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What do these numbers mean? Tire ID...

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by brett4christ, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. First off, yes I did a search, but could not find the info I was looking for. So now, please release a portion of the wisdom here on the HAMB....

    I purchased these older tires...really nice, clean, no wear, no checkering...they appear to be NOS BFG Silvertowns, but the brand/model names have been ground off. These are going on Henry wires on the front of my banger A Tudor....if anyone wants to know.


    [​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Now, what do these codes mean? Production dates?

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  2. papajohn
    Joined: Nov 2, 2006
    Posts: 885


    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,224


    They're 4 ply 5.50 (5 1/2" wide) 16s (16" wheel). The code, if it is a date, reads like they were made in 1966. The code may also reveal that they were made on June 21 1996, but I sort of doubt that because of how old they appear. I can indeed see some cracking beginning on the sidewall, but unless you plan on going over 50-60MPH daily you might be OK.
  4. ^^^Not that I doubt you, but I have the pics AND the tires, and I have not seen any indication of cracks forming in the sidewall. Which pic above leads you to believe the sidewalls are cracking?

    The first code does seem to be a '66 build date, but if you use the same logic on the second code, they would have been built in '26. Just looking for more wisdom than I have on this subject.

    And yes, you're right on the proposed maximum velocity....Banger A = 45 MPH. If this thing ever gets a V8, I'll upgrade to new 'Stones or equivalent.

  5. Weasel
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 6,693


    It is not use advisable to use tires over eight years old for safety reasons - your own and that of others, plain and simple. Just because you cannot see any visible defects externally, it does not mean they are not internally compromised. I learnt this one the hard way....
  6. It's radial tires that blow up when they get to be 8 years old or more. They just come apart.

    These old bias tires should be fine for casual driving. Run a new set of tubes in them and run the pressures high but a few pounds short of the max. If the car sits a lot they may get flat spots to work out each time it's driven.

    I haven't driven a car on old bias tires but I've towed plenty of them long distances. Had three flats - one underinflated, dry-rotted cracked tire, the other two dry-rotted inner tubes and one was over-inflated when it popped. One car had the same tires on it as when it was parked in 1963 and I never even had to put air in them.
  7. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,606


    Sometimes tire manufactures ground the names off of blems and sold as farm tires at steep discounts.
    Back in the early 70's when I worked in a Firestone company store we got in tires that had been rejected because of some defect that were branded "farm use only unsafe for highway use" We sold them to cotton farmers around the town of West Texas for their cotton trailers because they tore up so many tires out in the fields. The tires sold for under 10 bucks in 1972.

    My guess is that the tires you bought were blemished tires that had an ugly spot on them that didn't affect the performance but they ground the name off and sold them cheap.
  8. Thanks all for the input.

    What I really want to find out is the meaning of the "stamps" on the sidewalls?

    55826 BAL
    21966 BAP2
  9. Mr48,
    Not doybting your word here, just a question.
    Don't blems usually have blem branded in the side of them? You have seen more tires up close than I will ever see so it is just a question.

    I think the numbers that are not obvious are just a serial number.
  10. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,606


    True, P-n-B most blems I used to see were branded blem on the sidewalls. At first I thought he might have a set of well done caps but those tires don't look like they have ever been mounted.
  11. Mr48,

    I believe you're right in your thinking. I don't believe these have ever been mounted. I thought it interesting that the tire size was molded into the face of the tread (first pic) 120 degrees apart (three locations with numbers on eack side at each location).


    If you were to guess, about what year do you think these were manufactured?
  12. Well Brett,
    Mr48 is going to give you a way more accurate number than I will. he has been around tires on trhe business end of it way more than i have. My guess is that they are 60s tires.

    here is my logic:
    Most farm tires were 6 ply as I recall, farmers just liked them better. By about the mid 70s bias ply car tires were pretty hard to come by. by them pretty near everone was drinking the coo laid including manufacturers. By the early '70s most of the bias ply tires that you saw didn't have a pie crust sidewall. They were mostly smooth sidwals up near the tread or a wrapped tread on a performance tire.

    Edit damnit:
    I put '60s when I meant '70s. DuhOH I'll take my Homer now.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
  13. 21966 is Feb19 of 1966. The other is a production number/plant number I think, Never seen the tire size on the face. Would be easy to locate on a tire rack though.
  14. I built tires and sorted tires for 2o years at Michelin. One time I even built tires on overtime, went home and came back 8 hours later to finishing, my regular job- only to find myself sorting tires I built!

