Dayton or Budd? The eternal question.

Trucks can come with a wide variety of options to suit any working condition or driver preference.  Engines, transmissions, axles, frame length, suspension bits, the list goes on and on.  Recently I’ve had a few people ask me about wheel styles, more specifically what are Dayton style wheels.  This is a question I’ve asked myself many times and the answer can very depending on who you ask.  I’ll start with the basics of what I know and let you make your own decision on what you think is the better choice.

To start, this is a Dayton or spoke style wheel.

Notice the five bolts, they attach to the rim which hold the tire to the truck.  To detach the tire you remove the bolts, the hub or spoke stays attached to the truck.  There is no center part of the rim with this type of wheel.  In the trucking world of today Dayton style wheels are ancient history.  I do not believe it is possible to order a new truck with this style wheel.  Now, some old truckers out there will tell you that daytons are the only way to go.  They claim that this wheel setup is better suited for trucks hauling heavy loads or working in tough conditions as they resists cracking around the bolt holes, a major weakness of Budd style wheels.  From the collector standpoint the argument is made that a Dayton wheel just looks correct on the truck styles of yesterday.  Another potential of spoke wheels is the ability to seal out snow, ice or dirt from the brake drums.  Some disadvantages, it requires more skill and time to mount a dayton style wheel correctly.  Incorrect mounting results in a wobbly wheel and tire wear.  Top speeds are also limited due to heat concerns.  In the old days of trucking there was a strong east coast bias to spoke style wheels despite the fact they were called “California” style wheels.  Most likely this is due to many truck manufacturers being located east of the Mississippi.

The modern alternative to Dayton style wheels?  The Budd.  Nearly every truck has this style wheel now.  It is very similar to the same wheel on your passenger car or pickup.  The tire is mounted to a rim that has a center hub.  See below.

A Budd wheel can come in steel or aluminium.  You can paint it or chrome it.  As mentioned above this style wheel can suffer from stress cracks around the bolt holes.  However, the cost of Budd wheels and ease of maintenance helped push this wheel to the top of heap.

I recall a story from my CDL training days from the instructor of many years that helped scare the spoke lover out of me.  He claimed it was possible for the flanges holding a spoke style wheel to break loose effectively neutering any braking power as the wheel was no longer really connected to the drums!  Tall tale to scare the rookies?  Very possible.

So that is my amateur take on truck wheel styles.  Please feel free to share your thoughts or correct my mistakes.

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21 Responses to Dayton or Budd? The eternal question.

  1. MartMns says:

    I don’t know how common this combination was,
    but back in the early-and-mid-1990’s, I owned and drove an 1987 FLC120 Freightliner that had come from from the factory with 24.5 aluminum Alcoa “Budds” on the steer axle and 24.5 cast-iron Dayton spokes on the drives. Being a Canadian truck, it also had a 60-inch “Canadian spread” on the tandems as well.

  2. Lance says:

    From ANCIENT memory, as I recall, there was (key word WAS) a moment in time (mid-80’s) when there was quite the focus on ‘updating’ older Dayton-trucks to Budd trucks. I don’t remember how it was done exactly. I can’t remember if they were swapping drums, changing whole axles, or if there was some conversion kit out there that allowed it to be done. I know most-all Chevy C65 and C70’s came with all-around Daytons, and I have seen more than one mid-70’s C65 sporting Budds (which was not possible in the day OEM).

    Good luck finding this information, but I know I have seen it and heard the truckstop talk of it. It is NOT a direct conversion, there IS some hardware change required to do the conversion.

  3. brandon says:

    We still run dome daytons on our bulk trailers I think we have roughly 24 bulk trailers

    • Eric says:

      Still plenty around, especially on trailers. I see that Mack and International still offer them on steer axles by custom order.

    • danny says:

      I am looking for Dayton 22 inch rims with 1100R tires. Do you know where any are at. Thanks

      • Larry Marmet says:

        Hi Danny, the modern 11.00-22 tire replacement in a radial would be a 12R24.5 tubeless tire on a 24.5 tubeless dayton rim which slides right on in place of your lock ring tube type 22’s. Luckily you have 22″ wheels because the 24″ tube type does not have a tubeless replacement. Likewise old 20″ tube type daytons take a modern 22.5″ rim. (10.00-20 in tubeless is an 11.00-22.5 or 11R22.5) I have some Autocars and a Brockway with the popular heavy tire in the day, 11.00-22 and would love to find the correct size 12R24.5 tires on Daytons. The readily available 11R24.5 tires are a lot smaller than it sounds! If you see them side by side at a truck show you will understand. The speedometer will be off considerably too and it just doesn’t look right to me. But if I wanted to take a road trip and it was a choice between weather checked old tube type 11-22’s or nice 11R24.5 sneakers I would take the latter and console myself knowing it would give me a little advantage in a slow race. IF I could afford it my rigs would be sporting 12R24.5 sneakers after a restoration because I like an occasional road trip and piece of mind.

