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Old 01-05-2005, 08:53 AM   #1
fishman
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Default Why not criss-cross tire rotation?

1 Rotation question I always wondered about:

I know the recommended tire rotation pattern (front - back only) for my WRX. Can anyone tell me why this is? I know it's stated in the manual, but that's not really a "reason". I searched but I couldn't find a real reason why not to criss-cross.

2 Problem I have that I think/hope is tire noise:

BTW, I have BFG KDWS 16's (bidirectional asym design) which are mounted on RS wheels. I had them mounted and balanced and switched them from my RS to my WRX, shortly after I purchased the WRX.

I get a pretty bad "whirring" noise, which I thought could be tire noise. My buddies say it sounds like tire noise. The car tracks straight, no pull or vibration I can detect. I can hear it at lower speeds, 25mph and it gets more severe/faster at highway speeds. I don't know what else it could be. Maybe a bearing too tight? It's been doing it for quite a while, maybe getting a bit worse now. I've rotated my tires too, and early on when they were almost new, I did an early rotation and criss-crossed them. I figured that shouldn't have been a problem.? Maybe I should try to criss-cross them back.

I know the noise is probably impossible for anyone to diagnose, but if anyone has any suggestions what it might be or what to try and do, I appreciate it.

Thanks,

fishman
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Old 01-05-2005, 09:46 AM   #2
subieworx
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My friend has those tires in 235 45 17 on his STI for winter and also gets road noise. Seems to be the tire.
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Old 01-05-2005, 09:53 AM   #3
Karl
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You can criss-cross but with a directional tire, you will have to dismount them to rotate that way.
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Old 01-05-2005, 09:54 AM   #4
bull3964
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The idea of not criss crossing the tires isn't really unique to subaru. My parent's FWD vibe also recommends the front-> back approach.

The reason is, steel belted radials "set" in their direction of rotation after a time. Instead of the belts being in a straight spiral from the center like spokes of a bike are, over time they shift to a more slanted orientation due to the stresses of rotation. If you switch the sides of the car, the belts shift into the other direction.

In the past, this could cause a radial to lose structual integrity and possibly blow out. I think with modern construction practices this is less of a concern however other things can happen like the tire wearing more quickly or going out of balance.

I think that higher performance tires are more intolerate of switching sides as their stiffer construction makes them more inflexible to re-adjusting which is why you generally see the front -> recommendation on on cars that came with higher performance tires from the factory.
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Old 01-05-2005, 10:25 AM   #5
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Because they're usually directional.
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Old 01-05-2005, 12:51 PM   #6
fishman
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Thanks everyone for the quick response.

That's probably true that front>back is generally recommended because of directional tires.

But I like bull3964's technical explanation too.

I think I might have them re-balanced right away again, but that's probably got nothing to do with the noise, given I don't feel any vibrations.

Also, I notice a significant amount of non-uniform tread wear. The rubber on the outside tread blocks have more wear (less rubber left) on the leading edge of the tread block (viewed with tread block touching the ground) I think this can be explained by braking loads exceeding acceleration loads. I really don't get heavy on the throttle much, and I think I brake early and soft most of the time too.

I thought maybe the uneven treadblock wear maybe started the whirring. And maybe this is another reason why / why nnot to criss-cross. Just a thought.

Has anyone else noticed this type of tread block wear? I searched for this wear pattern but couldn't find anyone posting about this either.

Thanks again,

fishman
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:13 PM   #7
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you can rotate them in an "X" pattern .... but only if they are not directional ..... cross the rears going forward and move the fronts staight backwards ...

and as far as Bull3964's comments on radial tires ... that issue went away about 10 years ago
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Old 01-06-2005, 01:17 PM   #8
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Default Sidewall dimple

A wave like depression in the sidewall of a tire that has just been rotated to the opposite side of the car is one of the typical signs that shifting of the belt(s) has taken place. Many of my friends think I'm some kind of tire guru (which I'm not), because when they tell me they just started having vibration issues and I spot the classic sidewall deformity. I say, "You just had your tires rotated recently, didn't you"? And they say, "How did you know"? Unfortunately, if the vibration is due to belt shifting, rebalancing won't help much.

Solely based on the number of times I've seen this phenomenon occur (including many times within the last five years), I personally will not rotate tires in a manner which changes their direction of rotation. Regardless of whether or not the tire or auto manufacturer states that such a practice is ok.

Last edited by Scottie; 01-06-2005 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 01-06-2005, 02:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottie
A wave like depression in the sidewall of a tire that has just been rotated to the opposite side of the car is one of the typical signs that shifting of the belt(s) has taken place. Many of my friends think I'm some kind of tire guru (which I'm not), because when they tell me they just started having vibration issues and I spot the classic sidewall deformity. I say, "You just had your tires rotated recently, didn't you"? And they say, "How did you know"? Unfortunately, if the vibration is due to belt shifting, rebalancing won't help much.

Solely based on the number of times I've seen this phenomenon occur (including many times within the last five years), I personally will not rotate tires in a manner which changes their direction of rotation. Regardless of whether or not the tire or auto manufacturer states that such a practice is ok.
I still don't understand how this happens. No matter what the direction of rotation of the tire, it is still seeing forces in both directions (acceleration & braking). Why don't you see belt shift if you gun it then slam on the brakes?
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Old 01-06-2005, 04:24 PM   #10
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... or drive in reverse?
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Old 01-06-2005, 05:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fliz
I still don't understand how this happens. No matter what the direction of rotation of the tire, it is still seeing forces in both directions (acceleration & braking). Why don't you see belt shift if you gun it then slam on the brakes?
Whenever we travel 80MPH on highway, the force is constantly applying to the tire with the opposite direction of braking force. For me I use my brake less than 5~10% of total distance travel.
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Old 01-07-2005, 11:33 AM   #12
fishman
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TJRCS:

That's a good point about highway travel. In my 5sp., I think it has a 50/50 torque split front to rear, so on longer trips, all 4 tires should see a forward traction load just to maintain speed (overcoming air resistance...) Over time maybe the tire is "seating" and if it's rotated the reverse direction after seating, there may be some shifting which can cause some weirdness.

Anyway, that's the theory I extract from the posts above.

I'm not sure if I should try to criss-cross them back or not... I'll probably try and if just change back if it's worse.

Thanks to all for the help and general insight into this.

Fishman
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Old 01-07-2005, 02:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJRCS
Whenever we travel 80MPH on highway, the force is constantly applying to the tire with the opposite direction of braking force. For me I use my brake less than 5~10% of total distance travel.
I'm not sure how time spent has an effect. You're still cycling the forces with regularity.

Of course, if you have your car properly aligned (and your brakes are in good working order), there's no reason to criss-cross the rotation anyways, unless you're such a big Nascar fan that you make three lefts instead of turning right.
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Old 01-07-2005, 03:30 PM   #14
spelk3
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I do allot of cloverleaf on/off ramps. As a result I wear the left side tires (especially the front) much more than the right side. I like to cross rotate because of this, allows me get more even tire wear.
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Old 01-08-2005, 02:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishman
I know the noise is probably impossible for anyone to diagnose, but if anyone has any suggestions what it might be or what to try and do, I appreciate it.
The easiest way to tell if its the tires would be to install another set and go for a drive. Do you still have the RE-92's that came with the car, or know anybody with an extra set of wheels/tires?
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