Saturday, April 23, 2011

It has to fit--they said so on the internet!

Today's work on the Studebaker was more of a quest--a search for wheels. You'll recall from reading about my disk brake installation that the old wheels don't quite fit. So after much research, largely on sites that I trust for this sort of information (I won't name names here) I went forth to find a set of wheels.

I live about a half mile from the local salvage yard (which is a bit on the pricey side, being the only game in town, and largely filled with newer cars of the metric variety, but it is at least a starting place) so this morning I headed there, with handy list in hand of wheels that I trusted would fit. After seeing me pull the list out of my hip pocket, the man behind the counter told me to roam about the yard and see if I could find any.

I was incredibly methodical during my search--but unfortunately was thwarted by things beyond my control--namely the price of scrap metal, which resulted in a lot of blank areas in the lot and semi-trailers full of crushed cars strapped down and out of reach. I had one moment of excitement, where I thought I had found three wheels from a mid-80's Ford Ranger, but upon closer inspection I realized they were 14-inch wheels--I needed 15-inch.

I soon picked over every square, uh, meter, of that yard to no avail--I found 15 inch wheels at random, but with no identifying marks on them to determine if they would fit. After an hour and a half, I admitted defeat and headed home.

A search of craigslist found an incredible thing--a set of four aluminum Centerline wheels in the right lug spacing that were only 5.5-inches wide. Perfect! I call, arrange a visit and discover (after meeting a very nice dog of unknown breed) that they were, indeed 9-inches wide.

Back at home, I start looking for other salvage yards within a quick drive--and discovered the Pick-A-Part over in Albany--a 20 minute drive. I give them a call and find they have a set of 4, 1988 Ford Ranger rims. I head over,  compare the number on my little Internet cheat sheet with the number embossed on the rim, and Eureka! My search has ended.

They fit, but. . .

I get home and put one on--it barely touches the top of the king pin! Argh!

So I ponder a bit--it is too late to return them and it is a very nice day and my dogs need a walk--so I go for a hike in the woods instead.

Then, while eating dinner, I thought--it is really close, how about a spacer? I jump in the car, head to the parts store, and grab a pair off the shelf--they're a bit thicker than I'd feel comfortable using in the long run, but for only $12 it is worth seeing if I could get it to clear.

Nope. The wheel spins freely until it hits a balance weight, then stops.  The offset--the distance from the hub mounting to the center line of the wheel--is too positive. It needs to be at or close to the center.
Now I could buy a set of machined hub extenders to counter that offset, but the cost would not be worth it.

I'll be headed back to the Pick-A-Part soon to, hopefully, exchange my wheels for something that fits.

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