Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Merry Freakin' Christmas.

When I went out to run errands yesterday, I glanced at the Zed Drei's left rear tire in the garage and thought "Hmmm... That looks a couple pounds low. I'll hit it with the compressor when I get back."

I went through the drive-through at the bank, crossed the street to Target, and when I emerged from Target with my paper towels and whatnot, I glanced at the Zed Drei's left rear tire in the parking lot and thought "Golly gosh gee whillikers, that beloved tire is flat as gosh darn it all."

Luckily, right across the street, over near the bank, was the Midas from which I had purchased the very tire in question. I limped over and was informed that they wouldn't be able to get my car on a lift for an hour or so, so they filled the tire with air and I took my shopping home and off-loaded it to return at the appointed time...

...whereupon the problem was discovered to be, not the tire at all, but a crack in the by-gawd wheel rim. So, now I am faced with the choice of purchasing a new wheel from BMW, which will no doubt be priced like imported sin, trying to find a used rim (none of the guy at Midas's sources had one) or attempting to see if there are any places that can repair the crack.

Wonderful. Ho-ho-ho.
.

52 comments:

bluesun said...

Uh oh, looks like it's time for a new car!

Suz said...

Salvage yard. Gearhead heaven. Flirt with the guy who's missing a few teeth - you'll get a good price.

pdb said...

There are more than a few alloy rim repair shops that advertise in the back of Car 'n Driver and Rodent Rack. Give 'em a call.

aczarnowski said...

Well that sounds like a pain in the ass. I miss my extra summer transportation options when these kinds of things happen, always in winter.

Good luck playing this particular format of the time vs money game.

Duke said...

Look on-line sites like ebay (or sites dedicated to used auto parts) you can find anything. There are also liquid sealants which would fix it for quite a while.

Tango Juliet said...

I hate cars. Damn money pits.

og said...

Fleabay it.You can buy a set for the price of one; buy a set, sell the rest (one at a time) for what you paid for the four. Bead crack or inner rim? the bead cracks are occasionally more repairable.

I swear the europeans make rims out of recycled tinfoil.

Tam said...

Bead crack.

Tinfoil? Given the 35-series rears and the bomb-cratered local streets, I'm impressed that the wheels are still round.

Joanna said...

I know little of these matters, but the eBay route sounds like a sensible one (although my dad's had good luck with scrapyards).

I hate cars. Damn money pits.

I'd ditch mine for a bicycle in a heartbeat if I didn't like hauling more than one bag of groceries at a time. Also we have winter here.

I'm saving up for a Trek Alant, to be purchased as soon as is physically possible this spring. My car will gather lots of dust once I have it.

Tam said...

The scrapyard option would be okay for most driveline components (that's the reason I picked the 3-series sedan-based Z3, after all) but the wheels are uncommon, being two check-boxes deep into the option package list. They get scarfed up by wholesalers quickly.

Worse, from what I'm seeing on the 'net, although I haven't confirmed it, is that BMW themselves may no longer stock this particular set of 13-year-old rims...

Anonymous said...

If you have a RSS feed reader, hook up searches both on ebay and craigslist.

I don't know if they're cast or spun alloy wheels, but if the former, I'd talk to someone who really knows welding before going that route. A TIG should be used, and if it's part of the bead it may need to be machined on a lathe afterwords. In any event, mark the welded one and keep that on a rear axle or as a spare.

We're getting $0.65/lb for Al wheels locally at the scrapyard. Stainless goes for $0.55/lb. Worth keeping if you can combine trips, loads, and you have a yard nearby.

-SM

Anonymous said...

Also, leverage your blog-fu. That got you out of a court date with R2D2 at a stoplight, right? Pictures, damn it. -SM

og said...

Might be cheaper to buy four new different rims. There are some really nice looking non rapper package aftermarket rims for not a wad of cash.

The Ogwife's old Honda and my old Probe survived chicago streets for years; the Probe was completely all four wheels off the ground at least once a week it's whole life, and I never had a rim issue. And those tires were thin, 40 series 16's. My boss's beemer and his replacement Audi have both had three sets of rims each, with the Audi working on it's fourth. Mostly driving in Naperville (though he does tend to seek out curbs)partner's Alfa had rims that were not only the merest tinfoil, I think it was used gum wrapper tinfoil. never seen the inside of the high end rims but the standard 3 series rims I've been in, the aluminum wasn't any thicker than a steel rim would have been. I know the rally drivers still use composite rims for that purpose (steel rims, aluminum centers)

Anonymous said...

google thewheelwarehouse for a start, depending on the crack and how long it will take for a repair or replacement id look into trying a tire sealer for a (very temporary fix. Ive had pretty good luck with ebay for hard to find items but often it takes a little while before the right one becomes available. also like a previous poster suggested a set of 4 is often cheaper than a single.

Weer'd Beard said...

http://www.rimpro.com/index.html

If these guys can't fix it they probably have a few salvaged rims on the lot they can sell you for cheap.

Saved me a few hundred bucks a while back!

Firehand said...

