The discoloration of the white tires has been a problem for years now but as of this point in time, I have not heard of anyone presenting a concrete answer or reason for the problem. Unfortunately, I can not currently do that either. But I do have a theory as to the source, which I am very confident with, and wish to present it with what information I have at this point.
First off we need to clarify the problem we are talking about here. It would be absurd to think that all tire problems (i.e. cracking, yellowing, cord separation) are due to one cause. The particular issue we are talking about here is the rapid (typically within 2 or 3 months) browning of the white tires. The problem can be as little as a noticeable tanning of the tire or it can develop to the point of being a dark brown that has a pinkish hew to it, and everything in between. This browning of the tires can be lightened slightly with various cleaners, but in general can’t be removed.
The source of the problem appears to be the “TUBES”. Now before you tell me that I have been running the T in the garage with the doors closed too long (you wouldn’t be the first and you may be right), please read the rest of this post.
I have dealt with this problem multiple times on a variety of different tires, but one instance in particular has made me zero in on the tubes as being the reason or the catalyst to cause a tire to discolor in this fashion.
One of the cars I personally have is a 1922 roadster and it is fitted with white Firestone tread 30 x 3½ tires all the way around. They had been on the car for over 15 years and have always been as white as when new (after normal cleaning of course). Last winter it was stored in the same detached garage it has been in for years, when one day I came out to find that one tire had gone flat. The tube had failed at the valve stem. While the tires were getting worn, I was not ready to replace them yet as I knew I could get another season out of them. So I ordered a new tube and replaced it, never moving the car or anything around it. By spring that tire was light brown, but all the other tires remained white.
In this case, there was only one variable that I could come up with. The TUBE. Nothing else had changed. Even the products (talcum powder) I used in mounting were the same.
While I find it hard to believe that a chemical/gas could be releasing from the tube and then permeating through the rubber of the tire to the degree that could cause this discoloration to occur, there is other evidence to suggest this is what is happening.
I would like to provide some interesting observations in the photo above, of a badly discolored Universal straight rib tire. First notice that the discoloration of the tire is not consistent across the entire tire. The raised bead on the side of the tire and the tread area are much lighter. If you were to take a cross section of this tire, you would realize that the outside of the tire is darker where the tire is “thinner”.
Another very interesting observation. Take a look at the bead. Where the white rubber was covered by the rim, it is still bright white. Also, I have noted that tires that discolor do not show signs of the problem on the inside of the tire. In other words, the discoloration is only on the outside surface of the tire where it has been exposed to the atmosphere and light. This suggests that there is another component involved here. Whatever is coming through the tire, is then combining with something at/on the surface of the tire. Oxygen, CO2, HC’s (from the vehicles open fuel system) and so on, something already on the outside of the tire (mold release?) or UV’s from the sun come to mind. Even though UV rays are a real problem when it comes to rubber, I question if this is the case here based on personal experience and reports of tires discoloring in low light storage, but I certainly would not rule it out by any means.
So, if the tubes are the source/trigger to the tire discoloration problem, which tubes are the culprits? Well I can’t say for certain yet that it is just one type/brand of tube, but I can tell you what I have found so far.
All of the discolored tires that I have been able to check the tubes in, have had tubes marked “MADE IN EEC”. Now I will say that I have not been able to confirm this in enough tires, as of this point, for it to be conclusive, but it has been consistent so far. Because of this, I would not normally post this type of information pointing a finger at a product but in this case something has changed. I have been told by a representative of the company that imported this tube, that it is no longer being made and that a different company is now making their tubes. If that is the case, it is possible that our problems with the discoloration of the white tires may be coming to an end all by itself. It is also possible that the problem just moved to another tube supplier or that there are more than one type of tubes that are causing the issues. Also, until the nature of the problem is clearly identified and the manufactures informed, the process and products used at any plant that makes tubes, could change so now a different tube is now causing the problem.
With what resources I have, I am currently running a little test of three types of tubes in the other three 15+ year old white tires. In one of them is a NOS “Made in EEC” tube. This test has a problem though. Since the “Made in EEC” tubes are no longer produced, I could not get a “fresh” one for this test. Based on what I have seen, this could be a factor in duplicating the discoloration and proving that this tube is the source of the problem. Time will tell.
Now if this theory is flawed and I am all wet, believe me I want to know. My hope at that point is that by presenting this theory, it will help to lead to the actual cause and solution. Since the tire manufactures have been warranting these discolored tires, I would imagine they are eager for a solution also.
To John Goedeken, who started the previous post, and to anyone else that might have access to a lab that could do the type of testing that could help identify the chemical compound/s responsible for this problem, please get in touch with me.
So… to all those that have had this problem, do you know (with certainty) what type of tube you had in the tire/s?
Thank you for making this excellent post. You have laid out your case very well. All I know to tell you at this point is I have used some tubes marked EEC, but I didn't document which ones went where. In the case of two cars (two of the most recent) I know spares were purchased and I should be able to get an answer for you.
