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Tire sizes

  #1  
Old 10-07-2018, 07:20 PM
James Doty
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Tire sizes

Hi all:

Tomorrow I intend to buy tires.

Right now my '85 E150 conversion van has P235/75R15 tires on it. But the 1985 incomplete Ford Operations manual that came with the van shows the OEM tires as P205/75R15. That's what, about .1.77 inches smaller in diameter?

Any thoughts? Should I go back to the P205 tires the van originally shipped with? Will they just "look" silly small in the wheel wells?

I'm not concerned with the spodo reading being off using the P235 tires, or the odometer reading being slightly inaccurate either. I'm just not sure what to do here?
 
  #2  
Old 10-07-2018, 07:47 PM
85e150six4mtod
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I am pretty sure 235 was the OEM size on my '85. I'm an partially baffled by a 205 reference. My truck was an '85 stripper shorty cargo van, PS PB and 4 speed OD manual trans. I bought it in '91 so I am fairly confident that Firestone spare was an OEM tire in 235-75x15. I think my tire sticker even said 235s.

205s would be a joke imo. Tire Rack shows the 235s as OEM, in an "XL" load rating, with a 2100+ lb rating at 50 PSI. (XL just below a C rated LT tire)

They show 205s in P rated only, good for 1600lbs at 51 PSI. Diameter for the 205 is 27", with 6" tread and 8" cross section. 235s show 28.9" diameter, 7.5/8.5 tread/section.

I dumped my 235s for 31-10.50x15s. Other than the overall gearing effect, those seemed better in terms of rubber on the ground. The 235s seemed a little "skittish".

When I sold it, I put the 235s and an oddball on there--much better overall gearing, but the old "skittish" feeling was there.

205s would make that even worse and are a definite no go imo.

You can adjust your speedometer via a simple driven gear change.

Are you on stock wheels? It looks like there is a big jump in 15" sizes after 235, so if you like the way it drives and looks with those, go 235 and get a load range C tire. A C is a bit tougher tire than the P, but either way you will be OK load wise.
An E would be tougher still, but ride will suffer.
 
  #3  
Old 10-07-2018, 08:22 PM
James Doty
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That's something I'm researching.

Perhaps the van, which left Ford as an incomplete cargo van, had 15x5.5 inch rims on it.

shipped manual. VIN is a match to the van.

But at the moment these are the rims that are on the van. Are they Ford upmarket rims or third party?


after market?


The rims are really dirty but should clean up well. Though no center caps.

What I read on a tire company's web site said that 235/75R15 tires are too wide to fit safely fit on 15x5.5 inch rims. But that's what's on these rims, I have no idea how wide they are though. Given the choice, if these rims are wide enough I'd go to 235/70R15 tires. I like the stance, and the look, I'd had them on my last three Ford Econolines. My first van had 60s size tires on them. On wet ground I had no traction at all and my dad made me switch to 70s, which in the end I liked better anyway.

Thanks for the advice. I suspect that if the rims I have aren't original, and I doubt they are, that I'd better just go to the tire place down the road from me and have them check the rim on the front left which does need a tire since the tire leaks down after a couple of weeks. I'll buy matching front tires, hopefully 235/70R15 then next month do the rear tires the same. Maybe I can find a decent used tire as a spare? I don't want to keep any of the tires that are currently on the van, I know the right front tire is eleven years old.
 
  #4  
Old 10-07-2018, 08:25 PM
James Doty
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Hmm. Zoomed in, that rim looks awful. Perhaps I should save up for rims after winter?
 
  #5  
Old 10-07-2018, 10:40 PM
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Those rims are aftermarket. Probably 15x6. I see max load 1932 if I am reading it right, as well as 43 psi max! Double check that. The 43 psi max is not a great number, although ok for what you are doing.

If they don't clean up or you don't like them, there are tons of wheels out there. You could go with a 15x7 or 16x7 and stay with the same diameter tire, or close, to the 235-70 or 75 x 15.

I like aluminum wheels as they are lighter and usually look better, but that is a total "what you like" thing.

Resist the deep dish ultra wide '70s van look.
 
  #6  
Old 10-07-2018, 10:52 PM
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No argument from me there. I don't dig the ultra wide tires.

I really dig aluminum rims. Here's what I had on the van I rolled over in 2012, They were on their third van. Sadly, the left front rim didn't survive.

broken rim

Do you know what spacing I need on the bolt holes? Craigslist might be handy for rim shopping, I don't really want to spend $800 on rims anytime soon.
 
