"House brand", $355 installed, by Tire Barn, because Levin Tire didn't want to come down any from their quoted price of $390 for a set of "house brand" tires--the same place Og goes and gets name-brand tires for $450 out the door. No.
The Jeep drives and rides a few orders of magnitude better than it did. The tires on there had been manufactured (it turns out) in 2004, so they were no less than ten years old. In 2007 the truck had 81k on it, so figure they were replaced with original equipment replacements at about 40k; that means I had about 75k on those tires. Yeesh, no wonder they were in such bad shape.
Anyway, the ride is quieter, hitting a bump is much less of a production, and the shimmy is greatly reduced in magnitude. At 35-45 the ride is like glass. The shimmy is still there, though, so once home I changed clothes and had a gander at the front end again.
Og had suggested that I try turning the steering all the way to the lock, then bungee the steering wheel hard up against the stop. I tried that, and was able to eliminate all the slop from the steering, so that when I wiggle the front tires at three and nine o'clock--to check the tie rod play--there is approximately zero play. ("Approximately" meaning "none that I can see" anyway.) At noon and six, there is approximately zero play, indicating that the ball joints are also not worn out. I actually end up flexing the tire rather than moving anything in the steering.
That means my shimmy is not from tie rods or ball joints, doesn't it?
It doesn't rule out the steering box and/or the suspension bushings, but I'd think that if there were play in the steering box it would show up even with the steering hard over. The Jeep is the first car I've owned since 1990 that didn't have rack-and-pinion steering, so I don't really know how to diagnose issues with this kind of steering.
Also, it doesn't rule out the wheel bearings. You can have worn bearings and not have visible play in them; you have to take those bitches apart to find that out.
Still: getting new tires on the Jeep is a major load off my mind, because for the past six months or so I've really been worried about the damned things. Having that one tire go flat on me was the "come to Jesus" moment that made me realize I really had to do something soon.
I suppose that what I'll have to do is pay someone to align the front end, and then I'll be told what's in dire need of replacement. I wish Levin had been willing to dicker; they do an alignment check for free--but I wasn't willing to pay a premium for "budget" tires and they didn't move any on their price.
Getting home after the job was done, though, was a freakin' nightmare. No matter which way I was going to go, the road was packed with cars. I ended up going to I-80 and taking it west; that got me home with the minimum amount of stupidity, but it was still pretty bad. There was a wreck by Torrence avenue, and as I got closer to my exit I could smell burning rubber and thought, Oh, fuck, no...but it turned out that one of the cars in the collision had been pranged so bad its left-rear tire was frozen, and the truck pulling the car off the highway was simply dragging it, to much smoke and stink.
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Incidentally, Og's post today reminds me of something fairly stupid that I saw on my way to the tire shop: a Subaru SUV with a flame job. It's like, "Dude, the flame job does not change the fact that you're driving a 4WD four-door station wagon." That's like putting a flame job on a taxi cab.
* * *
I had a great deal of "fun" trying to burn the data from my old Compaq laptop to a DVD last night, and in the end I gave up and simply copied the data to another hard drive. The DVD that I did manage to burn was an incomplete mess, so I took out my frustrations on it.
The DVD burning utility that's part of the Win 8 system software is craptastic; when it fails to burn it doesn't tell you what failed, only that it did, and then gives you the option of giving up in despair or trying again with another disk. (They are not phrased thus.) Clearly if I am going to do much DVD authoring on this system I'm going to need to find some software to handle the task for me, since Win 8 handles it approximately as well as a dog handles unsupervised access to hamburger.
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"Real women have DUCKS?"
I view the transsexual invasion of the feminist movement with considerable amusement. The tranny claim that "real women have dicks" is not only farcical, and risible to the point of parody, but fatuous.
You see, real women do not have dicks. That's part of the definition; if you look at a human being and you see a penis down there, you're most decidedly not looking at a woman. The redefinition of the physical fact of sex into amorphous "gender" is only possible if you are either stupid or insane (or both) because it requires that you ignore the physical facts before you. "Woman born in a man's body" is still a man regardless of how he self-identifies, and it doesn't matter what you do with surgery or hormone treatments to reshape that body because the DNA still code for masculine traits. The surgical conversion process merely removes the man from the gene pool, making his genetic code utterly moot; prior to that point his body's natural endocrine balance is swamped in a flood of artificial female hormones, so that he will develop female secondary sex characteristics, but he is still a man.
Prior to this discussion I've dealt with the stupidity of "man born in a woman's body who gets the surgery but retains the ability to bear children". The result is not a man--again, regardless of how she self-identifies--because she has two X chromosomes, a vagina, a uterus, and functioning ovaries. She may have a (n artificially created) penis, with a simulated scrotum containing prosthetic testicles, but the female sex organs and the ability to bear children make her a woman. Full stop.
The collision between transsexuals and feminists was probably as inevitable as it is stupid, because leftists are not well-known for their tolerance of opposing viewpoints. The notion that a former man should be allowed the same victim status as a woman is anathema to hardcore feminists. At the same time, the idea that "women born in mens' bodies" should be excluded from feminism based solely on the outdated idea that sex is a physical fact smacks of bigotry and intolerance to the trannies. Both scream and shout and point fingers at each other, and it's only going to get worse; in a movement where being a victim is the biggest lever, both movements will become increasingly hostile to being perceived as having been victimized least.
Here's a hint, guys: spray painting something like "real women have dicks" on things is not going to get you invited to the feminist parties. Do keep it up, though; us conservatives need the entertainment.
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I'm so glad I got the damned tires dealt with, finally. What a load off my mind.
Now I just have the other 50,000 things to worry about....