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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Mont Co. Fire/Rescue Maryland

    Default Fire truck tires!

    I am looking for input on fire trucks tires. The county I am employed by has no spec on tires. The station at which I work has Engine 38,000lbs, a rescue 48,000lbs and a ladder truck 61,000lbs. The combination of these three units run 7,000+ calls per year. The questions I have are this:
    1. We run Goodyear 124’s on the engine and truck, the outside knobs or treads are chunking off. Are other departments having similar problems?
    2. The rescue squad is a 1984 Mack /Salisbury with 184,000 miles. It has Bridgestone’s on it. These tires are stamped “MAX SPEED 55 MPH”. The rescue squad runs 72 MPH. Why would these tires have a low speed rating like this? Does Firestone make Bridgestone tires?
    3. In a time of penny pinching we have begun using Continental tires on two of the engines. The first set was installed, and caused the unit to sway and made the rear end give a sliding sensation during turns and braking. The tire supplier stated these were the wrong tires and replaced them. I have not had the chance to put the replacement tires to a test. Does anyone have feedback on Continental tires?
    4. The brand new chief buggy came in with General tires and left the shop to go in service with Michelin tires, are Michelin tires the best on the market? Why are they not being placed on our fire trucks?

    Thank you for your time and be safe

  2. #2
    RJE is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Tulsa, OK, USA


    I can't give you specifics to all your questions, but here goes:

    1. Chunking tread is usually a sign the tire is overheating. Possible causes (it's up to you to determine which one(s) it might be)... a) under inflation, b) overloading, or c) excessive speed. There should be markings on the tire for all three of these (recommended pressure, max load (per tire) and a speed rating.

    2) Bridgestone (really a Japanese Co.) recently (I don't remember exactly, but probably in the last 5 years) bought Firestone. I don't know how to tell where these tires were made, but there is a code (lot number?) on them that you could look up. I have no idea WHERE you'd look it up, though, except to contact Firestone. How old are those tires? The 55MPH marking might date back to the national 55 speed limit, if they're that old.

    3. That certainly sounds like a tire mismatch. No experience with Continental tires, so I can't help you there.

    4. Michelins are good, but I wouldn't say they're the best. That's pretty subjective. On big trucks (semis) that I run, we use exclusively Goodyear. It might be that Michelins are more expensive. It also might be that they (a French company) don't make the over-sized tires. Pretty expensive to import tires that big, for no more demand than there is for them. That's why BS bought FS, to get US manufacturing plants.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    West Oneonta,NY 13861


    michelin tires according to a person i've talked to that worked at a dealer said michelins are only rated for 55 mph also unless you get into the 24.5 series then they're rated higher. other than what he told me i wouldn't guess. stay safe

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    F.L. CO,USA


    If just the outside of the tire edges are chunking off then the camber needs to be checked on the vehicle. If it is both the inside and the outside edges then underinflation is the issue. If it is not one of these issues then keep in mind that during turning the weight shift is put on the outside tire. Couple this with braking weight shift that occurs and tires wear.
    Tires are rated for speed based on their ability to dissapate heat under load. If you have an underated tire and you are over-driving it, premature failure is forthcoming.
    Bridgestone and Firestone are of the same parent company. The swaying that you mentioned is due to the wrong sidewall rating for the tire that was on the truck. It was the wrong tire and the weight was causing the sidewall to roll under the rim during turns. General and Michelin are both good tires. You might need to look into who has the bid on what brand of tires for the area that you are in. (governmentally speaking)

  5. #5
    Forum Member raricciuti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228


    Suggestion - get in contact with the apparatus manufacturer regarding what tires they recommend for your apparatus. Bu sure they are aware of your GVW (gross vehicle weight), and your maximum speed. Pay very close attention to inflation pressures also - under or over inflation can spell disaster.
    R.A. Ricciuti
    Mt. Lebanon Fire Department

  6. #6
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000


    Yes, who is best is very subjective.
    My subjective opinion: France only has one truly great thing they make, and that's Michelin Tires.

    The dig at France in, Michelin is an international firm, and has several US Manufacturing plants, although I don't know which tires are made where.

    Yes, they do make a full range of truck tires, and for the last decade whenever we have a choice on new apparatus or need to buy replacement tires, we've gone with Michelins. Mud/Snow style for the rear axle(s), conventional for the front axle.
    IACOJ Canine Officer

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001


    Either Good Year,Bridgestone, or Michelin are good in my opinion. I don't like Continental. Michelins are softer thus better in the wet but sacrifice lifespan. The 55mph tires were probably installed accidentally. Which axle are you talking about on the chunking problem and what type suspention? Why dosen't the county get more expensive tires you say ... Low bid thats why, or better repair service.

    [ 08-07-2001: Message edited by: Ggg ]

  8. #8
    Member Will24's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Elverson, PA


    Goodyears, IMO, don't last but a "good year" We have michelins on all of our trucks except for the brush's (which both have BF goodrich's) and love them, we run a fairly low volume of calls, but our pumper is only on it's second set of tires in 11 years, so, they CERTAINLY last!
    There are three truths in life:

    1. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
    2. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian faith.
    3. Two Baptists do not recognize each other in the liquor store.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Hope, RI, USA


    FIREMAN54 We have two full size pumpers, 35,000 lb. weight and a heavy rescue at 32,000 lb. all run Goodyear Unisteel radials G-159, highway thread on the front, mud and snow on the rears. Have had no tire problems at all. We do 500+ runs a year, a lot of high speed runs, like 50 55 MPH, even up to 65 without problems, We have 2 medium duty Rescue/Ambulances International 4500's, they run Michelins and Goodyears without problems. Hospital trips on Interstate Highway at 65 to 75 MPH.
    The larger trucks are 2 Spartans and an American LaFrance. All handle very well on curves, not even a hint of sliding.
    Hope this helps.

    John C
    Captain, Hope Jackson Fire Co.

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