On your ribbed Universals, have you noticed any inconsistency in the coloring of the sidewall beyond what you mentioned? When last looking at the ribbed Universals I mounted a couple of years ago, there were splotchy areas that were darker than most of the tire and where these dark areas were, the cracking was worse and it seemed harder. I don't think it was contamination from my hands since they don't appear shaped as such and I've never had the gray smooth ones do that.
Walter... I have seen variation on some tires like you are describing, but not the deterioration to the degree that you described. It also sounds like you have had your discolored tires much longer than the ones I have worked with. Most of the ones I have been exposed to were then returned for replacement soon after the problems developed.
Has anyone experienced this much browning on the white wall 21 inch tires? Les
On your current test, the pressure may be quite relevant. Simply placing tubes in unmounted tires may not work at all.
Tod...certainly an interesting theory. Seems like might be credible given what has suddenly happened. Here's a little bit of history on mine. Before I bought my 4 white tires last year, I removed 4 white firestone's. 3 were still white, the 4th. was mildly yellow. Unfortunately, I do not know what brand tubes were in them, but I suspect they were all cokers, as I still have two of them laying in the basement from that set. No size on 'em, but they look to be 30x3. The one yellow tire is a 30x3. Fast forward to last April. I bought all new tubes with the since returned brown tires, from Langs. They were all EEC's. Don't know how long they've been on the shelf, but I suspect they're fairly "fresh". Forward more to last August or so..when I replced my two front 3.5s (black) on my '20, bought tires/tubes from Langs, and the tubes came in made in China. With much help from Langs, Steve was able to acquire two brand new..fresh in from distributor, EEC's. So they still must be made, but from whom, who knows? Will these "newest EEC's" turn a white tire brown? Who knows? But, if this is indeed a strong theory, then about all we can do is maybe figure out a way, and what to use, to "seal" or coat the tube? I dunno!
Tod, the tires I mentioned above were manufactured in the fall of 2012 and I mounted them in the spring of 2015. So, they were already a couple of years old before Universal took them off the rack and sold them to us. They were still snow white before being mounted and turned within a matter of weeks.
The replacements supplied by Universal were manufactured spring of 2016 and I mounted one of them in the fall of 2016. We have yet to do the other three because we wanted to see if the replacements were going to turn, also. The thinking being that if this one turns, my friend wants to switch back to black tires.
It's a shame. He used to run white tires when you could get good ones and was excited to be able to put whites on it again. This has been a lot of expense and frustration.
Both sets of gray tires I mounted, also within 2011 - 2014, also had the same issues being discussed above.
Tim, not to shoot down your idea of sealing the tube or tire, but I suspect you'll be in for some heartache if you use a paint, shellac, or whatever as mentioned before. Aside from the solvent effect on the rubber itself, there are not many coatings that, when in constant contact, won't stick to some degree. You may very well find that the tube "glues" itself to the tire. This may make for some ugly surprises in-service as the tire/tube assembly expand, contract, flex, etc.
The key to all of this is for the tire retailers to push the manufacturers to find the real problem and fix it, because we know this wasn't an issue in years past. What we all want is achievable. It's very much an, "Our customers are our quality control" approach by the retailers.
In the rubber industry the browning of tires is called "blooming". There is a good article by Ram Charan, Blooming In Rubber, An Overview With Analytical Path. www.ramcharan.org/.../November%202013%20-%20Blooming%20in%20Rubber.pd..
Please check some of these articles. I think it will help us focus on the process. Thanks. John Goedeken
Walter..I kinda figured as much. Just thinking out loud. How can we get the mfg. address so we can start to gang up on them?
Chadwick.... I agree that the test tires should be mounted and inflated to running pressure, and they are. It is hard the see but the test tires are mounted on some extra non-demountable rims that I had on hand.
Tim.... I had a little trouble following your story but it sounds like you had four white tires turn brown and that they all had the "Made in EEC" tubes in them. Is this correct?
I agree with Walter on the subject of coating the inside of the tires. It is likely to be very ineffective and cause problems to boot.
Also, the discontinuation of the tubes marked "Made in EEC" is a resent occurrence. For a while some of the suppliers were out of the metal stem 30 x 3 1/2 tubes because of it. The start of my test was delayed waiting for the first batch of the new tubes to come in at the beginning of February of this year.
John.... There are many different tire problems and blooming is one of them, but I can't see how it would explain why a 15+ year old tire would suddenly turn brown after the tube was replaced. If you know how this could occur, please let me know. I am all ears. I want to come up with the correct answer to the problem.
Also, I couldn't get your link to work. I get a "page not found" error.
In general, I want to say again that we have seen multiple problems with tires over the years. Some of these issues have been clearly the fault of the tire and/or its production methods. That can make things a bit confusing. Some of the problems with yellowing of tires I believe to be a separate issue at this point.
