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Front Wheel Adventures

posted Dec 22, 2011, 3:32 PM by roehricht@bellsouth.net   [ updated Dec 23, 2012, 7:33 PM ]
March 6th; As I said in a previous edition, I'm not looking for a show truck. This is to be a daily driver with all of the utility of my old '97 Chevy 1 ton dually.  I'm also looking to make it look like a '60s era vehicle for the most part.
For wheels I want to keep it all steel with maybe chrome lugs all the way around and wheel centers on the rear. The front wheels will have those huge Spicer locking hubs peeking out from the center, but I wanted a little wider front wheel so that I could mount a wider tire without having the uneven wear problems that can occur when the wide tire is mounted on a wheel that's too narrow. Stock dually wheels are 16" X 6" with 8" backspacing and I figured that surely somewhere, somebody made such a wheel.  Wrong answer!!! I started checking around and found that NOBODY makes a 16" X 8" wheel to fit these vehicles. Go figure!!
Several aftermarket companies offer kits and wheels in 17" all the way up to 24" sizes, mostly billet and some forged aluminum models, that frankly I don't find attractive and certainly wouldn't want to spend the kind of money they're wanting. We won't even get into the prices of tires required to make such a change. WHOOOOOOOEEEEE!!!  Please don't get me wrong. If you like them and can afford them I'm all for you. I'm not a tightwad either. I'm spending big bucks on the drivetrain and the seats I had reupholstered in two tone leather cost a pretty penny.  I still have more upholstery to have done and it won't be cheap.  Then there's paint and body work and the new flatbed for it.
Anyway, back to the wheels. I tried to find wider steel wheels in all of the usual places without any luck. I called a shop that bands wheels here in the midsouth and he crawfished immediately.  After several attempts to find a manufacturer and hours on the phone and on Google, I found a place in Michigan that said they'd take a look if I would send them some pictures and get back to me. After a couple of days they informed me that they couldn't do the job because of the way the center is spaced and the outside rim where the bead roll is located.  I backtracked through my notes looking for anyone who was non-commital and did a little bullying, (not really) and some begging and got in touch for a second time with Stockton Wheel in Stockton, California. After considerable questioning and conversation I finally got some answers that had been avoided when I first contacted them. Sometimes a second try is more fruitful. They already had stock wheels to match the ones on my truck and can remove the centers and weld them into the wider rims I want with the needed backspacing to make them work for me.
In three or four weeks I'll be getting my new wheels and we'll post pics of of them. I'm thinking two-tone paint to match the colors on the truck with a couple of neat pinstripes in an unusual location.
I'd like to thank Weldcraft Wheels in Michigan for their help and their honesty. Their products come highly recommended by other wheel shops and they took the time to look over my project and head me in the right direction. They're the ones who put me back onto Stockton Wheel. I'm anticipating.....
March 23rd; Got word today that my two new front wheels are finished and get shipped this morning! They should be here by next Wednesday.  Wow!!  UPS shipping is over the top!! $80.00 to get two wheels 'cross country!! I'll post pics and comparisons to stock wheels when I get back from South Carolina next week. Goin' shootin' and maybe sell a hat or two.
April 15th; So I get home from the shoot and I'm sooooooo sick I wind up in the bed for over a week and still ain't over whatever it is. Oh well.... Tomorrow I'll unpack the wheels and get y'all some pictures of them and a comparison photo or two with them and a stock wheel. They DID turn out like I'd hoped!
Well, it's been a while as other matters have demanded attention.  The new wheels look fantastic and I'll be taking them to the paint shop right after New Years.  I'm working on some other projects as well, including getting my old Harley back on the road.
Right after the first of the year we hope to get all of the collected front end, brake, and suspension parts together and get 'em installed.