On Tue, 7 Sep 2010 10:38:52 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03
There are more factors involved in driving safety, and tire
utilization, than simply hydroplaning. IF Hydroplaning was the only,
or even MAJOR factor involved in tire safety I'd agree with the
"experts" - but it just ain't so for the vast majority of drivers.
When you adopt a narrow enough view on life, all kinds of things can
"make sense", and not necessarily always be right.
On Sep 7, 6:55 pm, email@example.com wrote:
What did I say that makes you think that I think hydroplaning is the
only factor involved in tire placement?
What makes you think that hydroplaning is the only factor considered
by just about everyone one else who says that the best tires should go
on the rear?
As I'm sure you know, based on your considerable driving experience,
both competitive and "normal" that there are lots of other conditions
that can cause a tire to loose traction.
Are you saying that every organization, manufacturer, person,
whatever, that says the best tires belong on the rear are of the same
(and mistaken) narrow mind and that you are the only one that sees the
The only way I could pull donuts in my Subaru was to put it in 4-wheel
Growing up we used to practice skidding in snowy parking lots, not
just for the fun, but also to get used to it. There's no panic when
it happens in real life if you've experienced it in a "safe"
I miss those days.
When I was in the Coast Guard our last week of Boot Camp was a driving
class put on by the California Highway Patrol. They would flood the
parking lot and send us out to drive on through "neighborhood streets"
outlined with cones, portable stops signs, etc. One of the vehicles
was a 70-something Firebird that you could spin around on dry
pavement, nevermind on a flooded street.
For some reason, they only let me drive that one once. ;-)
Yep, those were the fun days. I learned on country gravel roads in
snow country. Actually did a 4-wheel drift on a highway once (that
was enough). Not planned, not wanted and left creases in the seat
covers. Dicing with another car a bit in Texas in my new 1969 Volvo
and went into a corner that had a good sprinkling of gravel over the
blacktop. 90 degrees of sweat equity :)
I only really lost it once.
I came into a 90 degree turn that I had done a hundred times at my
usual speed - what was certainly faster than posted. It was kind of
back road near a small muni-airport. Perfectly dry, sunny day.
What I didn't know was that the fire hydrant right around the bend had
either leaked or been flushed or something as there was standing water
right past the curve. The rear end came around faster than I could do
anything about it and I resigned myself to sliding into the fence.
That's when I saw the offending fire hydrant in my path. It punched a
hole in the side of the car behind the door and bent the support post
into the seat back. It was 65 Dodge Coronet with a "half post".
Kind of like this, but blue.
I was in the CG at the time, so I took the car to the docks, hooked
the post to 50,000 pound buoy sinker with a come-along and
straightened it out so the door worked fine. If it wasn't for the hole
in the skin behind the door, you'd never know I'd hit anything.
Chuckle. Did a similar thing to a 73 Ford wagon once, after making the
wheelbase several inches shorter on one side tagging a
very-well-hidden-by-shadows telephone pole, while driving down an
unfamiliar urban alley. Found a Real Big tree, dug out some carpet
scraps and a big log chain, tied off that corner of the frame, and
proceeded to pull most of the bend back out. This was in the
crush-control eye on the frame, not the box rail itself. Car never did
drive quite right after that again, and ate the tire on that corner
pretty rapidly, but I was broke, and you do what you gotta do to get by.
I don't think the telephone pole even noticed. Drove the car (mainly
around town) another couple of years.
You want to come up on a flat or slightly reverse banked 90+ degree
right turn unloaded (just over a rise) on a freshly gravelled road at
50+ MPH in an 850 mini.
It was "oh crap" and "come on baby" as I downshifted in mid air, hit
the accellerator to the floor on touchdown, with the wheel hard to the
LEFT, and ploughed a furrow all the way around the corner.
If it hadn't happened while I was still young and invincible I'd have
crapped myself for sure.
Had a few more similar situations 10 years later with the Renault R12,
where the longer suspension travel helped counteract the loss of
youthfull bravado. You could corner that thing with the outer door
handles almost in the gravel, and still hold control, even in gravel.
I never had an "off road excursion" with that car in some 50 rallyes.
Michelin ZX tires on all four corners.
Having the trigger on the handbrake reversed was a very welcome
modification - you only used the "button" when you wanted the
handbrake to stay ON.
Had the use of "shorty" for a couple months in Zambia in the early
'70s. "Shorty" was a VW Beetle that had been rolled and had the roof
removed and about 10 inches taken out of the wheelbase. With the
greatly reduced weight and higher polar moment of inertia caused by
the short wheelbase, it was a real handfull when the roads got dusted
with a light layer of fine sand.Cornering, accelerating or
decellerating, it was not hard to get the back bumper to try REAL HARD
to pass the front one - and not much harder for it to succeed.
Downright dangerous little rascal.
