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MG TD TF 1500 - Tires

I just discovered a spontaneous 2 inch rupture in a rear tire. The size is 165/R15 86T. There had been some brake fluid on the tire. The leaking brake cylinder has been replaced last week. This is a tubeless tire. Is the brake fluid to blame or just old tires?

Is this the replacement size? I read that some use a 165/80R15, but I don't know what the "80" means.

With this spontaneous rupture, do I need all new tires to be safe. These are likely 17 years old.
Many thanks,
Bill Chandler
Ann Arbor, Michigan
W Chandler

Don't know what caused your flat but I always use this site to decipher tire measurements and alpha designations.

TW Burchfield

I would most definitely not drive very far or very fast on 17 year old tires. The closest radial to the original size is 155R15. This was also the standard size for air cooled VW Beetles and thus should be pretty easy to find.
Jack Long

The 80 refers to the aspect ratio of the tyre - that is (height / width) x100.
Tyres that are 17years old are unsafe and should be replaced.
For std rims the 155R15 tyre typically used for the VW Beetle as referred to above, are ideal.
Dave H
Dave Hill

Yes Bill, you need to replace all 5 tires. You have precious few square inches of tire holding your place in space as you zip down the road. Safety fast! Regards, tom
tm peterson

Yes I'll, you need all 5 tires replaced. Regards, tom
tm peterson


The T in your code stands for maximum speed (T= 190 km/hr).

Last week I changed my Michelin ZX 155/15 tires by Vredestein 165HR15 86H (the second H stands for 210 km/hr), plus new tubes. The Michelins were > 20 years and full of cracks. Profile was good but yet I'm glad I finally changed them, due to information on this BBS!

Beautiful design, good looks and a perfect ride.


JL Nederhoed

I managed to find these,, made in Tiawan,,

Nankang 165/80R15 87T CX668

I had to send the Coker Firestone 560's back because of squishy ride and poor manufacture.

Steve Wincze

I put these Nanking tyres on my TD and they run quiet and handle well. They were reasonably priced and I think any tire shop can get them. I don't do any racing or hard mountain driving, just tool around California.
GTK Kimler

People are jumping here between 155 and 165 tires. This makes a difference of about 2 inches in circumference. Given the low gear ratio of most TDs, the 165 is definitely the way to go.
To my understanding this is also closer to the original tire size since the old radials (which in width are closer to the 155) had an even higher height to width ratio than what you can get today with an /80 tire.

Rgds, Mike
Mike Fritsch

So if I run Nankang 165/80R15 87T CX668
on my 53 MG, do I need tubes?
Not wire wheels, just the stock.

M Grogan

It's not the wires that make the tubes necessary, it's the actual construction of the steel disk wheels, and how the tires are "held" with tubes (or not, without tubes) onto the wheel.
Steve Wincze

I've just fitted Verdestein 165/80'S to my 53 TD.
Great look and ride, original steel wheels without inner tube
M Lees

I just bought new Vredesteins 165HR 15s for my TD and intend to run them tubeless. My Car had a set of 50 yr old NOS Pirelli race tires on it (5.50-15). They still have the casting tits on the treads and remnants of the sticker on the spare. They were also setup as tubeless on original rim sand have always held air without tubes. Tube tires were replaced with tubeles with the advent of a rim bead change that offered a bit of safety by having an indentation at the base that helped to lock the bead of the tire onto the rim. You can run them without tubes and many people do without in incedent. But with tubes you also need to run liners to prevent failure from the rivets that contain the rim to the hub as well. Some tube failures are due to improper inflation which causes heat buildup and chaffing of the tubes. Others also because of under inflation cause the bead of the tire to slip this ripping the tube stems. If you plan on doing aggressive road course driving screwing the bead onto the rim solves any chance of the bead slipping or walking off the rim. However I have not heard any comments of this actually happening to any one not running tubes on this or any other t series site. I would be interested in any actual incidences of this happening. For piece of mind you could also take your rims to a wheel shop and have the hubs updated by replacing the old hoops with a modern beadlock style hoop.

Bill Chasser
W. A. Chasserq

I'm out !!!!!!!!!
Steve Wincze

Tubeless tires, tube type rims. TD wheels need tubes to be driven safely, they are not tubeless rims. These are not "safety" or tubeless rims. There is no ring on the inside of the bead on the rim to hold the tire in place. Plenty to read about in the archives.
D. Sander

I agree with you 100% D.Sander. The professional tire installers in my area will not install them without tubes as they have no ring. Just see what happens if you hit a curb or an object on the road.

Barry Ryley

I use the Vredesrein Sprit Classic 155 SR 15 82S (Radial)
on my 1954 TF.
Good ride and improved handling.
If you shop around you can buy this tyre of $70=80.
Dont over size your tyre on a T-car. The 155 is plenty of tread width.

You might be interested in joining the Michigan MGT Club. If so, Lookup the web site.
colin stafford

Might have enough width, but a Vredesrein 165 is 25.4 dia, and a 155 is only 24.8. Sounds like a small difference, but the 155 will have to rotate a lot more to cover the same distance.. and have a higher rpm to maintain the same speed.
Steve Wincze

165R15s on my TF and they ride and handle very well. Plus, I have a 4.1 rear with no issues. PJ

This thread was discussed between 01/06/2016 and 07/06/2016

MG TD TF 1500 index

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