Military Non-Directional Tires (NDT) have been doing pretty well in a wide range of conditions for over 60 years. They are limited to tube types and are all bias ply. Sizes are also limited. By the way, the reason - the only reason - the military changed to the non-directional tires was that they were NOT DIRECTIONAL. Some of you use a farm tractor or know someone who does. You know it's possible to drive a tractor into situations where it cannot back out. Depending on the individual manufacturers, most DIRECTIONAL tractor tires are 30% to 40% more effective than a non-directional tire going forward and about the same amount LESS effective than a non-directional in reverse. The drill on mounting directional tires on military vehicles was to mount the front tires "backwards" for more traction in reverse. The thinking was that the driver could back out of a bad situation and the directional tire would benefit from the engine weight. Changing to the spare and normal tire replacement could result in having most or all the tires turning "backward" at lower traction. The only way to have the various tires all turning the best way would have required constantly remounting the tires on the rims to suit their location on the vehicles.
There are two sizes of NDT for military Dodges and "flatfender" POWER WAGONs. Each requires the correct rim. In addition to having different rim widths, each of the rims has a different bead depth. Both NDT have an indentation shaped to match the rim flanges. The indentation helps to hold the split ring in place. Using the correct tire with the correct rim is a critical safety issue.
The most common NDT is the 9.00 x 16 tire. It requires a 6.5" x 16" rim. This rim has a wider flange to support the bead with the increased load capacity of the 9.00 x 16 tire.
Common to half-ton military Dodges and the POWER WAGONs with lower weight capacity ratings are 7.50 x 16 tires mounted on the 5.5" x 16" rim. In addition to being an inch narrower than the other rim, this rim has other differences. Its bead is shallower. Do not use 9.00 x 16 tires on the 5.5" rims. With this shallow bead, the split ring is not held in place when a 9.00 x 16 military NDT is mounted. There is a chance that the larger tire could roll off the rim in extreme circumstances.
The 5.5" x 16" rim has a greater offset than the 6.5" x 16" rim. The greater offset allows these rims to be used in a dual configuration with 7.50 x 16 tires. Because of the increased offset, these rims may not clear the brake drums when used on some trucks in place of the 6.5" rims. When 9.00 x 16 tire are mounted on these rims, the increased tire width added to the increased offset can result in the front tires rubbing on the frame and suspension components when the steering wheel is turned very far in either direction. And if 9.00 x 16 tires are "dualled" up on the smaller rims, the larger tire size can let the inner sidewalls rub increasing wear and the chance of tire failure.
Inside view of 5.5" x 16" rim with 9.00 x 16 tire. Note that rim bead does not fit indentation in tire casing at tire bead.
Outside view of 5.5" x 16" rim with 9.00 x 16 tire. Note that split ring does not fit indentation in tire casing at tire bead.
Correct 6.5" x 16" rim and 9.00 x 16 tire match. Compare split ring fit into indentation in tire casing at tire bead.
New 7.50 x 16 Military NDT. Note narrow indentation in tire casing at tire bead to match shallow bead of 5.5" x 16" rim. The raised triple rings will be visible when the tire is mounted.
Because it is difficult to find 7.50 x 16 tires in NDT, or almost any other tire design, there are many 5.5" x 16" rims around with 9.00 x 16 tires mounted on them. If you were a stranger to whom I was selling a Power Wagon, I'd be tempted to dump all my extra 5.5" x 16" rims on you and keep the stronger, safer 6.5" x 16" rims for myself. Because of the deeper bead, the 6.5" x 16" rims work well with many 9.00 x 16 replacement tires. I have used Power King 9.00 x 16 directionals and 38 x 13 x 16 Super Swampers with these rims. I have one M-101 3/4 ton trailer with 9.00 x 16 Goodyear High Miler highway treads. Some of my friends run the NATO 11.00 x 16 tires on the 6.5" x 16" rims with excellent results.
Commercially produced mud and snow tires in the standard 9.00 x 16 size for military Dodges and POWER WAGONs are not usually stocked but are readily available by special order from most tire dealers and by catalog from many agricultural and industrial supply centers. Inner tubes and flaps are also available.
WC-52 with 6.5" x 16" Power Wagon / M-37 rims and 38 x 13 x 16 Super Swampers
13 x 38 x 16 Bias Ply, Tube Type, Super Swampers
9.00 x 16 Power King, Bias Ply, Tube Type, Directional, Mud and Snow
An excellent source of more information about tires for your WC, POWER WAGON, or "M" Series trucks is Cabell Garbee's site at http://www.garbee.net/~cabell/tires.htm
Combat wheels appeal to many military Dodge and POWER WAGON owners for their "macho" looks. Many of them are being used on other than T-214 and T-223 Dodges. They are designed to keep the tire on the rim in spite of battle damage to the tire or inner tube.
Combat wheels are significantly heavier than the other wheels. This is evidenced by the size of
the wheel balancing weights welded to them. Tire balancing weights are
mounted temporarily since the greatest imbalance is from the tires and not from
the wheels. Anything to do with balancing tires would not
be welded to the wheels because tires are changed and require removable tire balancing
The welded wheel balancing weights should not be touched when replacing tires. In fact, the greater weight of the combat wheels works to our advantage when addressing combined wheel and tire balance. It takes a higher amount of tire imbalance to upset the greater inherent balance of these heavy wheels.
The main disadvantage to the extra weight of the wheel and tire assembly shows up when you have to handle it while changing a flat. And you won't be driving fast enough to justify a discussion of unsprung weight and its effect on handling.
Because the wheel side ring is released by unbolting, the danger inherent to locking rings is eliminated. My experience has been that rolling a short distance with just enough air pressure to prevent rim cutting will help in breaking loose the beads and facilitate removing the tire on a combat rim. A tire mounting lubricant helps here. Then, lay the wheel and tire assembly flat with the wheel side ring up. Apply penetrating oil to the wheel side ring and allow it to work its way between the circumference of the ring and the wheel. This helps the ring to be pried out more easily.
Many of the combat wheels we find now do not have the Bead Lock Ring and lack the run-flat capability that was the purpose for the combat wheel design.
Combat wheels have the same 1.429" bead seat as the 6.50 x 16 rims of the POWER WAGON and the M-37. All these wheels work well with the 11.00 x 16, Michelin XL radials. I have no competent information about using the bead lock rings (if you have them) with these radial tires.
The beadlock ring is Part Number 922408, the 10 Side Ring Bolts are Part Number 924624, and the 10 Side Ring Bolt Nuts are Part Number 924799.
NOTE: Army Technical Manual 9-808 has specific directions for assembling the wheel side ring relative to the cut outs in the ring.