Posted By: Lightholder's Dad Big Bolt wheels - Wed Oct 01 2008 03:20 AM
I wanted to share my experience with changing out the original wheels and tires on my 1950 Chevy COE, model 5700. It came with 8.25x20 tires and the original Firestone RH-5 two piece split rims, the true "widow makers". I had Stockton wheels modify modern 22.5" rims with the proper bolt pattern and hub diameter. I spoke with Frank, the owner, who had done this modification before. The tires I got are Goodyear (I just couldn't put Chinese tires on this truck) 9R22.5 and the diameter is within 0.1" of the original 8.25x20 tube tires. I am really pleased with how this came out. My goal with the truck is to do a frame off restoration and maintain originality as much as possible. After researching the wheel situation, I was just too concerned to keep the originals. When I got the truck home to AZ from MN, I found some of the tires had only 5 lbs of pressure in them. I had to fill them up and offered up my left arm and kept the rest of my body away as I filled them up to a nominal 40 lbs. I am not totally freaked out about split rims, my Diamond T has them in excellent condition but they are the 2 piece with the locking ring. The appearance of the new tire/wheel combination is so similar to the originals, that it was difficult to see the difference even when they were side by side. They have the same contours and 5 handholds, just like the originals. The new wheels have plenty of clearance for the large rear drums, which is why you cannot go with 19.5" wheels.
I understand the cost may prevent some for going done this path. The wheels cost $275 each to fabricate and I did not get the cheapest tires and remember the multiplier is 7 (I got an extra for that spare carrier that came with the truck). In the end, it cost me more than the truck did, but I know I won't have a safety problem when one of my sons or someone else takes ownership of the truck.

I have to thank this site, and in particular Grigg for a great tech tip, in educating me about this topic. So if someone is contemplating this change, I would recommend it.
Posted By: Grigg Re: Big Bolt wheels - Wed Oct 01 2008 03:46 AM
Can we see come pictures?
Sounds like we now have another option for tubeless wheels on our big bolts.
What center did they start with to make the wheels?

Thanks for the info, and glad to help,
Posted By: crenwelge Re: Big Bolt wheels - Wed Oct 01 2008 04:20 AM
I don't know how Lightholder did it, but a few years ago, I torched the center out of some widow maker rims and welded them to some tubeless open center (spoke, Erie, Dayton or whatever you prefer to call them. I welded them in our brake drum lathe and it turned out pretty good. Not perfect, but good enough for a farmer to haul grain during the harvest. I could have done better if the guy would have been more particular. Back in the 80's we had programmable speedometers in our trucks. 8.25x20 have the same revs per mile as a 9x22.5, a 9.00x20 the same as a 10x22.5 and a 10.00x20 the same as an 11x22.5 As far as the 2 or 3 piece lock ring type wheels, I have a 2 ton a 2 1/2 ton and a 3 ton GMC that have them, and I don't worry about them.
Posted By: 1958GMCnut Re: Big Bolt wheels - Wed Oct 01 2008 06:35 AM
I would like contact info for stockton wheels as they are not in the Links section.....I have a 1956 ton and a half dump truck, with 10 bolt 7.50x20's I would like to update to tubeless 22.5's

or a source for 7.50x20 tires.....Thanks, Dave.
Posted By: Grigg Re: Big Bolt wheels - Wed Oct 01 2008 12:16 PM

I had them make a pair of wheels for my 52 1 ton, just a flat plate center in a 19.5" rim. It took many many months for them to finally get them to me, and they were wrong, incorrect backspacing, the invoice even had the right measurement on it..
I could not wait to return them for a correction, at my own shipping expense too, so I used them as is. I'll keep it short, but they repeatedly lied to me on the phone, (they were always nice and polite though) the wheels were always just about done, or at the powder coaters, or already shipped, in reality they did not ship till a month or two after those lies. I finally got the wheels, installed them, and headed on a cross country trip. On the way I stopped at the Stockton Wheel shop in Stockton CA, and they seemed to be nice folks, even though they knew I was less than pleased with their service.
So, If I ever deal with them again (doubt it) I'll be living close enough, or have a friend who is, that can check on progress in person, and hopefully avoid all the lies.
I would have been OK with the lead time, what ever it was so long as they stuck to it, In my case they told me two months, and about 6 months later...

