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Thread: Need advice choosing tire size.

  1. #1
    RandyZ's Avatar
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    Need advice choosing tire size.

    I have a 1978 PA-18-150. Currently running Air Trac 8.5x6 tires and operating 90% on pavement.

    Plan now is to operate from grass 90% of the time in KY (slightly moist most of the year) on a slightly bumpy and mildly rolling 1000 foot grass strip.

    Can I get some advice on tire size recommendations please?

    If if I go tubeless, how do I know if my wheel will work with a tubeless tire?

    Any other considerations?

    Thanks so much folks!

    Randy Z in KY

  2. #2
    G44's Avatar
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    26 inch Goodyears work well and wear great. 29 or 31 Bushwheels more better but way more $$$ and don’t last as long.

    Kurt
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  3. #3

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    A grass strip in Kentucky ought to support 6:00x6. If you just want big, the 26” are plenty good for improved grass strips. If you run them on pavement you may need a second job to keep them in stock.

    You can run them soft, but best to have a “taxi in/out” parking place. Tough to move those suckers by hand.

  4. #4
    RandyZ's Avatar
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    Thank you Kurt and Bob!

    Randy

  5. #5
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Randy,

    The answer to your question really depends on what your mission is between the departure from that Kentucky grass strip and your return. Oh, yeah, and how much you want to spend.

    Are you generally poking around, and landing at various small airports, etc? Or, are you thinking of getting into off airport operation, like river gravel/sand bars, hillsides, etc? Those two scenarios suggest very different tires for safety.

    If your plan is to do virtually all "airports", which includes private grass strips, then either the 8.50 x 6 tires or the 26 inch Goodyear blimp tires will work just fine. The nice thing about these tires is that if and when you do go to a paved runway, there will be near zero wear on these tires.

    I prefer Goodyear 8.50 x 6 tires to the "competition". The Goodyears are measurably larger in diameter, and they wear much longer in my experience.

    The 26 inch Goodyears are a lot more expensive than 8.50s (the 26 inch tires go for about $800 each, but you'll probably never wear them out), but they are somewhat larger in both diameter and width. They actually are a little smaller in diameter than 26 inches. They are tube type tires, and use 8.50 tubes. Perhaps the biggest advantage of these blimp tires is that they have no tread, so they are less likely to throw junk at your tail feathers, which can cause damage.

    That said, not all grass strips are smooth as a baby's butt.....so a little extra cushioning may become desirable as you explore the countryside more and get more comfortable landing in varied sites. That is the major advantage of the Alaska Bushwheels: They are tubeless tires (they're actually built like a big donut, so can be used on split type wheels) and their sidewalls are VERY flexible, which allows them to roll over irregularities on a landing surface. And, as I said, some "air strips" can be pretty rough, so that cushioning can make a lot of difference in wear and tear on the airframe.

    Bushwheels come in sizes of 26, 29 and 31 inch, and those measurements are actually pretty accurate in the actual tires. These are beautiful tires when operating off airport, and even on many rough strips. The single biggest down side is their price. The good news is they are still doing free shipping. Here's their web site: https://www.airframesalaska.com/Alas...eels_a/263.htm.

    So, whatever your mission is, and how much damage your wallet can sustain.....

    MTV

  6. #6

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    Had a guy ask me last month what tires I recommended for him after he got his Sedan rebuilt and back in the air since he was interested in flying it to Alaska and doing Alaska-ey things with it.

    I told him: If you can afford it, get 35 inch tires. If not, get 31 inch tires. If not, get 29 inch tires...etc.

    Sort of a joke, but sort of not. The larger the tire the more forgiving it is to rough/chunky/soft places. But if you are not landing in places that are rough/chunky/soft, then that advice doesn't really apply. Most lower-48 backcountry strips are rather more like an airport than what I think of when I think of landing in the backcountry in Alaska. MTV did a good job of laying it out...and he does know what he's talking about...
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  7. #7
    sniffler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Randy,
    I prefer Goodyear 8.50 x 6 tires to the "competition". The Goodyears are measurably larger in diameter, and they wear much longer in my experience.

