China Bombs Ready To Explode
You may recall that last season, thanks to the roads in Lousyana, I picked up a nail in a tire on the trailer. The auto club came out and put on the spare. Four hours later, I was on my way. It was somewhat bittersweet as I felt I had gotten my money’s worth out of the auto club membership, however it put me way behind schedule and I was forced to tow in the dark to an RV Park that I had never visited before. But, life happens.
I got the flat tire plugged the next day, then returned underneath the trailer, where the spare tire is stored. Since then, I have been running with three fancy rims and one basic, spare-tire rim.
Last Wednesday I decided that it was time to exchange the tires and rims… putting the good tire on the fancy rim.
I jacked up the trailer, took off the original spare (good tire, basic rim) and retrieved the ‘now’ spare… plugged tire on fancy rim, then took both combos a mile up the street to the local tire chain, Pueblo Tires.
Pueblo broke down the two tire/rim combos then came to me with some bad news. My ‘good’ tire wasn’t ‘good’ at all. It had a large gash/split in the sidewall… the inside sidewall, that I would have never seen. They gave me a quote on a trailer tire, some unknown “China Bomb” – as they are referred to on the RV forums – for $100.
I have known since Day One that the tires that the manufacturers put on their coaches are questionable. I have done a lot of research and knew exactly which tires that I wanted. Replacing one China Bomb with another is throwing good money after bad. The tire guy phoned around and got me a quote on some Good Years… only $300… each!! Yikes.
I knew that I could order what I wanted online and have them shipped to Pueblo Tires. I would have them replace all four. When the tires arrived, I would hitch up and bring in the trailer. I asked if that would be okay, would they balance and install them? ‘Fine.” he said.
“Okay, if you’ll put the plugged tire on the fancy rim and air it up, I’ll put it back on the trailer then order the tires.”
“We can’t do that.”
“Safety regulations. We can’t air up a faulty tire. Both your tires are faulty, one with a gash and one with a plug.”
Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
I’m stuck with two loose rims, two faulty tires and a three-legged trailer. They put the tires and rims back into the bed of the truck.
I came back to the trailer and ordered the tires. $175 each. Ouch. However, when eventually I saw them, I nearly wept. Things of beauty.
I ordered them on Wednesday around noon from Simple Tire, early enough to be shipped that day, out for delivery on Friday.
“If you can’t raise the bridge, lower the river.”……..
How was I going to get a three-wheeled trailer up to the tire shop? I had noticed a Hot Rod type shop nearby. Oversized tires, custom rims, fancy air plug extensions in gold… ‘Paradise’ for a 22-year-old and his Hooptie. The next day I went in and asked the young proprietor if he would air up a tire for me? Sure!
Five minutes later he’s putting the plugged tire on the fancy rim all aired up into the back of the truck, and my $5 cash, no receipt, no questions, muchas gracias into his wallet. I came back to the trailer and put the aired-up, plugged tire now on the fancy rim, back onto the trailer.
Moving a fifth wheel one mile or one thousand miles, it’s the same preparation. Still on Thursday, the day before delivery, I had to batten everything down, put the cat in his carrier so he doesn’t hide someplace then get scrunched, pull in the four slides, retract the auto levelers and hitch up to the truck. Once hitched up, I extended the slides so I could live overnight. And let the cat out of his carrier.
Friday morning I was very pleased to track the FedEx shipment to see that my tires were “out for delivery”, having come down overnight from the Dallas area. Pueblo Tires had told me that FedEx usually arrived just before lunch. I pulled in three slides but left one extended so that me and Tupelo could watch The Price is Right until the tires showed as “Delivered”.
I put the cat in the truck, brought in the living room slide and headed for Pueblo Tire. Damn fool cat used his litter box during the one-mile trip, no stops, up the road. But he was fine after that. He stayed peacefully in the truck as the guys swapped out the tires on the camper, balancing them, 90 pounds of air and torqued the lug nuts to 120 ft lbs. Pueblo charged about $150.
So, I didn’t get much change from a $1,000 bill. However I felt much better about my three days of straight towing up to Arkansas. The lady at the RV Park in Hot Springs Arkansas says that there is a racetrack (horses) and a Casino nearby. Maybe I’ll win back my tire money.
I’m far too Scottish.Share