I have heard of several other custom wheel shops, Have a look around before picking one.

Posted By: crenwelge Re: Big Bolt wheels - Wed Oct 01 2008 04:17 PM
Give these guys a call.
Posted By: truckdog Re: Big Bolt wheels - Wed Oct 01 2008 08:07 PM
Several points to make. Stockton wheel has been getting a very bad reputation over on the H.A.M.B. Last I checked there were thirteen pages of complaints in the thread. If you want to see it just enter "Stockton Wheel" into their search feature.

Another good source for custom wheels is American Wheel Specialist in Pasco, WA. They pull the centers from the old Firestone RH-5 rims and mount them in new 22.5 or 19.5 outer rims. I visited them on a recent trip west and brought home a set of their 19.5s. If you live out west and are served by the Les Schwab chain of dealers you'll have to work through Schwab for contract reasons. Otherwise you can go right to AWS. The owner is Juan Murillo and his son is Shaun.

Lightholder's Dad makes comment that his 22.5s are spot on the outside diameter of his old 20s. Fact is, tubeless 22.5s are technically the modern replacement for tube type 20s. The difference is in the rim. The 22.5s are a 15 rim while the 20s are a 5. I'm gonna see if I can post a diagram that I pulled from an old Budd publication. Stu


Posted By: HevyHauler Re: Big Bolt wheels - Wed Oct 01 2008 10:51 PM
I switch from 8.25X20s to 10.00X22.5s on my 64 GMC the 10.00X22.5s are almost two inches taller than the 8.25x20 tires witch was fine with me it is a lot better on the top end speed of the truck. The switch was also good for a full mile per gallon better mileage too.
The 64 has a little bigger pattern than the older trucks and is still availible through Accuride.
Posted By: Lightholder's Dad Re: Big Bolt wheels - Thu Oct 02 2008 02:10 AM
My experience with Stockton was satisfactory. For the record, I have no relationship with them except for being this one time customer. There was some delay in that I was quoted 4-6 weeks to completion and it took about 14 weeks with shipping. I was not especially in a hurry and I am so used to this sort of thing, it didn't concern me. Stockton took off-the-shelf Accuride rims and manufactured new centers to the proper bolt pattern and hub diameter. The workmanship looks excellent (to my novice eyes). One consideration is shipping as the rims are heavy and that is why I chose someone reasonably close. If you choose a firm that is going to cut out your old rim centers, just be aware that my old rims, including the spare, weighed 440 lbs (by the way, all that good ol' American steel got me exactly $4.40 at the recycle center---yup, a penny a pound!!). So, to ship your old rims would add to the cost. If you are close you will save on both ends.
Regarding pictures, I will work on that. May have to call on Lightholder himself (my son) for assistance. You don't really need them, just imagine a little more rim and a little less rubber and that is what you get.
HevyHauler, I was worried about tires too wide, changing the appearance and making it too hard to steer, so that is why I went with the 9x22.5s. I have found the steering easier now but most likely due to the fact I can put proper pressure in the front tires for the first time.
Nice picture Truckdog. Not only is the tire O.D the same, which affects appearance, and preserves speedometer accuracy, but the rim I.D. is important in clearing those massive rear brake drums.
Posted By: HevyHauler Re: Big Bolt wheels - Fri Oct 03 2008 04:39 PM
Lightholder's Dad I think many of the improvements that I got from changing came from going from the old bias plies to modern radials I not only got better fuel mileage but it rides steers and just plain handles much better.
Posted By: deerefanatic Re: Big Bolt wheels - Mon Oct 06 2008 02:09 PM
I like the idea of cutting the centers out of original rims..... I wonder if a fab shop with a lathe could do that and get a true rim or not........
Posted By: Grigg Re: Big Bolt wheels - Tue Oct 07 2008 12:06 AM
I would still like to see how the wheels turned out.
It just came back to me why I did not make 22.5" wheels for my truck.. I did a bunch of measuring and decided that to use the old centers in new 22.5" rims was a problem because of where the two would intersect, the back spacing would be off by enough I thought it would not work, or was not a good idea.
I also could not find a new center that would fit 22.5" rims and have the right bolt pattern, or have room to make the right bolt pattern.
Obviously I did not try hard enough, or I was just plain wrong or confused.

