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1969 GTO Tire Blow Out


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I purchased my 1969 GTO back in November of '19. Stored at my nephews for the winter months.

Went out on Saturday to go pick up the car and drive it back home here to Illinois.

Had a few mishaps on the way home. On 80/94 I was looking into the left side view mirror I see this round chrome thing rolling down the expressway. I am like dang it one of my trim ring blew off. No chance I was going to stop and try to recover it. 80/94 at this stretch is not the best place to pull over.

Later on my joureny getting close to home the front end started to shake vigorously. I pull over to check to see if I had a flat but all tires had air. Figured it was just the road and the suspension on this old GTO needs some attention when I get it back home. Get back on expressway and the shaking got worse. I got off at the next exit since I was only about 15 mile out from home pulled over again to look at tire and look what I found.

Click image for larger version  Name: Cooper Tire tread separation_1.jpg Views: 111 Size: 41.3 KB ID: 541914

Click image for larger version  Name: Cooper Tire tread separation_2.jpg Views: 143 Size: 51.3 KB ID: 541915

Cooper Tire date code
Does it really read 4th week of 2003?
Click image for larger version  Name: Copper Tire Date Code.jpg Views: 78 Size: 45.5 KB ID: 541916

There was a nice guy that seen me pulled over so he stopped to help me. He mention to be that he could see the tire shacking. He followed me to a parking lot so we could change the tire. I don't trust the bumper jacks so he looked in his truck for a bottle jack he thought he had but he didn't. So he went to his buddies to pick up a floor jack. While he went to do that I pulled out the spare tire and the lug nut/jack wrench and low an behold the lug nut wrench doesn't fit the lugs on the car. Luckily the guy that helped me had an Milwaukee Impact gun and sockets.

Put on the spare and took the side main roads back home.

Once I got back home and settle in I texted the guy I bought the car from and mention to him my joureny home, He told me the interior the shop that did the interior for him also put new 14" Rallies on and tires. Said he had only put on about 50 miles on these set of tires before selling the car to me. He said he is going to call the interior shop on Monday to see what he spent over $15,000 on and will let me know what this shop has to say about the tires they installed.

Edited by Packin31 (see edit history)
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Cheap discount tires way past their expiration date. Be glad you didn't have a bigger mishap than you did. Tires are the one area where you really do get what you pay for, but no matter how good the tire, they're all done by year 8 or 10 regardless of how much tread is left. As you learned, a visual inspection of the tire probably wouldn't have shown this impending defect, which is why you can't assume anything about an old tire. I've experienced a similar disaster myself on some reproduction tires from [redacted] with very few miles on a 1970 Buick GS. Turns out they were about 12 years old. No warning, no signs of failure, no cracking or leaking, just KABOOM!

 

Explosion1.thumb.jpg.52322e479eeccbe9c1e50870226678c6.jpg

 

Tires really do matter. Glad you came out of this unscathed but fresh, name-brand tires are a smart investment on a car you're going to drive. Hopefully the previous owner has a receipt showing that he paid for NEW tires so he can help you get the problem resolved.

 

 

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 I bought my 76 Elcamino new with Firestone 500"s on it.

 Eventually, all 5 tires shredded.

 I only drive around town , so no problem.

 The first warning you get is a vibration. That is the time to stop.

 They will only go a few more miles until they blow.

 

 Ps, forget the guarantee. They wanted more money for a replacement tire than the normal selling price!

Edited by Roger Walling (see edit history)
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Had the same issue with Firestone 500s on my 78 Sunbird. First warning is vibration. STOP IMMEDIATELY. A thrown tread can really tear up a car.

For many years I bought only Michelins and never had a problem. Lately I think BFGs (same company) are a better rain tire and I like the tread. Thing to look for in any new tire is a nylon cap.

 

 

plies.jpg

 

ps a date code is four numbers in a separate block, they do not start with an alpha. Often are only on the backside of the tire.

 

pps just realized I have a "Radial GT" on a Pontiac rin that is also separating. Is from the last Millenia

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Firestone 500 radial's were the factory equipment on Mid 70's Corvette's. They were recalled due to tread separation. One dude who refused to have them replaced by the  local Chevrolet dealer where he bought the car new because he wanted to keep it 100% original and the replacement 721's would devalue his then new 1975 ( or maybe 76). Silly move as the right front belts broke and the tread came off at highway speed taking his 100% original fender with it in about 50 pieces. He was on his way to a NCRS meet!  A few years later he was at a local used Corvette dealer trying to buy all the Firestone 500 spare tires so he could have the market cornered. He made an insulting offer for my original spare and I told him to go pound salt. Typical Corvette club member back then.

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9 hours ago, Packin31 said:

Cooper Tire date code
Does it really read 4th week of 2003?
Click image for larger version  Name: Copper Tire Date Code.jpg Views: 78 Size: 45.5 KB ID: 541916

That's not the date code.  The date code is only 4 digits.  That is the tire serial number, which does not contain the date code.

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Well maybe if hermetically sealed when new. Of course someone could make a Firestone 500 Portawall and a Delco R58 case for an AGM. 3D printers can do anything.

