Okay, on my now not so white tires there's a number that might very well be a date code. I'd send a pic of it but it'd not come out. It has the numbers 011613, which I believe to be January 16, 2013 production. Heard through the grapevine who heard from a Lucas rep that there was "a new batch" coming in on the boat from Vietnam, this was back late last summer. So what I'm wondering from y'all who have either tires with this code and especially anyone who may have acquired any white tires say after Aug. 2016, is 1. what number is on the sidewall (only on one side) and 2. by any chance, are they still white!?! Supposedly there's a one year warranty on these POS's, and if per chance there's even a modicum of improvement with the so called new batch, then I intend to act on it. Thanks for your input.
With respect to the date code, I can't remember what the first pair of numbers represent, but I believe the second pair (16) is the week and the third pair (13) is the year. That would mean your tires were produced mid-April 2013.
Go here and you can scroll down and revisit my post from October 27th last year:
I mounted that new tire on October 25th and the report I got a few days ago that it is still white. If it holds out until spring, we'll mount the other three.
That new tire was picked up from Universal around October 2016, possibly a little earlier, and its date code was 011216, which makes it mid-March 2016 production. They told us at the time that even now getting a set that will stay white is still Russian roulette and that they still don't know what's causing the problem.
I have often wondered if the white tires made back in the early 1900s were really the bone white of the tires made now or, perhaps were more of a beige or very light tan.
It is certainly a tragedy that these terribly expensive tires can't stay white. Evidently Someone knew how to concoct the right formula to make a white tire which would stay white. These tires, made by PJA in Morrilton, Arkansas back in the late '60s or early '70s are still white.
OT, is that Metz?
Yes, 1914 Model 22 Torpedo Runabout.
Cool, very cool! If I had more time & $$, I know where there's most of one that could be brought back.
Too many things to do, too little time.
Mine are Universals that I bought from Lucas about 3 years ago. I got my 11 on the road in 2016 and toured for 1500 miles. The tires look good still, No sign of cracking or discoloration.
They are dated 01 11 13. I guess I got lucky. I like the look of whites on the early cars. Hope they can get the problem figured out before I need new ones!
I know that these white tires are correct on early cars, but I am wondering, when did they stop? Are they appropriate on a 1925 Model T?
Soon after tire manufacturers started adding lamp black to the tire compound to increase the wear resistance of the rubber, that is what made the white tires become the black tires we know now, white tires were no longer manufactured. I don't know the year off the top of my head, but I suspect that by the mid 'teens they were no longer available. Sure, most folks would use them until worn out.
Bottom line; a 1925 car of any brand would not have white tires. Sorry, but you can save some of your tire money and spend it on other parts.
Walter, thanks for the more accurate date info, I shoulda thought of that! Now that I see your "16" tire is at least still white for now, I'm gonna put some pressure on some people to get 'em warranted out.
Bill, I agree with you, and am amazed that you're still running on 40+ year old tires! They must be really good quality. Nice car too!
Ken, yep, you either "won the roulette" on yours, or maybe because yours are ribbed, mine are standard type tread, but frankly I can't see where that would make a difference. That is one sweet looking car you have. The dogs are cute too!
Thanks to all for your input.
"...when did they stop? Are they appropriate on a 1925 Model T?"
Black tires began appearing in quantity in about 1917. The 1917 Rip van Winkle car, found with its original tires, had whitewalls with black treads. Ford's annual catalogs of each year's new model cars showed the cars with white (or off-white) tires through 1925, but I expect most buyers were opting for black ones before then.
Those PJA tires were really good ones. They were manufactured at the Museum of Automobiles in Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas, which was then owned by Win Rockefeller (now by MOTAA). Coker bought their molds to stifle competition, as they did all the other manufacturers as well. Apparently Coker didn't get their recipe for the rubber.
These Riversides I bought a couple of years ago will go on my roadster when I install the new wheels. As you can see, I haven't unwrapped them to look for a date. With the tissue for comparison, you can see they're off-white, ivory, or cream-colored. So far they haven't approached anything I would call yellow.
