Pontiac 8 Lug Wheels
Well, here we go again! There is a lot of mis-information on 8 lug wheels and I am sure there are a lot of people sitting in the driveway going “Why don’t these fit right?” Let’s start from the beginning:
Kelsey-Hayes started making 8 lug wheels for Pontiac for use on 1960 full size Pontiacs. The were finned aluminum and were very good at keeping brakes cool. Cool brakes make big cars stop faster! The first drums made had very short and steep fins. These drums were used up thru 1962. The driver’s side drums had LH threads and the passenger side drums had RH threads. To this day, I do not know why GM did this. These drums will not fit any other years except 60 to 64, although they are incorrect for 63 & 64.
The above photo shows the 60 to 62 drum with the short fins.
In 1963, the wheels were modified with a much longer fin with less of a angle. The drums were the same width as 60 to 62, but that is the only common part. The fronts will not interchange with 65 to 68 drums. Dust covers are different from 60-62 to 63 on up. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! Part numbers for 63/64’s: fronts are 49313, rears are 49317.
The above photo shows the new angle that showed up in
1963 and ran until 1968.
In 1965, as the cars got bigger, the front brakes got bigger. Shoes were ½” wider and therefore, required more drum surface area. The drums were again modified to accept wider shoes and the front seal area was modified as well. So, 65 to 68 front drums are that only. Part numbers for 65/68; fronts 58154, rears remained the same…49317.
I have heard so much crap about 8 lugs wheels over the years…they suck, they wobble, they’re hard to change, you can’t get them balanced, you can’t find tires for them, they don’t make lug nuts anymore, you need special spindles for them, nobody can turn the drums, they rust, they leak and on and on….. so let’s put the stories to rest here:
#1: NO, they never came on GTO’s. Anyone who tells you this, is cracked. And as with big Pontiacs, these are 5 on 5 pattern (rears) plus the brakes are huge compared to the wimpy, wimpy, wimpy GTO brakes!
#2: NO, you do not have to change front spindles to install these on your big Pontiac. They go right on with your bearings and spindle nuts. Repack them and if they are not super clean, remove all the grease and do it right. Depending on your shoe thickness, adjustments will need to be made to your brake adjusters. The rears bolt on with your five regular lug nuts. Again, you may have to set your shoes in or out. Otherwise, adjust like normal brakes. AND I STRONGLY recommend coating these with VHT Hi Temp Clear over the finished product. Always use HI Temp on ANY brake drum. Road salt does bad things to 8 lugs! Have any drums you get turned. O’Reilly can turn these.
#3: Yes, there are different rims. I need some help here as I do not know which rim came on which year. First, we have the 8 lug rim with the tabs sticking out as shown below. (Note valve stem location so you don’t think one is backwards!)
Now, here is a photo of the other type 8 lug rim with no tabs. The one with tabs seems to be harder to find. (Again, note vale stem placement)
#4: NO, they are not impossible to get balanced providing you have the correct machined adaptor plate (see photo) to take to your local tire store. The “hold-down” plate in your trunk will not serve as a balancing plate. These plate are available online for around $85.00. They are a slight hassle to balance though. 4 lug nuts on, 4 lug nuts off. And ALWAYS take this with you when you travel. Just in case….
#5: YES, the brake liners can be replaced. $275 each plus postage. There is a person in POCI that relines these. This is not cheap, so beware when you buy that set of drums off eBay. Contact Autobohn Engines at 616-897-7679.
#6: YES, another person is producing reproduction 8 lug wheels & drums. I have heard that the detail is NOT there as it is on the originals. Again, these are not cheap.
#7: NO, Kelsey-Hayes never made these in a 15” version, however I hear that 15” versions (rims) are now being reproduced by the person repoping the wheels.
#8: YES, front seal kits are available thru FABCRAFT, 1-800-208-8242. I have also had luck at O’Reilly’s finding these.
#9: YES, all wheels and drums are date coded (like engine parts) so you can try to find the correct dated wheels if you wish. Codes are stamped on the inside of the drums and outside of the wheels.
Trim rings & caps are different for certain years. 60 to 62 take one cap and one type of trim ring only. 63 to 68 have their own caps & trim rings.
All except the 63 cap are being reproduced. I will add correct part numbers and as many photos as possible as they come available.
As with all parts, if you have something to add here, please do so. I stayed away from 8 lugs for years because of lots of bad information. The mystery is now over. And people, put long valve stems on these wheels.
Here is some info I received on color variations:
The front drums are correct for 1963 and 1964 as long fin drums (1963 drums were aluminum in color, and to us they don't have the contrast and the look of the 1964 black specifications).
The color silver for the wheels is correct for 1963 and previous years, black for the wheels is correct for 1964 and later (and we are offering black rims as a substitute in the auction if you want that color).
The following will be part numbers as I have found them. PLEASE feel free to correct me if I am wrong:
60 to 62 front drums: #49013 with 3” depth on shoe surface
60 to 62 rear drums: ?????
63 to 64 front drums: #49313 with 3” depth on shoe surface
65 to 68 front drums: #58154 with 3.25 depth on shoe surface
63 to 68 rear drums #49317
One last thing…..do NOT confuse these drums to the drums that came on Ambulances & Limos. Those were 15” finned aluminum drums and they are NOT Super Duty parts. Somebody recently listed some of this stuff on eBay as Super Duty stuff and even though he was corrected, he did not change the listing. Remember…information is power!