Years back I told the kids "You know, while there are people I wouldn't mind catching the plague or something, I've never disliked someone enough to want their car to break down. There's just something awful about that feeling when it happens."

Ken said...

car-part(dot)com is a search engine that searches salvage yards far and wide. I've used them to find parts and save money (granted, it's easier to do with a '99 Malibu than a Teutonic whizzy skate).

Tam said...

Og,

"My boss's beemer and his replacement Audi have both had three sets of rims each, with the Audi working on it's fourth."

And that's just like having one cracked rim in ten years. :p

Bubblehead Les. said...

VERY TEMPORARY FIX: A) Put spare rim on the rear. B) Drive the Zed ONLY to the Hospital, or for escape from a Zombie Apocalypse (but using a Convertible while being chased by Zeds is a little foolish). C) Find out where the Hoosieropolis Fast and Furious Street guys have their Drift shops, and see what they might have available. D) Look through the InterWeb, and hope your Shipping and Handling from Kalifornia isn't too much. E) Ensure Roomies Vehicle is up to snuff while you wait.

This sucks.

Desertrat said...

Easily weldable. I had the same problem with a wheel on my Formula A car, and the simple weld-up/grind-smooth survived 200 mph racing.

DaveFla said...

And that's just like having one cracked rim in ten years. :p

To me, Og's words had an instant ring of truth. But then I've never forgotten a write-up of a wheel repair service used by Car and Driver on their long-term M3 test; it would have been the third wheel they'd replaced in nine months, or some such thing. Perhaps the roads in Broad Ripple are nicer than those near Ann Arbor. It surely wouldn't take much to improve on many Michigan roads. Good hunting, in any case!

Stretch said...

Floor jack, hoodies and ski masks.
You and BobbieX should be able to get 4 wheels in under 5 minutes.
Just remember to loosen the lugs before you lift.

og said...

"And that's just like having one cracked rim in ten years. :p"

No, you're a much more careful and sedate driver than he is. But even he complained that even the spendy rims on his Jag weren't as fragile as the German stuff. God knows, he goes through a lot of it. Thank God he makes good money

So: I made an observation based on personal experience and the experience of people whose observation and integrity I trust. I didn't compare your vehicle to anything, I just made an observation. Let the rim be the only thing bent out of shape. ;)

Tam said...

DaveFla,

"Perhaps the roads in Broad Ripple are nicer than those near Ann Arbor. It surely wouldn't take much to improve on many Michigan roads."

Atlanta-area streets are billiard-table smooth compared to the roads up here, and my sedate little-old-lady driving had well-and-truly put all four rims out of round on my 924S in about a year. (And I always gathered in the rear before the tires could hit the outside curb!)

Crotalus (Don't Tread on Me) said...

"Golly gosh gee whillikers..."???

Uh huh.

Tam said...

Og,

"I made an observation based on personal experience and the experience of people whose observation and integrity I trust. I didn't compare your vehicle to anything, I just made an observation. Let the rim be the only thing bent out of shape. ;)"

Not bent out of shape, merely noting that my experience with these has definitely been better than my last set of Jerry alloys, the 15" 'telephone dials' on the 924S.

Crotalus (Don't Tread on Me) said...

Then I read the rest of it. That definitely calls for something a lot stronger than "Golly gosh gee whillikers"!

Old NFO said...

I'll fall in line on the ebay thing... second alternative is to post a pic on the blog of what you need and let your readers do the searching... :-)

Sport Pilot said...

I haven't tried any search option's on any of this but are any after market option's avaliable? As for weld repair's on a rim...I'm sure it work's but...

Son of Sam Adams said...

If you were driving a Ford Focus, you wouldn't be having this problem.

og said...

Yeah the wet porsche folks always seemed to be the redheaded stepchildren

Joanna said...

Son of Sam Adams: I drive a Ford Focus, and my recent experience would cause me to disagree.

mongo78 said...

I had a bent rim on the Xterra a few years back and had good luck finding a replacement online. Granted, it's probably way less exotic than what you're dealing with, but it's worth looking if repair is not an option.

Anonymous said...

It may be moot, but any chance the rim crack is related to the tire installation? Not trying to stick Midas with the blame, but sometimes the non-Mensa types at tire places get a little casual with alloy wheels, and there's enough snort in pneumatic mounting equipment to apply more than a little pressure.

My ride came with allow wheels which I always worry about whenever it's time for rotate/balance or new tires; I would have much preferred the Plain Jane steel wheels that dent or bend, and will flex a bit on the mounting equipment, rather than crack.

karrde said...

Somebody already posted one such link.

I have no experience with getting tire rims through it, but http://uneedapart.com hits junkyards across the nation.

Of course, it's kind of hard to flirt with the guy at counter over email...and you may suffer the same problem as the local junkyards, in that you're competing with wholesalers for any spare Bimmer rims.

Upside: you might get the rims from some yard in Cali before the wholesalers get to them.

Downside: the part price may be high, and you may have to wait a week for delivery from some yard in Cali.

Personally, I'd travel to Weerd's referred link first.

Gewehr98 said...

