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Broader Firestone Recall Possible

Stephen

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NHTSA: Broader Tire Recall Possible

By NEDRA PICKLER
.c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (Aug. 24) - The government is investigating the safety of Firestone tires beyond the 6.5 million that have been recalled, opening the possibility of a broader recall.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday its investigation includes all 47 million ATX, ATX II and Wilderness brands.

New NHTSA Administrator Sue Bailey, who came on the job Monday, would not discuss specifics of the investigation but said, ''If we feel there is a defect affecting safety, we will issue a recall.''

Congress also is getting involved. House Commerce Committee Chairman Tom Bliley, R-Va., said Thursday that he will send four committee staffers to Dearborn, Mich., on Friday to meet with Ford Motor Co. officials and review company documents related to the recall.

The kind of tires being recalled are standard equipment on the Ford Explorer and other light trucks made by the company.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., has scheduled a Sept. 6 hearing and plans to invite Ford and Bridgestone/Firestone officials to testify.

Bridgestone/Firestone has recalled all P235/75R15 ATX and ATX II tires as well as Wilderness AT tires in the same size made at a plant in Decatur, Ill. NHTSA is investigating 62 deaths and more than 100 injuries that could be linked to those tires, some of which have been reported to suddenly lose their tread.

The Center for Auto Safety filed a lawsuit to force the companies to broaden the recall beyond those 15-inch truck tires to all ATX, ATX II and Wilderness ATs still on the road.

On Thursday, a former tire expert for Bridgestone/Firestone also called for a greater recall, saying that defects in Wilderness, ATX and ATX II tires have been known at the highest levels of company management since the 1970s.

''As long as those tires are being made and used, the potential for more deaths is real,'' said tire consultant Max Nonnamaker.

Bridgestone/Firestone spokeswoman Cynthia McCafferty said the 6.5 million tires recalled are enough.

''We believe that the scope of the recall is appropriate. We are still working very closely with NHTSA on this investigation,'' McCafferty said. ''We still haven't determined that a problem exists with these tires, we've just determined that the problems are of higher instances than with other lines.''

Ford executives held a news conference Thursday and said it was irresponsible to call for a wider recall when the companies were straining to meet demand now. They also repeated their contention that all data point to the one recalled tire size as the source of the complaints.

Those calling for a broader recall ''are causing people to be concerned about good tires,'' said Helen Petrauskas, Ford's vice president of safety. ''Every time that happens, it means some customer with bad tires who needs them replaced has to wait that much longer.''

Petrauskas and Tom Baughman, Ford's director of truck engineering for North America, said there was still no cause determined for the reports of tread separation. Baughman said finding a cause would be a ''needle in a haystack'' because the number of complaints - 2,030 - is small compared to the number of tires produced - 14 million.

Ford said as of Thursday afternoon, 861,874 tires had been replaced, 13.3 percent of the total number recalled.

NHTSA is asking other automakers that use the Bridgestone/Firestone tires for information regarding their performance. The agency also sent a letter to Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. asking for information about its tires to conduct a peer analysis. Ken Weinstein, NHTSA's associate administrator for safety assurance, stressed Goodyear is not under investigation.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday that former workers for Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. say shoddy quality control may have caused tire problems similar to those cited in the Firestone recall.

The ex-workers from the plant in Tupelo, Miss., testified earlier this year in lawsuits against Cooper. They said they used sharp tools to poke holes in tires to remove bubbles and that solvents were used to make old rubber easier to mold. Both practices can weaken tires.
 



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NoBoundaries

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I think Firestone should just pack up and leave. They will never recover from this one. I think they are afraid to extend the recall to 16 inch tires, because a majority of the tires (Wilderness) are in the 16 inch size. Time will tell I guess.
 