Can't wait to see some pictures,
Posted By: Lightholder Re: Big Bolt wheels - Sat Oct 11 2008 01:56 AM
Here are some pictures as requested:

Front 1
Front 2

I had a chance to see them last weekend and they look very good in person. As my dad said, we were somewhat worried about these changing the appearance of the truck, but I think would take a well-trained eye to notice the difference. Let us know what you all think.

Posted By: Grigg Re: Big Bolt wheels - Sat Oct 11 2008 03:10 AM
Thanks for the pictures Scott!
Looks like a good solution for those that want tubeless but can't find the old 22.5 wheels.

From what I can see in the pictures they took a commonly available Accuride wheel with a larger bolt pattern, cut the very center part out that had the bolt pattern, and welded in a new plate that has the correct bolt pattern. Only way you would notice is the slightly larger diameter of the flat portion of the center with the bolt pattern in it.

If you get a chance can you check the rim, somewhere near the valve stem or same area but opposite side, for a stamped part number. Then I'll tell you what bolt pattern they started out as.

Thanks again for the pictures,

Posted By: Lightholder's Dad Re: Big Bolt wheels - Sat Oct 11 2008 04:27 AM
Grigg, you are correct in that the flat portion is a bit larger than the original wheel. In addition, on the outboard rear wheel, you can see the drop center (note the drop center on the nice diagram posted by Truckdog). So now that I know what to look for, I can see the differences in the appearance, however, overall I am still pleased with the general look of these modern wheels. My truck lives up in the central mountains of AZ and I won't be up for a week or so, but I will find the Accuride number and post it later.
Posted By: truckdog Re: Big Bolt wheels - Sat Oct 11 2008 06:52 AM
I'm real impressed with these wheels. And I'm glad to hear good things, or at least reasonably good, about Stockton's service. Thanks for sharing. Stu
Posted By: 46 Dually Re: Big Bolt wheels - Sun Oct 12 2008 01:13 AM
Is there any reason the front wheel has 6 hand holes and the rear has 5?

Otherwise, I agree--they look pretty good.

Posted By: Grigg Re: Big Bolt wheels - Sun Oct 12 2008 01:48 AM
Bob, the different hand hole count has no functional difference, must just be the different wheels they used to start with.

I don't think many folks will even notice the tube type to tubeless swap, the only visual clue being the dropped center rims you now have. Some will notice the larger center.
For those that are curious, here are two pictures of what Scott has recreated, The somewhat hard to find 56-59 Chevy tubeless 1.5 ton wheels:

Now I wonder if the original centers could be cut at some diameter between the hand holes and the bolt pattern, and then grafted into the new tubeless wheels, making for a somewhat seamless transition?
They most likely started with wheels like these, but probably a little narrower?

I'm also curious how wide the new rims are, 6.75", 7.5", or?
Also, did you use 9R22.5 tires, or a different size?

Posted By: 46 Dually Re: Big Bolt wheels - Sun Oct 12 2008 02:08 AM
errr, yeah Grigg. I know there's no functional difference in the number of hand holes. It's clear that Stockton started with slightly different wheels. I was wondering if one wheel or the other maybe had a different curvature or something that would help it to clear brake parts. Or maybe they have slightly different offsets that either allow more space between the duals or help the front wheels clear the frame or steering parts while making sharp turns.

Otherwise, if there was no difference in geometry, then you'd think they could've found six that were all the same, if only for appearance.

Or, maybe I'm just too picky.....


Posted By: Lightholder's Dad Re: Big Bolt wheels - Sun Oct 12 2008 02:43 AM
You get the prize for good eyes. I never noticed myself, the different number of hand holds!!! I will be back to the shop next weekend, and I will scrutinize the situation more carefully. I have 6 wheels on the truck, plus the spare, so I will check each one. Very curious that they would use different wheels; perhaps this goes back to the prior comments about Stockton Wheels. I will follow up next week.

