Tire age? Bias ply...

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
45,622
Location
New Jersey
On then way home today we stopped at the playground for a bit. It was absolutely beautiful and in the 60s, can't beat it. We went to a brant wooden castle playground. Something id guess was built in the early-mid 2000s. Perhaps this is validated by the age on the one tire swing. The tire was from 2002, right? Sure, it could have been a replacement, but in the end all, the playground is not THAT old. So when running around, I noticed that all the other tires around seem much older. Like bias ply stuff perhaps. What gives? There were a bunch of truck tires. I remember these on the 1987 ford school bus our district had until long after I graduated in the late 90s. Old school snow tire pattern, no? But what interested me more were these, a Firestone pair, a Sears tire, and a Goodyear. Firestone. Note the B traction and C temperature rating. Sears: Good Year: I remember being a little kid in the mid 80s, and some old playgrounds had tires like these on the equipment (which was probably from the mid to late 70s if not earlier). But I don't ever recall seeing cars with such tires or such tread patterns, and I sure don't recall my parents buying anything but radials in the 80s and beyond. I know that these could have been spared from a landfill, but so could any millions of more modern radials from the 80s, 90s, or beyond. Any idea when those tires are from? What's the deal with those styles of tread? I remember my father had a set of snow tires for a car that looked a lot like smaller versions of those truck tires. But what about the car tires? You never see any treads anything like those on modern tires these days,must lots of blocks and sipes. While im sure that modern tires are so much better traction-wise, what was the logic back then with having treads that look like these for snow and regular use? Thanks!
 
Messages
5,532
Location
Canada
Back in the early 80's I had the worst job in my life...... Retreading truck tires. The Snow tread you see was called Super All Traction. I imagine the only criteria was Traction cornering ability, not required! I never saw bias ply tires until I came to North America. Europe had converted to Radial , seems, by the late 60's
 
Messages
15,056
Location
Canada
I've posted pictures on here of a 1976 Gremlin owned by my dad's best friend when he gave it to us in 1986 when he was done with it. It clearly has a set of bias-ply or bias-belt tires on it. He was a very, very 'frugal' person, so he was buying the cheapest you could get, and that's what it was in the early 1980's. That's when these tires would be from. You bring up a very good question of why a playground from the early 2000's would have tires on it that are 20+ years old already. My guess would be it has to do with the steel belts in radial tires, when those tires break apart, the belts can become a hazard. Notice on the tire that is breaking apart that all that is coming out in nylon cord, no steel strings to cut kids. Another reason could be that radial tires are recycled more for the steel in them, whereas these old tires just have nylon cord in them.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Thread starter
Messages
45,622
Location
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: addyguy
I've posted pictures on here of a 1976 Gremlin owned by my dad's best friend when he gave it to us in 1986 when he was done with it. It clearly has a set of bias-ply or bias-belt tires on it. He was a very, very 'frugal' person, so he was buying the cheapest you could get, and that's what it was in the early 1980's. That's when these tires would be from. You bring up a very good question of why a playground from the early 2000's would have tires on it that are 20+ years old already. My guess would be it has to do with the steel belts in radial tires, when those tires break apart, the belts can become a hazard. Notice on the tire that is breaking apart that all that is coming out in nylon cord, no steel strings to cut kids. Another reason could be that radial tires are recycled more for the steel in them, whereas these old tires just have nylon cord in them.
Very interesting!l That would make total sense as to why they would be used in place of other tires just from a local shop... The sizing convention used seems to be attributable to the 70s, as in the 80s everything went to p metric I guess. I'm a child of the 80s, born in the very early 80s. I remember records being sold in stores (I had my own, the Broadway Annie was one of my favorites that we still have and I remember), I dialed routinely with a rotary phone, I chose the channel on my tv by turning a dial, pay phones still had rotaries on some of them and calling was 20c, as was a stamp... But I don't remember anything but p-metric sizing and radial tires. I do recall my father specifically asking for radials, since I guess bias was still the norm...
 
Messages
15,056
Location
Canada
When I was younger, I didn't pay much attention to tires, but I know the car I grew up with, 1978 Chev Malibu wagon, had radial tires on it. I do remember 'noticing' the GM-spec tread pattern they had on them...always thought all the little 'nubs' were neat all lined up. After that we had a 1989 Toyota Tercel, and it had skinny P155-80-R13 tires on it, and most of my cars were imports with the same tire when I was first driving, so those are the tires I'm most familiar with..skinny radials. It amazes me how wide economy car tires are today...those were racing tires when I was first driving!
 