    The 26 inch Goodyears are a lot more expensive than 8.50s (the 26 inch tires go for about $800 each, but you'll probably never wear them out), but they are somewhat larger in both diameter and width. They actually are a little smaller in diameter than 26 inches. They are tube type tires, and use 8.50 tubes. Perhaps the biggest advantage of these blimp tires is that they have no tread, so they are less likely to throw junk at your tail feathers, which can cause damage.

    MTV
    Blimp tires are fun, wear like iron so no problem on hard services, give you the look and some of the boingie boingie boingie of bushwheels keep in mind that they are tubed and if tire slips on the rim it will shear the tube stem.........don't ask how I know this........ So you want to keep the pressure up a little bit say over 10-15 psi and maybe have some sort of mechanical or chemical "lock" to the metal rim.

    randi

  8. #8

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    A little off topic but has anyone actually worn out a set of 26” Goodyear’s?
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!
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    Yes. They wear out rapidly on pavement. When they started showing cord we shipped them to a guy with a grass strip. He was happy!

    I am with MTV - I run 8:00x4 Goodyears, and they do wear like iron. I have occasionally cheaped out on the Decathlon - cheap tires wear out quickly.

  10. #10
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Desser tires- I believe that Seaplanes North was working on an STC.

    Sidewalls between Goodyear POS blimp tires and Bushwheels, but should wear well.

    If you go with the blimp 26" tires, glue them to the rim, or put screws through the rim into the bead to ensure they do not slip. Then mark them so you can see how much they slip. Under 12 psi and you can easily slip them on the rims, just landing on a paved strip a little hard can move them some, (Don't ask me either why I know this).

    Spend the money on Bushwheels! My 31's have been on three planes, over 800 hours of flying, and was based on pavement for half of that- including log taxis in Juneau.

    MTV did not mention 35's, and they are really cool if you are out there in the ozone rough and soft, but 31's will do more than most pilots want to do.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  11. #11
    S2D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandyZ View Post


    If if I go tubeless, how do I know if my wheel will work with a tubeless tire?



    Randy Z in KY
    If you are still unsure about that part, they are donuts. Dont need a rim to hold air .



    Sent from my E6910 using Tapatalk
    I may be wrong but that probably won't stop me from arguing about it.

  12. #12
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDCROWE View Post
    A little off topic but has anyone actually worn out a set of 26” Goodyear’s?
    I have one that came in on the last project that is showing cords and someone applied shoe goo or something to.
    Steve Pierce

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    Personal observations.

    Getting ready for first time skis, I’ve recently gone from Alaskan Bush 26” to airhalk 8.5 x 6, and I am missing my 26” . 90% pavement 10% grass strips, gravel roads, farm fields . I ran my 26” tires on the higher side of pressure due to mostly pavement. 130 hrs - a little over due, just now rotated at signs of needed. No noticeable speed difference, 8.5 sling more mud, sink deeper, bone jarring rougher even on grass strips, 10lbs lighter per side (heavy airhalks).

    Wet fall never got brave enough to land on certain dirt fields that I never would have thought twice about on 26”.

    on 26” tires, occasionally I would look down at a semi inviting spot, and think that if I had 31” it would be a piece of cake, but then I would remember that I pay my deductible, so I would be happy flying by.

  14. #14
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    A good worn 26" Goodyear. First one I have seen. Passed the same set of 26" Goodyears on to 3 different people and finally lost track of them. It has always been a progression from 8.50s to 26: Goodyears to 31" Bushwheels. Someone is tempting me with 35s now and having flown them they are the ultimate off airport tire. It all depends or your mission and/or pocketbook.
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    Steve Pierce

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  15. #15
    Cubus Maximus's Avatar
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    Had a set of GY26's on my first Cub for at least 5 years and sold them to a guy with a Citabria who ran them another 7 years and still very little signs of wear when he sold the airplane. 70% pavement.


