Author Topic: automotive: anyone know how to put snow tires on rims without paying for it?  (Read 5638 times)

offgridmontana

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We have an auto shop on our property, but when it comes to some stuff like changing out tires when the seasons change, we take it to a shop in town with hydraulics and pole electricity. Why is this? Cannot I do this? I'm asking because I'd rather spend this hundred dollars on something else. I have the snow tires (used excellent condition), lots of tools, and lift jacks.

I can change fluids, replace belts, blah, blah, blah...so why not tires?  ???

Offline Steve W

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For each of my personally owned vehicles I've either gone to winter-first Four Seasons Tires (my first choice for our 4x4 vehicles) or paid the one time expense to put snows on a second set of rims.

For each of the wagons I was able to get four new steel rims for $35/each and I sprung for OEM hubcaps as the summer tires are on alloys.

I do have on college student with a front wheel drive wagon with traction control that we are running on very winterized 4-seasons tires as a trial. 

I still like having spare steel rims with snows though.

Goatdog62

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It can be done. Lot of work. We did it on an off-road expedition training exercise in Colorado in 2006

Break the bead with the weight of the car on the jackstand which is perched on the tire through the baseplate. Finish bead breaking with tire tool until rim and tire are no longer attached. Use two tire tools to make this easier. Then pry off the other side.

Using tire tools again, work the tire onto the rim. Inflate with three second burst of starter fluid or air compressor if so equipped.

Sorry the details are so skimpy, it is hard to explain but I could show you over a six pack.

There is a lot of grunting and cursing involved in this method. It is more of a survival task than something you would want to do every winter.

Offline Steve W

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GoatDog is right - there are survival techniques that are better shown, than described.

Controlled Explosion techniques are not the only way.

Harbor Freight has a rig using the "Armstrong" method that might appeal to you:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmDNub5ZFcs

Offline bartsdad

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I go to the local junkyards and get good used rims and mount up my winter tires. Then swapping out in spring and fall is easy. Plus it's nice having a ready to go set of tires in the event of emergency.

Mounting and dismounting tires using hand tools is a bit of an art. I've done hundreds over the years using 2 large screwdrivers and a claw hammer. I learned from my dad. It is really fun to watch someone try this for the first time. :D :D The smaller  rim diameter and lower the profile of the tire make this task ever harder. A big semi truck tire is much easier to change in comparison to a small 13" car tire.

The more times tires are mounted and dismounted the risk for damage increases.

Getting the beads to set can also present some challenges and dangers. 

Offline wyomiles

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Offline Orionblade

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I smell burnt rope and Ether.

Unless you have a serious need to keep your alloys on your truck/car/etc/ all year round, then go to some place like Northern, or as was mentioned before, the junk yard, and grab a set of plain steel rims. I worked on a motorsports team for a while, and for all the fancy spokes and slits and slots and slats, we wound up with plain jane spun aluminum rims, because the sheet metal was lighter and stronger in that configuration than a cast alloy wheel. We were scored on reliability and cost, so the fact that we could repair the rims easily and inexpensively was a mega plus, and it also meant that having spares around was very easy.

Interestingly enough, our rims were two piece - they looked like a mixing bowl with a bundt pan bolted to it. To set the beads was relatively easy - unbolt the two halves and the whole tire/wheel assembly fell apart - reapply some goop to the bolt hole pattern, and put the two halves in place inside the tire. Bolt together, inflate, install on race car, hit 60 mph in under 3 seconds.

I'll give my old shop manager a call and post another reply with info/a link to that sort of rim. Since we were building what amounted to 3/4 scale formula cars, it might have been more of a specialty item than I recall, but either way, the advantages of a spun or pressed sheet metal (Steel or aluminum) wheel for price, weight, durability, and user-serviceability outweigh aesthetics in my book. I'd just keep a set of not-crappy looking hub caps on hand if you're worried about what your date will think on friday night ;-)

The whole bit about wearing out the tire/damaging it when setting the bead multiple times is spot on. A fellow almost broke the rim and tore up the bead on one of our older tires from the previous year's car while trying to use a standard set of Harbor Freight style tools on the aluminum/magnesium alloy rims. The more times you do it, the more times you risk a mission-critical oops.

Offline donaldj

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I'd pay to get it done. That way the tire/wheel combo is balanced, too.

Offline Orionblade

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Hmm... good point.

It would seem that for servicing just one vehicle that the price of all the tools required, and the potential for a FUBAR is high enough that having it done professionally is the best bet.

Don't you hate it when that's the best answer you can get?

But hey, at least you have more space in the shop for OTHER tools to do different,  cooler things... ;-)

Offline k8hid

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I guess where I am it all boils down to do you work or do you pay? It costs about $15 for each tire change here and that not counting balancing. My neighbor has a manual

tire changer that over the years has been used by everyone in the area mostly for their farm equipment tires. He also has a bubble balancer (Remember those?) We don't 

use it on the newer rims. On my farm I average some kind of flat about every other week on something so it really pays off.

Offline creuzerm

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I worked at a marina, and we where always fighting tires. Trailers go into the water, come out, wheels get rusty, tires go flat, need replacing, etc.
We glued the tires on with bead sealer essentially to keep the rims from leaking. You can only wire brush and grind wheels so many times before ya just gotta glue it. LOL

We had an old pneumatic tire machine that had a building collapse around it or something, as it was all messed up. It barely worked.

Our favorite way to break beads was to use the end loader! We had a couple of 15" & 18 inch 3/4" steel pipe about a foot long. Heavy! I have no clue where they came from, a sewer plant maybe?

We would flop the tire on the ground, roll the pipe over it, push down with the loader bucket. Flip the tire, repeat.

We could then use the tire tools to take the tire off, put the new (used) tire on, bead seal, and inflate. We had a big air compressor too, so we could get enough air we didn't have to do anything fancy to get the bead to set.

Probably a skill that should be understood, and done once, but necessarily done on a regular basis.

I think the last time I 'paid' for a set of tires, they came off of a wrecked car, and it cost me a 6-pack to get mounted and balanced. Find a friend with skills who will work for beer?

Offline Orionblade

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As I get more projects going, and even now that I'm becoming more active in the local political scene, I'm more and more thankful every day that I have friends that participate in the BBCU.

Beer Barter Credit Union.

:-p

Offline millwright

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I had to do this one time in the army on a blazer. Tried breaking the bead with a hydraulic jack.....finally just drove my tank retriever over the tire close to the rim. Removed the tire with two 1/2" breaker bars and camouflage poles with lots of Go-Jo. Installed new tire the same way. Put a ratchet-strap around tire to seat bead.

I'm thinkin' Idruther swollow a rock than repeat this process again

Offline “Mark”

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I keep two sets of rims -- steel for the winter tires, and alloy for the summers. I can change them all myself using the jack in my trunk in about half an hour. It saves money, and I know that my tools work.

Offline Who...me?

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Ya me to...here in the NE winter is hard on those nice allow rims.  A lot easier to just swap rims when needed.

Offline patrat

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Buy the bead breaker, bubble balance, and a couple (2-3) of tire spoons along with some sticky weights at harbor freight. Go slow, use lots of soapy water or WD-40.

Keep your fingers out of there! A coworker lost a fingertip when it got stuck between bead and rim, as the tire seated. Only use the spoons in there.

Learn it from an experienced guy... I got to where I could do it sometimes but still needed help. Without him there, I would have given up.

Static balancing (on the bubble balance) will get you close, but there is no substitute for the dynamic balance offered by a professional shop. There is simply no way to do this with hand tools. A tire that is perfectly balanced statically, can still go out of balance when it spins. There is some rather complicated math and physics behind it.