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I owned a 2003 Ford Ranger from 2006 until I sold it in 2015.  Soon after I bought it, I installed new tires, and I put about 5,000 or 6,000 miles per year on it for the balance of the time I owned it (I had another personal vehicle and a company vehicle).  Sometime around 2010, I left the house for work one morning and noticed one of the tires on the truck was going flat.  The tires looked fine from the outside, the sidewalls looked good, and there was plenty of tread left on all four.   After work, I jacked the truck up to take a look at the tire and found a large bubble on the inside sidewall.  I looked at the inside sidewalls of the other three tires and two of them also had large bubbles.  I don't recall the brand of tire, but from that time on, I inspect my tires about once per month INCLUDING the inside sidewalls.

 

Tires are important.

 

Cheers,

Grog

 

P.S.  No, I wasn't in the habit of driving over curbs or leaping tall medians.

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Firestone 500s were blamed, rightly or not, for rollovers in Ford Explorers, I believe.  At about the same time, Pintos were catching fire on impact because the gas tanks weren't protected.  A popular curse of the period was: "May you drive a Pinto on Firestone 500s."
 

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I guess there are some decent people out there, the guy that stopped to help you out. Glad you got home safely, sounds about like my luck. I knew a guy with a work van, front tire blew out on the interstate, you cant imagine the damage it did to the fender area of that truck. So yeah, it could have been a lot worse.

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9 hours ago, padgett said:

Had the same issue with Firestone 500s on my 78 Sunbird. First warning is vibration. STOP IMMEDIATELY. A thrown tread can really tear up a car.

For many years I bought only Michelins and never had a problem. Lately I think BFGs (same company) are a better rain tire and I like the tread. Thing to look for in any new tire is a nylon cap.

 

 

plies.jpg

 

ps a date code is four numbers in a separate block, they do not start with an alpha. Often are only on the backside of the tire.

 

pps just realized I have a "Radial GT" on a Pontiac rin that is also separating. Is from the last Millenia

 

I got a recall notice of the Firestone 500's that came with my 1976 Oldsmobile, the replacements were the new 721 Firestone's. Was driving down a country road when 1/3 of the tread separated and was thrown off. Luckily I was going 35MPH and it was a rear tire. 

Edited by Pfeil (see edit history)
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I've lost the tread on a Michelin X. Only a few years old! Looked like a recap left the casing, remember those? That was 20 (?) years ago, then I went back to buying the cheapest tires for my daily drivers that the local tire supplier carries. NO issues. They usually age out long before the tread wears out.

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11 hours ago, 61polara said:

That's not the date code.  The date code is only 4 digits.  That is the tire serial number, which does not contain the date code.

 

I found this while doing research on date codes

 

From Coopers website

http://us.coopertire.com/safety/sidewalls/tire-identification-number

 

Tire Rack

https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=11

 

These are the only numbers and letters I could find following the DOT on my tires

DOT  30HY-C280403 (pictured in my above post)

 

 

 

 

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"recap left the casing, remember those" - back in the day I had a set of Casler recap cheater slicks, also back when a broke student had some recaps on an MGA. Never a problem.

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I sure do. I worked for my stepdads service station in the 80's. Recaps and even saved used tires (if they were still in decent shape) from customer cars when they had new ones installed.

 

We would resell the used tires if someone could not afford new ones. That sure would not happen today thou. Or did it with my GTO?

Edited by Packin31 (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Packin31 said:

I sure do. I worked for my stepdads service station in the 80's. Recaps and even saved used tires (if they were still in decent shape) from customer cars when they had new ones installed.

Around here, the used tire business used to be conducted only by small mom-and-pop operations, but now there's a large business dealing only in used tires, advertising heavily on TV.  It seems to cater primarily to people who are nearing the end of lease terms and who thus need to have >50% tread left on their tires at turn-in to avoid a penalty.  Who'd a thunk.....

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23 hours ago, Packin31 said:

 

 

We would resell the used tires if someone could not afford new ones. That sure would not happen today thou. Or did it with my GTO?

 

 Believe it or not, there is a store in my city that sells USED tires! I had to read the add twice  to be sure that I had read it correctly.

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Left to right. my brother, my grandfather, me, and a Penciltucky BS'er.

 

We would go into the auto wrecker's yard and buy every loose wheel and tire in the place. In and 1960's onesy, twosy auto parts sales of used tires was was never hot. But little shops like ours did pretty well. We had used, regrooved, and our upscale $12 Firestone recaps. We also did a lot of farm tire repairs and saved the big casings for farm wagons.

 

The used tire shops in cities today probably work on a similar business model. We still had poor people in the suburbs back then. As I am sure they do today. There is always a niche when some value is added.

 

We didn't need a date code to tell which tires were outdated. Of course, back then we didn't need a white line painted on the right side of the road to show where the edge was either.

 

The bad tires were left in the display rack out front. We'd have a few stolen each week.

TireShop2.jpg.b3c9a311b90ac5e0c4cf09a2c98f9ac3.jpg

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On 6/8/2020 at 10:55 AM, Packin31 said:

He told me the interior the shop that did the interior for him also put new 14" Rallies on and tires.

Back on topic.....The moral of this is don't buy your tires from an upholstery shop.

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