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1916 - 1936

1928 Chevrolet AB Canopy Express

Discussing issues specific to the pre-1937 trucks.

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#1405340 Fri Apr 09 2021 01:50 PM
Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 47
fred c Offline OP
46 Chevy 1/2 Ton 1929 Model A Phaeton
I have a 46 Chevy 1/2 ton that has been professional restored. It has an annoying tendency to wander while I'm driving. I know this can be caused by many problems but I have had 2 people tell me that replacing the current 6.70-15 4 ply polyester tires with modern radial tires would make a huge difference in handling. I was told radial tires with modern roads are much better than the old style tires. Has anyone replaced polyester tires with radials and experienced a big improvement in handling?

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 11,561
“Grease Monkey” “Former herder of cats”
Back in the 70s when I sold tires our training told us that radials did not follow the imperfections in the road whereas poly and other bias ply tires followed everything causing a lot of unnecessary steering input.

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My truck wandered so badly it was like “trying to herd cattle down the road” (a phrase I stole from HRL) and my truck came with radials. It wasn’t until I fixed a worn spring mount, rebuilt the springs, replaced the king pins, tie rod ends and adjusted the steering box that I got her tamed down. I’m not saying you’ll have to replace everything that I did, but any one of those items can cause your truck to wander.

Now bias ply tires as you probably know will pull you from side to side when crossing inline cracks, but they shouldn’t cause you to wander.

Jack up the front of your truck and move things around (wheels, tie rods, steering box, etc.), and see if anything has any play. Also wheel alignment plays into it. Read about adjusting your steering box. It’s a fairly easy procedure and can cause the wandering your talking about.

Here is a link on adjusting your steering box.

Last edited by Phak1; Fri Apr 09 2021 02:20 PM.

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fred c Offline OP
46 Chevy 1/2 Ton 1929 Model A Phaeton
thank you both for the input.

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 976
I converted my '37 half ton, '51 half ton and '50 2 ton COE from bias tires to radials. In all cases I drove the trucks before and after the conversion without other interventions (like adjusting steering or replacing suspension parts) and the improvement in handling was dramatic. I also bought new bias tires for my '42 half ton, which I have owned for over 20 years, and that also improved handling dramatically. Clearly, new thicker tread helps in handling in both types of tires but you won't be disappointed with the radials.

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I have radials on 1954 1/2 ton and put them almost from the beginning back in 1983, I would not have anything else. The bias tires would jump lanes. I had polyglas added on my 1969 Plymouth Sport Fury for the same reason. The polys were the forerunner of radials. I even paid extra when I bought the Plymouth new.

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Tires are probably last on the list of what it is. I have seen pros not do alignments or leave stuff loose. 1/2” of toe out will make a truck drive like the worst junk you could imagine..... then a few turns to 1/8” toe in and it will cruise with 1 hand on the wheel and float down the road with almost no steering input. Are radials better? Yes....... but they might not fix your problem even though some one automatically told you thats your problem.

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,876
After I switched from bias to radials, I could bring a cup of coffee with me to work without the coffee sloshing out.

1948 3/4-Ton 5-Window Flatbed Chevrolet []

30 Years of Daily Driving. With a '61 261, 848 head, Rochester Monojet carb, SM420 4-speed, 4.10 rear, dual reservoir MC, Bendix up front, 235/85R16 tires, 12-volt w/alternator, electric wipers and a modern radio in the glove box.
Joined: Feb 2020
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fred c Offline OP
46 Chevy 1/2 Ton 1929 Model A Phaeton
thanks everyone for the info. I think I'll start with checking out the steering components. Then try to find someone that can align the front end. If that works I'll save money on the tires. If it doesn't work, I'll spend the money for the radial tires.

Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,154
Sounds like a good plan Fred.

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