Ahhh, West and Wewaxation at Wast!
Originally posted 4/11/2013
Well, the process is over. Pull a wheel and hub. Head into Wickenburg to drop off the hub for bearing removal and replacement, and get the tire dealer to swap the rubber donut for new. When a hub is ready, pick it up and return to install it on the trailer and pull another. Rinse and repeat. It took several days because service on the hubs couldn’t be instant. Total, $844.22 for four tires, three bearing sets with seals, and the labor to pound out the old and pound in the new. Plus, a spare bearing and seal set to carry on the road.
Just for morbid curiosity, I also pulled the new hub that had been replaced in Quartzsite. Expecting to find an abundance of grease, I found everything clean and dry, with just a whisper of clean grease wetting the tapered rollers. That’s not the usual practice. The mechanic here expressed his preference as, “If a bearing fails that I put in, it’s not going to be for lack of grease. These things heat up.” I slopped more in with my grease gun and a weird stem that is handy for reaching into such areas. So I’ve done all I can do, and it’s now merely a matter of hub touchy-feely and watching for tilted wheels once I hit the road again.
But that won’t be right away. I can stay here for up to another week if I like, and I’ve been concentrating on getting the repairs done. I’ll likely do laundry and food shop soon, as well as tour the area and walk around Wickenburg, which is a peculiar little town. Much of it is modern and relatively upscale, and some spots here and there are kind of eclectic Old West in their own way. But, I have yet to climb out of the Furd, apart from the two repair places involved. I can say that the people I’ve dealt with as well as those wandering in for one reason or another are “un-urban”. Low key, open, and they’ll just wander over to talk while you’re waiting.
One guy rolled into the tire dealership just to visit because he knew the folks. He had an old, mid-80s body series Dodge, the boxy one with a great two-tone trim package. It looked a year old. 650,000 miles. Had the engine rebuilt twice, transmission three times. Assured me he wasn’t exaggerating when he said he was getting 170,000 miles from each set of Michelins. Geez, I’m at 50,000 on the Ford, and my Continentals are halfway through for sure, and I thought that was great.
Weather here has been fine, with the exception of oddball surges of wind. High wind. I had so much un-fun fighting the solar panel tie-down straps that I cut off and saved their hooks, and swapped in 80-lb polypropylene rope. I lose the ability to adjust length, but found that I’m unwilling to face a high wind with the panels raised to horizontal, anyway. I angle them down and add the tie-downs. The plus of using rope is that it doesn’t flap and flutter in the wind, so me happy now. The other plus is that the rope looks just as tacky as the straps did.
Last night I woke up about 1AM with my mind churning about a possible way to travel with the solar panels hanging off the side on their mounts. That would help correct tongue weight and general weight distribution, as well as keep the passageway to the office fully open. I came up with a rather easy and cheap way to hold them down so they would neither lift in the wind of traffic nor hammer the trailer’s thin aluminum siding. Checking things out today, I determined that such a holding system would actually work, and releasing the panels to deploy them would take about two minutes of dawdling effort. Alas, the system still depends on the original hanger mounts to hold their weight, and those just aren’t suited for the forces of travel. Replacing the hanger mounts with something permanent having less leverage on more mounting screws would be great, but I’m not ready to approach that deep a modification yet.