One Piece At a Time

| December 12, 2008

Tire beads are easily damaged if pried onto the rim without spreading out the prying force. You don’t need a tire machine, but you do need the proper tools, what Bow calls “tire spoons” because of the way they look. A typical set can be had for $475. You will also need a bead-seating tool, which is a small air tank and valve. The tank is filled from your shop air compressor and used to force a blast of air into any tire that’s reluctant to pop onto the rim.

The old exploding-ether trick is one Bow refuses to risk life and limb on. Tire makers universally caution that such treatment does casing damage that puts your life at risk later.

Special tools for cradling single or even dual Class 8 tire/wheel combinations are also essential for avoiding injury.

To go further in this direction, you’ll need the super-large socket wrenches, pullers and installers needed to repack and properly torque wheel bearings and replace their seals. This work is extremely exacting, but experts such as Evans and Bow do it all the time, making frequent bearing maintenance inexpensive. This attention to detail saves money on replacement bearings and seals and makes losing a wheel just about impossible.

If you specify low maintenance hubs and want to replace sealed cartridge bearing units, you need to graduate to torque multipliers and higher-rated torque wrenches to install their special, high-torque retaining nuts.

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