Tim, I think the first pair of numbers in the code might denote the shift at the factory. When you look up standard codes it is only four digit code. When we started making notes trying to quantify the problem, I want to say we have only found "01" and "02" as the first pair of numbers in any code. I don't have that stuff handy right now.
It's a quality control thing and the claim is this was never a problem until manufacture move to Vietnam. The part that baffles me is why someone cannot go over there and help them sort through the issue. Some of the tires produced today apparently don't fail, so the capability must be there, but nobody seems interested in working out the variable.
I had this discussion with a Universal rep again at Hershey and it was said the problem is still unresolved. I think your best bet is get all four tires with the same date code, do like we did and mount one, let it sit for a long time, and if it doesn't turn, then mount the other three.
The Universal rep also said it doesn't matter what tread pattern, whether they are Universal or "Firestone", etc. All the white rubber is coming out of the same pot and being molded at the same place.
Steve, the thing we have noted in playing with several of these things is the tire will hold its color until inflated. That is the one absolute we have found. Whether four years laying around wrapped up, unwrapped, whatever, they're fine. Very shortly after inflating them is when the problem appears. Mount one and let it sit before you go to the trouble to do all four.
(Message edited by WMH on January 18, 2017)
Thanks Walter! I'll keep y'all posted as to how this plays out. I remember your earlier post about the inflation theory. Might have some credence, but of course, why? Especially since they are only being "pushed on" by an inner tube.
Steve, FWIW, my tires looked pretty much exactly as yours. In about two months the brown started showing up.
Ken, our cars could almost be twins. I also like the white tires on the early Model Ts.
Beginning in 2000, the DOT date code was changed from 3 to 4 digits. The first 2 indicate week of the year, the second two the year. So, a date code of 2616 would have been made the 26th week of 2016
I intend to get the new wheels painted and installed sometime in the next few weeks, so we'll see what happens.
We might as well have all of this handy again since we're starting a new year.
This photo shows two tires of the same date code. Both were produced in the fall of 2012 and were unwrapped on the same day in the spring of 2015. I took the photo October 2016. The inflated tire turned brown, the spare did not. All four of the tires we inflated turned brown within a matter of weeks. The two spares, unwrapped and stored in the same conditions near the car, still have yet to turn brown. There were a few different date codes amongst all six tires, but both of the uninflated ones have a corresponding discolored mate on the car with a matching date code.
This photo is of one of the 1989 production white Universals we removed next to the 2012 production tire. They turn that ivory color and are stable. It wasn't cleaned before the photo and hasn't been cleaned in years.
My suspicion about inflating them is that stretching the rubber has something to do with accelerating oxidation, in addition to that particular batch of rubber just plain having bad chemistry in the first place. I wish I had kept better records on the gray tires that did the same. At the time I didn't realize this was going to be a long term problem.
Factory photos from late 1924 show black tires being used for both clincher and balloon tire equipped Model T's. There are some Ford factory "glamour shots" taken of a 1925 Model T that show white balloon tires, but likely they were not a regularly offered item.
Has anyone scrubbed these off colored tires with a brass wire brush and Comet cleanser, or an old fashioned whitewall cleaner? In the fifties I scrubbed many a grubby looking whitewall tire and brought it back to life. The whitewall cleaner would almost knock you out (figuratively speaking) unless you had lots of ventilation.
Ted, I have tried Acetone, MEK, both brass and wire brush, bleach, and very high strength engine cleaner. Once the tires turn pinkish-brown, it will not come off. On a previous thread (last year I believe) one fellow cut his tire off the rim and looking at the cut, you could see the discoloration through the layers of rubber from top to bottom.
I took a chance on Grays, let's see what happens with these, as I have not yet seen discolored gray tires....yet.....
Les, I hope you find you got a good set, but I've mounted two sets of gray tires and they discolored just like the white ones. In the case of one set they surface cracked pretty bad.
I used to think gray tires were just white ones with a gray coating on them. The ones I had done were white on the inside and on the clincher bead and the color transition was sloppy such that it looked like it was put on with a brush. However, this last set of white tires I mounted were gray on the inside, so I don't know if they're just coating and recoating depending on what they need to meet demand, or what. Interestingly enough, those 27 year old white ones that I removed awhile back were black inside.
