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I track and autocross a 2009 Porsche Cayman S. I have been running on Bridgestone RE-71R tires for the past several years. I recently needed to replace my RE-71 R's but the new RE-71 RS were on back order at the time so I purchased my first set of Falken RT660 tires through Tire Rack. I just did an HPDE at Weather Tech Laguna Seca. The Falken RT660's had approximately 400 highway miles by the time I arrived at the track. After 17 laps the front left tire started to show visible tread splice or delamination at the seam.  During the manufacturing phase, before a tire goes into a mold to cure and get its final shape, a wide sheet of uncured tread rubber is wrapped around the tire casing above the steel belts. There is a beveled junction where the ends of the sheet meet, which becomes invisible when the tire cures in the mold. Sometimes braking force or torque from wheel spin or acceleration can put enough stress on the junction to cause it to become visible as a line that runs across part or all of the tread area.  When I returned home I found the other three tires were showing early signs of visible tread splice as well. Tire Rack says visible tread splice is not covered under warranty or the road hazard policy however I can purchase another set of Falkens or any other brand of my choice and Tire Rack says Falken, out of goodwill, has been refunding the purchase price prorated for wear based upon the remaining tread depth when returned and inspected. Tire Rack will pay for the UPS return shipping of the delaminated tires and pay up to $25 per tire for mounting and balancing which, by the way, does not cover the average cost to mount and balance a tire in Los Angeles. Tire Rack says they have not heard of anyone experiencing tire failure. It was suggested to rotate the tires but  the tires are directional, the front and rear tires are different sizes and, frankly, I want what I paid for - four new tires that don't have visible tread splice after one track day. Plus, Tire Rack said rotating the tires only solved the problem 50% of the time. Not to mention with the tread pattern flipped it is not going to be as effective in the rain. Anyone else experience seam delamination/ visible tread splice with the Falken RT660 tires? Did you continue running on them? Or, did you replace them? I tried to upload a photo but the parameters distorted the image.

dps214
dps214 Dork
10/9/22 11:04 a.m.

They do that. Giving them a good initial heat cycle helps to minimize or avoid it. Don't run them quite so hot and they'll be fine. We've had at least two sets do it with no further issues.

CAinCA
CAinCA GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
10/9/22 11:04 a.m.

Hi Kevin,

 

This is Chris. I talked to you at that event. I'm the guy with the base Cayman.

 

 I'm glad to hear that Falken is replacing the tires. FWIW My next set of track tires will be the Goodyear F1 Supercar 3. 
 

You might want to check out the Ultimate Track Tire Guide here:

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/articles/track-tire-buyers-guide/

kevinsullivan21
kevinsullivan21 GRM+ Memberand New Reader
10/9/22 2:51 p.m.

In reply to CAinCA :

Thank you, Chris! Yes, I remember you! I have the Ultimate Track Tire Guide and I use it. It is great! Thanks for the link. I tried a set of the F1 Supercar 3 and I liked them. I think I will try the new RE-71 RS next. I will send you the photos. Thanks for your help!

kevinsullivan21
kevinsullivan21 GRM+ Memberand New Reader
10/9/22 2:57 p.m.

In reply to dps214 :

Thank you for this information! It is helpful and reassuring. I will take note. 

CAinCA
CAinCA GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
10/9/22 3:30 p.m.

Here's Kevin's picture 

 

bludroptop
bludroptop UltraDork
10/10/22 5:25 a.m.

Falken isn't the first tire to exhibit tread splice issues-disconcerting but benign in my experience.  Kudos to Tire Rack for their goodwill.

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/10/22 7:20 a.m.

I bought a set of 660's and the center rib came off after one autocross. Tire Rack replaced them with another set, and those came apart after one autocross. They prorated a set of BFGs for me, fool me twice Falken, but not three times. 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/10/22 7:54 a.m.
bludroptop said:

Falken isn't the first tire to exhibit tread splice issues-disconcerting but benign in my experience.  Kudos to Tire Rack for their goodwill.

When the 660s first came out, it seemed like I was seeing pictures of them delaminating at the track on a weekly basis.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
10/10/22 8:02 a.m.

Did you heat cycle them first? That seems to help a ton. 

kevinsullivan21
kevinsullivan21 GRM+ Memberand New Reader
10/10/22 8:05 a.m.