This looks like the correct link:
Tod, yes they were all EEC, only a year old. But don't know how long they may have been "on the shelf", however I suspect they were pretty "fresh productions".
Wallace Wade told me the same thing, and I have posted it on several threads on the subject. I had the exact same experience with my 1912 (now John Mays).
One tire was turning orange while the other three were fine. The one turning orange had a new "Made in Vietnam" tube.
Thank you Chris for the correct link.
John.... Interesting paper on blooming in rubber products. As a non-chemist, some of it is a little hard to follow but based on the descriptions of the different bloom classifications, I now wonder if the problem, we are discussing hear, could be a type of blooming that is somehow being triggered by something coming from the tube. Need a chemist that is familiar with this type of testing, to come up with the answer to that question but first we need to confirm that a type or types of tubes are the trigger.
Royce.... I did see in the previous thread that you stated that Coker was aware of the problem with tubes. Can you elaborate?
Also, how long ago did you have the problem with one tire turning orange on the 1912 you used to own?
If there is a thought to coat a tube while experiments are under way I wonder how well rubber cement might work. Perhaps coat half a tube and see what develops.
If someone would like to donate me a bunch of new white tires, and rims I will be happy to run tests.
Wallace Wade was the owner of a local tire store that until recently sold tires for Model T and other classic cars. He told me that Coker had identified the tubes as the problem. Coker controls manufacture of all clincher tires except Dunlop brand.
This talk that the inner tubes cause the blooming needs to stop !!! .. go get a grinder, sandblaster, sandpaper if you like & rub the outer surface of your bloomed tire...you will eventually come to the white of the tire.. that puts this tube theory out the window doesnt it ?? its logical !!...The blooming starts from the outer surface ...a chemical reaction occurs with the tire from CO2 in atmosphere... the tire is actually hardening & drying out & losing its suppleness.
THE PROBLEM starts back at the factory in Vietnam ... imagine a large vat containing the soluble liquid prior to becoming the rubber compound ...when these fools mixed up the solution they got it wrong sometimes and too much hardener was added which now after some time causes the blooming on some tires & once that vat was emptied ..a new batch of the tire solution was made & they got the mixture sometimes right !!
hence why some white tires bloom & some dont...i purchased 5 white tires in 2009 & one of them only bloomed the other 4 are still white to this day.. what we need to do is band together & hold these tire representatives that buy the tires from Vietnam accountable ....when they make the purchase they should check each tire for the hardening content used with some sort of chemical analysys machine... anyhow`s thats just my theory & closer to reality of this problem than the theory the inner tube being the fault ... honestly thats totally a joke !! best thing to do when you have a bloomed tire is either live with it or paint it with a white rubber pool paint or white road paint..
has anyone seen a 1950s whitewall tire made back then or even now in USA for either a Caddy, Buick, plymouth etc go tan color or Bloom ? I havent ... sure they can get dirty but the white sidewall doesent tan or bloom to a caramel color ..its obvious the tire technicians in the US get the solution to make this white rubber compound right...
There could be multiple reasons why some tyres go brown such as a "bad" tube and a tyre from a bad batch being used together.
Appears that the start of this thread has correct scientific method, and observation. 3 out of 4 identical tires, different tube.
Tire manufacturing does NOT come from a big vat of soluble liquid.
Tod...well I've got 4 brand new, made in 2016 Wards white tires, replaced under warranty. Bought 4 brand new tubes from Ashley at Langs, these are all from China. Two were "unmarked" other than made in China, the other two did have some other "brand name" (forgot what it was) and even came in a separate box. They too were made in China and I'd swear are identical to the other two, other than the size. Got them mounted last week. They'll stay in the barn until May 1 or thereabouts, depending on driving weather. So now the clock starts ticking! We'll see what, if anything happens in about a month.
Since John Kyprios post brought this subject back up to the top, I thought I would take this opportunity to provide some updates on this issue.
About a month ago, I contacted Coker and ended up getting patched through to a Patrick Stone. I quizzed him as to what they thought the source of this particular tire problem was. Without expressing my ideas, he offered that they were thinking the tubes were the source. I then told him this was also my theory. He was quite interested in what I had put together so I emailed him what I had with the stated hopes that they would do the same so that I could inform others. Well I have not heard from him and he has not responded to my emails as of this point.
As reported in another thread, Langs has recently added the following to their listings online for the white tires that they sell.....
"NOTE: ALL WHITE TIRE WARRENTY, They require our new tubes to be used with ALL White tires. Our tubes have been tested and approved for use. Thus, they are acceptable under the terms of the warranty. (The cheaper versions have been known to cause discoloration to the tires). When making a warranty claim on the All White tires, we will need to submit proof to our manufacturer that new tubes were purchased and used in the tires."
Seams like the tire supplier has suddenly focused on the tubes as the source of the problem.
As I stated in my original post, there are multiple problems that white tires (and tires in general) can have. Blooming is definitely one of them. The chemical processes that causes "blooming" might very well be a factor in this problem, but it doesn't explain why a 15+ year old white tire would suddenly discolor after only changing the tube. The tube was obviously the trigger. If you can explain that situation another way, believe me I would like to here it.
