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Morgan +8 Forum

Peter's Tires

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GoMoG Lorne G
Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador   ECU
In reply to # 13748 by PDMS In response to your questions, I live 15 miles west of Philadelphia. The car has never been wet, either from rain or washing, and obviously isn't driven in the wet. I most enjoy driving the country roads in/around Chester County, PA, at all times of the year - provided it's dry. Purely pleasure trips, for example, to places like The Whip Tavern in Coatesville for a British Sunday lunch, or dressed as Santa Clause with Reindeer antlers, red nose, and Xmas present on the car, delivering to my grandchildren in Bryn Mawr, PA (Photo Attached)

I know the area well. 20 years ago, we would trailer the Morgan down to Milford, PA in the early spring and skirt west of Philadelphia on back roads all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. VERY pretty and cute picture of your Mog. My mate, Ed Hermen, who passed recently, used to do the same Santa thing. Pic below.

I found three tires I know or know of that I can recommend.. (with my long distance mogging and my taste in rubber, I would be changing tires (aka tyres) once a year on at least one of my mogs cars). Today's tires are a compromise of too many things...local weather, longevity, traction, driving style, seasons. The truth is that the less you compromise, the happier you will find the ride. The very best tires are made for a certain style of driving, specific seasons and common road conditions. And they don't last long. But I have no budget for my hobby.


1. as you are not a long distance mogger, why worry about longevity? You will have to toss them before their tread is gone anyway. I understand you won't want 3000 mile rubber (Morgan once fit that to the Lemans 62s) But a perfect 12-15,000 mile tire should last you until the best before date.

2. You are in amazing luck. The top tire for your car today is still pretty much what you have, BUT YOUNGER It is a bit overpriced considering what else you could swap in..but with Continental ExtremeContact, you effectively have a 20% discount to my mind. You see I was a Concours Chairman for a few years (it got me out of washing my car as I ruled that Concours Chairmen could not enter their car in the Concours) spinning smiley sticking its tongue out One of the points of Concours is matching tires, spare included. So I never advise anyone to buy less than 5 matching tires. But I would let you pass if you used one of the younger Continentals you have now as the spare. It is not strictly perfect, but it is close enough for me. Just give it a good spray with some shiny silicone tire spray before attaching it to the car. The saving it provides covers more than the difference between this tire and its worthy competitors. AND we will have a reported perspective between new and old rubber.

3. It is a maximum summer performance tire. It comes in a "W" rating which is very lovely. (I do not recommend tires under a "V" rating for the more powerful Morgans and yes, it does make a difference.) I certainly learned my lesson on that. Morgans are the most sensitive cars to tire choices. You will notice that as you drive out of the tire shop's parking lot. Honestly.

Make sure they know how to balance and fit tires to wire wheels. Read up on wire wheels Essentially, though they might not know it, any tire shop with TWO balancing machines can do it if they use the cones on BOTH sides of the wire wheels. Do not let them pressure the tires to more than 22-23 psi. That might require a wrestle on their garage floor with the installer so eat your Wheaties. grinning smiley

N.B. Your wire wheels might be out of whack by now...but the mileage is still low. You will find out at installation. If the installer reaches for more than 4 ounces a side...consider having the wheels trued. Unless there is rust, you don't need to consider new wheels. In my early Morgan years, I merely found a Harley guy who would true all my wire wheels for 70 dollars. Then I learned myself. You need a spoke wrench and a tuning fork (and a television/video to keep from getting bored). Make sure he uses the worst wheel as the spare.

Have your steering aligned while you're at it. Your Manual will give the correct specs. or check here. Page 2 at

Please, if you go ahead, report to us if you notice the difference!!! Good drivers unknowingly adjust to bad rubber (and almost everything else!). That is a good thing with most cars, but it narrows your arena for fun. This is your hobby. Though you might not notice much of a difference in your driving right away, you will soon. As my wife says, taking a country road corner in a Plus 8 is like being on rails. She might fall out of the car at the turn, but car will track perfectly, holding the road like glue.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-01-14 02:35 PM by GoMoG.

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SJM1 Jan Morgan
Thousand Oaks, CA, USA   USA
Ok, about balancing wire wheels.

Wire wheels are attached to the car, via an inner cone (the spindle) and an outer cover, the knock off, that contacts (clamps in place) the wheel on the OUTSIDE of the wire wheel's center. Get that: The wire wheel is held onto the spindle and centered via the OUTSIDE of the wire wheels center, by the knock-off.

Balancing with two cones on a balancing machine will NOT get you the correct balance, as this will create a wobble (however minuscule) that will be part of the machine's balancing solution. It's going to vibrate and wobble.

Good shops will have the outer "cone" that goes OVER (this is a specific part for wire wheel or center lock wheel balancing) the wire wheel hub to clamp the wheel into the machine as it is attached to the car. Note that your knock off doesn't have a cone that goes into the center of the wheel hub (where the splines are), but captures the wheel from the outside of the center hub as you tighten down the knock off.

MWS, the Morgan wire wheel manufacturer, specifically says that using two cones is NOT the way that the wheels should be balanced. They even have a bit of documentation that comes with each wheel, and an easily printed PDF on their comprehensive web site.

A quick note: Some Dayton (US made) wire wheels have a chamfer ground into the outer hub for inside cone balancing, but even Dayton recommends that the wheels should be balanced with the proper outer cover to attach the wheel on the machine as it is on the car. My own experience with the Dayton wheels is that, well... You need proper wire wheel installation/balancing hardware (a cone and the cover) to properly balance the wheels. Sure, they are machined for a cone, but it is not as accurate as using the proper outer clamp cover.

