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sjhotz Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:24 am

Hey gang, need some opinions, just got a 74 Thing, getting it worked on. I was talking to my mechanic about some modifications on the car, and I mentioned my concern about stopping power on LA freeways and possible disc brakes up front.

What he wants to do is use drums from a super beetle which have larger and wider pads(which he has lying around so it would be much cheaper than disc conversion). He has the same setup on his Thing, and just did it on another one for another customer, and he has given me a nice set of 4 pattern alloy wheels to match the super beetle hubs which I just need to go get blasted and polished. And supposedly its much easier to find the pads.

My only concern is he mentioned that I would widen my wheel base by about 1/4 inch on each side. I was'nt quite sure what he meant (does it need a spacer or something due to different drums so they wont rub?, etc...), i mentioned my worries about offset. he assured me it would be stable at high speed and aid in cornering both on and off road.

Any of you have some insight on if this will work and any experience personally on results?

man130 Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:30 am

I dont have any idea weather it would stop better then original, but my super with four wheel drums still might kill that old lady if she steps it front of me. As for clearing up what the mechanic meant when he said it would increase the wheel base by 1/4 inch each side, He must mean the drums are wider thus sticking the tire/rim out 1/4" each side. I thought THING drums where wider anyway ,but that may be only the rear ,not sure .I would look into Kublemans porsche/ghia disc conversion if your looking for the cheapest/effective way to get stopping power. Good luck

GI Joe Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:54 pm

So I've read through Many of the tire threads and mainly see either Low rider, or Off road sizes/pics...
How 'bout some DD street radial sizes/pics.
I'm running 15x5.5 all around, and just have gotten over the 215/75 AT's.
I'm looking for something a little wider footprint, and a little lower profile(not a Lot though).
I've contemplated 255 60, OR 245 60's....
Thoughts/pics anyone?

Pierre G Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:20 am

GI Joe wrote: .
I'm running 15x5.5 all around, and just have gotten over the 215/75 AT's.
I'm looking for something a little wider footprint, and a little lower profile(not a Lot though).
I've contemplated 255 60, OR 245 60's....
Thoughts/pics anyone?

I thing these sizes would be too big for your rims. I wouldn't buy wider than 225. Maybe 225/60 or 225/70 if this size exists...

GI Joe Thu Oct 14, 2010 4:20 am

I agree with you on the too wide.. I've done a bunch more research and found that a 205 70 Or 205 65 is best suited for my wheel width. Although I think a 225 60 would be best suited for what I am going for, look wise although a tad wide for my wheel, But, 225 60/70 are recommended for 6-9" wide wheels.

More research is needed here!

thegunter Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:32 pm

Just bought a 73 safari, and I was wondering if anyone knew if they ever came with 4 lug, or if that was something that someone converted it to, and how hard would it be to change it back? If pictures would be helpful, let me know!

Semper_Dad Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:34 pm

US Things were normally wide 5 on 14 inch wheels. 15 inch as option and military. Were your brakes converted to disk? Front drums are Beetle, rears are Thing specific and expensive.

Welcome to the group!

thegunter Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:33 am

Not converted to disk, i've got drums all around, and they're all 4 lug... I'm pretty bamboozled...

Semper_Dad Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:01 am

thegunter wrote: Not converted to disk, i've got drums all around, and they're all 4 lug... I'm pretty bamboozled...

I'm guessing that the original rear drums needed replacement and the PO went with a cheaper alternative (bug drums). The front were replaced with matching 4 holes so he would have matching wheels (including spare) all around.

You can continue to run the 4 lugs or "reconvert" back to original. Those Thing rear drums run about $130 each for new German drums. Kubelmann may have some used for a little bit less. I hate skimping on important items like brakes so I would go for new.

Other option is to go disk conversion. $$$$$$, but well worth it.

Don't forget if you go back to "wide 5" you'll need to change your wheels also. Maybe a 4 lug disk conversion would make lemonade out of lemons.

thegunter Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:29 pm

That's pretty much what I'll have to do I think. Just a four lug disk conversion. Thanks for the input everyone!

SilverThing Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:45 pm

I was poking around through some old posts from one of the German speaking 181 forums elsewhere on the internets and came across a post about tires from a company I hadn't come across before.
They come in 185/70-14 and are only about $58 a piece at current exchange rate (I tried to post a picture, but it didn't come out). They remind me of some of the tires the Bundeswehr started using on the 181 later on (sometimes referred to as a NATO NDT).

Unfortunately, they are made in Hungary. I really wish we could get them here in the US...

yellow73kubel Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:25 pm

Ok.. I'm researching some stuff for my 944 disc swap, and need a little help with tire size. I know that I will gain 4.5mm offset on each side of the front. The wheels I have are 15x7 Cookie Cutters at 23.3mm offset, which gives roughly 5.9in of backspacing. Thing 14in wheels are 32.5?mm offset and 4.375in backspace. The outside of the wheel will sit inboard roughly 4mm from stock, and the inside a little over 2in (this concerns me the most).

How big can I go on tires before rubbing becomes an issue? I'd really like to fit 215/75/15 BFG Mud Terrains. It doesn't seem like the headlight buckets will be an issue, but I could definitely see the pan lip rubbing.

Any thoughts?

[edit] Oops, way off on my Cookie Cutter backspace calculation. Should be ~4.75in.

Tait D Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:33 pm

Just got new tires today!
It was time to replace those ancient Yokohamas (215 65 r15)
I went with the General Grabber at2 at 205 75 r15
All stock suspension except some Gas-a-justs in the rear, no rubbing or anything. I love the look and I love the height
can't wait to really test them out :D

yellow73kubel Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:00 am

Could you possible post a few more pictures with the Grabbers and let me know how they do on and off road?

I am leaning away from MT's and towards the 205/75 Grabber. It seems like a great balance of performance and road manners (not to mention cost and extra work involved).

Tait D Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:45 pm

Well the look of the Generals is great
They are a little softer than my last tires, but so far they run very well on road
I don't have any complaints about road noise, not even noticeable considering how loud Things are
I just did some light offroading today, performed excellently, but let me emphasis LIGHT offroading. The best is yet to come. And keep in mind these tires got excellent off road ratings
In my opinion, the 205s are a good choice

yellow73kubel Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:25 pm

Very nice, thank you!

The 60K mile warranty and off-road reviews say a lot about the Grabbers, not to mention being made by Continental. Looks like a definite winner to me.

EODinert Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:04 pm

My thing came with 4 bolt beetle drums, too... Just a previous owner that was too cheap to fit the right parts. I just recently swapped them out for proper 5 lug wheels.

Those hungarian tires are awesome... I need some of those.

Alexios Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:46 am


Stumbled across this nifty calculator while i was trying to find out how much 5,5" vs 4,5" rims will stick out.


poptop Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:06 pm

ok can i use 15 inch bus rims in back or 14 bus rims in back and stock thing rims up front and have no problems ?? I read allot of thing threads and came up short on that. I have two things but one has severley rusted rims. and one already has 15s in back and 14s up front. 1979 safari. and 74 thing rusty rims. I already have allot of bus rims is why i ask!

Van-go108 Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:40 am

Bus wheels. (all pre-1958)

Although, these are thin wheels (4") they appear to be inset further into the wheel well. I have "street tires" on this set of wheels but will probably get Off-Road tread later. It's the look I was going for. It seems wide is the norm. I would like to find a pair of widened 15" four slotted KPZ's or Lemmerz. There was/is a set in the classifieds but they're 14". I havn't seen or heard of any fitment issues. It's more about the tires you will try to use.

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