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Classic/Antique Car Repair/Replacing split rims on '61 GMC pickup

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original split rims
original split rims  

offered wheels and tires
offered wheels and tir  
Hi,
My GMC 1961 pickup was to have been a project truck for my husband and I.  Lost my wonderful husband and the truck has just been sitting.
The truck still has the original "widow maker" split rims and I would like to replace them.  
I have been offered a set of wheels and tires but am not sure if they will fit properly. Can you offer help based on the photos below.  Can't afford to buy new wheels.  The wheels and tires offered are a "make offer" deal.  Can you advise how much they are worth, approximately?
Thanks so much for your assistance,
G.

Answer
Hello G.,

Sorry to hear of your loss. I'll try to help as much as possible but it's hard to tell things accurately from only a picture. Important considerations when buying a used wheel are diameter (located either on wheel and certainly on tire, rim width (located on rim next to diameter), offset (how far the inside of the rim mounts vis-a-vis the drum), bolt pattern (6 in this case but the measurement from one bolt hole to the one on the opposite side) and hub size (distance across the center hole in inches). Also, such things a condition of the bead (is it rusty where the inside of the tire edge meets the edge of the rim) and manufacturer of the wheel OEM (GMC or Chevy interchange) or Aftermarket (mag-type wheels like you see in the tire store) and how good are the tires that are mounted on the wheels (brand, side wall condition,((No bubbles, cuts or similar damage))and depth of tread) Please forgive me if I'm insulting your intelligence on this--tires and wheels look simple to look at but are actually complex with all of the above determining fitment, condition and price) Used wheels can be a reasonable alternate, paqrticulalrly on a budget, but you need answers to the above to make a good buying determination. Sorry.

Now, from what I can see, the new wheels appear to match the diameter (15" for a half ton truck, 100 or 1500 series), and are both 6 bolt. (Chevy or GMC). The new wheels are aftermarket and the tires are standard OEM replacement, light truck/SUV-type from a good, name brand manufacturer. The new rims also appear to be wider than the OEM ones on your truck, which is OK if they fit over the drums. The rims are also much newer than your early sixties originals and were made for disc, not drum brakes, again OK as long as they fit over the rim. Your current wheels have clips near the center part of rim to mount the small, "dog dish"  type hubcaps originally used on these trucks. The new rims are unlikely to have these clips if mounting the old hubcaps is a concern. There may be a reasonable chance they may fit but I can't tell for sure without the preceding dimensions information and this goes for price you should pay also. The shortcut way is to simply try fitting one on if the seller wil allow you, after spraying those rusty lug nuts with PB Blaster rust penetrant found at WalMart and similar and letting the penetrant sit overnight before you attempt to remove those bolts. Otherwise, if you can get me further description inrformation, I may be able to help you further.

One question: your current rims are called widow makers but not for you. It's because the rings may come off at inflation in the tire shop if the rim and ring are not properly cleaned or installed. They are particularly dangerous for the high inflation pressures of heavy truck tires, not your light duty rims. Once properly seated, the rings are very reliable on the road and in fact, are still being used on heavy trucks today. Just a perspective of the facts behind the term for your consideration.

Hope this helps,

Bob  

Classic/Antique Car Repair

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Robert Russell

Expertise

Mechanical, Body, Historical, MOPAR, GM, Ford, Packard, 1930-1975

Experience

Former Chrysler Tech., Project Manager for Antique and Classic Car Dealership. Owner/Driver of Classic Cars Since 1972

Organizations
AACA, North GA Mopar Club, Packards International, W.P. Chrysler Club

Education/Credentials
High School Auto Shop plus Adult Night School

Past/Present Clients
California Car Company, Roswell, GA

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