Time To Re - Tire : Model T Fords and Clincher Tires

New article is here:

Reply to this post to discuss.

Very interesting article.

Could you comment on the rear tires on TT’s. I have heard them called “widow makers”, and I have heard that they are no more dangerous than any other tire. Are the rear tires dangerous to change? Are they dangerous after installation? What should the tire pressure be on a TT’s rear tires? As the owner of a TT, I would like to know how dangerous the rear tires are. Thanks…

What a great article ! The how-to is invaluable, especially the part where you wrangle a non-demountable front tire onto the wheel !! Good going, Royce, even though you were slow . . . by Dad’s standards !! :wink: :laughing:

I can’t let the comment about early roads being strewn with horse-shoe nails go without a bit of puzzled astonishment. Over 40+ years of tacking iron on the hooves of equines, I have lost a shoe occasionally, never an odd nail, and it always takes a bit of work to get old nails out of a shoe for a re-set. ?? I realize my experience using horses doesn’t equate to the regularity of intense use “back in the day”, I just wonder what the difference is ?? Nowadays, highways and byways seem to be amply supplied with . . . grabber screws !

Tom most TT trucks have 33 X 5 tires that take 65 PSI.

Here’s a link to what Lucas says:


Great article. I just did the rear two tires in a very short time. Attempting the front proved to be more difficult due to the flange at the base of the valve stem being so wide (nearly the width of the rim and very firm) that it would only allow one side of the tire lip to slip over it and seat properly. I’ll be putting the V notch in the tire (possible extra wide to clear the whole flanged sealing area) before attempting this again . Thanks for the write up.

Great read, thanks Royce!

I just purchased a set of new Excelsior 30 x 3 1/2 clincher tires from Coker to replace my worn out 10 year old tires. The previous set were also Excelsiors; they were installed for me with flaps back then so I am unfamiliar with the process. I have done Model A tire installs before, so I am familiar with balloon tires but not clinchers. Any tips on dismounting the old tires with the flaps and reinstalling. I have reviewed Royce’s posting on his method. I am specifically looking for a step by step process on dealing with the flaps.

I don’t use flaps. Taking the tire off the rim with a flap inside should be easy. You may have to squeeze the sidewalk with a large C clamp in order to break it loose so a tire tool can be used to pry the whole tire/ flap / rim loose simultaneously. There are Teflon rim protectors made for changing motorcycle tires that work just dandy on a Model T to protect the painted rim from being scratched. Look on Amazon.com they are cheap.

One thing you failed to do is to post photos of original bridge washers! There are four or five different styles used, made by Schrader, Dill and Bridgeport, and others, but they all do the same job. Do not use the current flat bridge washers which are not made correctly. In fact, don’t use any of the current valve stem hardware, as it is not the same as the original equipment.

If I had a lathe, I would make a set of dies to and use my press to put a circular dimple into the new flat bridge washers so that they would seal correctly.

The manufacturer already has to press the washers to put the “wings” at the correct angle, why they can’t press the dimple in the same operation is beyond me. :slight_smile:

Your reply Mark is why I went into the reproduction business 20 years ago. I just turned over my half of the business today to my partner, and wish him well. The reason we started our business is because a big share of the companies making parts are cutting corners, and just plain not doing things right. I would welcome anyone into the hobby that is interested in doing reproductions correctly.

There is no reason for them to do that because the hole in the middle of the new bridge washers is the wrong size because the “modern” brass stem tubes have the wrong size stems for Model T. They don’t need that dimple anyways because they are vulcanizing the stem to the tube. They don’t want people re - using their valve stems. It would hurt their profits.

Larry I will get a group of those together for a photo shoot. I have a remarkable variety of them.

This is the Schrader type used on early brass era Model T’s through perhaps 1918. So far as I can tell all of the brands that Ford used (Diamond, Goodyear, Firestone, Michelin) had nickel plated dust covers. I like the look of them in polished brass which is a much easier and cheaper way to restore them.

This is a Schrader TR16, the other brands had markedly different dust covers but used Dill or Schrader stems. These dust caps are about half the weight of the modern reproductions that look very similar.

Here is a later style that was used with clincher tires. It is a Dill TR16. The dust covers are very light. Whereas the early nut for the dust cap has a leather seal in it, the later ones used a rubber seal between the nut and the wooden (or in later T’s, steel) felloe.

Here is a typical early bridge washer. Notice the sealing lip is a stamped brass piece that is crimped to the bridge washer.

By the late teens Ford was using these stamped bridge washers that had the sealing lip integral to the bridge washer.

There were all sorts of (aftermarket) fancier bridge washers of every size and description. Some were cast aluminum (left) others were stamped steel (right) or brass or even molded from hard rubber. Notice how the aluminum one on the left is cracked, this would cause a leak.

Shown here is an original plain stamped bridge washer. These were used with a separate sealing washer. These varied in shape and size. If someone made a modern version of this it would work with the current crop of bridge washers.