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Old 08-14-2015, 02:13 AM   #1
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63 bluebird chevy 8.25 20 tire swap?

Hello, I just got myself a 1963 Chevy bluebird. 327 allison trans converted to moho! My question is about the old split rims and 8.25 20 tires. It could definitely use some new rubber, but I would like to update the wheels too. What would work? Any info is greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-14-2015, 08:25 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vagabond Rick View Post
Hello, I just got myself a 1963 Chevy bluebird. 327 allison trans converted to moho! My question is about the old split rims and 8.25 20 tires. It could definitely use some new rubber, but I would like to update the wheels too. What would work? Any info is greatly appreciated.
I don't have an answer for you, but that is one awesome bus you have there. Any more pics of the inside?
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Old 08-14-2015, 09:55 AM   #3
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Cool old rig that should be a blast converted. But to get to your question, I would direct you to "Stovebolt.com"...a site dedicated to older Chevy trucks. Lots of info regarding rim & tire upgrades by folks who really know these old rigs. A link is below...but please...do keep the build & pix coming here!

The Stovebolt Forums | Forums powered by UBB.threads™

Best of luck from another "vintage Chevy" guy.
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Old 08-18-2015, 10:34 AM   #4
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Thanks for the tip. Stovebolt and a local mechanic confirmed that I'm looking for 19.5 wheels.
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Old 08-18-2015, 12:32 PM   #5
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19.5" rims & tires are what I wound up with on my '46. They came from late '90's (1998 in my case) Chevy 3500's. Not sure about your axles, but the bolt pattern was identical (7-1/4" circle/ten lugs rear, five lugs front with cover plate). The difference was on the center hole ("hub-centric" mounting). I did have to have a 1/4" spacer made to go over my hubs since the new rims have a hole that much larger. No big deal. Any machine shop can knock them out cheap.





I would have preferred to keep the larger, original rims, but the only tire option is Chinese, bias ply junk with tubes. The tallest tires made for these rims are 33.6" in diameter compared to about 36' for the originals. These are Bridgestone 8R19.5 (R187) commercial tubeless.
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Old 08-18-2015, 01:33 PM   #6
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Wow excellent info. And a rad '46! If you don't mind me asking, what did the wheels and tires end up costing you? Someone suggested it might be cheaper to find an old motorhome and do a complete axle swap. Thanks again.
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Old 08-18-2015, 04:06 PM   #7
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I bought seven rims at a local wrecking yard for about $60 bucks apiece but had to have them sandblasted and painted (another $150 for all as I recall). The Bridgestones run around $200 apiece but you can often beat that at shops who specialize in fleet work. I think I paid about $185 each plus the usual mounting & balancing.

If you can find a Chevy c-3500/4500 dually rear end around 1998...it will come with the 19.5 rims that may well match your lug pattern (it does mine) and has a bunch of gearing options. They came with one of the very best rear ends out there (in my book)...the Dana 80HD wide track. It is a brutally tough rear axle rated to 11,000 pounds and is very close in width to most early Chevy frames. And...you get beefy disk brakes in the bargain. Oddly, my original 1946 axle had spring perches that were slightly wider than the new "wide-track". It took some very careful measuring, but the welding work was pretty straight forward to re-locate them.


Modified spring perch


New Dana 80HD axle

It involved some work, but I had no desire to run cross country at highway speeds on crappy tube-type, bias-ply tires.
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Old 08-18-2015, 10:57 PM   #8
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NICE!!! I'm on the hunt.
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:48 AM   #9
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BTW...there are some ten lug 22.5 inch rims out there that will fit (with similar adjustments to the hub hole) and are very cool if...(big IF) ...you can find them. They only came on 1-1/2 ton Chevy trucks from 1956 to 1959 and are really hard to find. But...if you can find'em, they look and work great. The tires they fit are slightly larger in diameter than the original 20" rims which gives you another 3-5 mph on the top end.

FYI...I looked for about two years and finally gave up, but...ya never know where a set might turn up. I would swap my entire set of brand new 19.5 stuff for the 22.5's in a heartbeat.
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