Messages
5,895
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
There are still some applications where bias ply tires are standard. Aircraft still use bias ply tires. I remember handling a used Space Shuttle tire at a museum, and that was a bias ply tire made by Michelin. They're also used once and retired. And the strangest would probably be factory Zamboni tires, which are studded bias play.
 
Messages
5,895
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Originally Posted By: addyguy
When I was younger, I didn't pay much attention to tires, but I know the car I grew up with, 1978 Chev Malibu wagon, had radial tires on it.
I grew up with 70s tires, and I think some were bias ply originally. My parents got the first "all seasons" on the market - the Goodyear Tiempo as replacements in the late 70s. I do remember once having an unrepairable flat on a road trip, and a service station's best option was a bias ply even though there were already radials. I also recall having a bias ply tire repaired with a tube, which I'm guessing doesn't happen any more.
 
Messages
109
Location
DFW area, TX
USA tires, like the earlier European tires, used sidewall width and rim diameter to "size" their tires. 7.00x14 USA would have been (approx.) 180x360mm. USA tire sizes "widened" in the middle 1960s. 7.00x14 became 7.35x14, for example. In the later 1960s, USA sizes came under government regulations, for better consumer awareness. There were specifications for each "Alpha-numeric" size, related to both physical size and also weight-carrying capacity. This new nomenclature also included the "aspect ratio" in the size designation. 7.35x14 became E78x14, for example. Part of the new regulations also included tire circumference specs, with about 7% variation from the min spec. Typically, an F70-14 tire would be the same circumference as an E78x14 tire. In the later 1970s, the "P-metric" sizes came online. Main thing was their max inflation pressure for normal tires was 35psi, for greater fuel economy. Tire internals also changed a little to lessen impact harshness at the higher pressures. P-metric tires also had a more descriptive size designation. "P" to designate the sizing nomenclature "195" for the sidewall section width "/75" for the section width spec "R", "B", or "D" to designate "radial", "bias-belted", or "diagonal" construction "-14" for the rim width. Therefore, this particular size went from 7.00x14, to 7.35x14, to E78x14, to P195/75R-14 By observation, for some reason, the P-metric sizes were about "10" larger than a non-P-metric (or prior Euro) size designation. 205x14 would have been P215/75R-14, for example, or G78x14. In the earlier times, the premier/OEM Firestone tire was the Deluxe Champion. As things progressed into the radial age, the Deluxe Champion (pictured) was a lower-line bias ply tire in the Firestone passenger car tire portfolio, having been long-outpaced by the many radials they sold. A "budget" tire, or "CBR" (cheap, black, and round) sort of tire. When playground designers/builders go looking for "tires", I suspect they contact a local tire dealer for "used tires" and get a mix of car and truck tires. Hoping this might explain some of the USA tire sizing situations. CBODY67
 
Messages
36,258
Location
ME
My playground had a tire "cargo net" but ripped it out a couple years back. Tires were bolted together to climb. I still remember, they were brand new Uniroyal Tiger Paws, Treadwear 150, Temp & Traction B or C. Approx 195/75/13. All the same size, never touched the highway. Wonder if they got them on close out, or if the bidding process required new tires. Wife thinks the steel belts hurting kids might have been a reason not to use used ones. Even so the bead surfaces were starting to wear from kids' feet.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Thread starter
Messages
45,622
Location
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: y_p_w
Originally Posted By: addyguy
When I was younger, I didn't pay much attention to tires, but I know the car I grew up with, 1978 Chev Malibu wagon, had radial tires on it.
I grew up with 70s tires, and I think some were bias ply originally. My parents got the first "all seasons" on the market - the Goodyear Tiempo as replacements in the late 70s. I do remember once having an unrepairable flat on a road trip, and a service station's best option was a bias ply even though there were already radials. I also recall having a bias ply tire repaired with a tube, which I'm guessing doesn't happen any more.
I remember the tiempo in the late 80s. I recall it not being that great of a tire. Ditto for the s4s and the invicta series.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Thread starter
Messages
45,622
Location
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: CBODY67
USA tires, like the earlier European tires, used sidewall width and rim diameter to "size" their tires. 7.00x14 USA would have been (approx.) 180x360mm. USA tire sizes "widened" in the middle 1960s. 7.00x14 became 7.35x14, for example. In the later 1960s, USA sizes came under government regulations, for better consumer awareness. There were specifications for each "Alpha-numeric" size, related to both physical size and also weight-carrying capacity. This new nomenclature also included the "aspect ratio" in the size designation. 7.35x14 became E78x14, for example. Part of the new regulations also included tire circumference specs, with about 7% variation from the min spec. Typically, an F70-14 tire would be the same circumference as an E78x14 tire. In the later 1970s, the "P-metric" sizes came online. Main thing was their max inflation pressure for normal tires was 35psi, for greater fuel economy. Tire internals also changed a little to lessen impact harshness at the higher pressures. P-metric tires also had a more descriptive size designation. "P" to designate the sizing nomenclature "195" for the sidewall section width "/75" for the section width spec "R", "B", or "D" to designate "radial", "bias-belted", or "diagonal" construction "-14" for the rim width. Therefore, this particular size went from 7.00x14, to 7.35x14, to E78x14, to P195/75R-14 By observation, for some reason, the P-metric sizes were about "10" larger than a non-P-metric (or prior Euro) size designation. 205x14 would have been P215/75R-14, for example, or G78x14. In the earlier times, the premier/OEM Firestone tire was the Deluxe Champion. As things progressed into the radial age, the Deluxe Champion (pictured) was a lower-line bias ply tire in the Firestone passenger car tire portfolio, having been long-outpaced by the many radials they sold. A "budget" tire, or "CBR" (cheap, black, and round) sort of tire. When playground designers/builders go looking for "tires", I suspect they contact a local tire dealer for "used tires" and get a mix of car and truck tires. Hoping this might explain some of the USA tire sizing situations. CBODY67
Wow, great info, thanks!
 