Stephen

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Yep, I too think we're witnissing the end of Bridgestone-Firestone. If they're forced to recall the other sizes, then thats going to put them under. Then you have to realize the gravity of what has been done to their reputation. Will you ever buy Firestone tires again? I won't. If you were another car company, or Ford, would you renew your contract with Firestone? I wouldn't.
 






ntrpriz

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I called firestone today to see where I was on the list. They had the gaul to tell me that there is no list. What????? They refused to help me in any way. So, what did I do? I called the other store that had my name on the list (I called 2 to be safe) and they told me the same thing!!!!!! What is up with this? They said Ford came out and admitted that the explorer is prone to rollover and its not the tire that is causing the problem. To keep from being removed from a list that mayor may not exist, I calmly hung up the phone. Its time to kick A** and take names. I home the NTSB clears Ford of any wrongdoing as they are awesome trucks, and I hope they nail firestone to the wall so hard that they never recover. I saw an article in the USA Today a wek or so ago, and there was this chart that showed recall in the past 20 or so years. How many did firestone have? 4. Thats right, 4 recalls in the last 20 years. Thats one every 5 years. The next closest competitor only had 1 recall in the last 20 years. Good tire companies like goodyear and BFG were not even listed as having any.

Firestones are junk. Everyone but firestone seems to have known about this problem for several years.

I will get new tires, not sure how right now, but I assure you, no matter what the dealers near me say, they will be replacing them very shortly.

The explorer is prone to tipping?? HA. Not only did they refuse to help me, but they insulted my TRUCK. Time to make the TOAST.

See YA

Steven
 






kilroy

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''As long as those tires are being made and used, the potential for more deaths is real,'' said tire consultant Max Nonnamaker.
''We believe that the scope of the recall is appropriate. We are still working very closely with NHTSA on this investigation,'' McCafferty said. ''We still haven't determined that a problem exists with these tires, we've just determined that the problems are of higher instances than with other lines.''


OK tell me this, if they think the tires being made and used is so bad, why are they thinking the recall is appropriate? They are replacing a bad egg with another bad egg!!!!!! :fire:

I need to call the Firestone store I have my name on the list at and see what they say.
 












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255/70/16 W/15 PSI

I have to admit I am developing a serious attitude problem with Ford/Firestone. Over the weekend I drove 100 miles flat out/up to 90mph into corn country. When I reached my destination, friends pointed out my rt rear tire looked flat, yeah, 15 psi....took it in, had it checked, cannot find out why it was low...I drive a '99 EX, EB, AWD,every option. All tires now have 30 PSI, ......AND all five tires have the VD code...so, I have absolutely no confidence in my 30K Ford or my firestone Decatur produced tires with 12K mi on them..this ain't right!!!
oh...and what's up with the no interior locked spaces, i.e. glove box, CD changer etc...all were stolen first week here
the only time I valeted the car...I say we pick the largest
Firestone Dealer near a Ford Dealer, we all show up and circle the block continuously, trying to roll over...at 30mph w/ 30psi....are you with me??? This is my first post on this board...I promise to be civil...sometimes.
 






kilroy

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And hope the tire shreads as you are heading towards Firestone eh?
 






Tom Wilk

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I'm not sure what to make of this whole wretched affair anymore. :( I won't know until all the numbers are in. But, consider 62 deaths out of 6.5 million tires made of the size recalled. That's 1/1,000,000 odds. I think that the odds of getting hit by lightning are greater. Now I know, one death is too many, but it still must be put in comparison to other tires. And face it, we really don't know all the statistics yet. I don't recommend panic, but if I were still driving on Firestones, I'd be pretty nervious. I would definately keep my speed down, and my tire pressure up.

ORDKATE, there's plenty of causes for a tire losing air. I recommend taking the wheel off and puting it in a tub of water. Wherever you see bubbles, that's where you are losing air. Look around the whole tire surface, the bead, and the valve itself. Most tire/wheel setups will lose air over time, but if you had them full before you drove 100 miles, you definately have a leak.

