Tyres (or tires)

How do you bait an air cooled VW van / bus owner?

  1. Is it called a bus, a van or a kombi?
  2. What oil should you put in the engine?
  3. What are the best tyres to use?

A bus is quite tall, rather narrow relatively speaking and quite heavy for its form factor. As such, by the time you add an interior and a few people, the high profile (70 profile) tyres supplied on the original steel wheels can end up with quite a load. In fact, this means that a standard road tyre is possibly going to be ok for you, but a high load rated tyre will be recommended by most.

In 1950, the first splitties had 16 inch rims, which reduced to the 15 inch steels in 1955. Ultimately VW moved to just 14 inch wheels by the time 1965 was reached.

A lot of web sites struggle to show you a VW Type 2 split screen from 1951 to help on correct tyre options. The Bentley manual notes that you need reinforced radial ply “tires” with a C rating. Here in the UK a 102 rating is also used for reinforced sidewalls, which would be strongly recommended rather than standard car tyres.

If you drive a modern car, you will probably be inflating your tyre to around 30psi. It may well have a narrow sidewall (the flat visible black part from the steel or alloy rim to the circle of rubber that touches the ground) of a 30 or 40 profile. Your van tyre may well have a 70 profile meaning there is around twice the distance of rubber from wheel to outside edge, adding a lot more force and impact when rolling.

Add to that the tyre pressure which is often recommended at between 55psi and 65psi depending on tyre manufacturer and recommendation plus of course the load.

All this makes for a lot of strength required on that rubber.

Also check the outer walls (visible and the other side that you can’t normally see) for cracks which can be the source of a blow out and reasons for unexpected flat tyres.

Buy the right tyres for the job.
Inflate correctly.
Check the pressures and tyre condition regularly.
Replace a tyre that keeps going down, has visible defects or as advised by a tyre specialist or your MOT tester.

Tyres are often overlooked but are a key safety device, just as important as brakes.

Now, which oil should I put in my Type 1 (upright) engine? 🙂

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About Nick Gillott

Website Manager and General Committee member of the Owners Club. Owner of Eric the Viking (converted panel van with Viking roof) undergoing complete restoration. Tinkerer to Poppy the camper van (1972 Crossover dormobile).