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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

The Dualie Dilemma: A tale of 6 tires

I've written several pieces about " the mouse-infested truck," the 2008 Chevy 3500HD dualie with the Duramax diesel and the Allison transmission that I bought from my former employer for a song. The main reason it was dirt cheap was the shocking level of rodent damage that had occurred from its being parked outside and little-used for years.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/the-hack-mechanic/the-dualie-dilemma-a-tale-of-6-tires/
50 REPLIES 50
DUB6
Specialist

Whew, that's quite a tale.  I kinda wonder what Rob thinks his time is worth, because although he "saved" about $300, it seems like he must have spent about a thousand bucks in time, energy, slow driving, and nervous worrying in the search to do it!  😊

thehackmechanic
Advanced Driver

Yeah, I'm kind of an idiot that way, but with thirteen vehicles, I need to be relentlessly cost-conscious. Sometimes, however, it WILL reach the point where I hit the "buy" button just so I can be done with it, close all the browser windows, and move on to something else.
audiobycarmine
Instructor

Like a "shot and a pint".
pyrobirk
Pit Crew

To be fair, the journey made an interesting article out of something that otherwise would have been routine.
Punk
Advanced Driver

See I am with you. Maybe I have gotten lazy in my old age, but the hours and hours of work and driving around the author did to save $300, all the while driving around on dangerous tires, albeit at low speed, negated the whole utility of the thing in the first place. I would have just ponied up the $300 extra bucks in the first place and felt secure that I was safe and had a usable vehicle. But then in the words of the Thanksgiving episode of Mad About You, 'what does he care about money? He buys ice!'
audiobycarmine
Instructor

"Punk" — remember that Rob is one of our favorite writers here.
If he'd done it your way, there'd have been no Quest.
And an Object Lesson and wonderful Narrative would never have occured.
JeffBob
New Driver

I have a 2005 Dodge 3500 Cummins dually that I use to tow my track car and prior to that I had a Ford E350 dually chassis Class C RV. With both vehicles I quickly found myself — for tire and alignment services — at Class 8 truck shops. However, for tire mounting and balancing, a local shop has been able to service my wheels and tires. And in ten years, I’ve put three(!!) sets of tires on the Dodge in 80k miles. The first, and the worst, was an $1800 set of Michelins. They were my last Tire Rack purchase after 30 years of patronage. Beware: if a manufacturer (finally!) agrees to replace tires under warranty, they want them back or they won’t compensate you. I was never told that and did not keep them. I feel robbed twice. Like trailer tires, the tread doesn’t wear out, the carcass fails. From weight, and from centrifugal force. A local car mechanic just replaced my AC compressor and laughed about how his 10k lift couldn’t get past four feet with my truck on it, so he did the job on his back! At a truck stop scaling my gooseneck trailer for axle weights, the cashier commented how heavy my truck was! I found that very ironic, as I’m sure it was the most petite rig at the truck stop. I smiled and told her, “I bet you say that to all the guys.” With these vehicles, you quickly realize the scale of your tools — jacks, jackstands, wrenches — are all woefully inadequate. But my biggest and perhaps costliest challenge is car washes: duallies don’t fit. They are too wide. And I hate washing cars and this thing is big. So I hate it even more. My clear coat is now failing because I didn’t wash and wax it frequently enough. It’s funny what bites you! Great article, as I can appreciate how quickly some very simple maintenance can become excessively costly and time consuming! You would think the tire industry was scaled to include heavy duty pickup trucks. Shockingly, it is not. Perhaps duallies are more prevalent in the Atlanta area, and shops more commonly accommodate them — in the parking lot with jacks, because even if their tire machines can, their lifts can’t handle them.