Grigg, in response to your questions, the wheels are 22.5 x 6.75 and the tires are 9R22.5
Posted By: truckdog Re: Big Bolt wheels - Sun Oct 12 2008 02:54 AM
Grigg - What you've described is what I've seen done at American Wheel Specialists. They have some old "widow makers" available in stock, or can use a customer's own wheels. They pull the centers and double weld them on the inner and outer joint seam. I've got some of their 19.5s done this way, and know of guys with 20" centers they've remounted into "lock rings" using this method. When I asked them about doing 22.5s they say they can but told me the limiting factor is rim availability. They've had trouble using rims wider than 6.75" because they rub, but say they have no source for bare 22.5 rims that narrow. I'm sure either Stockton or AWS could take bare 22.5s and cut them down the middle to narrow them, but it becomes a question of how much money you really want to invest.

It really does seem odd that Stockton would use different donor rims. I hadn't noticed it either. Do we know if Stockton started with new wheels, or could it be they modified used wheels? In light of AWS's statement to me about lack of a source for 6.75s, that might explain the different hand holes. Stu
Posted By: jon6.0 Re: Big Bolt wheels - Mon Oct 13 2008 06:03 AM
I just bought myself a 1955 Dumptruck today that I guess I'll have to upgrade to the 22.5's. I'm located in Tonopah, only about 70 miles from you in Mesa. What's funny is how much the wheels and tires and going to cost and I only paid $400 for the truck.
Posted By: sbafarm Re: Big Bolt wheels - Mon Oct 13 2008 06:32 PM
Nice wheels-- I would like to replace the ones on my 53 5700. I think the only person that seems to know this subject well is Grigg. Hopefully, Lightholders dad will provide the Accuride part numbers of the wheels he started with. Maybe then Grigg can add this info to his article on wheels for the bigbolts.
Posted By: Lightholder's Dad Re: Big Bolt wheels - Sun Oct 19 2008 06:21 PM
OK, here is more info regarding these wheels. Boy, what a mishmash! Let me start with what is the same on all 7; they are all 22.5x6.75 and they are all made in Canada. All have 6 digits spaced such that they appear to represent dates (someone correct me if I am wrong) ranging from "01 23 84" to "10 19 89".

I am also assuming that the letter/number codes at the end are the codes the Grigg asked earlier in this thread. Many of the wheels have a "I" or "1" but I cannot tell which and I will use the number "1" and let you decipher.

1) Handholds 6, Accuride, 1SL8
2) Handholds 5, Accuride, 3SL8
3) Handholds 6, Firestone, 2LA
4) Handholds 5, Accuride, 1SL8
5) Handholds 6, Firestone, 1LD
6) Handholds 6, Accuride, 2LS8
7) Handholds 6, Firestone 1LD

Of course I am not too happy about different numbers of handholds, but the two with 5 handholds can be placed as the inboard wheels on the rear and are hard to see. Otherwise, these wheels look the same. Since Stockton cut the centers out, it wouldn't matter what the original wheels started with in terms of bolt pattern and hub diameter. I don't understand why wheels #1 and #4 are both Accuride with the same code, but have different numbers of handholds. Any comments?

Posted By: Grigg Re: Big Bolt wheels - Sun Oct 19 2008 06:53 PM
Accuride either bought or merged with Firestone at some point. I had some rims that were stamped "Firestone Accuride" (or was it the other way around?)

I think the 6 numbers are date stamps, as you suspected.

Can't find the 3sl8, 2la, or similar numbers in my catalogs. They probably have significance for just the rim portion before they were made into complete wheels.
I was thinking you would find a part number something like Accuride number "28157" But from looking at the Accuride catalog , page 55, the original part number would have been stamped on the center that was removed in your case.

None the less, I suspect they started with Accuride part number 28157, the 22.5" 6 lug Budd wheels desirable for late 50's and even 60's GMC and some Chevy trucks. Whatever they started with, I don't think they are very common wheels now days.
If you call Stockton to inquire about the different number of hand holes, see if they will tell you the original bolt pattern of your new wheels?