As of this point in time, all of the white tires that have had this severe browning problem AND I have been able to confirm what tubes were in them (not the owner going by memory), have had the tubes that are marked "Made In EEC" on them. Once again, the good news is that these tubes are no longer made, so hopefully our white (and gray) tire browning problems have come to an end. Time will tell.
Dear God I hope so! I'm in no mood to go through this again! As I said above I'll let ya know in a month, and then in another month. I figure if they haven't started to even show a thread of browning by the end of June, we're okay.
I agree im puzzled also why a tire would discolor after 15 yrs once the tube was changed..& we cant just go with that as the problem.. i personally still think its not the tube & i too wish to get to the bottom of this problem . So today i spent the day removing new tubes & white tyres that havent seen the road & were unwrapped 2 yrs ago & then sat on my T which sat off the floor on jack stands & in a climate controlled enviroment... The rear 2 tubes were the EEC type ..my front wheels carries the universal type tube (made in mexico)
..please view pics below i took today & have submitted for your interest ..with the (top pic) sure the EEC have bloomed more than the front which had the universals .. (bottom pic).
But the fronts are too starting to bloom now ..2 months ago there was no blooming on the fronts & summer here in OZ just finished ..so did the warmer climate hasten the blooming ??
should we blame the universal type tubes too .. ?? the inner tire is white clean so how would the tube be the problem ?? why is the inner clean ? Il tell you why ! ..cos no Co2 can penetrate thru once pumped up n sealed!
The tires in colder climate didnt bloom as fast thats what i have personally noticed also.
Which made me think they are definitely drying out faster in warmer climate.
BUT ... there was a another white wheel i made up at the same time as the other 4 back 2 years ago & kept this wheel to the side as a spare ..but i did not pump up air in this spare wheel with tube EEC type inside & its still as white as snow..
weird huh ??
anyway`s concerning Langs, new listing regarding new tubes for their white tires is shown to be in a testing stage still & they too are skeptical & speculative . They ask you to keep receipts of purchase incase your new tires bloom using their new tube.. Langs, as a tire seller & has dealt with this problem u think would of tested their product & this problem by getting some scientist involved as to why these white tires bloom.
im sorry but until we get a scientific perspective on this were going to be driving around with pooh colored tires that are drying out slowly & that truly sh#ts me too !!
This is interesting:
"BUT ... there was a another white wheel i made up at the same time as the other 4 back 2 years ago & kept this wheel to the side as a spare ..but i did not pump up air in this spare wheel with tube EEC type inside & its still as white as snow..
weird huh ??"
My only consistent observation with all of this is the problem doesn't occur until the tire is inflated and there it is again. I think that also adds to the point that it's not likely UV causing the problem. Thank you for sharing your observations.
I almost wonder if the tire almost has sort of a shell or glaze to it when coming out of the mold and when we inflate them, we more or less crack that shell and what is underneath starts oxidizing.
The only problem I have with all of this is Tod's odd problem of his old tire not turning until installing a modern tube. That scrambled all my thinking on this over the last several years.
In previous threads on the white tire problem, a picture was posted of a tire cut through the cross-section which showed white rubber turning brown, sort of like a carmel nougat. I think that demonstrates that at least in most cases, the "bloom" is not on the surface.
While this doesn't have a lot to do with tires, I'd like to offer this observation which at least in my mind, shows how the inter-reactions of plastic materials can defy "logic".
When I got my T last fall, an older restoration, I found the side-curtains in their original-type cloth bags, which hadn't seen much use at all. Stored on top of the curtain bags were two new EEC innertubes in their original package plastic bags. When I took the side-curtains out, there was a brown discoloration on a clear (vinyl ?) side-light which corresponded to the position of the bags containing the innertubes. The plastic bag the tubes came in was not discolored.
Problem with all of these flexible materials, vinyls, plastics, synthetic rubber, etc., is that their manufacture entails the use of complex chemical materials to "plasticize" them, and they "off-gas" or emanate volatiles throughout their life, sort of like slow-drying paint. When these "plasticizers" are exhausted, the materials become hard and brittle. Whether materials they are in contact with are permeable to these volatiles is an open question even the guys who make the stuff probably can't answer, since there is no need to test such things in most cases. It's just our bad luck that it happens white tires is one of those cases where it matters !
From a newbe poster. I am following this one with a lot of interest.
I had a nearly identical experience with white tires and tubes as Tod described.
First 4 Firestone treaded all white tires complete with tubes picked up at Hershey and then put in storage for few years. When pulled out and mounted they were snow white. About a week later one tire was flat and when removed the tube was found to be leaking at the joint with the metal stem.
Rather than order another tube I took another one from my spares pile (different supplier) and installed it. A few weeks later the tire started to discolor and is now brown.
