equipped Flattie. My good friend Mike Tarvin also runs Deestone 7.50-16 tires that have a very similar tread pattern to the ones I use, and while Mike's tires are over 32 inches tall, there are also 7.00-15 Deestones available that are right at 30 inches. Lastly, the legendary Stan Fuller runs Coker Firestone 7.00-16 Military NDT tires on his well-used Grandpa's Jeep. Stan likes the fact that these tires are siped (they feature small cuts in the tread surface), which he feels helps with traction on slick rock and wet asphalt.
Mike Tarvin's Jeep has tall Deestone 7.50-16 tires. The tread pattern is similar to our STA Super Traxions.
Our pal Eric Filar has probably spent as much time off-road in a locker/stocker flatfender Willys as anyone we know. He prefers these knobby 6.00-16 Coker Firestone Vintage Bias-Ply tires which have some seriously knobby tread but are on the shorter side. The smaller outside diameter helps with gearing and helps keep vintage drivetrain parts from breaking.
If you've missed the videos of Stan Fuller and his Willys known as Grandpa's Jeep on YouTube, search that platform now for footage of this guy driving his basically stock (and well-worn) CJ-2A up some silly obstacles. Stan runs siped (cuts in the face of the tire tread for traction) Coker Firestone Military NDT tires in a 7.00-16 size. Stan has wheeled Grandpa's Jeep all over and hits some hard obstacles with full commitment, a testament to how well-built these old Jeeps are. Since we took this picture several years ago Stan has added much trail character and a rollbar to the old Jeep, but it still runs the siped NDTs.
"Techline" is the monthly question and answer column by Four Wheeler tech editor Verne Simons, who tries to answer any and all technical questions sent his way by readers. Verne's brain is generally focused on off-road tech, but he also has a background in geology, biology, some experience in cooking, music trivia, useless facts, and more, so don't be shy and he'll give you an answer—right or wrong! That is, unless it's completely off topic. Verne is available for Techline questions at [email protected] or hit him up on Facebook or @Verne.Simons on Instagram.
This article is republished from Bias-Ply Mud Tires, Safety Beads, and Old 4x4s under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article .https://www.motortrend.com/how-to/bias-ply-mud-tires-techline/
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