The original stock set-up for my 1965 camper would have run 14″ steel wheels (as it does now), but there are some nice benefits from running the earlier looking, stock sized 15″ VW steel rims. It may seem a bit of an odd swap just for the sake of a simple 1″ bigger wheel, especially as I try to explain it to my long-suffering wife!
Thanks to a friend on the Split screen Van Club Forum (SSVC), I know fully ‘get’ the differences made when switching from 14″ to 15″ wheels. By having an increased rolling radius with the larger wheels/tyres you lower the overall final drive ratio – i.e making the gearing ‘taller’. This means that at any given speed the engines rpm’s will be lower using the 15″ stock tyres over the 14″ stock tyres.
One of the knock on benefits of this is that mpg is improved because the rpm’s are lower at cruising speed (say 60 mph). Gearing/cruising speed is improved because when before, you could say travel at 55 mph at 3000 rpm, you can now travel at 58 mph at 3000 rpm. As a bonus the ride is also softer too due to the increased sidewall height. The only real ‘downside’ of this taller gearing might be on steeper hill climbs where it would take a bit more engine effort or maybe selecting a lower gear to go up in?
The main thing about this set of five original wide five 15″ steel wheels are they are all pretty straight and true, with no nasty kerbing or ovaling or distortion of the bolt holes. The mixed layers of original paint, over paint, rust and missing clips is not really a big issue, as this should all clean up pretty nicely when I get the wheels blasted. Unfortunately, the tyres that were previously on the rims when stored, had some water in them, and this has caused some rust on the inside of the rims as well, so we will have to see how this cleans up after blasting, as some filler work maybe required prior to paint…
It will be good to see this set of wheels brought back to life and have the various layers of paint/rust removed and taken back to the original steel again, and put into acid etch primer by A&C Blasting Services ready for final painting L82 Silver White.
Can’t wait to see the transformation when they come back from the blasters. Once blasted, I think I maybe a bit busy with my hubcap rivet tool as it looks like there are about 12 missing hubcap clips!