Bridgestone to pay Ford $240 million in settlement

http://www.autonews.com/news.cms?newsId 550
Bridgestone to pay Ford $240 million in settlement
Reuters / October 12, 2005
DETROIT -- The U.S. arm of Japan's Bridgestone Corp. on Wednesday said it
will pay Ford Motor Co. $240 million to settle a longstanding dispute between the companies over Ford's massive Firestone tire safety recall.
In 2001, in one of the biggest recalls in U.S. history, former Ford Chief Executive Jacques Nasser said the automaker would spend $3 billion to replace 13 million Firestone tires, installed mostly as original equipment on the company's popular Explorer SUV.
Federal regulators have linked tread separation on the tires, and resulting rollover accidents, to about 270 deaths and more than 800 injuries in the United States.
Ford and Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC both said the settlement laid to rest all remaining matters between the two companies stemming from the safety recall.
"We have revolved all of our differences with Bridgestone Firestone amicably," Ford said in a statement.
Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes said some class-action lawsuits were still pending against the second-largest U.S. automaker related to the Firestone and Explorer safety dispute.
Vokes added that Ford expected the lawsuits to be dismissed but not as a result of Bridgestone Firestone's settlement with Ford.
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I always felt that the proverbial Explorer rear end vibration coupled with Ford tire pressure label/trick to get a smoother ride contributed to the tread separation from overheating at highway speeds.
I currently run Bridgestone Dueler APTs @ 40 lbs on my 96 EB AWD V8

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Hmm. I'm thinking that "EB" stands for "Eddie Bauer"?
Anyway, here's my take on what happened. NOTE: I used to work for Ford, but not in anything related to vehicle dynamics, and I have absolutely no inside information on this.
We start with a tall, narrow vehicle with something of a propensity to tip over. I seem to recall reading that Ford reduced the recommended inflation pressure to reduce rollover risk by limiting maximum lateral acceleration. Now consider the average American driver's approach to maintenance: probably quite a few of those Explorers wer going around with tire pressure at 15 psi or so, rather than the recommended 26. Add in tires that were somewhat more susceptible to tread separation, and you have trouble. Especially since buyers gravitated toward the vehicle for perceived crashworthiness; driver skill in emergencies might not be the top goal of many of these people.
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Well you are ignoring the facts if that is what you believe. As was brought out in Congressional testimony, Ford picked the pressure for safety reasons, and Firestone admitted that even if the tires had been inflated to only 22 lbs, they SHOULD have been able to safetly support a properly loaded Explorer. I do agree that if the tires had been inflated to a higher pressure, and people properly loaded their Explorers, there would have been fewer Firestone tire failures. I was lucky with my '96 Explorer, it came with the decent quality Goodyear tires (which had a very low failure rate).
> I currently run Bridgestone Dueler APTs @ 40 lbs on my 96 EB AWD V8
Be careful you don't get the car sideways if you need to make an extreme maneuver. If you are running P series tires, you are at least 10 lbs over inflated and you are decreasing your safety.
Ed
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The Firestone spare on my '99 developed severe cracking at numerous places at the edge of the belt area and looked like a certain candidate for tread separation. This spare was never on the ground so inflation pressure, etc. was not a factor. The tires were simply defective regardless of pressure. This only affected the spare in my case because I had the Firestones replaced with Michelins before I accepted delivery of it. I got a new spare at Ford's expense when they announced the recall. The reason I had the Firestones replaced on my new '99 is because of the vibration and shaking from the Firestones on my '92. I replaced them with Michelins and never had another problem.
IMHO, this whole inflation pressure thing is an excuse to try to explain the bad tires. Only question for me is why Ford stuck with Firestones for so long. Maybe because Bill Ford's mother was a Firestone (true). The Firestone and Ford families were very close for generations, so will be interesting to see if Ford goes back to Firestone now that the suit is settled.
On Thu, 13 Oct 2005 10:26:20 -0400, "C. E. White"

