hobiercr
hobiercr GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
12/4/23 10:11 p.m.

About 5 months ago my wife inadvertently hit a pothole in her IS-F. Didn't flatten the tire, but bent the rim enough to be noticed at speed. We lived with it and life happened and we pretty much zoned out on getting it fixed with other life happening. Last week that wheel lost enough air to trigger the low tire sensor so I took it to a local shop and they said the wheel was cracked, hence the air leak. So, either it is losing air REALLY slowly, or it's getting worse, either way, it needs to be fixed. Filled the tire, came home and started looking for a) wheel repair shops, and b) replacement wheel.

One replacement wheel found on eBay in Tulsa for $600+freight. Ugh, let's see if we can get it fixed. Not a lot of wheel shops will repair a wheel these days, at least around here, and I couldn't get a call back from at least 2. Jumped on the Google maps and found a place in Brandon/Valrico about an hour away. Not ideal, but he answered the phone and sounded like he knew what he was talking about. His AD on FB showed some decent work so I decided to take it there, but the week got nuts and my GS430 started running like crap and is throwing lean/evap purge codes, so wife now couldn't commute in either car. Cue the F250 into service. Thursday I finally got the offending wheel pulled and tire removed but couldn't take the wheel until today. 

Saturday was the GRM get-together in Orlando. On the way home on I-4 afterwards, somewhere close to Tampa I come up behind an old school VW bus easily keeping up with traffic at 75-80mph. Dude's cruising, windows down, and even though it's dark I can see it's got a little rake and has some patina. I didn't get a good look as I passed but gave a big thumbs up on my way by. No way the drivetrain in this thing is stock. If it's a flat 4 it would need a lot of work to be ripping like this thing was.

I had a meeting until 1:30 today. As soon as I got done I call the wheel guy and he said bring it. He might be able to get to it today but no probably not based on his work load. I get there at 2:30 and Lex has a nice little shop with a balancer and tire machine in the front room, requisite car posters on the wall, etc. He throws the wheel on the balancer, checks the crack, and points out two bends in the rim. He gives me the price to fix and says he can get it done today. I leave to let him at it and go grab cash, diesel, and a late lunch. As I'm halfway through my Jersey Mike's #5 he calls and says he's done. Woot! Something going right.

Back to shop, wheel looks great, and we start talking cars. He's into aircooled VW's. Really? I tell him about the bus, maybe he knows the guy. It was him and his wife! His bus has a 13BT swap in it running about 7psi. His wife saw my thumbs up and gave me one back but I didn't see in the dark. The car posters inside were of his cars, an AE86 with a SR20DET swap (sold to start his business) and his current AE86, a JDM import without the flip-up lights. He and his buddies bought an RX7 a few years ago and ran a Lemons race at Road Atlanta. They still have the car but haven't done anything for a few years. I mentioned that Lemons was coming back to Sebring in 2024 and then I start telling him about the Challenge. He was super excited about the whole concept and said he will be there in April. I sent him the website link and links to a few builds. He's a really good guy and definitely one of us.

Oh, and on the way home through the I4/275 interchange (malfunction junction to the locals) I passed a 4 door DSM with both a GRM sticker and a GForce on the trunk. Didn't recognize the driver. Anyone here?

TL:DR
Broke wheel, got fixed, met car guy, poss new Challenge participant

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
12/4/23 10:21 p.m.

Great story, awesome that it was his van.

Stampie
Stampie GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/4/23 10:21 p.m.

In reply to hobiercr :

Sounds like you got a bonus the last few days. 

dyintorace
dyintorace GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/5/23 6:57 a.m.

That's an awesome story! It's fun when worlds come together like that. 

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