On Mon, 14 Sep 2009 19:34:50 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03
In case it's not obvious, Because the wheel moving on the hub had let the wheel hit the studs and damage the threads on at least two studs. The same reason at least two of the bolt holes in the wheel were oblong.
Close to letting my wheel fall off. Also I think there are a lot more threads per inch on the those little studs than on what a knockoff uses. At least for a race car, they just start it on, then hit it and it spins two or three revolutions and it's tight, right?
No, 1972 or 3, and yeah, it was amazingly cheap. Even more so when you hear all he did. I thought I was going to have to pay 50, 100, 150 or more, trying to remember prices then, but he only charged 7 dollars and change.
I wanted to go back to Chicago for a visit so I put a notice up at NYU, it probably was, looking for riders. I got two, a girl and a guy who used to work in a political job for Mayor Daley (which was a bad thing). We're on Interstate 80, a new road then, that goes east-west across northern, entirely rural, and partly wilderness Pa. and we're almost to Ohio. She's driving and she tells me that when she goes even to the left or right a bit, it's quiet, but when she points straight ahead, there's a noise. I drive for a bit and she is right! I pull over and for the wheel I had fiddled with 2 days earlier, the hub is too hot to touch. I just held my hand near it and I could feel the warmth. But, aha, there is a ramp only 200 yards ahead of me and a gas station at the top of the ramp. So I go there. But he tells me, I can't do it. You'll have to go to the dealer. Well the dealer is only 3 miles north in a tiny town. Looking at the map, I see it is Mercer, Pa, just as I recalled from 37 years ago!
I drive in, tell the guy the problem, and the first thing he does is look at the clock. It's 10 to 5, closing time. Immediately I think he's going to tell me to come back tomorrow, which means I'll have to pay for a motel for all 3 of us, probably one room for me and the guy and another room for the girl, plus I'll have to buy them dinner. If it were just me, I could have slept in a corn field. The whole reason I got riders was to save money.
But he doesn't say anything and he starts in on it. After taking off the tire and the hub/brakedrum iirc, he tells me that the inner race of the bearing is fused to the spindle (it was so hot). For those who don't know, the spindle is like the axle, but just the outer 6 inches of it, and it turns left and right because it's a front wheel. He doesn't think he can get the bearing off without ruining the spindle, and he doesn't stock the spindle. Darn, I think, the junk yards are closing in 5 minutes, I'll have to come back tomorrow after all.
I'll get my boss, he says. The boss comes and lights the acetylene torch, and goes at it. In less than a minute, iirc, he turns off the torch and says, "You were lucky. I got it off without ruining the spindle. I have a bearing in stock and I think you ruined the brake drum too. Oh, I say, I have my original brake drum in the trunk." I"m vague here, because I thought he didn't provide any parts, but if he cut off the original inner race, he must have replaced the bearing. And he must have pushed out the orificial outer race from the brake drum, because he's not going to do what I did, use halves of two different bearings (either both used or one used and one new, either way they don't match). So he sold me a new wheel bearing. Maybe that is what made it cost 7.60. I don't remember watching him push the bearing out or in, but any how, he had me ready to leave by about 5:15, 25 minutes total, and the bill was 7.60. I gave them 10 dollars and said the rest was for the coffee they made for themselves. I wanted to yell about how cheap they were. Maybe because it wasn't NYC or Chicago. But I didn't want to make them feel they weren't charging enough.
One of them may have left already but I apologize to whoever is there for keeping them after 5:00 and he says, "It doesnt' matter. I live 5 minutes from here anyhow." And no rush hour traffic in NW Pa.
Later it occurred to me, or maybe he told me, that if I had driven much farther and it had gotten much hotter, the bearing might have melted, and then cooled when I parked, and fused into one piece, and I couldn't even have driven the car. That would have meant a tow truck, maybe many miles, and more parts and much more money yet.
And yet here I am last year, 36 years later, letting a moderate medical problem lead to emergency, probably life-at-risk surgery. It's like I haven't learned a thing.
I must have been misled, because the whole thing only took 45 minutes and I spent 10 dollars.