I have sent the front left (in the photo above) back to Tire Rack for evaluation and hopefully in about 14 days from now I will see a prorated credit from Tire Rack via Falken on my credit card. Based upon everyone's helpful response, I may hold off sending the other three back and see if Falken does come through with a credit for the front left. I have a track day today at Streets Of Willow Springs. I'll see how they do. 

bludroptop
bludroptop UltraDork
10/10/22 8:38 a.m.

2014 GRM forum discussion regarding tread splice...

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/rival-tread-splice/84003/page1/

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
10/10/22 10:33 a.m.
Tom Suddard said:

Did you heat cycle them first? That seems to help a ton. 

Just out of curiousity, what would count as a heat cycle? Just a jaunt down the highway? A backroad blast? Curious how much heat you need to get them and let them cool to be considered a heat cycle. 

Toyman!
Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/10/22 10:51 a.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

I usually do a back road blast or two. 

IIRC, Tire Rack will also heat cycle them for you for a price. 

 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
10/10/22 10:53 a.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

JG did a nice article explaining the why and how a few months ago:

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/articles/why-you-should-heat-cycle-your-tires/

 

dps214
dps214 Dork
10/10/22 11:24 a.m.
z31maniac said:
Tom Suddard said:

Did you heat cycle them first? That seems to help a ton. 

Just out of curiousity, what would count as a heat cycle? Just a jaunt down the highway? A backroad blast? Curious how much heat you need to get them and let them cool to be considered a heat cycle. 

All of it. Get them fully up to temperature but without overheating or sliding them around excessively. Basically just below limit driving.

Based on our small-ish sample size (five total sets) the harder the tires are used, the more likely they are to splice, which makes sense. We've had three sets across the porsches with no issues, but both of the sets we've had on the GR86 (which isn't much lighter, with worse weight distribution and narrower tires) have had some splicing. None of them developed into anything problematic.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/10/22 1:28 p.m.

The RT660s on the Miata have 19 autocrosses on them. Let me take some measurements and photos. 

twowheeled
twowheeled Reader
10/10/22 4:36 p.m.
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) said:

I bought a set of 660's and the center rib came off after one autocross. Tire Rack replaced them with another set, and those came apart after one autocross. They prorated a set of BFGs for me, fool me twice Falken, but not three times. 

tread cracks for me under 1000 miles of street driving. Also never again. 

kevinsullivan21
kevinsullivan21 GRM+ Memberand New Reader
10/10/22 11:38 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

I did not. Thank you for the tip.

kevinsullivan21
kevinsullivan21 GRM+ Memberand New Reader
10/11/22 12:52 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Great article! Thank you!

 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
10/11/22 1:31 p.m.

Awesome, glad you liked it!

hunter47
hunter47 Reader
10/11/22 1:39 p.m.

Tire Rack will heat cycle them for $25/piece. 

I had some major delamination from my front right RT660 on a left turn heavy track. They were heat cycled. 

kevinsullivan21
kevinsullivan21 GRM+ Memberand New Reader
10/12/22 2:15 p.m.

A quick follow up... after corresponding with Tire Rack about my options, I decided to purchase and install a new front left tire and return the front left tire with the visible tread splice (seen in the photo above) to Tire Rack and see if Tire Rack would in fact give me a prorated refund based on the wear and tear. Today they credited my credit card $198.48 - far faster than the 14 day turn around they mentioned.  The original purchase price was $239.13 for the 245/40 18 tire. So, a difference of $40.65. BTW - The tread depth was just shy of 8/32 on the returned tire after about 800 highway miles and 35 track miles. BTW - The tread depth starts at 8/32 when new. Overall I  am pleased with how Tire Rack handled everything and based on the information I received from all of you on this forum I have decided to keep the other three tires and do a better job heat cycling RT660's in the future before driving aggressively on the track. I would have thought driving 300 miles from L.A. to Laguna Seca would have been enough heat cycling but in my instance it was not. I did a track day at Streets Of Willow this past Monday with new new front left and I took more time warming my tires on my out laps. The minimal visible tread splice on my three other tires did not increase. The new front left tire did develop a faint visible tread splice. I will run keep the Falkens. When it is time to replace them I will probably try a set of RE-71RS. I liked the old RE-71R's so I'm curious. Thank you all!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/12/22 2:17 p.m.

In reply to kevinsullivan21 :

Glad to hear it worked out.

When heat cycling tires, sounds like that 24-hour cure time is also important. Hope this article and conversation helps others. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
10/12/22 3:11 p.m.

Yeah, glad things are going better! As David mentioned, it's important to remember that it's a heat cycle, not just a heat. That 24 hours of cool-down is just as crucial as the heating. 

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