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April 24th: ‘Tire’d of Reno

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No, not nap time . . .

The good part about Reno is the room rates during the week: $26 a night at the Circus Circus (great rooms for the price, too). The bad part is that it eats tires for lunch, which is so happens to be the time of day that we discovered one of our tires was flat.

We were pretty lazy Thursday morning. By the time we were heading to Reno’s National Automotive Museum it was noon. On the drive over I though the handling on the jeep seemed a tiny bit odd. When we arrived at the museum, I got out to check the tires. Sure enough, the front right tire was approaching flatness.

Now, you might say to me, “Dave, didn’t your fancy new jeep have a tire pressure sensor?”

By Job, you are right! But, last winter the tire pressure sensor came on for a while, due to the severe cold. Well, yesterday the tire pressure warning lit up as we dropped down off the pass into Lake Tahoe. I pulled over to check the tires, but nothing seemed amiss. So, I figured it was a cold/altitude thing. It appears I was wrong.

So, on Thursday we found ourselves at the museum with a flat tire. Some threatening rain clouds loomed overhead. What did we choose to do? Well, visit the museum of course! I figured we could unpack the jeep to pull out the spare tire later.


Ann got all dressed up for a ride in one of the cars. Too bad they wouldn’t let us take it out for a spin.

The museum turned out to be outstanding. The collection represents part of William F. Harrah’s overall collection at the time of his death in 1978, but it is still outstanding. Harrah’s collection strategy was to find cars of which only a few were made or of which only a few existed. The result is a collection that is unique and diverse. Both Ann and I had a good time looking at the vehicles, watching the demonstration engines, listening to the tv shows and music that acted as background, and reading some of the stories. I took a bunch of pics.


An 1892 steam powered Phillion. There was room for a chauffeur in the rear (who also stoked the fire) and a rider in front. Off to the left is a photo of the Phillion in action.


Lots of early cars.


Note the crushed rock underneath the cars. I thought it helped to make the cars really standout. Nice earthy touch.


This area was not only full of cars, but contained an array of females dresses. It was both a reminder of the times and provided the room a classy feel.




A video of the Milton Berle show was playing in this small display area.


This depot wagon was used to ferry visitors from the train to Harrah’s retreat along the Salmon River in Idaho.


The body of this Rolls Royce was built from copper.


This is Tucker #32.


Duesenbergs, Cords, Auburns, Kaiser’sand more filled this room.

The museum had several jeeps, including a few for a WWII exhibit. The Jerrarri (Wagoneer plus Ferarri) was in the museum, but I figured there are enough pics of that online.


This 1944 GPW appeared to be a mis-identified MB, given the flat tool box covers in the rear. However, on closer inspection I spotted the “Higgins” plate on the dash and the GPW cross member in the front. Thus, it is a remanufactured GPW.


Good looking Seep. According to the information board that accompanied this GPA, the nickname “Seep” was given to the vehicle by some of the builders who witnessed the seep leaking water into the cab while it was in the water. That’s not a story I’ve ever heard,


The 1972 CJ-5 behind this sand rail was bought to be used as an off road vehicle as part of the Jeepers Jamboree.


This is one of the finest examples of the miner hood ornament that I’ve seen. It’s a rare piece. I’m wondering if it was somehow related to the Jeep Jamboree or Jeepers Jamboree? I’ve only seen a couple of these.


This beautiful NellyBelle pedal jeep was part of a pedal car display when we first walked into the museum.

This very famous Thomas Flyer vehicle had it’s own extensive display. Neat rig and great history about the race from New York to Paris.


We only had one bad experience at the museum. That’s when Ann’s camera phone slipped from her hands while she was taking a photo. She reached to grab the falling phone, but hit it forward instead. The phone sailed through the air toward a vehicle that shall remain unmentioned. Fortunately, it narrowly missed the car, landing with an odd thud on the crushed rock. Whew!


My turn to get dressed up and drive.

With our museum tour finished, I had to face unpacking the jeep to remove the spare tire. Really, in the scheme of things, it wasn’t that bad, but still a pain.

2014-04-24-flat1 2014-04-24-flat2

After competing the swap we drove over to Les Schwab to see if they could fix the tire. After finding the leak, it was clear the tire was toast. Because the jeep is all-wheel-drive, we were forced to buy four new tires, setting us back $1000. You can imagine that hit the travel budget! Ann claimed we are the only people who can go to Reno and lose $1000 without ever entering a casino.

So, we spent the afternoon at Les Schwab waiting for our new tires to be installed. That’s not quite how we saw our day going. Our evening did end with one high note. We found a great and inexpensive Vietnamese restaurant called the Golden Flower right next to Circus Circus.

Just a couple of updates for Friday. Today we plan to tour Virginia City and then drive south to Carson City to see the Nevada State Museum.


6 Comments on “April 24th: ‘Tire’d of Reno

  1. mom

    Great photos of the cars in the museum. Think I recognized the same models of the red Hot Wheel vintage horseless carriages we have. Bummer about the tires. One good thing about Reno is cheap food. Enjoy Virginia City. It is a long drive up the hill (short mountain) to get there.

  2. Colin Peabody

    What’s the deal with having to buy 4 new tires to replace one? Is it because the air pressure sensor is built in the tire or???

  3. mmdeilers Post author


    Has to do with the sensitivity of the tire circumference between the tires with all wheel drive. I have read they have to be w/in 3/32 of each other. Plus, they need to be the same tread or that can cause a problem .

    I need to do more research. Subarus have the same problem. If we had true 4wd rather than all wheel drive we might not have had to replace all four.

  4. Bill

    …. and it should be noted that the tire dealers are the only ones who really push that fact 😉

    But I do agree with them, it’s just that I am a total “tire nerd” (I think Dave might be too)…. I appreciate a nice, matching, new set of tires. Sheets, shoes & tires…. the 3 things you never skimp on!

    Great museum pics… looks like a good one.


  5. Steve E.

    The big red horseless carriage must have been the inspiration for the FC tour Jeeps. Great photos of all the cars.

    Four Tires!?? Another good reason my daily drivers are 1966 and older. Ann’s a riot! “Broke the budget without even entering a casino.” Maybe that’s the reason I often see three matching tires at swap meets. But three tires are useless to me.

    What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas. What happens in Reno, the whole internet knows.

    **Steve E.**

  6. mmdeilers Post author

    There are plenty of anecdotal stories, but I haven’t seen any closely test whether two different sets of tires cause real harm to the differentials. For me, it’s just another reason to go with 4WD next time, rather than AWD.

    Since our tires were at 43K miles, we didn’t lose that much by changing all the tires. I would have liked a chance to shop more carefully, but Les Schwab has been very helpful to us in the past (e.g.. the only company that would put my old desert dogs on my rims).

    Here’s one of the better explanations of why to replace all four tires at once:
    Every manufacturer has different specifications for this but yes, on a AWD vehicle the tires all need to match in terms of brand, model, size and WEAR. For example, one new tire combined with 3 worn tires can cause the AWD system to think that the tires are slipping because they are not all the same diameter and thus do not rotate at the same speed. This can engage the AWD to excess and in some cases do severe damage (I’ve seen it more than once). Jeep and Dodge systems are the most sensitive. Subaru is next. Subaru actually provide a way to defeat the AWD system so it can not enage when you have mismatched tires on – such as if you install the spare – in order to prevent drivetrain damage.

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