This story is very long, but it's so unbelievable that I just had to tell it to somebody who might understand my incredible frustration:
About a month ago I got my '49 SC running again after it had been sitting out at my parents place for a little over 12 years. The left rear tire had a huge split in it and was ruined. (This was the reason that the tractor was parked all those years ago. . . )
Now I had my tractor back running ever so nicely, and am old enough to actually afford one of these expensive 12-4-38 tires. Of course, I was dying to get some rubber on the road as soon as possible so I could get to driving my old friend around the field again.
Here's where the fun starts- It seems that I've spent every weekend since working on *JUST* the tractor tires, and very little time doing anything ELSE to my tractor. . .
Weekend #1: Break rusty lug nuts loose, remove the rim & take it all up to the tire store. Have the old tire & tube removed. The large split in the tire has been facing *UP* all these years. . . so I have a nice rusty mess inside my rim. (I think I left about 5 gallons of rusty water on the concrete where I unloaded the tire. ) Take the rim home & grind lots & lots of rust & old paint off the inside & outside. Two coats of automotive primer inside and out, & two coats of silver paint for the final exterior finish. While doing my final sanding, a 3/4' long metal sliver from where the lugs rubbed on the steel rim breaks off into my finger. (youch!)
Weekend #2: Take my newly painted rim to the tire store, where they install my 290. 00 dollar Firestone 4-ply Field & Road tire and a 27. 00 dollar tube. Haul tire out to farm & re-mount. (yeah!)
Weekend #3: Head out to farm for the big work day. The brand new tire sits on the ground- FLAT as a pancake. Now mind you- I haven't driven this thing more than 20ft since it was installed. Take the tire BACK off, and take the front cast iron wheel off as well, since it won't hold air, either. Find out that there is a manufacturing flaw in the new big tube- and it has a bad seam near the valve stem. Tire store says they are ordering me a new tube at no charge. I then purchase a small tube for the front tire, and have it put in. I take the front wheel home to re-install it while I wait for the big tube to arrive. The big tire is finished around 1:00 p. m. (there goes the morning!)- so it's back home and back on with the tire.
Weekend #4: Head back out to the farm again. Guess what? BOTH of the 'new' tires are flat again. I've had about all the physical labor I can stand with that big tire, so I decide I'm going to drive the whole damn thing to the tire store this time (about a mile from the farm). I air everything back up and head off for town in a tractor that hasn't been driven for years and years. The front tire is back to flat by halfway there, but the back tire's doing O. K. The tractor runs like a champ, but the swiss cheese radiator is doing it's impression of a pressure cooker by the time I get there, and I boil all the antifreeze out onto the pavement. The tire store pulls the big tube out, and the guy tells me that I *didn't* get a (new)new tube after all. This is my old (new) tube, with a patch around the valve stem. I talk to the Owner of the establishment, and he says the warehouse was 'out' of the tubes. Of course, no one bothered to tell me this last week when the sent me on my way with a 'fixed' tire. They say they 'missed' the hole, and will patch it again. There is another hole in the front tube (not a puncture)- and they patch that as well.
I explain that this is the THIRD time for the big tire to be 'fixed', and I want to make sure that it holds air before I leave. I'm assured that they will take care of it. They've re-mounted the tire when I get back, but I notice they didn't give me valve stem covers. As I get them & put them on. . . I can see & hear air escaping from around the stem. I go and fuss at the tire guy, and get some excuse about how they can't patch the hole because of it's proximity to the valve stem. They can't order me another tube that day, because the warehouse CLOSED at 12:00 p. m. on Saturday. It will be Monday before the tube arrives. My drive to town was for NOTHING, and I can't leave my tractor out by the highway for another week to have it fixed. They send me across the street to the auto supply for a 4. 00 dollar bottle of Berryman's Stop-Leak, saying that will 'probably' hold me through the weekend. Well, I install the Berryman's, air the tire back up, and head back home, hot & tired. (no pun intended) The stop leak does NOT work, and the big tire is again flat within 15 minutes of my parking the tractor, after working on it for half a day.
Weekend #5: Until my new radiator arrives, I can't chance making another hot drive into town. So, it's back up on the jack, off with the tire, and another trip to town in the truck. I'm now hoping that the FOURTH time is the charm. My NEW tube has arrived, and I explain to the owner that he *will* air this tube up and check it for leaks BEFORE the darn thing is installed. They do so (as I watch intently), and they put the new tube in. They then proceed to air up the tire. They stand the tire up to roll it over to my truck, and guess what's hanging out the back side of the tire?? You guessed it, the tube. It's blown up like a ballon, and is pinched between the tire bead and the rim. The tire is then de-mounted for the FIFTH time, and they proceed to air up the tube and mark all the new holes in it. At this point, I thought I was going to have a fit right there in that parking lot. However, they got another (more capable) tire technician to help me out, and he patched the tube, carefully installed it in the tire, and sent me on my way.
I re-installed that darn tire for the fifth time yesterday, but as I write- I do not know if it is still holding air or not. Of course, the side of the tractor with the 40 year old tire sits there holding air like a charm (I think it's laughing at me. . . )
Hopefully, next week I can actually do some work on the tractor, and leave those dang tires alone!
Thanks for letting me rant-
Mike Schotte Dallas, Texas 1949 Case SC
Mike Schotte, TX, entered 2001-08-19
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