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A retelling of my life in DC and all the stupid ass sh!t I get myself into...



The Tire Saga



Well, it's going on 9 weeks of this bs now and it's still not completely finished but I figured it might be time to write about it before I forgot. Once upon a time, in a snowy evening before our epic storm, I went to get my tires checked and aired up since I was using my Jeep as a recovery vehicle to help shuttle medical staff to/from the hospital during these snowy conditions when they couldn't get around themselves. When Airing up my tires, I noticed that my left rear valve stem was leaky... oh noes! No prob, let's jet off to the tire shop and get that fixed. It's just a quick job that won't take any time.

I get to the first tire shop, they are complete a-holes who clearly don't wanna work with me. I get to the second shop and this super nice guy is happy to do the work. Changing a valve stem, after all, only takes a few minutes. I toss the guy my wheel lock and he puts it on the lift. 'Crack' The wheel lock breaks off. It happens, it's an original wheel lock that has probably been over torque'd. No biggie, but now he has to break all 5 locks off. It's annoying, but only takes like an hour. The valve stem is fixed and he's ordered me some wheel locks to replace the busted ones, so all is well.




Fast-forward to a few days later, I go back in there for my wheel locks and we talk tires. They have balanced and aligned my Jeep, but I'm still getting a strange death wobble from the tires. I'm informed that my tires are new enough that we can just warranty them and call it a day for some new ones. Great! Even better, he says we can toss on some 32's (the biggest size I can fit with out any problems)... even better! So, the tires are ordered and I go on my merry way.

The following week, my tires are reported lost in transit. What? Ok, order them again. The next set was lost in the wrong warehouse. What? Really? Ok, one more time. The next set that arrived was sold to someone else. Seriously?!?! This is over the course of a few weeks, and I'm getting really effing annoyed. The work at this point is going to be free, the tires are also going to be free and I get to keep my old ones. Ok, order them again. Finally, I get that magical call that they are in. I call the store and the speak to the guy that's working that evening, he recognizes me and I ask specifically for the Brand, Model, and tire size that I ordered. He says, yes they are in. I say wonderful, I'll call you back later. I call back to set up an appointment and head on down there to get them installed. At this point, even the tire tech asks if the sales guy is 100% sure they are in stock and he says they are.




When I return a few hours later, my Jeep is sitting on the wrong brand, the wrong model and the wrong size tire. I'm not sure how you can fcuk this up... you are a tire guy!! How do you not know the difference b/t a Dunlop and a BF Goodrich? I mean, the brand name is etched on the wall of the fcuking tire!!! Ok, I'm pretty pissed but just don't wanna deal with them any more at this point so I just go home. Hell, my spare tire won't even fit on my spare tire carrier on the back! Luckily, I have my buddies truck so I'm able to haul away the old tires and my mounted spare tire.

I contact the GM of the shop the next day, and we arrange a time to meet. I told him what his guy did, and he's shocked about the whole thing. The solution we arrive at since the tires I originally wanted aren't in stock anywhere at this point, is to then go ahead and modify the Jeep to fit the new tires. At some point, in the future I did want to run a bigger lift kit. Something in the 5.5" Extreme Duty Long arm suspension... you know, when I could afford it and had the time to deal with it. I hate being forced into something like this, even if I did want to do something like it in the long term, but hell it's gonna be free so why not?




We decide to go with a Rubicon Express 3.5" suspension lift, Spidertrax to push the wheel spacing out (the blue aluminum pieces in the 3rd picture), and some Teraflex mods to adjust the spare tire carrier to fit the spare. You'd think this is all done now, wouldn't ya? Well... it's not. Products from Rubicon Express get drop shipped from California. That means, 1 week or more waiting on parts. Awesome! Ok, in the mean time, the Spidertrax show up as do the spare tire mount parts. I mount up the spare so that I can at least have the tire on my Jeep. So, that part is handled and my Spidertrax are ready to go. Oh, did I mention that I specifically asked if I'd need new shocks for everything to fit when we were ordering everything? B/c I did and they said that I wouldn't.

Finally, the suspension arrives and I schedule a day to get it all put in along with rebalancing all 5 wheels/tires properly, installing the wheel locks, and mounting the Spidertrax. The GM puts two techs on my Jeep doing NOTHING else but putting on the suspension lift. Great! Let's get it done and let me be on my way. I come back around 830pm before the shop closes (they've had my Jeep for almost 10 hours now) since I haven't heard anything all day, and all I see is the rear end of my Jeep disconnected with two mechanics standing under it looking like really cool trained monkeys!! So, it was promised to me that evening and nothing. They can't finish it, I can't take it home I'm just stuck. I come in the next day to speak w/ the GM (again) but he isn't in. I get his cell and we discuss the issue. He is once again disappointed in his staff and we both come to the conclusion that no work gets done when he is out of the shop. He has assured me that he has coming in and he alone would work on my Jeep Monday morning. Ok, as long as it gets done.




I called Monday morning and found out what the problem was. I bent one of my rear radial arms. Ok, that's my fault and I'll happily replace the broken parts with a new set of fully adjustable control arms. Unfortunately, they are also shipping out of Cali. Yay another week of waiting on parts. But, he can put that together using the busted piece with the new suspension and it'll be good to go. It should be ready by 4pm? Great! I can't wait to pick it up. Around 430, I get another call. It won't be done today. It seems you need new longer travel shocks to fit the suspension. You mean the longer travel shocks that I asked you if I needed a few weeks ago? Yeah, those. I need those. Ugh. Ok, ordered!

As of today, I'm waiting on 2 parts that are going to ship out of Cali tomorrow if I'm lucky and my long travel shocks are out for delivery right now. With any hope, the shocks will be installed tomorrow and I can at least get my Jeep back for a few days until the other parts from Cali get here. Once the new control arms are installed, the suspension will need to be dialed in to the proper angles and have one more 4 wheel alignment but I'll have my Jeep back and this whole mess will be finished!! True, I'll be on tires that I didn't want and that are very heavy, but it'll all be done (finally) with very little out of pocket cost to me. Just a ton of aggravation over the past 2+ months.




Update 04.05.10 - The Jeep is still in the shop. Shimming the rear end didn't line up the drive shaft, sooo... yup. You guessed it; I had to order a new drive shaft and a slip yoke eliminator to handle the change in angle better. These parts should be in my hands tomorrow and with the grace of god on my side, perhaps I'll have my Jeep tomorrow night?? Realistically, it'll probably be more like Thursday or Friday is my guess. But, we'll see. I just want my Jeep back at this point.

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posted by Cptn S.A. Ho @ 1:19 PM,

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