Thursday, January 28, 2010

My tires exploded

About a year ago there were stories in the news about people having old tires on their cars and how the tires age, even when not in use, and become unsafe. I filed it away for forgot about it. About a month back the story was back in the news. I did some research and started attempting to look for DOT date codes on our antique cars.

First car. Our 1969 Mustang coupe. I put four new bias ply tires on it. In about 1984! I remember bias tires were hard to get even then. Radial had taken over. The date codes on these four Goodyear’s, didn’t even have the same format as the write ups for checking tire age. Given they were put on 26 years ago, and might have been two to four years old then, it was time for new shoes! The spare tire in the trunk was also a Smithsonian-worthy relic. It was a “Buccaneer” tire that I think was a gas-station brand. I think my dad put those on around 1974. I was tempted to hit it with a hammer and see if it would shatter.

Second car. Our 1970 Mustang Mach 1. I restored that car in the early 1990’s. The tires on it are Goodyear reproductions of the original bias-ply tires. But this is 2010, so even those tires are 16 years old.
Neither of these cars is driven all that much, maybe 1000 to 2000 miles a year, so the tires never wear out. But they start getting hard, small cracks appear in the treads and such.

So on one of my Car Forums I query about peoples tire age. One guy reported that his 15 year old tires started coming apart at 35 MPH in his neighborhood and he had trouble getting it parked, even at that slow speed. I tend to get mine out on the freeway by us and get up to 70! A tire issue at that speed would mean a crash and possible a totaled antique car. The recommendation on the Mach was to take off the reproduction tires, coat them with a quality rubber protectant and store them under a blanket in a cool and dark place. Use them only for big shows where “original” counts. I took that advice. I purchased four BF Goodrich Radial and four brand new Magnum style rims.

On the coupe, I just purchased five radials. It isn’t shown that much and the original type tires, are not even reproduced.

The most fun was attempting to figure out just what tires would fit these old cars. The coupes original size was “6.95X14”. Those types of specifications were going away in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. The Mach is an example, as the original size is “F70X14”. Except that nomenclature also went away when they went to metric and then P-Metric, and whatever they are at now.

We wound up with a 205X70X14 on the coupe. That is a bit fatter than original, but about the same height as stock. We went with a 235X60X15 on the Mach. Seems to be what most of the Mustang parts houses and individuals get to fit. Those are a bit shorter that stock, but wider also. Plus, they look great.

The top picture is the coupe up on jack stands in our shop. All five wheels were getting new soles.
The bottom photo is the Mach. You can see the original tire still on the car and the new Magnum wheels and tires stacked up awaiting me to switch them out.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Arctic Orienteering

The North Texas Orienteering Association held the first meet of the new year this past Saturday. Earlier in the week an Arctic cold front moved in. We saw the lowest temperature we’ve seen in thirteen years. Typically at this meet, there would be upwards of 400 people. I’m not sure we had 100. Most of the school districts prohibited outdoor events, so the schools had to cancel.
So at 7:30 AM Saturday, I was picking up Mr. G and Mr.T. No, not that Mr.T.

It was somewhere between 8 and 13 degrees. We loaded up orienteering clothes, warm clothes to change into, multiple coats, lunches and such. We headed north. Yes, North. The orienteering event was held at Camp James Ray Boy Scout ranch near Pottsboro Texas. The camp is just to the south of Lake Texoma on the Texas – Oklahoma border. We were glad that there wasn’t much of a north wind!
We arrived at the camp about 9:15. We headed to a pavilion to use the restroom and checked the temperature. It read 22 degrees, but it was lying. We were surprised the bathroom was open and warm! We ran into the head ranger and he said they had lost power that morning but it was back on. He said he was heading out to see how the campers had fared overnight.
We headed to the old dining hall to see about registering. Usually there is a line for registration. This meet with hardly anyone there, there was zero line. We could have started competition early, but choose 10:15. That would give us time to put on some Arctic clothes and use the restroom one last time before venturing out into the frigid woods.
So at the start it was strangely quiet. Not the normal hoard of people, just a few in each class heading out.
I took my start and took about two hours on the course. I had trouble with only a few of the controls, and not near the trouble I could have had! By about the one-third point, I actually took off my hat. I left my gloves on, as my hands were warm but not hot. I was wearing some cotton Jersey type gloves from the hardware store. I had cut off about half of the left thumb so my thumb compass would fit. I’d also cut off half the left index finger. That way I could feel the map and work the compass.
I got back and Mr G and T were both finishing up their lunches. We were sitting in the scout medical trailer, which was comfortable with coats on. I went ahead and changed into regular non-sweaty clothes. We headed into the dinning hall again and talked with some other people who were thawing out.

But first I took a photo of the frozen BS swimming pool.

About 2 PM, Mr. G asked someone if they might move up the awards from 2:30. They were planning to do that but then asked us if we could help out with retrieving all the orienteering control bags and electronics out in the woods. They usually have a school help out with registration and they also retrieve all the control bags out in the woods. Since there were three of us, they sent us to the farthest control points! We decided to leave right away, as they would just hold any medals we might win for us to return.
We drove out to one point. Then parked my truck at one of the gates and headed off cross country to find the controls and retrieve the equipment. We take a NTOA backpack with us to stash the gear in as we retrieve it.
We hit most of the controls with only small issues. But the fifth point was something! We attempted to follow a fence line, but then failed to find the ruined fence off it that we needed to follow. It took over an hour to find the one point!
By the time we got back, it was 4 PM, the sun was getting awful low on the horizon and the temperature was dropping again. Down in the forest, it never warmed above freezing.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Obama Announces New Stimulus!!

President Obama announced today that he has signed Stimulus Funding in the amount of $20 Million Tax dollars, funding the use of Doctors of Proctology to be cross trained in airport security.

In related news, by filling out a simply card and attaching a check for $50, the results of your exam can be mailed to you.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


I walk about three miles, six days a week. Today, I decided to head out to a hiking trail and get a change of view. I usually do our city trails, which winds along under some major power lines, next to soccer fields and such.
So I headed out the Denton County, Old Alton Bridge. You can park there and there is a 2 mile, each way, hiking trail. Off I went. Took me 55 minutes. I jogged some heading back. Some of the trail was thick mud and some water to miss. What was strange was the trail then dead ended into a new major highway they are building in the area.
When I got back to Old Alton, I yelled for the ghost to show himself. The fishermen were not amused. I looked around as another trail is supposed to head south, toward our home. I didn't find it and was loosing daylight. I got in the truck and looped around the lake to where I know the south end of the trail was. It was too dark by then.
Checking the USFS maps, I'm glad I didn't attempt it! They are about eight miles from the Old Alton bridge, to where the park would be! That is a day hike, not the hour I had!