    Those are most likely the serial numbers of the molds themselves. Let me explain---

    Now and then molds have to cleaned up, worked on etc, for any number of reasons. IF you are in finshing at a tire plant and a tire comes by now and then with the same unacceptable blemish for example, you look at the serial number of the mold on the tire--THAT is the mold you got to.

    Takes the guesswork as to which mold to refer to.

    See those rivet head imprints? That means those molds are older than 25 years at least. But It doesn't mean the tires are.
  15. Those tires have never been used either, the numbers on the tread would be ground off by road use in short order.
  16. papajohn
    Joined: Nov 2, 2006
    Posts: 885


    I was given a set of wide whites that my Uncle bought as blems in the late 1980's. he never mounted them and they still even had the bluing on the whites.

    Ran them from about 2008 thru 2011 on a 4000 lb 60 Olds and never had a problem. No cracks or bulges or shifted belts and didnt even wear funny.

    Im not saying you will have the same luck, BUT if you do run them, check them regularly.
  17. Another 'truth' foisted on us by lawyers...

    Those 'tire expiration dates' came out of the Ford Explorer/Firestone debacle. While there's some truth to it, it's not the whole story.

    The feds, car manufacturers, and tire makers all did extensive testing after this was in the news. The conclusion was that tires should be replaced after six years. What they didn't tell you if you didn't read the report is this was based on testing done in Phoenix AZ, which has the highest daily average temps for a metro area in the US, i.e. a worst-case scenario. Also buried in the report was the admission that the rate of degradation was exponential; the higher the heat, the faster the tires went bad. So you'll hear that tires become 'unsafe' after 6, 8, or 10 years depending on who you're talking to.

    Bottom line? If you live in the sunbelt, those dates are likely close for tires on your vehicle. But if the tires have been stored properly (cool and dark)or you live in a cooler climate, they'll last much longer.

    Here's one report...
  18. JohnEvans
    Joined: Apr 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,883

    from Phoenix AZ

    Actually those tires look to be re-caps ,look at the faint line of flash on the tread shoulder. And size marking on the the tread is another give away. For the OPs use should be fine with a fresh set of tubes.
  19. I agree, especially with the size on the tread face. Even with new tubes at anything over ten mph you'll be lucky if they don't vibrate the front end to pieces and some throw tread. Especially on a car you value, with people in it you value and old, blems, recaps, bias or radials that are obviously very old, 45 years and the retreads close to that.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  20. Pops1532
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 544

    from Illinois

    The 6 or 8 year thing refers to radial tires and as Crazy Steve said it has a lot to do with other factors like temperature.
    Bias ply tires can provide safe service for decades.

    I've seen blems branded as such, and I've seen them with just the manufacturer name sanded off.
    Run good tubes in them. When the sidewalls start checking it's time to remove them from highway use.
  21. Thanks, Brian! That makes perfect sense!

    Curb, that was what I was thinking at first, but these two numbers are on two different tires, so it being a date code is either out of the question or one of the tires was built in 1926!

    Thanks all for the input! The wisdom of the HAMB strikes again!
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,224


    brett, I looked closer and even blew up my screen. Perhaps I was seeing sanding marks vs cracks.

    I think you got solid answers and 2 schools of thought here. In low speed "fun" driving, I also think you'd be Ok. I'd balance them to perfection, or perhaps try the bead deal as discussed within the last week here, because I think they'd last much longer that way. My final thought, and what I'd do if they were mine, I'd clean them inside and out with mild soap and water, then I'd go to my favorite electrical supply house and get a bottle of glycerine used for snaking wires through conduit. Straight glycerine can "revive" rubber. It's one of the chemicals that dries out of old rubber and being porous it'll suck it up some. I wouldn't use it inside where the tube goes though. The other preservative to use if glycerine isn't handy, anything that isn't like Armorall or any of the other ghetto looking tire shine crap. Something like vinyl preservatives or leather rejuvenation type stuff will be way better and actually preserve the faces vs impart some foreign shine chemical. Last but not least, apply a liberal amount of baby powder inside the tire before shoving the tubes in. A wonderful dry lubricant, it allows the tube to seat where it "wants to be". Air it up, let all the air out, bounce it around un-inflated, then air up for the last time. Just some things I've done over the years, and the cars I've done this to are worth about 10-20 Model As :eek:

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