So the Explorer went back into the tire shop when they opened at 8 a.m. At least, that was the plan.
The manager and mechanic came out to see me at 7:45, and explained that their machine which pulls axle hubs was broken. That required me to go to their other location in mid-town, some six miles away. The mechanic rode along, I let myself out at my place of work, and he went on to the shop.
The truck was in their shop at 8:20, and he assured me it would be "one or maybe two hours." Okay, fine, whatever.
At 9:00 he called to say that the knuckle was also messed up, and it would be another three to four hours. What the heck' I was at work anyway, and the mid-town shop has a shuttle bus.
At 1:15 they finished, and the shuttle was at my office a few minutes later. Work is done, the annoying little vibration in the rear axle is gone, and all is well.
So ... a "new" used wheel, a new hub, and a new knuckle. At least they paid for it.
Now I'll need to drop some $450 to get a set of plain steel rims to have the snow tires permanently mounted. It'll take 10 change-overs, or five years, to break even on the cost. But I'll be able to change the tires when I want, without standing in line, or any more 2+ hour waits.
I used to do all my own tune-ups, oil changes, etc. I wonder how much longer before changing the tires becomes a pro garage-only deal?