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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Baby's Got New Shoes---- and Undercover Boss!

Yup, our baby needed new "shoes" ...  after 6-7 years the tires on a motorhome need replacing, no matter how few miles are on them or how much tread is left.  We are told because they are not run daily like a car, the rubber is not flexed enough to allow the natural oils to move throughout the rubber substance.   They "age out" long before they wear out on most RV's.

(we learned the hard way, on our last motorhome, an older Coachman, those great looking tires were really 13, yes, THIRTEEN years old and we had two of them blow out all over the interstate 50 miles apart... we then learned about reading the date codes on tires.  Never again will we run with old tires, I tell ya!)

Steve had called around and compared prices at various places, but decided to do business with Ray's General Tire in Appleton.  Not only did he have the best price after he was able to locate the ones we wanted, but he also allowed us to be "present" while the tires were being swapped over under our supervision.

Horror stories abound of un-educated tire workers twisting frames, or jacking up into a holding tank, or like our friend Mel, leaving his rig standing on three spindly little mounted leveling jacks while all six tires were taken somewhere else off site to be spin balanced!   It was hours before they returned to his rig to put them back on.  Just imagine if one of those little hydraulic leveling jacks gave way and his motorhome crashed to the ground????  Those jacks are for leveling purposes or a quick tire change, and not made to wholly support an entire 25,000 pound motorhome.  ACK!  That is about twelve and a half TONS on three tiny hydraulic jacks?

That is why it was important for us to be present and watch the process.  We don't want to risk the damage or litigation for a repair.  Better to be safe than sorry.

Also, I wanted to take PICS for you guys ... so I told them I write an RVing blog and would be spreading word about their wonderful service across the whole USA.

We are at:

Ray's Tire

1121 N. Bluemound Dr.
Appleton, WI 54914
 (920) 739-8124

We arrived 10 minutes early for our appointment, and verified the date codes on the tires.  We wanted them to be made within the year of 2013.  Date codes are read like this:  0613 means made the 6th week of 2013.   another example would be 1799 means the 17th week of 1999, which means 14 years old!   You get the idea.  The first two digits are the week, and the last two digits are the year.

The workmen were happy and agreeable to us for letting us use our leveling jacks and helping to raise each of the tires just so they cleared the ground, working on each section at a time as they worked their way around the rig.  We blocked the front tires because the parking/emergency brake unit on our motorhome only locks up the drive shaft and rear tires, not the fronts.

They do not have a bay large enough for the motorhome to fit into, so we were situated across their parking area in front of the bay doors.  That was fine with us, the weather was in the 40's and no rain, so we were happy.

We ordered six Toyo tires, the same brand we have had on there for the last seven years.  The M120 are no longer made, so we changed to the M122 model.  Same specs, just their newer model.  The size of our tires are Toyo 255-70-22.5        

We started with the rear passenger dual wheels.  They took off both the tires on that side and two guys worked as a team to get the old tires off the rims and the new ones on, spin balanced and new metal valve stems (NOT braided)  for each tire.

The tire guys spun each tire and added balancing weights where needed; all digitally balanced with a machine they have on site.  We do not use the internal balancing beads or the powder equalizer stuff because we have individual tire pressure monitor sensors that go on each valve stem.  Sometimes those beads or powders will jam up instead the stems and goof up the readings or even damage the sensors.  So spin-balanced tires were the way to go for us.

We watched each tire get inflated to our requested pressures (110 psi back tires and 100 psi front tires) due to our calibrated rig and axle weights from a truck scale when fully loaded.  Then they put the tires back on, torquing the lug nuts to the requested foot pounds for our rig.  (400)

Steveio even got to "assist" with rolling around the tires after the guy inside was done balancing and ready to get on the next tire.   I just took pics and made myself stay outta the way.

The very observant service tech guy noticed a leak on our back driver's side axle!  It's not too bad to keep us from driving on it to get home, but we have an appt. now made on Friday afternoon to get it repaired at our favorite heavy duty commercial truck place, L&S Truck Center in Appleton.  http://www.lstruck.com   They have done a few other repairs for us in the past, and we trust them.  Thank you for the heads-up from the tire guy------  probably saved us a HUGE repair bill down the road.  Or even worse, broken down on the side of the road?

Soon we were down to the last tire!   It only took 1 hour and 20 minutes from start to finish.

We had them save one tire of our original 6 to keep as a spare.  The existing spare was not a very good tire, bought used, but was on there just to use in a pinch if needed.  This way we have a more reliable one in case of a problem on the road. I hope not!    The spare rides up on the front rack, and we have a vinyl grey cover that goes over it.

Now... it was time to go inside and pay... ouch! 

$450 a tire, mounted, balanced, new stem and taxes.... 

but then they kindly bought five of our original tires for $50 each to resell to 
possible haulers, agricultural folks or whatever as the tread was only 1/4 of the way worn.

So our bill to get out the door was

Like I said.... OUCH! 