Posted By: truckdog Re: Big Bolt wheels - Sun Oct 19 2008 07:40 PM
Firestone spun off Accuride into its own company sometime after 1982, the date of my latest Firestone catalog. Before that Firestone used the product name Accu-Ride. I don't find your codes anywhere in my catalogs either, and Grigg is right that the numbers would have been lost when they cut the wheel faces. The date codes confirm that they were used rims, which explains the mix of hand holes. My '82 catalog shows a variety of different bolt patterns on 22.5 x 6.75 rims, so Stockton could have cut up any mix of them to yield your set. Bottom line, you've got a real nice looking set of rims that you're happy with. That's what matters. Stu
Posted By: dvzdeathtrap Re: Big Bolt wheels - Mon Jan 10 2011 05:47 PM
does anyone know if these will fit a bigbolt pattern. i read somewhere that chevy/gmc went to a smaller stud in the eary 50's. from 5/8 to 9/16? maybe? i'll call the place if no one knows, but you know how that is. someone will probably answer in India. -DVZ.
Posted By: webstershotrods Re: Big Bolt wheels - Mon Jan 10 2011 06:58 PM
dvzdeathtrap have you read the tech tips yet on wheels ? Very good info here you will learn more than most people know about the older wheels.
Posted By: Grigg Re: Big Bolt wheels - Mon Jan 10 2011 08:06 PM
Those are 19.5" wheels like used on a P30 chassis and 3500HD trucks. They have a 5.25" center hole and 10 lugs on a 7.25" circle, fit over 5/8" studs, can work over smaller ones too.

Check out the tech tip mentioned above.
Posted By: 5/8 ton Re: Big Bolt wheels - Wed Jan 26 2011 05:20 AM
I just bought a late 1947 3 window chevy coe. I am very interested in this subject and i spoke with frank today. He has gone up to $295 per wheel so i better get my money saved up soon before he raises prices again. I will just need to be sure i get the same amount of hand holds.
Posted By: Tony292 Re: Big Bolt wheels - Sun Dec 08 2019 09:31 PM
I’ve sent an email to Stockton and no answer yet. I’ve heard nothing but complaints about them on the H.A.M.B. And So I’m not too optimistic about Stockton. I’m looking around for other custom rims makers.
Posted By: J Apache Re: Big Bolt wheels - Mon Dec 09 2019 08:51 PM
22566WB from A1Truckwheels dot com is a 22.5 in 6 x 8.75". They quoted me $1650 with freight to a business address. I bought a set of original tubeless wheels on e-bay.
Posted By: EdPruss Re: Big Bolt wheels - Tue Dec 10 2019 02:32 AM
What bolt pattern?

Posted By: Mike B Re: Big Bolt wheels - Tue Dec 10 2019 02:55 AM

Those wheels are 6-lug on 8-3/4" circle with a 6-1/2" bore hole (Budd Wheels).

I don't know what year Chevrolet went to the 6-1/2" bore hole, but the TF trucks have a 5-1/4" bore hole and the AD's have a 4-3/4" hole...

Mike B smile
Posted By: EdPruss Re: Big Bolt wheels - Tue Dec 10 2019 02:58 AM
Too bad 10 on 7.25" are not available.

Posted By: Clarence49 Re: Big Bolt wheels - Tue Dec 10 2019 04:38 PM
Glad to see there are some options out there.

Can someone help confirm if the wheels I have are the 2-piece "split rim/widow maker"

I am not able to tell by looking at them.

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Posted By: Clarence49 Re: Big Bolt wheels - Tue Dec 10 2019 04:40 PM
More pics

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Posted By: Clarence49 Re: Big Bolt wheels - Tue Dec 10 2019 04:44 PM
I have already reviewed "Wheels and tires --- What to do?"

Attached picture Fred's Wheels.jpg
Posted By: Mike B Re: Big Bolt wheels - Wed Dec 11 2019 01:21 AM
Originally Posted by Clarence49
Glad to see there are some options out there.

Can someone help confirm if the wheels I have are the 2-piece "split rim/widow maker"

I am not able to tell by looking at them.

Yup, you have them...see that 2" wide band running around the center of the rim with the valve stem coming out of it? That a Firestone RH-5 "Widow Maker"...

Mike B smile
Posted By: Mike B Re: Big Bolt wheels - Wed Dec 11 2019 01:28 AM
Originally Posted by Clarence49
I have already reviewed "Wheels and tires --- What to do?"

Start looking for 2-piece rims that have the side lock ring and your bolt pattern/center hole...they are out there and they are still safe and serviceable. I found a set off of a '49 4400, then had the center hole turned on a lathe to 5-1/4" so I could put them on a 55-59 4400.

Mike B smile
Posted By: Clarence49 Re: Big Bolt wheels - Wed Dec 11 2019 05:20 PM
Thank you for getting back with me. Not what I wanted to hear. But at least I know now what I am dealing with and what to look for.
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