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I have vintage Lego sets (1970's and '80's). I absolutely cannot get the tire to fit completely over the axle. Should I try grease or hot water? I know this is the correct tire because I have some that already have the tire over the axle. Please help!!

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    Does the assembly on the right side picture the issue where left tire fits nicely and the right one doesn't?
    – Alex
    Jun 8 '20 at 15:49
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From my experience with tires you mention is that they don't sit symmetrically when placed improperly as they should be. Try going around the tire and pulling it slightly outwards as well as twisting a little from the side with larger outside diameter to center.

This happens with newer sets also.

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The small tires Tire 14mm D. x 4mm Smooth Small Single , fit the brick on the left side Brick, Modified 2 x 2 with Wheels Red for Single Tire

not the plate on the rightside Plate, Modified 2 x 2 with Wheels Red

you will need different tires for that one

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    While none of the sets had the combination in question, both the brick and plate seem to have the same axle: brick and plate. So they should be compatible.
    – Alex
    Jun 8 '20 at 17:17

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