Messages
3,897
Location
Somewhere in the US
I talk about tire sizing here: Barry's Tire Tech - Tire Sizing A lot of those tires in the playground are AlphaNumeric bias ply tires. That sizing system had a brief life span in the late 1960's and by the late 1970's had been replaced with the current sizing system. The date codes on the tires aren't much help as they are 3 digit with the year being only the last digit, with no decade mark. In order to get more exact than that, we need some insight into the tires themselves. Also, I think those tread patterns were very typical of what tires looked like back then. Best guess, those tires are from the 1970's.
 
Messages
8,969
Location
Illinois
It was mentioned earlier. They prefer to use these old bias ply tires on playground equipment because they don't have steel belts in them.
 
Messages
2,688
Location
Elderly County, Florida
Over the years, I have built several "tire" playground structures for Churches. When I first started, bias plys were still around and easy to find. I had several patterns for different things I could make out of a tire. One was a swing that looked like a horse when you finished cutting it. Another was a "rocker" that when turned inside out, made a little "cradle" that would hold an infant securely inside and you could gently rock or slowly swing the child inside. The kids loved those swings. Over time, it got harder and harder to find bias plys and it is simply impossible to make these swings with a radial because of the steel belts.
 
Messages
9,560
Location
Boston, MA
Before there were radials in common use here there were "Bias Belted" tires which were often advetised not for their grip and wear rating but because one could drive such tires over a set of kitchen knives, edge up, and not suffer a flat because the steel belt stopped the kives from cutting all the way through. It didn't impress me that much.
 
Messages
4,843
Location
Lakeville, MN
As others noted, the playground tires are bias ply since they don't have steel belts in them that could hurt kids when the rubber wears. Noticed recently that a play ground I was at had lots of weird non-north american named tires on it.
 
Messages
11,562
Location
Illinois
The cars I remember growing up were my a Thunderbird, Falcon, Corvair, vaguely remember an old Morris Minor my stepfather had, a couple of Dodge Darts, a 1966 Nova and an a 1963 Galaxy 500 with a "three on the tree." Those mentioned probably had tires as described. The first car I remember having radial tires was our 1975 Chrysler Cordoba. Unfortunately, those were the infamous Firestone 500. When the Nova became my high school car in '81, we put some Goodyear all season radials. (I went looking for the name and came across this interesting 1976 issue of Popular Science, https://books.google.com/books?id=CgEAAA...mid&f=false)
 
Messages
5,697
Location
Da Swamp
In the early '80s, I drove a 1965 Mercury Park Lane, with the T-Bird engine and the power rear window. I wanted to go to radial tires, but my mechanic at the time advised me not to. "This car wasn't designed for radials. It'll ride too hard." So I bought bias-ply or -belted tires for it -- twice, I think, in the 4 years I drove the car. Goodyear and other places still had those tires: $100 for a set of 4 tires in 1982.
 
Top