Wednesday, March 2, 2011

DIY Tire Mounting

Harbor Freight sells a cheap, manual tire machine for those who wish to mount their own tires rather than waiting in line at the tire store and paying $12 per tire or more for the service. This especially appeals to me because I often either buy used offroad tires for my Jeeps, or if I am really lucky, scrounge some for free. Lots of people, if they have a problem with one tire, throw away the 3 remaining good ones.
I actually have mounted a couple of tires on Jeep wheels using nothing more than a stout walking stick, but they were 235/75R15s, which are not very big. I just tried it with a 31-10.50x15, and while I did get the old one off the rim, I still don't have the "new" one mounted yet. I'll get it, don't worry. If it were that or walk home, I would already have it done. After all, I once changed a tire on a Jeep in the boonies, with no jack. But I'm looking for a better way to do it than using a walking stick. That is why I was watching this video. It needs better lighting, but you can see what is going on.
I'm not planning to actually buy one of these Harbor Freight rigs, no. I'm studying the video to get some ideas on how to build my own. Contrary to what the video says, breaking the bead is not the hard part. Lay the tire/wheel assembly under the bumper of your Jeep or truck, put the base of your handy hi-lift jack on the bead of the tire, start jacking up the bumper, and let the weight of your vehicle break the bead. Every old-school jeeper knows that trick.
If you are trying to be self-sufficient, it pays to think about stuff like this.


irishdutchuncle said...

i changed a few tires, using tire irons, when i was a kid. (small cars, 13 inch wheels) it was no picnic, but ya do what ya gotta do. it sure helps to have a good air tank too. setting the bead can be tougher than breaking them.

Tracy said...

Yeah, setting the bead can be difficult. I use a ratchet strap around the tire to help, but even then a small battery-powered compressor ain't gonna cut it.

Joseph said...

My near-60 year old neighbor does it with a pry bar, sledge and a tire iron. He's been doing it that way since before most of us were born. When we're visiting and he does it I enjoy jumping into the party for a little hard labor.

We've done 60hp tractor tires that was as well....large PITA but doable.

Kulkuri said...

It is still possible to buy tire irons for removing tires from the rim. Smaller ones for car tires and longer ones for truck tires. I have a set for car tires. I have also used a leaf from a leaf spring as a tire iron.

When I was trucking, I had a flat fixed. It was an outside dual and they had me drive up on a block of wood to raise the tire off the ground, then the guy used tire irons to take the tire partially off the wheel and then patched it on the inside. He put the tire back on the rim and aired it up.