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Big Shoe wrote:

I bought a set of Firestones for another car back in the mid '80's. I can't remember the exact details, but they started falling apart long before they were worn out, which I had never seen tires do before, or since. It was probably the same thing you saw with your spare- severe cracking in the sidewall area.
I made a mental note- "never buy another Firestone." -Paul
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Firestone tried to spread blame to Ford and Explorer owners, but the question of fault was settled by the litigation. The settlement went against Firestone. Nothing about the Explorers design or the air pressure recommendations caused the tires to fail.. Ford proved that fact in court by showing the problem occurred only on Explorers and other vehicles fitted with Firestone tires from one plant, to the exclusion of all other tires. The problem did not occur on Explores fitted with other brand tires or Firestone tires for other Firestone plants.
The unfortunate part of Firestone problem for Ford and the industry was it imbedded, in the publics mind, the erroneous perception that SUV have a higher tendency to rollover than other types of vehicles. That gave the anti SUV crowd an excuse to try and effect the sales of SUV they love to hate. That perception is unfounded in fact. The fact is NO automobile or light truck has a tendency to rollover, even those SUVs with a short wheelbase. The opposite is the truth.. Every car or truck, if lifted up on two wheels by whatever force has, by definition, has not only a tendency but indeed a propensity to fall back on all four wheels. The fallacy, perpetrated by the environuts, has lead to expensive engineering changes and increased government regulations over SUVs that does little or nothing but add to the cost of building those vehicles. The truth is fewer than 2% of ALL vehicles accidents, including cars and light trucks, result in a rollover. The fact is the vast majority of that 2% are the result of forces encountered during the accident other than instability. IE being struck or striking something, running up or down a grade etc. If raising the center of gravity of a vehicle two inches or less, as is the case with SUVs, actually caused a vehicle to rollover then one should expect to see six and eight wheeled trucks, that have a center of gravity of about six inches higher than the average SUV or light truck, rolling over on a daily basis. ;)
mike hunt
wrote:

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Mike Hunter wrote:

What about that one (Suzuki Samurai?) that had so many rollovers that they made a "This Side Up" bumper sticker for it?
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Just more bullshit, from a guy who thinks that a too hot plug alone is a proximate cause of engine overheating, that running without a thermostat results in an engine overheating due to the coolant flowing through the engine too fast to pick up heat ...
Why does this clown continue to post his nonsense??
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The why did you post that nonsense? I never posted anything like that LOL
mike hunt

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Because, of course, a lawsuit always gets completely to the bottom of all complex technical questions...

I'm afraid that your knowledge of vehicle dynamics falls a bit short. On the contrary, any vehicle can be made to turn over, even on level pavement, if only by some sort of abuse (e.g. bad inflation pressures). The narrower the vehicle, and the higher its center of gravity, the easier that is to do, other factors being equal. Some design choices, e.g. the swing-axle rear suspensions of the VW Beetle and early Corvair, can make the situation worse.
Ever hear of the Mercedes A-Class?

But the truth is that rollovers count for a fairly large share of fatalities. And that share is much higher for SUV's than for passenger cars. I can't find the 1998 IIHS report right now; it's the latest I've found that breaks down fatalities by model and accident type. But it indicates that SUV deaths are far more likely to result from rollovers than deaths in passenger cars.

Or sliding sideways into a curb.

And they do, even though they have the advantage of being driven by trained professional drivers, and far less lateral acceleration capability. Remember how Ford reduced the recommended inflation pressure for the Explorer to reduce rollover risk? That was because it reduced the maximum lateral acceleration. The maximum lateral acceleration of a loaded semi is down around 0.5G, as I recall.
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Over the last 25 years I have driven on Michelins, GoodYears, BFG's and Bridgestones. Only one brand ever separated on me... and it happened twice with two different tires.
Guess which brand.
Never AGAIN!
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