The local tire shop that I use is America's Tire (a national chain), and they had the correct cone for the inner and the correct cover for the outer. They have been balancing my wheels for more than a decade, and get it right every time.

Some of my friends with Morgans had thought that the wobble and vibration were "normal" with wire wheels. They never had them properly balanced. I took my friend's +8 to the shop and had the wheels balanced using the correct hardware. No more wobble or vibration. The owner of the Morgan was amazed... (oh, and this was about 10 years ago... Part of my Morgan prehistory).

Again, DON'T USE TWO CONES TO BALANCE WIRE WHEELS. They have to be attached to the balancer as they are on the car. Make sure that the tire shop uses an adapter that goes OVER the wire wheel's center hub, capturing it tightly and centering it when tightened down. Note that this sort of adapter is specific to wire wheels.

Now, about tires...

The Morgan is pretty light, in reality not quite half the weight of cars that normally use tires in the 205/55 sizes. This means that whatever tire you get, you will get better mileage. Just about all of the tires you will select will have a "100" wear number (or better), which means "average" in the tire makers lineup of al roadl tires. As a comparison, the Goodyear GS/CS DOT race tires with the printed on tread that I used to race on my Mustang had a tread wear rating of "20", and the Yokohama 032Rs were "80", so you get the idea...
Tire wear will not be much of a factor unless you are running one of the Early +8s with 2º camber, and drive it hard. This will wear the fronts much faster than the rears... If you make the camber adjustment to about -1º (yes, take the front end apart and install the camber plates), your front tire wear will improve. Later wide body Morgans have a setting I believe is about -1º. If you are still getting tire edge wear, you can increase camber to -1.5º, but it really depends on how you like to snap into corners. And, you can always rotate your tires (something that I have not done in decades, since I learned how to set up chassis to prevent the excessive edge wear.

Another thing to consider is that with the Morgan's light weight, you won't need to put 36 psi into the tires. Lower pressures may be more appropriate. If you have a pyrometer (about $100, and worth every penny if you are setting up the chassis for the occasional track day), you can easily determine the correct hot tire pressure by taking the tire's temp across the tread. Outer edge, middle and inner edge, and trying to keep the variation to about 15F across the tread. You may be able to do this with a non contact IR pyrometer, but it is not as accurate as a contact pyrometer specifically for tires. And if you can't get the tires within a 15F variation across the tread, you may have to make a chassis adjustment to the front end camber.

Yes, it can get complicated, or as complicated as you want it to be. My goal is for the hot part of the front tires to be the inside edge on long drives, with an equal temp across the tread at the track.

Anyway, if you like DOT Race/road tires, you can usually get them in full tread depth, which helps with rain traction. Otherwise, on dry roads, it really doesn't make much difference which ultra high performance Summer tire you choose. If you are not doing track days, heat cycling is not a factor (high heat at the track can kill the traction of most road tires). Whatever you get will likely produce very sticky result for a few years.

Also, treaded DOT race/road tires can be quite predictable in the wet, as can summer ultra performance tires, should you run into some weather, as I did when I drove my Morgan home from Dennis' shop. For sure, you will be more comfortable than I was, driving decade and a half old Vredestines... I raced in the rain on the Yokohama 032Rs at Laguna Seca, and found that I was not making tooth marks on my heart. I also had to drive on them home from Monterey in driving rain. Not a bad experience at all.
Sometimes, these tires are better than you might imagine.

Lorne is right about the wear, in that you might as well get a great, predictable, high traction performance tire and enjoy the Morgan's roadholding, response and light weight as the tires will likely last for years. My guess is that a performance road tire will last between 20K and 30K miles... Maybe 15 years or more, and you will likely replace them before that, just because they are old.

The Continental is a very good tire, as are the tires from Yokohama, Bridgestone, Pirelli, Hankook and other major manufacturers. You can even buy based on price in the ultra high performance category, and be confident that you are getting a good tire.

One note about the Bridgestone's ultra high performance category. They are very good as far as traction and having a predictable nature (slow breakaway, easily controlled in the 55 aspect ratio), and have amazing wear characteristics. Even on 3700 lb sedans (Subaru WRX/STI), these tires will last over 30K miles and deliver the grip all the way to the end of the tread life. I ran a tire program for another small volume manufacturer here, testing with Bridgestones in the US, and found this to be true on a 2, 500 lb, 500 HP supercar as well.

For the owners with the narrow body +8s, limited to the 185/15 or 185/70/15 sizes, there is not much in the way of high performance other than the Avon CRZZ (about $1,300 shipped, mounted and balanced), but they are worth the price. If you are not too demanding, the Vredestine is the usual fitment. Adequate, good enough to enjoy the car, but no more... And they are expensive as well. While you can fit 195 or 205 50 or 55 aspect ratio, the early cars without the 5 speed is short geared, and shorter tires don't help this. nor do they help with predictable handling with their short sidewalls. They tend to break away a bit more severely. But we have limited tire resources in both the quantity of tires available, and the quantity of money necessary to purchase them. I went with the recommendations of the local Morgan racers, and I have been happy with the tires, if not the price. They are a perfect match to the chassis, and will work even better once I finish the chassis setup/springs and dampers.
Anyway, on my car, weighing less than 2000 lbs with driver, the tires will last, um... maybe a decade.

Enjoy your drive.

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