The Universal rep at Hershey told me that gray tires are off the market again due to the trouble they have had with them and it doesn't sound like they are coming back anytime soon.
John Mays...how old/what code is on the sidewall of your actually white tires? LOL...and, when you're ready to sell Frank, let me know!
The tires on John's car were new in 2008. Here's a photo I posted on the forum the day I mounted them:
The photo is dated June 21, 2008 so the tires are now close to 10 years old at least. One of the front tires turns brown on a regular basis, it can be made white again by scrubbing with Scotch Brite and bleach, but it turns brown again within a few months.
In what country were the 2008 tires made?
A big sticker was on each tire that said Made in Vietnam.
Walter, to my knowledge they're all made in vietnam. All my black & the white tires I've bought had stickers as Royce said. And that said and I'm sure there's no reason for ribbed tires staying white..yet here's two instances where they are. Seems all the treaded tires go brown. And of course Franks tires are older..maybe even made before '08. Virtually NOTHING cleans my tires back to even an off white.
Maybe a just thought ,but how does the inside of the tire look? Maybe those who have had their tires turn different colors (gray,brown,...)are using something to help in the mounting process of the tire over tube onto the rim that MIGHT be causing the change.
All the white and gray tires today seem to be made in Vietnam, but they used not to be. I was curious about Royce's because it might be an indicator of when the transition took place.
You can't tell but the tires I posted above are ribbed. The both sets of the gray tires that I mentioned discoloring were smooth. I've also seen a set of gray smooths on another car that deteriorated rapidly with some pretty nasty cracks in them in addition to discoloring.
In response to Craig's comment, I don't use anything other than a little tire mounting lube, if necessary, and it doesn't get slathered all over the tire. I'm told that the tire I recently replaced hasn't discolored and it was mounted in the same way I have done all of the others, so it's definitely something with the rubber itself.
I would love to saw one in half to get a look at a cross-section of the rubber, but Universal has honored replacing or refunding the defective tires in this case, so it would be throwing money out the window to do so.
I have very large tires on one of my cars. The tires have very wide white walls and over time get a yellow tint. I have used a fine sanding block and have been able to clean the most of the yellow off. I very carefully use Westleys tire bleach and most of the time the tires look pretty white after this process. You should read the label on the tire bleach. I never get it on the wire spoke wheels and only apply it with a damp towel and use rubber gloves. just my .02.
I wonder if the type of rubber has a lot to do with it as the early tires before 1920 at least were made of natural rubber which is white or off white. I think when synthetic rubber came available in the early 20's the black tires became more popular as they were more wear resistant and tougher. KGB
I was over looking at '14 that was restored a few years ago, but only has a few miles put on it since the restoration. It has white non skids on it that have the brown tire issue. What was interesting is the "flashing" from the molding of the tire was still white, but the tire it was attached to was brown. Also, I pulled a small stone from the tread and the tire was white under the stone. I've got pictures but have no idea how to get them from my phone to the forum.
What I don't understand is why the tire manufacturers can make white bicycle tires for my grand kids bikes that stay white until they are worn out, but can't make whitewall tires or white tires that won't turn brown. We never had that problem back in the '50's up into at least the 70's that I know of. This has been a problem for at least 30 years that I know of. It surely can't be that hard to replicate the old school processes. I don't get it. Why can't they fix this?!!! Sorry for the rant, but it just pi$$es me off!! Dave
Welcome to the P.O. club Dave! That's why I started this "rant" again back last January. The "good" part is, I've got 4 brand new "whities" still in the black wrapper in my garage waiting to be mounted again, sometime in late April. I'm afraid to even uncover them since no one really knows for sure what's causing the problem. I've been blaming the lack of a UV protectant in the rubber, others say it's some sort of osmosis thing from the air pressure in the tubes. Who knows. I'm gonna experiment by "sealing" the inside of the tires with clear lacquer spray, scrub down the outside of the tires real good and either "dress" them, and/or spray this clear UV protectant stuff made for outdoor furniture (they must be experience similar sun issues?) on them too. IF they don't turn brown, the only problem will be we really won't know what cured it! The lacquer on the inside, or the "stuff" on the outside! Long as we get results!