Friday, April 16, 2021

Just One More in a Long Line of Tech Tips


Here is a tech tip that I recently ran across which is so cool I just had to share it.

I’ve been changing tires for about 50 years now, first as a teenager for the “beater” cars that I drove and later on motorcycles.  Early on, I would use a bumper jack to break the bead and large screwdrivers to remove the tires from the rims. Later on, working in motorcycle shops, professional equipment such as bead breakers and tire irons made the work easier and more productive.  I’ve even had the opportunity to use a few different tire machines over the years, though I tend to be just as happy using hand tools.

One thing that remained constant through the years though, is the problem that would often come up when a tubeless tire seemed to be just too narrow for the rim, making it difficult to get the combination to start taking air.  One trick that would sometimes work would be to wrap a tie-down strap around the circumference of the tire and tighten it to spread tire’s bead apart.  On a combination with a particularly stiff and/or short sidewall tire and an unusually wide gap between tire and rim, that would be marginally effective.  Inevitably, at that point someone would raise the age-old suggestion of using starter fluid and a match to create a “small” explosion that would “blow” the beads of the tire into position. Well, despite the suggestion coming up often, and the general agreement that everyone “heard it works”, I never worked with anyone who had actually tried it. As someone who prefers to keep his rapid expansion of flammable mixtures inside of a combustion chamber, I never did attempt it myself, neither have I witnessed it in person.

That said, I had occasion to consider the options once again recently.  I had just finished mounting a pair of new tires for our “vintage” motorhome and the very stiff sidewalls were hopelessly far from contacting the rim.  Ratcheting a strap tightly around it did not move the tire beads an iota closer to the rim.  Finally I decided to do an internet search with the hope that someone, somewhere had come up with a good solution.  The one I found (and used successfully!) is ingenious, cheap, and safe.  And perhaps best of all, there is a video which saves any more explanation on my part.  Prepare to give Brian Jordan a round of applause.


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