Two year later, three tires are still white and the brown one has leveled off at brown.
The tires have barely 100 miles on them so I will be running them until worn then think about what the next set will be.
East Coast Canada
You guys do know that ended 20+ years ago. Now it's called the EU.
There is though another EEC, the Eurasian Economic Community...Russia and other former USSR countries. Maybe CNN or another fake news media outlet can find a way blame the brown tyres issue on the Kremlin like everything else.
Constantine, thanks for the correction but let's please stick to Model T stuff- many don't appreciate your assessment in this thread, no matter how right/wrong you are.
Sorry, was clearly a joke/satire.
Would be interesting to know how old these EEC tubes are and where exactly they were made. Could explain many things.
James, who are these "many" for whom you are spokesman?
Constantine, the tubes I have handled in recent years were marked EEC. Attached is a photo of one I haven't used, purchased about 2-1/2 years ago:
Ah; l see. My guess is EEC is still there because they didn't want to update the mould when the EEC became the EU.
You may be correct. The Eurasian EEC you mentioned seems to be a governing body of the Eurasian Economic Union, but I'm certainly no expert on that. Just the result of some quick Wikipedia reading.
Walter, EEC on this these tubes my guess is stands for European Economic Community which was later renamed the EU. The mould used to make the tubes has probably not been updated for the new name.
I suspect you're right. Either that or they have ten million of these things sitting in a Polish warehouse somewhere and they're a lot older than we think.
here is more about this subject in a seperate model T forum for your interest.
I have been wanting to post again for a couple of days now but work for me has been in overload mode lately and it has meant some long hours.
Your situation is very interesting and may suggest that there is a second tube that is an issue here. The problem is obviously worse with the tires that had the "Made In EEC" tubes in them but you are also having some browning with the 30X3 Universal tubes.
I know you are very skeptical of my tube theory but maybe this will help some. In mounting tires, some people install rim flaps and some do not (why, or why not to install a rim flap should be saved for another thread). From my experience, it seams to be about 50/50 odds as to if there is a rim flap in a tire. I will tell you right now that you had rim flaps in your tires that you have photos of in your post above. If you want, I will tell you how I know.
You are correct in that the "Made In EEC" was left on the molds for the tubes. I had an inside source tell me that these tubes have not been made in Europe for quite a while now and were being produced in a factory somewhere in Asia.
I find your situation very, very interesting! I wish I could convince you to take the time and effort to dismount that one tire that turned brown and see what tube is in it. Inquiring minds want to know.
Thank you also for your input. I find it also interesting the situation you had with the EEC tubes discoloring your side curtains.
As I noted in my original post, this browning problem occurs on the outside surface of the tire, where it is exposed to something in the atmosphere, or atmospheric pressure. The inside of the tire will stay white (if it was white to begin with). For the tires, the problem doesn't occur until the tube is under pressure inside the tire. Also, the likelihood of the problem and its severity also seams to lessen as the tube ages (fresh new tubes = darker brown tires).
As another observation, I have had the experience that the "Made In EEC" tubes also have another problem. They tend to weep down. If it sits untouched all winter, the tire might be flat or very low by spring. Has this also been experienced by anyone else or is it just me?
What happens to the inside of a browned tire when you take it off? Does it then turn brown too?
I'm remaining skeptical regarding the tube theory. I also wonder why the inside of the tires remain white even with the bad tubes?
Well, I had my newly replaced under warranty tires mounted on April 13th. So far it's too early. As I recall, I didn't start noticing "things" last year until maybe 3 weeks? Definitely within a month. So I'll keep ya posted. I have the "new approved" tubes so to speak, from China. Tod, you mention the severity lessens as the tube ages...does that mean we should start requiring the vendors to "age" the tubes months/years, before selling them? This can really get quite complicated. I will say this, when I mentioned this theory to the tire installers, you shoulda seen them laugh! And the one guy who's been there forever said "If the tires are that "wimpy" that they DO allow that to happen, then they're not worth crap". (not the actual word he used!). Just sayin'.
No, it will stay white (if it was white to start with).
I understand peoples skepticism. It appears that something is migrating through the tire and reacting with something in the atmosphere (CO2, O2, O, HC's?). Another theory is that whatever is gassing off of the tube is triggering the blooming process in the tire.
Whatever is off gassing from the tubes is not there in an unlimited supply. From experience, if you had a new tube, the problem would be worse. If it had been sitting on a shelf for months, the browning wouldn't be as bad. If you used the tubes in tires and the white tires turned brown, now you replaced the tires but reused the tubes in the new white tires, you might not have any browning at all, with the second set of tires, because the tubes had lost most of what they were off gassing by that point.
Believe me, if you had told me that the tubes were the problem a little over two years ago, I would have been laughing right along with the guys at the tire shop. Until recent events, I still have been very skeptical about presenting this theory because I see how ridiculous it looks at first glance.