BTDT, or tried to at least. Promptly got rousted by the local PD. Talked
my way out of a ticket, but was told that if I was ever caught doing it
again, he'd write me up for reckless. He did not buy my 'learning
The reason "I" like to have the better tires (and traction) on the
front of my front-drive cars is so that IF the rear end starts to come
around I have the traction on the driving wheels to get the power to
the road to get the front end out of the back end's way and get the
vehicle back into full control, going in the direction I want it to be
going. You cannot do that with excellent rear tires and slightly less
than excellent front tires.
Also, if the front wheels are having a bit of trouble getting the car
going exactly where you want it in the slop, with slightly inferior
tires it is simple to just pull the handbrake a titch, or stab the
service brake with power applied and get the rear end to slide so you
can hang it just where you want it in a turn. That maneuver is also
pretty difficult if the front tires are inferior to the rears. Works
OK if they are equal in condition - and can actually be easier if the
rear tires have a bit less traction than normal. In other than a
overloaded front wheel drive car, the rear ALWAYS has less traction
than the front.
What do I think????
You're NUTS. Particularly on front wheel drive vehicles, you want your
best tires on the front. They do the driving, They do roughly 80% of
the braking, and they do the steering.
One back wheel will keep the ass end in line if you know how to drive.
On Thu, 02 Sep 2010 20:45:39 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I agreed with that until i saw the video derbydad posted the link to.
Watching the video I was thinking-- 'so just slow down, stupid'. But
then the narrator pointed out that with the more-likely-to-hydroplane
tires on the front, you get some warning that the road is bad because
you feel it in the steering wheel. With them on the back-- you've
already started a skid when you realize the road conditions changed.
I'm still a 4-tires-at-a-time guy, but know that lots of folks like to
save some pennies-- and I'm now a put-the-new-ones-on-the-rear-guy.
[and what was the FWD you had in 1969? I didn't have the pleasure
A driver with a brain in his head KNOWS to slow down when there is
water on the road, before he feels either the front or rear tires
coming loose. Can't remember the last time hydroplaning caught me by
surprise - gotta be over 40 years ago.
As for what FWD car I drove in 1969 - I started with an Austin Mini.
I also drove 204 Peugot (1961 and 1967 respectively) as well as a 1967
Renault R12 (which I rallyed successfully for 3 years) ,1981 Pontiac
Phoenix XJ, and 1980 Tercel(all before 1984)
Chrysler Lebaron, Chrysler New Yorker (E-Class) Colt 100, Neon,
Pontiac TransSport, Mercury Mystique(Mondeo), VW Rabbit, MagicWagon,
and the current PT Cruiser since.
It's likely been over 30 years since I replaced anything other (less)
than 4 tires at a time.
When I went throught the Texas Department of Pulic Safety Pursuit Driving
School, we saw a video produced by NASA investigating what kind of tires
were appropriate for the space shuttle.
They used a ratty sedan with regular tires traveling at 50 mph. With a tire
pressure of 60psi on a wet runway, the measured the stopping distance.
They let 10 pounds of air out of the tires and repeated the experiment. The
stopping distance increased slightly.
Continuing to reduce the air pressure - down to ten pounds per square inch -
uniformly increased the stopping distance. The final results were the 10psi
tires almost DOUBLED the stopping distance of the 60psi tires.
As the air pressure drops, the width of the tire increases. On a wet
surface, the wider the tire the more hydroplaning it does until it acts more
like a surfboard than a tire. As the tire hydroplanes, very little of the
rubber (i.e., none) is in contact with the road.
Wide tires do not increase traction. In some cases they actually PREVENT
And before anybody gets all exercised, here's a law of physics
Friction force = (coefficient of friction between the surfaces) x (weigh
perpendicular to direction of movement)
Note that surface area is NOT involved in determining frictional force.
The experiment described may prove that reduced air pressure increases
stopping distance. It does not conclusively prove that the reason is because
the tires are wider. To prove that, they should have mounted progressively
wider tires and tested stopping distance at the SAME air pressure. (I'm
not saying I disagree with the results or even the explanation, just
disagreeing with the application of scientific method)
Make it as simple as possible, but no simpler.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar. org
On Sep 2, 3:14 pm, email@example.com (Herb Eneva) wrote:
Here is my experiance, had Michelins 3 yrs old, 30000 miles, one front
broke a belt, so I got 2 fronts, went around a corner in snow and
fishtailed. Immediatly went and bought 2 new rears went around same
corner and all was fine. I find my tires get noticably worse traction
at about 30000 and at 60000 are to dangerous to keep. This is in my
opinion and has more to do with age of tires, oxidation-hardening of
rubber from the environment, then loosing tread. So new tires in front
where you have 65 % breaking and need steering and the rears can go
and fishtail, new tires in rear and the fronts might hydroplane and
you might not stop or stear through a corner. All 4 should be equal if
you drive in snow or wet is my opinion. Mixing new and old will lead
to unknown handling just when you need stability, in emergencys. Put
on 4 good ones that are equal
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