Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Tyred Out

After waiting a few weeks, I emailed Longstone Tyres to find out why they hadn't charged me yet. I waited a day and had no response. Then I checked the spam folder. Emails from Nigerian bankers wanting to give me a million dollars make it to my inbox. But Longstone Tyres asking if I really want to put taxi tyres on my vintage car. Well that must be spam. Thanks yahoo.

Most of Longstone's customers have true vintage cars. They used to sell taxi tyres as a stop gap until suitable tyres became available. Turns out I'm their first customer with an actual taxi. Longstone has been great. Simon just sent me the photo of my new tyre. We have a few more hurdles to clear but I'll get them eventually.

I decided to stop waiting for the new tyres and figure out what is wrong with the space saver on the right rear. A soapy water test showed the tire was leaking along the bead. Made me wonder if the problem was the rim, not the tire. I needed to pop the tire off and have a look. Harbor Freight had a manual tire changer on sale for about what it would cost me to have a shop mount and unmount the tire.

The tire changer has to be bolted to a solid surface. Whoever owns our house next will be wondering why there are so many anchors in the garage floor. I'm up to 11 now.

This was the easy part.

The Manual Tire changer works like any other Harbor Freight tool. They are cheap. You have to shove on them so hard you wonder what is going to break first. In my case it was the tire bead. That's a good thing. It was supposed to break. Once the tire was off, the problem was obvious. The wheel was full of crud. The sort of stuff you'd expect on a wheel that had been in a barn for 15 years. The guy at the used tire store hadn't cleaned it off. The tire bead wasn't making a good seal.

After cleaning, I discovered the rim is bent. It is ok for now. I will have to replace it before I can drive the bomb. Three taxi rims just sold for 99p on eBay. Pick up only. Somewhere in North London. I was not able to remount the tire. It was the end of the day and I was already worn out from getting the tire off. I'll try again soon. Beats lifting weights.


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