As far as Ford being at fault, ALL SUV's are more top-heavy than ordinary cars. The odds of rolling are inherently greater with a taller vehicle. It isn't as much of a difference as the anti-SUV environazis would have you believe, but there is a decided difference. But if you want ground clearance, a real frame, and a sturdier structure, its the way to go. You just have to know what you are driving. Caveat Emptor.

One other question; Who is Max Nonnemaker and what is his motive in this situation? If he stands to make money by hurting Ford or Firestone, I'd take the appropriate grain of salt with his statement. I'm not saying he's wrong, but I am saying that he isn't necessarily right.

And after saying all that, I'm very happy now that I don't have mine anymore.
 






Stephen

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ORDKATE, Welcome to the site! I'm sure you'll love it. As for the locked spaces, mine has a lockable glove box. They must have designed it out (go Ford :rolleyes: ). Also, where were you valeting? Did yoiu contact the company to report the claim. I valet my car almost every night, and never lock the glove box and have never had anything stolen. You should definately try and get restitution.

Tom, all well said.

[Edited by Stephen on 08-30-2000 at 06:19 PM]
 






ORDKATE

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I did an extensive bubble check first as a witness and then myself...background: I rehab buildings, my own,...although I always am manicured sometimes I do , I can get dirty right along with the guys... I checked the valve , everything...
you know, about two weeks ago, on CNN interactive, I read where the 16" was recalled 3 years ago in Malasyia, anyone read that? I guess the prudent move would be to locate new tires,what kind...I need traction...snow, rain, alleys, farms...
I really don't have peace of mind in this whole mess, the whole FORD experience has been unpleasant for me, right from the dealer to this...but I use this vehicle for hauling every day, it's an awfully nice ride to Home Depot, etc.... there are pros and cons but I guess the bottom line is I will have to make the time to find some tires and get them on...most of my driving is in the city, but when I do go to the country I like to get there kind of quick.
As far as the roll-over risk, I am more aware of that now, with the 30psi.., one could almost say that's a good thing!
I was hoping as I got older I would slow down...at least I didn't buy a Porsche,

Who's Nonemaker? I don't watch TV or read papers right now, I am in the midlle of a rehab, the computer news is all I get..
One more thing I might point out...64 deaths, is pretty awfull in my book, think of how many serious injuries!!!
Paralyzed, broken bones...
I'm glad I found this board...I'll be back often, I will need advice.
 






FlyAU

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If you'll do a search on the site, you'll find that the most popular tire here is the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO. It's our baby, lol. Also highly rated by the Tire Rack ( http://www.tirerack.com ) is the Michelin LTX A/T.
 






Tom Wilk

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Ya gotta excuse me for venting about ol' Nonnemaker or whatever his name is. I'm thinking he's a lawyer and that he has something to gain here. The reason I'm put off by this whole mess is that it seems to be sensationalization on top of what is possibly already wrong. I'm not a Firestone fan, but until a statistical comparison can be made, I'm not going to hang this on anybody.

I don't want to see anyone die. Period. But, cars, tires, pretty much everything is made by humans and humans, and as hard as we humans try, do make mistakes. The question in my mind is did Firestone cut corners or make more mistakes than other tire manufacturers? If they did, then they are to blame. My suspicions are against Firestone, but I don't want to prejudge.

As far as tire recommendations, check out the "Tires & Wheels" forum on this site. Do a search. Others have recommended Michelin, Goodyear, Dunlop, and BF Goodrich among other brands. Depends on what all you do. I'm satisfied with my BF Goodrich AT's. They are true light truck tires with additional layers of reinforcement over what a standard passinger car tire offers. I bought them for the trail, but they work very well on the road. Check out what others have bought as well.

The whole recall scenario has been discussed here including the latest from Venesuala.
 