  4. Pingback: Wheel Terminology Question - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums

  5. Mike Melnychuk says:

    I’m looking for upgrade information/source on “keeping Dayton hubs”, but looking for tubeless super-single rims/drives, and tubeless rims/steer. Where would you start?

  6. Owen Elfrink says:

    Both Dayton and Budd wheels are ancient history. The industry has gone to hub mounted pilot wheels. A true Budd wheel required 10 studs and 10 in order to mount a duals – real pain n rear when doing without an air wrench

  7. Mark McC says:

    I haven’t seen this mentioned, but I recall being warned, to loosen the nuts first. Break the wedge loose with a hammer, before removing the nuts completely. This can save your life. Those wedges can pop loose with great power.

    • Cristobal says:

      You are absolutely right. First, just release the pressure from the nuts, then, you can use a hammer and hit the wedges one by one, or just take a big old pipe, and hit the whole tire, and all the wedges will release. Then remove the nuts. That wedges, can hurt, even kill a person.

    • Michael Carnevale says:

      Budd wheels are MUCH safer. I am a old timer trucker and I’ve known many of a driver getting killed while trying to repair a flat or installing a new tire on a Dayton rim. Thats why if you go to any trucking company worth there salt or a truck tire store you’ll see a cage where they put a tire mounted on a Dayton rim to fill with air. This protects the person from the tire exploding and shooting the rim off and hitting And killing them while leaning over and putting in air.

  8. Mark says:

    Your story about spoke wheels failing that way is the opposite of what I’ve always heard- not sure how much that really happens, but I suppose it could.

    BUt what I have heard, from MULTIPLE -first hand- accounts (from guys who had it happen to them), is that the Budds are the dangerous ones on a heavy truck because when something fails, the whole wheel is just gone…. if you’re lucky you get stopped safely and just watch your lost tire/rim roll down the road in front of you. It seems to me that at least in most cases, if a spoke wheel fails it will fail in one point , and may start to come apart if enough play develops, but will not be a “sudden complete catastrophic failure” of the entire wheel and probably will either stay together or at least let you get stopped first.

    I know this is an old post, but just saw it and figured it couldn’t hurt to add what I’ve heard to it. Personally, aside from heavy-duty drive-axle types and planeteries, etc. I still just don’t think a “heavy” truck with buds is as “heavy” as the same truck on spokes- partly aesthetics, and partly because I’ve always been led ( by those who have experience with both types and only tell stories of the Budds cracking and suddenly being gone) to believe that the spokes are the superior choice in heavy applications.

  9. Russell Pate says:

    I run the Dayton 5-Spoke Wheel on a trailer. Yes, its true if the wheel clamps aren’t torqued down enough the rim will spin within. Yes, its true the wheel clamps can shear off. But, that combination can take a lot of abuse before coming apart. Budd’s YES, can crack and have the whole wheel fall off instantaneously – yes that’s also happened.

  10. Alan says:

    ” Please feel free to share your thoughts or correct my mistakes.”

    Trucks have BRAKE drums that provide the BRAKING power.

  11. hi!
    You do have tools to get these drivers to wake up a little bit. Flashing your lights is one way to get a drivers attention. Often all they need is a small signal and they will realize that they are doing something stupid, like driving too slow in the fast lane

  12. Aiden says:

    Spoke Wheel because the spoke has five spokes .LOL

  13. MyNameIsJason says:

    Trucks could be ordered with any combination of Dayton and Buds that the customer desired. I’ve seen front / rear and rear / front. I currently have an 86 International that has Buds on the front and Daytons on the rear, I formerly had an 85 International that was very similar that had Daytons all the way around. Of course a big challenge these days is getting 22.5″ Dayton wheels to get the old 20″ bias plies off of the old trucks. As far as the old 20″ “split rims” they were only dangerous to people that should not have been fooling with them. Rust built up in the ring groove, if the groove was not cleaned out before the ring was re installed, it did not seat and could easily blow off when the tire was inflated. Particularly in the spot where the ring was split.

  14. Six Pack says:

    “I recall a story from my CDL training days from the instructor of many years that helped scare the spoke lover out of me. He claimed it was possible for the flanges holding a spoke style wheel to break loose effectively neutering any braking power as the wheel was no longer really connected to the drums! Tall tale to scare the rookies? Very possible.”

    My gravel truck has Dayton’s, and I’m not so sure this is possible, at least on mine.

    You see, the rim actually has a couple of “humps” that protrude, and the rim is fitted so that these “humps” are in between a section of the spokes. Can rim come loose and slide? They ABSOLUTELY can, and will, but generally would be limited to an inch or two each way by these humps, thus giving the driver/owner an opportunity to properly retorque them.

    And Daytons are a SUPER tough wheel set-up. Excellent for heavy off road use. I would not “upgrade” to a more modern style wheel. Just a word from my own personal experience… Just make sure to retorque them after dismounting them, preferably even two or three times. This should solve any potential issue with slippage.

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