I mentioned that I know that John had rim flaps in his tires but didn't say why, mostly because of the time it will take to put that post together. I will work on presenting that information later but for right now I have to get back to work (self employed and I have no one else to get the work done for me).
Walter- in response to your question, I was requesting that the topic remain on topic and not degrade into a political rant of unsubstantiated quality.
My "many" word choice could be also "some", "a few" or "others" if those are more satisfying to you. If you would choose to get political then use an "OT" on the start of the thread and blather away, my friend.
The thought police are on patrol -- arrest me!
Tod, my friend with the white tire issue called yesterday. The tubes used during the first round were at least EEC in the fronts. In the second round, the replacement tube used with the replacement white tire we're experimenting with on the front is also an EEC.
On the first round, all four tires turned horribly in short order and he thinks they are continuing to get worse.
On the second round, this tire has stayed fairly white except for a little discoloration in the cove on the sidewall. Not desirable, but certainly acceptable compared to the first round. It has been about six months now.
Interestingly enough, in the second round of replacement tires and tubes, while the front tubes are EEC, he said the rears are Made in China. It will be interesting to see what we pull from the rear tires installed during the first round. I expect to go there and finish swapping things out sometime in the next several weeks and can provide a more accurate report after that.
Tod, you are correct i inserted all new rim flaps , tubes & tires when i put the wheels together 2 yrs ago ..the rim flaps were quite greasey obviously to keep them supple but i dont see any makers name on them...but i did buy them from Wallace Wade, in TX in 2009... i purchased 10 white tires , 10 tubes, 10 tire flaps . 5 wheels are still wrapped & sitting under my work bench to this day ..i havent bothered unwrapping & inspecting them yet..But what i have noticed with the 5 wheels i did put together 2 yrs ago(less the spare un-pumped wheel i mentioned previously). is that the blooming starts in the tread edge in one area first , about the size of toilet roll length & width.. the blooming first started on all wheels at 12`oclock position on the tire whilst all 4 wheels on car had air stem at 6 oclock.
From the 12o clock position it spread slowly downward the sidewall a little at first & from there it then started blooming around the complete tread edge of tire then down the complete sidewall slowly . SO Maybe theres something in that observation ? hmmmm dunno.
That's one I haven't heard before. On the tires I've observed, the discoloring didn't occur as through it originated at one point and was moving outward. They discolored all over at once.
Tod , aha !! ..you knew i had the tire flaps in cos most of the discloring is top half of tire ...& that the flap protected that erea from blooming ??
awww Man "you are the blooming tire whisperer " !!
Actually i also noticed that the clear plastic bag each new EEC tubes i still have left to mount showed a rusty like coloring when i checked them the other day... so there !! more things that make you go hmmmmm
John you are correct. The rim flap runs up the inside of the tire helping to insulate the lower part of the sidewall from some of the effects of the tube off gassing.
I drew this tire assembly cutaway to show how the rim flap sits inside the tire.
Here is a Universal tire that did not have a rim flap in it.
Using the drawing above, also note that the tire is darker where the sidewall is thinnest.
Next is a photo of one of Gary Wheelers tires.
I have not asked him but it is very apparent that this tire had a rim liner in it, protecting the bottom half of the sidewall from becoming as discolored as the rest of the tire. On some tires it is not as obvious as these two examples but you can often tell if it had a rim liner in it or not.
This characteristic goes a long way to support the whole theory that the tubes are the source or trigger of this tire problem.
Now if only we could come up with what is chemically happening to cause this. With that information in the hands of the manufacturers, we could get this problem solved permanently. As it stands right now, even though the EEC tubes are no longer being made, who knows if there are other tubes that are causing the same problem to some degree. Your case John may be evidence of that. Even the composition of the rim flaps could become an issue until this problem is fully understood.
John, I have been called a lot of things but your "blooming tire whisperer" is a first. I got a good chuckle out of that one.
How bout if you assemble the new tubes in old black tires to age them a little before installing them in white tires? Not my dog, not my fight. But I'm still puzzled. Dave in Bellingham, WA
While what you are proposing would be theoretically possible base on my experience, hopefully it is unnecessary as the tubes that are the main suspect at this point are no longer available.
If there's merit in David's suggestion, how about just inflating the tubes and laying them by ? Maybe they'd off-gas quicker without being in a tire ?
I saw this sticker on a PRO-TRAC performance tire today.
"WARNING! DO NOT stack or lean tires where any part of the black rubber touches the white rubber or a permanent stain will occur"
Had never noticed a sticker like this on a tire before.....
True- for many years, tire dealers have told customers never to let whitewalls rest on black tires while being stored.
ok thats a good point Tod, but i still personally believe that the formula for making any white tires or any white markings on tires around the 2009 era were incorrect ..i have attached a pic of my 1968 shelby Tire. These tires that were purchased new in 2009 are still on the car today..ive only done about 50 miles in this car since 2009 believe it or not and 2 years ago i cleaned the white scripting on the tires as they too were blooming also..i got them back white with some car polish & aggressive scrubbing back then ...today i took this pic of just one of the tires & as you can see ...the white scripting on all 4 tires is blooming again ..