Cornbinder
Detailer

Just be thankful it's a modern single-piece rim - worse case scenario is take it to the Chevy or GMC dealer. Those of us with old vintage trucks with multi-piece wheels / split rims (and even not that old, as they were used as late at the early 1970's on 3/4-ton pickups) don't shop by installation price - we shop for shops that'll actually touch one and not call the bomb squad.
deckerbilt
Intermediate Driver

Can't you run with single tires in the rear if you don't need the load capacity?
Edwardsg
Intermediate Driver

Although with 4, you have two spares if you aren’t loaded.
DMcC
Detailer

That is my reaction too, replace the duals with a single. I see a few 18-wheelers that use a single tire where duals were used on the tractor saving materials and added time to service duals. However, these appear to be special use tires and maybe too the rims.
Tim
Technician

I appreciate the information that says if I ever consider something that needs a dualie, I need to change my mind. 😄

I feel like I've been down this "one thing leads to another, which leads to another, which leads to another..." road more than I care to. It's usually related to the first time I ever try to do something. The hidden cost of education. 😄
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

Great story. it's kind of crazy you had such difficulty. Clearly the industry doesn't take dualies into account.
MATTMERICA
Technician

You should dump the duallie truck. Those new tires will also rot from lack of use. If you are as thrifty as you say you are, and the duallie isn't hauling cars around, it is not serving its purpose and if in fact you are as thrifty as you say, it must pain you to gas that thing up to make recyclable runs. Dump it, take the cash, get another car, but release the duallie into the wild so that it can serve out its remaining functional life in the pursuit of work too strenuous for mere 4-wheel trucks.
JeepCJ5
Intermediate Driver

Maybe, but if he wants a good truck that will do everything he wants it to do, even if it isn't that often, he'd be smart to keep that one.  He'll never get another truck near that good for as little as he has tied up in it.  And it'll hold it's value well for years to come.  I'd say keep it.  

petersalt
Advanced Driver

His biggest problem is the same as for most of this 'collection' .. no room for a decent large garage in which to park the collection AND the tow truck. Fill your tires with nitrogen (small change), spray the tires with oxidation inhibitor (it's the stuff that makes 'shiny tires' for the shows), and PARK THE TRUCK inside .. shazamm .. tires last for decades when infrequently used.
JSievers
Instructor

Did you check with the dealer? They have become very competitive on tire pricing in recent years and have the equipment to service dualies since they sell them.
shepherds2
Pit Crew

I'm a big fan of your articles. I have a 2006 Ram 3500 dually which weighs over 8000 lbs..(steel flatbed) and I believe that you will come to appreciate the dual wheels when it comes to braking, traction, and highway stability under trailer load. Also wondering why you didn't use a $50 12 ton
Bottle jack? Or two 8 tons @ $30 each? They could easily lift that truck enough to get tires off.
I also noticed my mechanic couldn't lift my truck more than 2' with his commercial 12,000 lb. capacity lift. Makes me wonder about some of these rating systems (claims) on lifts and jacks.
Keep up the good writing!
PRScott
Advanced Driver

Good luck with that Duramax!
fastcamaro
New Driver

This whole tale is hard to believe. (Pricing and service, not truthfulness) I I'm a retired tire/auto shop owner in the midwest. Our business as well as most of our serious competitors were quite capable of handling duallies and motorhomes. Most have truck hoists and long frame jacks for the ones too long or heavy to lift. And none of us charged $60/wheel to mount and balance. We worked outside in rain and winter, if necessary. Sounds like there are plentiful customers so they can do this. Fords with hubcentric wheels were the only ones that gave us much trouble getting loose. I realize tire prices have inflated like everything else recently, but just wow on the labor.
thehackmechanic
Advanced Driver

Fastcamaro, I swear it's all true.
Miketheump
Intermediate Driver

Interesting read and surprised by your dilemma getting them mounted, I volunteer at an ambulance corp. and we use studded tires in the winter, our tire guy remounts our Duallie wheels twice a year, using floor jacks, mounted and balanced for $15 per wheel. Maybe we're just lucky but hard to believe it was that hard to find a tire shop to do it. Your stories are always a fun read.
Spencer30
Pit Crew

What?!?!? You mean you’re not going to tell us whether or not you got the 2002tii ?
Spencer30
Pit Crew

Ok, found my answer: Which winter project is spaceworthy 

 

Sorry, not going to spoil it, y’all have to read it ; )

jaysalserVW
Advanced Driver

Wow---What a story, Rob! Well, I got interested in the two ways, in your Article, for spelling the tire situation on your particular truck--namely "dualie" and "duallie". Well, I went to the Internet Dictionary where found this spelling: "dually". Who is to say which is correct? Maybe we just can allow this conundrum to persist (?).
Tinkerah
Gearhead

ANYTHING but the cringe inducing "Dooley".
JeepCJ5
Intermediate Driver

I've not had any issues with tire shops here in MS for my dually.  

