The fires are still burning, many miles away. The sky is bright and gray and the air hot and humid. Every undisturbed surface has a light film of ash. This light-industrial city out on the edge of the state capital seems made entirely of concrete slabs. The ugly buildings, the ugly cars, the ugly sky, the dust on everything, it feels like Los Angeles up here.
I took a scenic detour and went to the wrecking yard. They took my name and let me walk through it. As a reminder of usefulness past and the hopeless future that awaits us all, it was a good fit for my mood.
As described a few months ago, I need a wheel for my trailer. It’s taken a while because there was more to learn about wheels than I ever expected. One thing was it is evident that my trailer has car wheels and not trailer wheels. Also that no car still on the road has wheels with a 13″ diameter. I think that, years before it came to me, some kid got new rims for his late-model foreign-made hot rod and put his old ones on this trailer. But then a few decades went by, and the cars that those little wheels fit became too old to take up space at wrecking yards, and they and the wheels that match went away to be melted down. Upshot: I can’t find a match for my damaged wheel for threats, love, or money.
I’m damned if I’m going to buy three brand new tire and wheel assemblies for this, so I think my most economical step will be to buy three old tires/wheels from a single car in this wrecking yard (so they match), and remove / modify my trailer fenders if need be so they fit.
Three? Yeah. If I’m headed somewhere far away and blow a tire, it does me no good to have a spare that doesn’t match in terms of diameter and offset, and we’ve already established I can’t get one wheel to match the existing two.
The above was written a week ago. Things have changed.
One, the fires have diminished and the smoke with them. There is actually blue in the sky today.
Two, I learned that I was measuring wheels wrong. The tire may say R13 on it but the wheel measures 14″ from edge to edge. I found this is normal: that car wheels are an inch larger than their stated size. This meant that I might have found some 14″ wheels in the wrecking yard, and ignored them. I went back and found one after looking at only a few dozen cars.
It was filthy, its inside coated with road grime. I cleaned it up and decided to check the fit before I go have tires swapped. Put the trailer on a stand, found it had lug bolts instead of lug nuts that my cross wrench didn’t fit, dug up a 17mm socket that did fit and a breaker bar, and discovered the existing wheel was rust-welded to the axle-end. I was able to force it off with a hammer and pry bar, thankful that I didn’t have to do this on some dark rainy night far from home. Then I raised my old-new wheel into place and learned the center hole, where the hub pokes through, was a tenth of an inch too small in diameter.
It’s no surprise that nothing, however simple, is ever easy.
My next step will be to take the trailer to work where I can borrow a dye grinder and enlarge the hole. (Why the whole trailer and not the wheel? So I can be sure my enlarged hole is large enough and is centered enough the first try and get the job finished.) That’ll be easier and cheaper than going back to the wrecking yard to find another 14″ wheel (they are not common) that happens to have a 2.25″ inch center hole.
The point of this long boring story was not just to illustrate some random picture of my life. Or just for practice: I know a rewrite would make it shorter and easier to read but I’m not yet to the point of writing blog posts in multiple sessions. Does anyone do that? Hard to tell. But anyway, the other point was to say I hope that your life doesn’t consist, as mine has for pretty much all of it, of making parts fit that don’t fit naturally.