Nokian Tyres is a new sponsor for the Magic Bus. Headquartered in Finland, Nokian manufactures commercial van tires of the highest caliber.
Many of my fans wonder why I don't upgrade my wheels and tires to something larger and fancier. The reason is simple - the Magic Bus is HEAVY (9,080 lb) and the rims and tires have load ratings that far exceed conventional products. Furthermore, larger wheels would raise the center of gravity and adversely affect stability and handling. Another reason against up-sizing the rims and tires is related to the storage of the spare tire, the seventh wheel (four in the back, two in the front, one spare). The smaller wheel fits under the rear of the van - a larger wheel necessitates a spare tire mount on the rear door.
Nokian is one of the few manufacturers who still make high-quality 15-inch commercial tires. Because the Magic Bus is constantly loaded with a 3,620 lb stereo system, I chose Nokian's 215/70R15C 109/107S tires, which support more weight than the original 195/70R15C 104/102R, which were load rated for 1984 lb each. The new Nokian tires are rated for 2271 lb each and speed rated for 112 miles per hour. This provided for a substantial increase in margin of safety.
Before I installed new tires I also acquired used 15-inch dually rims and had them sandblasted and powder-coated at A to Z Metal finishing in San Diego
( https://www.atozmetalfinishing.com ).
With the new rims I wanted to upgrade to the best all-metal valve stems. After extensive research, I chose Haltec. Haltec manufactures a superior line of valve stems, extensions, and valve caps, and is a new sponsor for the Magic Bus.
The Mercedes lug nuts are plain steel which allows the wheel stud to be visible. Both of these items eventually rust and become unsightly despite being perfectly functional. Gorilla Automotive Products
( https://www.gorilla-auto.com/lug-nuts ) manufactures chrome-plated acorn lug nuts that work with the Mercedes rims and conical washers, part number 22148N. These are designed for "dually" applications, however, the swivel washer integral to its design requires the use of a flat washer to properly tighten against the conical split washers that clinch the wheel studs. I used 18-8 M14 stainless steel washers from McMaster-Carr
( https://www.mcmaster.com/97310A135/ ). The acorn lug nuts conceals the wheel studs for an aesthetic improvement.
Close-up of front wheel.
Magic Bus with new tires, powder-coated rims, valve stems, and lug nuts.
Close-up of rear wheel.
The Magic Bus by Jon Raymond Whitledge