ORDKATE

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Checked out Nonnamaker: around 67yr old "expert witness", tire consultant...I don't think he's an attorney...perhaps an actor with a flair for drama, like most expert witnesses...he knows his field well, he probable testifies for the plaintiffs against Firestone
just another hired gun...
my take on this whole thing is that Ford is a major accomplis by lowering the psi on the door panel...I am not convinced they did that just for roll-overs...for a $4. part they lost millions today in court...how much could they have made by allowing a substandard tire to be put on their cars? They chose the Firestone Wilderness AT's because they got them at good price.
oh, Max can be reached in Akron, Ohio, he's listed...I would love to hear what he has to say about these tires.
 






Tom Wilk

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Akron?

That figures. He lives nearby. :( I'd like to hear what he has to say as well, but only with a grain of salt handy.

Well my take on 26 psi is that it is a little soft for my liking, but if the tire is rated to carry the specified load at that pressure, it should be considered safe. To me, the problem really comes when tires aren't checked often. I mean, if you are already at 26 psi and you let it go for a couple of months, what are your tires at then? They are nearly guaranteed to be equal to or less than 26 psi. And, most people just plain don't check their cars often. Cars are so reliable now that people tend to drive and park and forget about the doggone things.

26 psi historically hasn't been considered out of the ordinary for recommended tire pressure, but it isn't very common today. My door sticker recommended 30 psi, but I have the 16" wheels. You aren't kidding about Firestones being inexpensive OEM tires. But, I've seen Generals along with several other inexpensive brands used on cars for years. Problem is, they are usually closer to the ground and less prone to rolling (see above). Also, they are usually used on lower line vehicles such as Escorts and Cavaliers where the buyer is extremely price consious and the profit margin is next to nothing. Explorers don't fit that category.

I don't think Ford did the 26 psi thing for rollover protection at all. My thoughts are more that they did it for ride and control. This group isn't the typical Explorer buyer. Unfortunately, the usual buyer never goes off road unless it is into a parking lot. Lots of grocery getters out there and they all want a car-like ride. Something they wouldn't ordinarily get in a truck. Thus, the soft tire pressures.

Just thought of something else, I wonder if the stats will show that the tire problems were prevalent in earlier Exploeres with the old style front suspension. Could be an interesting new angle to this issue.

Anyway, I forgot to say welcome to the group. We're not your typical Explorer drivers. Most of us have modified ours in one way or another to improve its behavior in our unique driving situations. Others have done so to personalize its looks. We're what you call enthusiasts. I hope you are one as well.
 






Stephen

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I'm just glad my Explorer came with Goodyears ;)

As for the slowing down when getting older, I thought the same thing. Oh well. Maybe the Porsche dealer will give us a discount if we go ahead and buy two?
 






ORDKATE

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Just read a long thread about mod how-to's, the grills are coming post tires now but the chip modifications, intake mods, sounds all very inviting...one of my carpenters works on cars, hmmmm, I like this stuff, I could get to Home Depot even quicker....maybe Edelbrock IAS shocks, hauled 60 gallons of paint yesterday, typical day here, then some weekends out to a rutted lane to corn country...yeah, I think I need this stuff!!! I have been reading here for two hours...glad to make your acquaintance!!! Leaning toward the BFG AT KO'S....LATER
 






kilroy

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I was just thinking

I know let the smoke clear!

If the Decatur plant was so bad with the tire there, Why are they just recalling the Wilderness model? Don't they also make other models of tires there? I thought I saw the Firehawk name at that plant also. Wouldn't the workmanship be just as bad on that line as it was on the Wilderness line? If not, then I would definately blame the tire design and not the manufacture of it.
 






ORDKATE

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Just read the new NHTSA Advisory in Chicago Sun-Times this morning...very dismayed that Wilderness AT 255/70/16 are still not on the list....mine have the code: VD C U 1PX,
hard to believe that my '99 EB tires were not produced in the same time frame as the 15's. Looks like all the Firehawks....15 and 16...what the heck gives here? (venting,
damn angry!!)
 



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Stephen

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Thats the big question the government is asking right now, how could only one set of tires be bad? I suppose its possible, if you have a different line for each model, but unlikely.
 






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