 

I completely forgot about the "dooley" spelling.  The only time I've seen that version is on various toy packaging, namely a model kit:

AMT-8767-2.jpg

 

 

DUB6
Specialist

You mean you don't like one of my favorite songs by the old Kingston Trio: "Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley"?  😁

Tinkerah
Gearhead

DUB6: I'd like it more as Tom Dually.

audiobycarmine
Instructor

Duly noted.
thehackmechanic
Advanced Driver

Jay, some of that was the editor :^)
jaysalserVW
Advanced Driver

Rob...In the end--it ALL rests on the back of the editor. Trooley! LOL jay
DrOverboost
Intermediate Driver

Rob. I had a KR 2500 Suburban with 8.1 liter engine, fully loaded. Loved it for towing my 26 foot enclosed trailer with 2800 pound 8 second drag truck, and 1000 pounds of tools and golf cart, right up to the moment I jack-knifed it at highway speed avoiding a kid who decided to exit the highway from the left lane and turned in front of me.
Now I tow with diesel duallies. Previously an F-450, now a , Ram 3500. I keep good michelins on them and thank my luck for surviving the crash.
Keep the duallie! Calculate the cost of your life into the equation.
Gene_M
Detailer

Wrong decisions about tires will cost you dearly in the event of tire failure. Sorry Rob, this time I was not amused by your tale.
Tinkerah
Gearhead

Ah, too bad you didn't check with me first Rob. I've owned two wreckers, the heaviest with a tilt/telescoping boom sling AND a wheel lift. I forget the GVW but the actual unloaded weight was 7600 lbs. taken many times from a salvage yard scale. I could jack them with the old-school mechanical (non hydraulic) jack that stowed on a fender well. I don't know how many plies they equate to but I mounted E range tires on my Coats 10-10 and it was not that big a deal. Hack tip of the week: you don't really need to balance such large tires that aren't likely to ever see over 65MPH.
Tinkerah
Gearhead

Oh yeah: the older truck had multi piece rims which require tubes. Special attention is required but I never had any problems.
CJinSD
Instructor

I've been on the other side of this transaction. The only way to make money on installing the tires is to charge about as much as one would charge for a few to several hours of labor. Not only is it time consuming, the work is often followed by an expensive and revenue-stopping lift-service. At least your HD pickup doesn't weigh as much empty as a lifestyle EV pickup like the new Hummer. The idea that we're about to shift to the heaviest cars and trucks in history by totalitarian edict is hateful.
hyperv6
Racer

You don’t need to worry about the cracks that is why you have two extra tires back there.

Sadly that is how some semi drivers think.

Tires are expensive and so many just go till they blow or get stuck in the snow.

I used to work in a gas station and the tires I saw on the road were scary then and I expect worse today.
coop
Intermediate Driver

Yes. I bet one could drive in, say Germany for their entire lifetime and never see anything close to the tire debris seen here in les États-Unis.
TG
Technician

It doesn't sound like you are properly equipped, but the nice thing about tires on 'budd' wheels is that you can change them yourself without a tire machine, and the drive tires generally do not need balancing
Reggie
New Driver

I've escaped a few vehicle dilemmas in my day due to connection with "The World of Salvage!" (Cue mysterious music) . I worked at a salvage yard years ago. You ain't gonna hear that your truck weighs too much, can't lift it. BS,We had a front end loader with lift forks that I promise you will lift your truck and probably another one and a Delta 88 with a 3 series BMW stuffed in the trunk and carry it across the yard to the tire building. Sometimes this place would score sets of tires, bed rails,aux. lights etc.. Just saying, befriend a local salvage yard,give them respect and you never know how they may make your dilemma nothing more than a small hiccup. Be safe out there.