John, I've experienced that on tires for later model cars also, particularly some wide-whites. The difference is I've been able to clean them back to bright white with a little wet sanding. With the all-gray and white tires I have not been able to clean them with any of the more aggressive techniques. There's something different about the two problems.
Your notes and the others sent me into my old picture and reference files and also into the barn to check the spares boxes. Here is an extended version of the tire browning story for my tires.
The tires are mounted on tri-color wheels on an “off topic” car and I got problem one on and off twice without scratching the paint so until there is a replacement tire and tube handy I probably won’t chance taking it off an marking up the wheel again just yet.
Some more thoughts to consider. Essentially all rubber today used in tubes and tires is synthetic rubber which is usually made from crude oil by-products. Crude oil comes from a range of sources and can very a lot in its chemistry, including sulphur content. An interesting thing about sulphur, combine it with oxygen and you get sulphur dioxide gas which is yellow/brown which will do interesting things to various materials.
Most crude oils used in North America are low in sulphur or are required to be refined until most of the sulphur is removed before the liquid products are marketed. Elsewhere in the world cost is more important than the sulphur content so who knows what may be used where in the making of raw synthetic rubber.
So, could there be a link between the sulphur content of the synthetic rubber and the later off gassing and browning of white rubber? Perhaps there is someone more knowledgeable about the manufacturing of synthetic rubber base products that can add more detail to this part.
I initially blamed the discoloration on my using dishwashing soap for the lubricant when installing the tires. Over time there has been some yellowing around the tire beads on all four tires which may have been from the soap used. Since one tire had been soaped twice I thought it might have been the cause.
I’m a bit of a pack rate and saved the leaky tube that was replaced and eventually also found the remaining 3 tubes from a set of 4 that I picked the replacement tube that went into the tire that browned,
And now for the rest of the story.
2010 or 2011 Matched set of 4, Firestone treaded white tires, rim flaps and tubes.
Purchased from Coker Tire and picked up at Hershey. Tires and tubes stored in their original wrappings and bags in the dark.
July 7, 2013 Tires installed on an “off topic” car. All tires bright white. All four with rim flaps. One new tube leaked at the stem and was replaced a week later with one from a set purchased saved for a T project. Tubes supplied form Universal tire. I forget if I bought it from them or via one of the parts suppliers.
June 2014 First time outdoors. Still mostly white. Some initial discoloration around the tread area.
August 2014 Noticeable discoloration, mild browning in the tread and side wall. Bead area is still white.
2015 Very noticeable discoloration. Browning continued to darken
May 2016 Browning has turned dark on the tread and side wall. The edge of the bead is still mostly white.
Original tubes. US made 30X3 ½. Marked “warning do not use on radial tires”. These are in the three tires that are still white.
One tube replaced from spares, “Made in EEC V-0”
Nova Scotia, Canada
Thanks for digging up more information about your white tire problem Jeff! So it appears we have another "EEC" tube in a white tire that is now brown.
There seams to be a pretty clear correlation to confidently say that the "EEC" tubes are somehow causing the white (and gray) tires to turn brown (but without a conclusive test, I still will call it a theory at this point). Like I mentioned before, these tubes are no longer being made so hopefully that problem has been solved. So now I am interested in what other tubes MAY be a problem.
Royce reported that a couple of years ago he had a tire on the 1912 he had turn brown that had a "Made in Vietnam" tube in it. John Kryprios reported a tire turning brown with a "Universal" tube in it. Has anybody else had a white tire turn brown with an "EEC" tube OR any other type of tube.
I want to caution people here that we do not have enough information as to what is actually happening here. Don't condemn a tube or a supplier on a single report. This has been a mind bending issue that has been going on for a while now that even the suppliers and manufactures have not been able to get a handle on. They have been warranting a lot of white tires and I am sure they would like to see this issue come to an end also. My desire is only to help this happen.
Another caution. We are dealing with a particular tire problem here. Don't blame the tubes for every type if failure.
Add to this the fact that the compounds used in the manufacturing of a tube could change at any time. A tube that was a problem could now be just fine (and visa versa).
I thought of posting this in another thread, and I probably will eventually, but for now, can anybody else report on...
What type of tube was in your "now brown" white tire?
Also, What type of (new at the time of mounting) tube is in your white tires that show NO signs of discoloring?
I've been reading thru this post and started wondering if taking the garbage bag method of mounting a tire down another road. What about lining the tire on the inside with one of these bags? Or perhaps slipping a slightly inflated tube into one and mounting it that way. Cutting away excess as necessary. The idea being of course to keep tire and tube separated.
I wonder if a tire can be coated in the insides with something like flex seal to limit any browning issues.
