> All this talk about rotation direction and the early radials tendency to
> failure reminds me of when I was working in a service station (remember
> those?) in the '70s. I had a lady pull in with a brand new T-bird with a low
> front tire.
Wandering yet a little further off topic, many years ago three friends
and I piled into a VW Bug owned by one of them for a trip to SoCal.
Now, the guy who owned the Bug was not the most car-savvy type, and
basically he'd bought a POS. It'd been painted with a rattle-can, and
there were myriad other things wrong with it. The engine had something
unpleasant happen, so he rebuilt it out of the Muir book - his first
real exercise in wrenching. It hauled 700lb of college-age males and
their luggage over the Grapevine at a healthy pace so he obviously got
So we're on the trip home up I-5 at about 10PM and
whap...whap...whapwhapwhap...THUNK and silence (well, normal
Bug-at-70mph noises.) whap...whap...whapwhapwhap...THUNK. One more
time and we decide it's time to pull off and look. Don't see anything,
continue on. Same thing again, and they're getting more frequent, so
this time we take an exit (Firebaugh, I think) and put one side up on a
curb and have a better look. Left rear tire is hissing.
The tires were recaps. Very old ones. And while the recap tread was
good, the old sidewall rubber was chunking off the inside (accelerated
by all that negative camber that comes from running a semi-trailing arm
Bug rear suspension at full load.)
The spare was an even older bias-ply something-or-another, but it held
air and had all its rubber. We mounted it and proceeded home at 45ish
The punchline is that I later bought that car from him. Floorpans were
rusted to hell, body wasn't much better, but mechanically it was happy.
Put a steering box and brakes in it and ran it for a couple years with
nothing more than tuneups invested (oh, and cardboard over the springs
in the driver's seat...)