Edwardsg
Intermediate Driver

Lucky you don’t have a 1946 Dodge my friend was showing me over the weekend.
Those 20 inch rims are an odd size - hard to find, and shipping adds another hundred dollars.
With 5 bolt Budd wheels, it’s not like you can just swap out rims and get a more common tire size.
Used tires, if you can find them, likely are barely usable.
Neat truck, but some challenges just to make it a once in awhile driver.
He bought a couple front tires, but is now stuck looking for 4 for the back.
I think he would find the sweet spot with two new outer tires and decent used inner tires since he doesn’t plan on hauling anything. Wish him luck - I think he needs it.
Huntz-Hall
Intermediate Driver

Wow, does Rob know how to tell a story or what?
That was one hell of a non-fiction novel & he should be up for a Pulitzer Award!
Great job Rob!
Kyle
Moderator

Six tires is two too many for anything I am doing!

RG440
Instructor

Rob, WOW GOOD JOB ! You took a mouse infested, trash tire’d Dually and made it into a round trip dump runner that your wife “may” ride in depending on the day! Sounds to me like your mission is complete on THAT ride, possibly turning around and making a handsome profit on it ! New Tires, mounted and balanced at today’s price, what working OTR man would not want that thing with his complete tool inventory with him and his vehicle of choice in his rear view mirror, box of daily donuts on the dash with all the crumbs going down the defrost tubes to start the cycle all over again ! You could turn around and buy a cardboard hauler, possibly a 72 BMW 2002tii and have your wife by your side smiling because your such a wonderful husband! Think of the possibilities! Thanks for the article!
RWScott
New Driver

I recently sold my Big O Tire franchise, and cannot believe what Rob went through to get those tires installed! When we had a dually come into my shop, we'd hoist part of it, and use 2 floorjacks for the rear. The mounting and balancing were the same(19.99) as for passenger cars. If a customer brought in their own tires, the price was $35.00 each. I was in business 30 years, and it wasn't because I gave my customers the run around!
DUB6
Specialist

I have no idea where @RWScott had his franchise store, but I will give him full kudos and 100% validation - my local Big O shops have always treated me similarly to what RW did his customers.  Read the last sentence in his post.  It's as true today as it was in my youth: give the customer a reasonable deal, a good product, and a little extra TLC, and you'll be in business long after the other guys have folded up their tents!

BisbeeKid
Pit Crew

Should’ve just checked out the nearest General Motors dealership. I am 100% sure they would have the tires in their local dealer tire warehouse and would be fully capable of installing them usually at $29.95 per tire.
Our Ford dealer replaces all six of our tires every two years out the door with taxes mounted and balanced $1500 takes them about 2 1/2 hours and they do the oil service at the same time. Would fully recommend building a service box if you travel with a high torque electric impact since you most likely will not be able to get the lug nuts off, base plate and bottle jack (can purchase at Home Depot or Lowe’s that comes in a carrying case) and a cupped spacer and a heavy throw blanket to crawl on to change out a tire if you’re ever on the road.
Good luck and enjoy the stories! Merry Christmas to all!
Swamibob
Technician

Great story Rob. Really good reminder for people to check their tires (and other things) once in awhile. Especially on our utility vehicles. Most of us car guys do check them on our fun cars, but we do tend to forget our utility rides sometimes. I find it a bummer that so many shops didn't treat you very well. But, I also find it very positive that the folks at JP Carroll stepped up, to once again show you what good Customer Service is all about. When I get Service like that, I tend to tell everyone I know and try to push as much business as I can their way. Even if it costs a bit more, than other places, I appreciate that sort of Service. Also good on you for giving the tech a tip. When I was in that position (working as a tech and tire rat in my youth) I always remembered those who treated me well and made sure to go out of my way to help them.
Keep the truck, you're in it so reasonably, you're way ahead of the game!