Blog Post #10 October 5, 2015 – Mangled Tire and Other Good News


10-5-15 Picnic lunch with Lita at Douglas Airport, GA

On Monday, October 5th we left Lake City, FL around 10am (a little early by our standards) and continued north up the center of Florida.  Our goal, Milledgeville, GA, was selected based on its achievable distance 250 miles (5 hours for us with stops).  We had a nice tailgate lunch break at the Municipal Airport in Douglas, GA.  All was going well until around 4pm when, 7 miles from of our destination of Milledgeville while traveling at our 55 mph cruising speed on a 4-lane divided stretch of FL Hwy 441,  – BAAAM.  We had blown our left rear tire.  Fortunately, the Jeep remained very stable as we slowed and made our way onto the dirt shoulder of the highway.  A brief look at the tire revealed a 3” V-shaped tear in the sidewall.

10-5-15 Tire blowout Milledgeville, GA

Fortunately, there was an abandoned paved driveway about 50 yards up the road where we were able to safely position the Jeep for a tire change.  We had no sooner exited the Jeep when a nicely attired gentleman driving recent model cautiously pulled in behind us to offer his assistance (Cautiously – because he did not want to appear threatening – a fine gentleman).  Not wanting to inconvenience him, I explained that we had a spare and should be in good shape.  As I confidently proceeded to replace the blown tire with the spare, Robert explained that he is a semi-retired salesman for a local distributor of light duty construction and utility equipment; and makes the 80 mile journey from Milledgeville, GA to his home north of there a couple of times a week.  The fact that he did not hesitate to prolong his journey home in order to assist us was well beyond the call of duty.

It is a good thing that we accepted Robert’s offer to hang around until we got on the road again; just in case…  When I lowered the Jeep after replacing the blown tire with the spare, we discovered that the air pressure in the spare was far less that desirable.  That would be all we would need – the spare going flat.  I had checked the air pressure in the four running tires before the Trek; but had only banged on the spare, which appeared firm.  In all the 70,000+ miles of driving the Jeep, we had never had to use the spare – and I had become complacent.  Robert willingly drove behind us with his flashers on as we made our way at 35mph to Kenny’s Complete Auto Service (recommended by Robert) for assistance.  We arrived safely at Kenny’s about 4:30pm without having the mounted spare deflating.  Kenny’s is a down-home no frills auto service “center”.  Most of the repairs were being conducted on the paved area surrounding the two bay garage.  Kenny’s son Matt came to our immediate assistance.  While one of the men strung air hose across the lot to reach our nearly flat spare, Matt called the local tire distributor to make arrangements to have an exact match for our tire delivered by 11am the next day.  We thanked Robert and Matt and proceed to our motel room on the north side of town.  On the way, I purchased a scrub brush, emery paper and some spray enamel.  At the motel I cleaned up the wheel on which the blown tire had resided, sanded out abrasions caused by running on the rim on pavement, and painted the rim in preparation for mounting the new tire the next morning.


Some more tire talk:

First, it is important to remember that the lug nuts on the left (driver) side of the Jeep have left-handed threads.  There is an “L” stamped on the head of the wheel studs, but it is easy to forget in the heat of the tire change.  Fortunately, I have had the tires off often enough to remember.  We run a good grade of radial tires.  The jeep tracks noticeably better on radials.  We try to keep the front suspension in top shape and carefully aligned.  Although the Jeep was not designed to run radials, the Jeeps combination of stoutly welded rims and roller bearings all the way around helps it to nicely handle the higher stresses imparted by the radial tires.  The 1950 wheel rims do lack the bead retaining features of modern “safety rims”, so the tire did separate from the rim immediately after the blowout, subtlety reducing steering control and causing abrasions on the rim’s perimeter.


With faith in getting the tire replaced, we contacted our nephew in Asheville, NC and made arrangements to spend the evening of Wednesday, October 7th with Bill and his bride.

10-6-15 Kenny’s complete Auto and Tire, Milledgeville, GA

Blog Post #9 October 3th & 4th 2015 - Meet Lita
Blog Post #11 October 6th to 7th 2015 - Clayton, GA to Fletcher, NC