  #7  
Old 10-07-2018, 11:10 PM
85e150six4mtod
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5 on 5.5". NOT 5 on 135mm. E150, F100, F150 would all have those patterns, but double check first. CL in Los Angeles is full of new 6 lug takeoffs, with a few older steel 5 on 5.5s.

I think you can do better than $800 but shop around.
 
  #8  
Old 10-08-2018, 10:08 PM
James Doty
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Wow! 235/70R15 tires are $150 at Les Schwab. I ended up with a nice pair of all season radials in 235/75R15 instead. $209 for the pair installed. Since I'm saving up to do more work on the van I couldn't justify $350 for two tires, installed. Besides, I need the extra money for bacon.

The guy at Les Schwab mentioned the condition of my rear tires and I said I knew but need time to save up for them since I have other work that needs to be done to the van. They put air in my spare, but I pointed out that my spare leaks and isn't any good.
 
  #9  
Old 10-11-2018, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by 85e150six4mtod View Post
Those rims are aftermarket. Probably 15x6. I see max load 1932 if I am reading it right, as well as 43 psi max! Double check that. The 43 psi max is not a great number, although ok for what you are doing.

If they don't clean up or you don't like them, there are tons of wheels out there. You could go with a 15x7 or 16x7 and stay with the same diameter tire, or close, to the 235-70 or 75 x 15.

I like aluminum wheels as they are lighter and usually look better, but that is a total "what you like" thing.

Resist the deep dish ultra wide '70s van look.
Those are factory wheels, look at the screw holes for the factory hub caps. Aftermarkets didn't have them. The late 80's Rangers had similar wheels but in 14" and 5x4.5 bp They had stainless trim rings to go with the plastic hub caps. And what's wrong with deep dish wheels ? I've got 70's style aluminum slots on my 96 E150. The 10's in the rear fill out the fender flares nicely.
 
  #10  
Old 10-11-2018, 05:14 PM
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Correct me if Im wrong but the van probably did leave the production line with the smaller tires. Once the dealership gets it, they have a pricey conversion done to it with all the bells and whistles, then charge the consumer double what the conversion cost. I bought a 94 gmc sierra step side bed brand spanking new with a convesion on it. The conversion came with two tone teal and purple paint faded, aluminum wheels, wider tires, etc., etc., etc. Sadly she was T-boned by a 17 year old new driver that ran a light and totaled it.
Anyhow, thats why you see a different tire size from production.
On your wheels, why not spend $20 bucks to have them sand blasted, then another $50 or so to get them powder coated? Cheaper, choose your color and they last for eons too...
Just a thought
Tim
 
  #11  
Old 10-11-2018, 11:18 PM
James Doty
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That's not a shabby idea. I like that idea actually. What color goes good with Ford Brown? Silver's been done and looks fantastic but another color would be cool. How 'bout hex color #11303f?

I could make that work. Before I decide though, are there any center caps for those rims available? I think the rims are a bit unsightly without them.

My father-in-law had his stock rims on an Oldsmobile painted the same color as his car then put small silver hub caps on them, it looked nice.
 
  #12  
Old 10-12-2018, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by James Doty View Post
That's not a shabby idea. I like that idea actually. What color goes good with Ford Brown? Silver's been done and looks fantastic but another color would be cool. How 'bout hex color #11303f?

I could make that work. Before I decide though, are there any center caps for those rims available? I think the rims are a bit unsightly without them.

My father-in-law had his stock rims on an Oldsmobile painted the same color as his car then put small silver hub caps on them, it looked nice.
You can find the O.E hub caps on ebay. If you need the screws, I have them. I saved them off my 89 Ranger wheels. They need a good home
 
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:14 AM
James Doty
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I don't have any of the screws. So they're screw on caps? That explains the screw holes. I was wondering about those.

What would I be searching for on those caps? I don't know who made the rims.
 
  #14  
Old 10-12-2018, 09:21 AM
James Doty
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If I can find the caps the bolts would be appreciated.
 
  #15  
Old 10-12-2018, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by James Doty View Post
I don't have any of the screws. So they're screw on caps? That explains the screw holes. I was wondering about those.

What would I be searching for on those caps? I don't know who made the rims.
These are factory rims. Look up 1989 F150 wheel center caps. I got 32 results, including your wheel. The caps I had on my Ranger were black with a red center, 5 holes to fit over the lug nuts, three small holes for the attachment screws. The F150 caps I found on ebay were chromed plastic
 

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