We have a local rim welder/machinist/polisher with his own portable trailer in my neck of the woods. I'd wager there are similar in Hoosier Land.

Anonymous said...

If you were driving a Ford Focus, you wouldn't be having this problem.

...because the car would be broken down and the rim problem would be superfluous...

WV: comic (not kidding) and in this context a.k.a. ironic

Anonymous said...

Just had a thought - frequently the tire places (Discount Tire, Tire Kingdom, etc.) have used OEM wheels, usually a bunch of them in a warehouse someplace. I wonder if Midas does, too.

Sigivald said...

Replace them with compatible steel wheels, sell the odd three.

Problem solved.

(Or do what Firehand said if you really care about the factory custom alloys.

Me, I've always seen wheels as functional rather than decorative. I don't even have the hubcaps on my truck anymore - plain steel wheels are fine.

Hell, these days, they look different.

Yeah, the alloys make for less un-sprung weight. In the real world, for people who don't do rally or take the car to track night? Meh.)

Charles said...

Might try Harris Tire on 54th and keystone a little back from the auto zone. They are the only place in Indy I know of that does wheel repairs.

MSgt B said...

"Golly gosh gee whillikers, that beloved tire is flat as gosh darn it all."

Um...yeah...I'm thinking that's EXACTLY what you said.

Kirk said...

You know if you post up a pic of the rim the Internet fairies will send you links to a dozen sets in the time it takes you to google all of the local wheel repair places in your neck of the woods...

Anonymous said...

Sport Pilot said>I haven't tried any search option's on any of this but are any after market option's avaliable? As for weld repair's on a rim...I'm sure it work's but...

Some alloys are just considered not weldable. Cast magnesium/aluminum alloy can be quite flammable when gotten hot enough.

I've been happy with the last 5 orders from tirerack.com. I've only ever ordered the tires (and then mounted and balanced them myself), but they do sell rims too. My first order was memorable as it was placed - totally not kidding - on September 10, 2001. I got the tires early the next day via truck shipment from the next state over.

-SM

Anonymous said...

Tamara,
It would be helpfull to know exactly which rims you have. You said It had the sports wheel and tire package, Are those the ones with the 5 double spokes? At any rate try looking here: http://www.car-part.com/
It's a national search engine for salvage yards, If you select "wheel" for part it will allow you to search for rims by image. It returns 13 different 17" rims. The 17" "motorsports" wheel show anywhere from 250$ to 100$, there is even a set in Brooklyn, IN
You might give it a try, you know better what your rims look like than I do. Good Luck.

doubletrouble said...

Agreed, repair.
Somebody worth his/her salt with a TIG welder should be able to get that rim back into service.
Luck.

(Then, make sure the dude w/the tire irons realizes that it's an ALUMINUM rim.)

Will said...

Any chance of moving to a replacement wheel size that would allow a bit taller tire section? With computer modeling, wheels are designed without a lot of extra strength. Same with suspension parts.

Per the 1:25 post:

I'll second the thought, it may be installation damage. If you hit a pothole that damaged the rim, the tire would be toast, also. With low profile tires, they get pinched, so if the tire is ok...

An examination of the inside of the rim may show the origin.

When aluminum wheels first hit the road, they were literally the strongest part of the car. You couldn't bend them, and it took enormous force to break them, usually fatality producing incidents.

Now, they break if you hit almost anything. Saw a sports car break all four wheels off the hubs when it slid sideways into the little curb bumps lining a typical on-ramp on Hy280 a few years back.

wv: ingling. Sound of someones cash register after selling a mag wheel.

Will said...

There are hundreds of BMW wheel ads on Craigslist here in the SF Bay area. Place is lousy with Bimmers.

Anonymous said...

Tamara,
Dug a little deeper in the archives, found a photo of the Z3.
Looks like the 5 spoke, round spoke.

http://www.car-part.com

Shows quite a few of these, the internet turns up some OEM rims in the 200-250$ range.

wrm said...

My ex kerb-surfed all four rims on her Opel into square territory (the road turned. She didn't...)

They fixed 'em.

If we can do that here in darkest Africa you *should* be able to find someone to do it there.

perlhaqr said...

I was going to recommend ebay or car-part.com myself. I use those two sources (and especially the latter) for finding early 70's plymouth parts, still, so a set of Zed wheels should be no problem.

As for German alloys... well, we have had to replace one of the wheels on the 2010 Jetta TDI Sportwagen already. But that was due to a serious pothole at 80 mph outside of Gallup, so, I'm not sure if that's really the wheel's fault. I haven't tended to be one for aluminum rims before now. Fortunately, I found a dude on VWVortex ditching an entire set of 4 rims plus (new!) factory tires, shipped, for the same price the dealership wanted for one. Needless to say, I have lots of extras, now. And a full size spare in the trunk!

Anonymous said...

Any luck Tam?

Mark said...

If you haven't found the rims yet call up some of the salvage yards in St. Louis most of the do UPS shipping and when I lived there I got parts for my Saab or Bimmer (318i) rather fast and affordable. I even got a set of Cragars for my cutlass 4 for $75 at Continental Salvage