Charlie and Ed,
Hopefully neither approach will be necessary. Like I have said before, the "EEC" tubes are no longer made (as of about the end of 2016 or beginning of 2017). Plus, we don't know if either approach is introducing the chemical that is causing the problem in the first place. Seams like identifying the tubes that are not a problem and using those when mounting up your white tires is simpler and less likely to create yet another problem.
I have the same problem with Wards Riverside all white tire but I have flaps installed and where the flap protects the tire it is whiter.
You said your self in your last post that other tubes may also be a problem. I believe you've hit on a possible answer to the color change but without being able to tell what's good and what's not why not try to prevent it no matter what tubes you have or buy? The whites are expensive and the color change is definitely not wanted so why take a chance when something like a half dollars worth of plastic bags might be all you need? Would any one out there mount whites without this preventive measure after reading this post?
This thread is actually going somewhere in terms of identifying the causes of white tires going to the bad, and I'm thankful for all of the thoughtful posts, and the gathering evidence. We may not have a solution yet, but it looks like we're getting there !
Charlie B., in typical Model T driver fashion, your suggestions for solving the problem in our home garages are in the spirit of what's kept Model Ts running for over a century ! I admire that "cowboy up" attitude.
Here's the problem, though. For the tires that have "turned" it's too late - maybe if someone has tires they haven't yet mounted, if they are willing to experiment with coatings or plastic bags, perhaps we might learn something from it, but I'm thinking the ultimate "fix" for this is for new purchasers to rely on the seller's warranty - use the tubes they require, keep your records, hope for the best, and if these, too, go south, at least you have recourse for your investment. I'd think the strongest pressure that can be brought to bear on the suppliers would come through the concerted efforts of dealers who have to replace multiple sets of tires ! It won't be long before the makers solve the problem, if they haven't already done so.
Just a gut feeling, but I really have misgivings about applying sealer coatings or using a plastic bag to isolate the tubes. Looks to me as if either one could cause a lot of tire trouble, and there's no guarantee anything of the sort would solve the problem.
Do you know what tubes are in your tires?
Also, the tire suppliers are still warranting the white tires for this problem. You may want to check into that as soon as possible. This may change.
Tim and I both bought white tires and the required tubes at about the same time. He mounted all 4 of his. I mounted 2 in the rear, but I am waiting to get 2 front wheels back from Stutzman's. When I get ready to mount them (in about a week) I plan on wrapping them in Saran Wrap as a simple experiment.
We will see what happens...
EEC tubes I've contacted the supplier and plan on warranty.
Michael..how long ago did you mount your two rear tires? Two of mine are two weeks today, the other two will be two weeks tomorrow, so we'll just keep calling all 4 of 'em @ two weeks. So far, so good. BUT, as I recall, last year it was like 3-4 weeks before things started to happen. So we'll see. Meanwhile, can this mile-long thread go to "Part 2"?? LOL
I mounted my rear two one week ago, today... which would be April 20th. The nervous wait starts...
if these rogue tubes once inflated indeed are the problem ...& so far we`ve noticed the protective flap protects bottom half blooming of tire..... maybe one could use an old tube & cut it up to make a protective flap to protect the other top half of the inner tire ?
whilst you good ol` boys in Ohio, n` Tulsa, etc do your testing there .. im going to leave my tires that have partly bloomed without tubes for 3-4 months to see if they bloom further.. but im going to wet rub them sidewalls down tomorrow with 400 grit & get them back white as i can first & we`l see what happens..
so whilst our tires bloom lets all sing
..gonna use my style
..gonna use my senses
..gonna use my fingerzz...
gonna use mah mah mah
I've been gone for a week and am coming into this discussion quite late, and frankly, have not quite read the whole thread in detail, however, what I have read reminds me of something:
I remember distinctly that when I was a kid and had a very nice Schwinn bicycle that I was very proud of (some 60+ years ago now!) I used to clean and restore the "whiteness" of my somewhat brown white wall tires regularly with those "SOS Pads" that had the built-in soap. (...not sure if they still make SOS Pads or not).
I also remember that I did this pretty regularly over a period of several years, and it ALWAYS turned the brown tires white as new again. Not sure if this means anything that might be helpful or informative, but, there it is for what is's worth,.....harold
P.S. Maybe the only thing this proves is that white wall tires turning brown is not a new or recent problem and that there was (at least at that time) a way to deal with it! I'm pretty sure the bike tires were B.F. Goodrich....
As Tim has pointed out, this thread has gotten very long. So I am going to start a new thread on this subject with the hopes that we will be able to compile more information on whether there are any currently produced tubes (other than the discontinued "Made In EEC" tubes) that could be causing this issue. I will start working on this post this afternoon and get it up and running as soon as I get done.
Please see "Browning of White Tires --- What Tubes are in Your Tires?"
im back & if you read my last post 3 threads up.. i mentioned i removed my inner tubes & let white tires sit without tubes inside & see if they bloom ... to find out what has transpired 2 months later....go to browning of white tires --- what tubes are in your tires ...otherwise known as ( part 2.. )