im building a 1948-1950 f6.
it is a 239 flattie i think
i need to know where to find wheels
its five lug with oversized (compared to now) lugs
my only requirements for the wheels are that they are steel, stock size and that they are not split rim
which i think means i will have to run radials
Welcome to the board and the world of big trucks. You don't have many choices, they are few. First thing to do is do a search of this board to find all the information about the Widow Maker rims and alternatives. Some people have been successful at finding places that sell used rims.
You don't have many alternatives. You could try to find a set of 19.5" one piece from a RV from the mid '70s to '80s with a Dodge chassis. This is the type I have on my F-4. There are also 22.5" Ford rims made for these trucks, I had a set on my F-4, they are harder to find than the 19.5". You could also use multi-part rims with the outer snap ring. Most truck tire shops still work on these, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who will work on the Widow Makers. The mult-part rims came on Internationals, Dodges and Studebakers, also earlier Fords-pre-'48.
They said they would make wheels. They would be around $350 each but they would be brand new. I think they said they would do 22.5" wheels for around that price. They also told me that they might give us a 10% or so break if a bunch of us got together and bought maybe 100 wheels....
I did not know about the above company when I bought my 20" wheels. I would have probably got them just to be able to use tubeless 19.5 or 22.5" tires.
Stu, "truckdog62563" had this reply in a previous post about wheels for the larger trucks:
Originally Posted by truckdog62563
When I talked to Wheels Now a couple years ago about this, they said they could custom make my size and bolt pattern, but they'd be flat centers, not dished as we need. That's no help at all.
Wheels Now! is located in a city about 15-20 miles from me and if anyone is interested in getting together and placing a big order let me know. I can talk to the place in person and make sure they are going to make the correct part. It might be a little easier for someone close by to over see the order than for someone in another part of the country.
I'll second what the other guys have said. And add my welcome to the board. I'd be interested to hear if Wheels Now is able to now do these with the stock offset. It would also be good to know if they'll warrant them for highway use. I forget if it was them, or a place in Georgia that I talked to, but they'd only sell them for off road use. Also to add a bit to Bob's comment about "lock ring" wheels, I've gathered wheel literature going back to 1941. The wheels that were used on F-3 through F-6 Bonus Built and later trucks were termed a Firestone RH5° design. I find no reference to that design prior to around 1945. The same bolt pattern, 5 lug x 8" circle, however was used by many manufacturers going back into the '30s. Typically they'd use a Goodyear designed outer rim that had a locking ring. There were many different lock ring designs, all with their own names (LW, LT, LTS, etc.) so the critical issue is to make sure that you aren't mismatching a lock ring to a wheel. Wheels of this design are still being sold today (I just saw some this morning while looking up a wheel in the Henderson on-line catalog), so as long as the wheels that you find aren't damaged or badly rusted, you should be ok finding somebody to service them. Another source that might have the 19.5 or 22.5 tubeless rims is Chuck Mantiglia of Chuck's Trucks. He's always on the lookout for these because he deals a lot with the bigger trucks. Hope that helps.
Last edited by truckdog62563; 09-04-2007 at 01:56 PM.
An F-6 rat rod!? That'd be quite a site. No matter what you do with it, I don't think you want to use those stock rims. The risk of violent separation is pretty great, no matter whether sitting at a stop light, driving, or what-have-you. That's why no reputable shop with touch them. Do a google search of Firestone RH5° and read all about it.
they def still use them because many tag along trailers still run them... and any shop that does truck wheels will do them and I have the cage for airing them up...
remember rat rod...I don't plan on spending 3gs on the whole project
If you actually have the stock Widow Maker wheels you will have a very hard time finding a shop that will work on them. Many states require that they be confiscated if they are brought into a tire shop. Also, even if you have the cage to inflate them I would still not use them. From what I have been told, by Stu and quite a few other knowledgable people, the Widow Makers are dangerous even after they have been inflated for a while. As Stu stated, they can come apart wheile driving down the street or parked in a parking lot. All it takes is a small leak for them to lose enough pressure for the lip locking system to fail. They are not only unsafe for you but for anyone unfortunate to be in the line of fire when they decide to let loose.
Now if you're talking about the rims with the snap ring, those are still in use and probably are the ones they use on the tag trailer you mentioned. I will guarantee they aren't using the two piece design like the Ford Widow Makers.
Your other option is to look for a set of used wheels. I found two sets of 19.5" rims, with very useable tires, by running ads on internet sites and magazines I subscribe to. If you can search the older junkyards that have old trucks look for any larger truck with five lug nuts, the rims should fit. If you get a chance to drive around out in the country keep an eye out for delapidated RVs sitting around. These are all options, not easy ones, but still options to $3000 set if wheels.
One bit of advise is to keep the old Widow Maker rims until you find a set of wheels. Both sets of 19.5" wheels I found were on RVs heading to the scrapyard. I swapped the WM wheels so the RV owners had something to drag their RVs to the scrapyard.
Mine were $225 each for 6 of the lock-ring types. I still had to get tires since the tires I had were probably 50 years old and rotten.
You'll do much better with used wheels. Your other choice would be to find 6 lug hubs from a 56 or newer truck. They'll probably fit on the older axles.....or just get newer axles. I would have done that if I could have found newer axles.
It IS cool to stay with the older 5 lug "look" though I guess...
My Jan. 1949 Budd catalog says that there where several different 20" wheel widths used by Ford. Your tire shop will know, but for the record, they are all "stud piloted". Since yours is a F-6, I'm gonna guess that you've got at least a 6" wide wheel and maybe a 6.50" rim. For a 20x6 wheel, with five lugs on an 8" circle, you would be looking at use of a 7.50 x 20 tire. They say that 8.25 is permissible. For the 6.50" rim, they say to use the 8.25 tire. The studs are 3/4" x 16 TPI. Keep in mind that you'll have right hand and left hand threads. They say dual spacing on the 7.50 tire should be 11" and on the 8.25 tire 11 1/4". That's measured center line to center line. For some reason I don't find the wheel center bore in the '49 catalog. My '54 book says center bore is 5 7/8". Interestingly, the '49 book shows that across the model range F-4 to F-6 (or 1.5 ton to 2 ton on earlier models) there were eight different 20" wheels sourced by Ford during the period 1938 to 1949. Only two of those were the RH-5° design. I think, though, that Henry's relationship with Harry Firestone resulted in the vast majority of vehicles leaving the factories wearing Firestone/Budd wheels. Most of the other possible wheel types listed are Goodyear/Budd style "lock ring" wheels.
Maybe I should add that while we call these things "Budd rims", in fact several different companies made the wheel centers and combined them with either Firestone or Goodyear outer rims. And too, I'm sure that as patents expired, companies took the Firestone or Goodyear designs and ran with them on their own. I've scrubbed and scrubbed on rims looking for Budd part numbers that weren't there. Does that cover it?
Last edited by truckdog62563; 09-04-2007 at 05:41 PM.
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