Topic: redials tires on the '49

oldfordman    -- 11-23-2017 @ 6:06 PM
  Will the equivalent size radial tire be really harder to steer at slow [parking] speed than the bias ply?
Is this a really dumb question? Sorry, this has probably been discussed before...
Don [oldfordman]
ps; if I go radial, should I go up a size?

TomO    -- 11-24-2017 @ 7:12 AM
  Don, it is not a dumb question. You need the information in order to make the choice of tires that suits you best.

I doubt that there will be much of a difference in slow speed steering effort between the bias ply and radial tires on your 49 Mercury. Alignment will have much more effect. Have your alignment checked when you install new tires or see uneven wear pattern.

I am not a fan of radial tires on old cars. My main objection comes down to cost and durability. Radial tires cost more new. Radial tires can fail suddenly as they age, the tires should be replaced at 7 years. Most antique cars are driven less than 3,000 miles a year, so you would get 8-10 years out of a set of bias ply tires. If you drive less you may get 12 years, but no longer as the tire rubber would be too hard for good traction.

Get the size closest to the original size. If you go "up" a size, you will make your speedometer more inaccurate.


This message was edited by TomO on 11-24-17 @ 7:13 AM

trjford8    -- 11-24-2017 @ 5:06 PM
  I found that radial tires made a big difference at slow speed in my '54 Mercury. The '54 Mercury was the first year for ball joint suspension, so that could have had an effect on it also.

oldfordman    -- 11-24-2017 @ 7:08 PM
  Thanks gentleman for your replies. I was afraid the steering might be a little harder with more rubber on the street, but I like the ride and handling at speed. I just got the car and the tires are suspect, good tread, but unknown age. probably old! The radials with bias look are more expensive, so will probably go with the appropriate size radial. [215/75R/15]
Any other thought/comments appreciated.

TomO    -- 11-25-2017 @ 9:10 AM
  Tom, was the difference harder steering or easier steering at low speeds?


trjford8    -- 11-25-2017 @ 10:50 AM
  Tom, I noticed easier steering at low speed. I used the Coker wide whites that are made in the USA. When I got the car it had some 14"mags with radials. It steered real hard at low speeds. I went back to stock 15" wheels and the correct size tires on the car. It was a world of difference with the new tires and rims.

carcrazy    -- 11-25-2017 @ 2:16 PM
  My recommendation would be to go with 205/75 R 15 Radials to make changing a rear flat tire on the road easier.

oldfordman    -- 11-25-2017 @ 2:41 PM
  Thanks everyone for your great input and ideas. Lots to decipher, pretty big investment for me. Maybe ol Santa will be really good to me! Naw....
May wait til spring anyway.

TomO    -- 11-26-2017 @ 7:41 AM
  Tom, that could have been just because the tires were new.

Last time I changed tires on my 40 Merc, I noticed quite an improvement in low speed steering also. I had bias ply tires and the new tires were also bias ply Firestones. There was quite a bit of tread left on the old tires, but the tires had poor traction on wet roads, so I bought new ones.


shogun1940    -- 12-01-2017 @ 3:40 PM
  Do not mix them , all four radials , if you only buy two they have to go on the rear

trjford8    -- 12-01-2017 @ 5:49 PM
  Tom, actually the 14" radials were almost new. I had receipts that showed they were only about a year old. I will say the 14's were an odd ball brand, so they were probably foreign made.

shogun1940    -- 12-03-2017 @ 2:45 PM
  Did you have adapters for the 14” wheels??

47Monarch    -- 07-08-2019 @ 11:38 AM
  I have a 47 monarch which camwith bias ply tires when I bought it the handling was terrible when on the road had to drive with both hands on wheel and the car followed every crack in the road . switched to radials and felt the difference in the first 1/4 miles it was like a new car . However at s!ow speed I didn't see much difference standard steering is a bit hard to turn the wheel at very slow speeds . You may have heard the term armstrong steering well my friend that's what is in older cars enjoy

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