    I have a set on this Cub that have been on the airplane since '06. Very little wear, 40% landing pavement (95% taxi on pavement). I keep them above 10 lbs psi after having sheared a valve on my first set. But have not had slippage above 10 lbs.


    Most of the local off airport stuff around here are hay fields, dirt roads and frozen lakes. You have to watch snow depth and consistency (is it crusty or powder?) but they get you most places.







    Too deep and crusty for GoodYears...







  16. #16

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    That has to be one of the best looking Super Cubs around. The paint scheme is a delight; the lack of major mods has kept it looking classic, and the Goodyears do not overwhelm the rest of the airplane. I am saving one of those photos!

    opinion.
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    Desser smooth 8:50’s on the McArthur river this summer. Guys with the 35’s said they couldn’t believe I landed there with those “little tires”. Have to admit I “let the old guy in” and said something like “son, these were the big tires back in the day”. However, if I still lived up there I’d have some 26’s for sure!
    Last edited by mam90; 11-07-2019 at 07:16 PM. Reason: typo
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  18. #18
    JDWilliams's Avatar
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    GY 26’s on a PA12-150. Same pirep as previous posts. 13PSI my lower limit.


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  19. #19
    TurboBeaver's Avatar
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    Big difference between a tire that is inflated low preasure vs high preasure.
    You cant really compare 26" Goodyears to 26" Airstreaks they are two entirely different animals. The low
    preasure tire has huge advantages in the rough stuff. If you dont have insurance , low preasure tires are actually a unique form of insurance.
    Trying to let the air out of a high preasure tire besides reducing its diameter, will make it very difficult to get them to roll, and extend your T/O run. When we used to have to land in short places we had droped off hunters, and then it would snow there.
    We came in with about 3lbs of air and rolled out no brakes, jumped out pumped em up to bout 16/18 lbs. Loaded up and layed the whip to her, with brakes locked...........away you go. If your planing on true " out in the weeds" stuff buy low preasure tires.
    If you just want land on sandbars you can probably get by without spending the big money. But if you want the "Alaskan Stud Muffin" look ( even if you cant fill the shoes) its 35's and a 90" prop for sure!

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  20. #20
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sniffler View Post
    ….So you want to keep the pressure up a little bit say over 10-15 psi and maybe have some sort of mechanical or chemical "lock" to the metal rim....
    I just replaced the tires on my C180--
    I had a heckuva time breaking the bead to get the old tires off, even without any
    stickum.
    I
    did pump them up good and hard initially to seat the bead last time I turned them on the wheels,
    before letting them down to normal operating pressures.
    Seemed to work well, so I did the same thing installing the new tires.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  21. #21

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    Went from 8.50’s to 26 bushwheels a year ago. 60% grass and dirt. No regrets but not looking forward to replacing them. I don’t anticipate wearing them out for a few years.

  22. #22
    RandyZ's Avatar
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    Another question. Do I need an STC to put 26” Goodyears on?

    Thanks everyone for the great information and advice!

    Randy

  23. #23
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandyZ View Post
    Another question. Do I need an STC to put 26” Goodyears on?

    Thanks everyone for the great information and advice!

    Randy
    if on a SC, yes. Cub Crafters has an STC that covers 8.50s and 26 inch Goodyears

    MTV

  24. #24
    RandyZ's Avatar
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    Thank you MTV!

    Randy

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    Currently running the 8.50x6 on my PA -18 135 SC. Been interested in changing to the GY 26".
    Anyone have a place they've had good luck finding a good place to buy them?

    Thanks advance for the advice.

  26. #26
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Desser Tire & Rubber
    Steve Pierce

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  27. #27
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    I think SkyGeek had the best price for 26" GY's when I checked a while back.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  28. #28
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    https://www.desser.com/pc_product_de...6C4E5E35641B9F $788 free shipping, I am a dealer so I can get them cheaper than that.

    https://www.skygeek.com/goodyear-26-...ndra-tire.html $839 plus $36.62 shipping
    Steve Pierce

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