Now for the other part of my topic title you might be wondering about?  What does the CBS show Undercover Boss have to do with me?  Well....  

Our oldest daughter is a district manager of about 20 Family Dollar stores in NE Wisconsin.  She has worked for the corporation since she was 17 years old, working her way up from a clerk to running a store by age 20, and is now running a whole batch of stores at the age of 30.  Seems that Undercover Boss decided to do a segment in one of HER STORES that she manages!    It happened last summer and she had to sign a confidentiality agreement and tell no one. 

I kinda knew something was up because she was with a film crew at 2 of her stores for about a week and a half and couldn't tell me why.  I figured it was one of three things:   

1. a commercial she would appear in for Family Dollar, 
2. a documentary on small town stores in the northwoods and U.P. of Michigan ... 
3. a segment of Undercover Boss!   (I guessed right but I kept it to myself) 

But now that it has been made public 
with the previews from CBS,
 she is allowed to tell us.

This is their preview info: 
“Family Dollar” – Mike Bloom, President and COO of Family Dollar Stores, one of the largest discount retail companies in the country, faces his fear of heights when learning to operate a forklift that takes him 35 feet into the air. Also, the boss nearly blows his rock ‘n’ roll disguise when one employee invites him to a jam session, on UNDERCOVER BOSS, Friday, Nov. 8 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

She doesn't know much about what parts have made it to the show or what parts are left on the editing room floor.  But of course what the workers do in her stores reflects on her training and on her shoulders.  The big boss COO Mr. Mike Bloom came from the N. Carolina headquarters in disguise and did spend some time operating a forklift in a distribution center, and some other sections of the show should revolve around some of Erin's employees in 2 of her stores.  We will know more on Nov 8 when it airs on CBS.   Oh boy! 

Well, it is my birthday today, I got a whole bunch of wonderful wishes online, a pile of greeting cards in the mail, gifts and more stuff to come.  Grandpa P is taking me to a concert in Dec. as my present with him.  Steveio gave me a gift certificate to my favorite yarn store.  He knows what makes my heart go pitter-pat!  YARN! 

And... my darling Steveio just made me the most luscious dinner of steamed snow crab legs, baked potatoes, green salad and a glass of wine.  We indulged over a long luxurious meal and now I am full to the brim.  While he is cleaning up a bit, I am sending out this blog.   

I still have green tomatoes ripening every day or two, and I have about 4 quarts worth of stewed tomatoes to can up yet this evening.   Once he is done cleaning up my kitchen, I will go mess it up again.  

Tomorrow I will write about the GREAT thing that came in my mail today..... 


  1. Happy Happy Birthday to you Karen. You and Steveo are the most amazing couple on the internet.

  2. I think it is super that you got such cooperation at the tire place, by being nice and offering to write a good report on your blog. What a win-win situation.

    I think you must have one of the most considerate husbands in the world, and your birthday dinner had to have been wonderful!

  3. LOL Gypsy, you met him in person... you know what a great guy he is. I am sooo lucky to have him in my life, and we both sure enjoyed meeting you too! p.s. you are welcome to stop by any time on your travels through to the east coast!

  4. I've been putting money in a tire fund to be prepared to "re-tire" the Trek when the time comes. Snow crab makes for a great birthday dinner and I'll bet it was good. Happy Birthday Karen!

  5. Happy Birthday from Kathy and I though it sure looks like Baby got the better present today. The wind is still howling and the rain finally quit after the Trick or Treaters went home. Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  6. You had crab without me?? LOL!
    How many pounds did you eat? I still think of the time we cooked it at the campground and we each ate ...what..3 pounds!!!!
    Happy Birthday. Enjoy!

  7. Weeeellll Paula, we cooked up 3 pounds total this time, and I know I ate more than he did. Ahem... probably 2 pounds me and 1 pound him?

  8. Happy Birthday. Great customer service at the tire place and a great dinner and "yarn" at home. Just about the best ever.

  9. The best birthdays are spent with the one we love. And then, you get waited upon! Whoo hoo! ...priceless

    Glad it was a special day. And your baby has new shoes.... priceful!

  10. Oh darn,darn, darn! I love to watch Undercover Boss & won't be able to catch it next Friday night! But you can watch it on Hulu sometime after the episode hits TV, so I'll definitely do that! How cool & congrats to her!! And how exciting too!

    Ah new tire time. All mine have been replaced too, but still need a new or used spare. I'm thinking used, then buy new if I ever have to use it.

  11. Happy Birthday!! Guess those new tires COULD have been your present, couldn't they? I have yet to have my DH cook a special meal for me. If he cooks at all it's just for himself and I'm on my own. Somehow, that doesn't work in reverse. LOL

  12. You are so right to watch everything someone does to your rig. Thee are many that are not qualifies to wash the windows much less do any wrenching.

    Happy Birthday.

    We marked our calender for the show!!

    Wayne& Rhonda


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