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Mounting Beadlock Wheels Raceline Wheel’s Greg Mulkey offers tips on mounting and proper fitment By Dan Sanchez Beadlock wheels offer a unique set of advantages for improved traction. Most off-road enthusiasts know that beadlock wheels allow the use of low tire pressures, while the beadlocks keep the tire bead on the wheel. There are important considerations, however, when mounting a beadlock wheel. According to Greg Mulkey at Raceline, it’s important to pay attention to the thickness of the tire bead, for the beadlock ring to stay perfectly flat against the wheel when being mounted. “When mounting a tire to a beadlock wheel I use simple dish soap and water,” says Mulkey. “I like dish soap rather than using a petroleum product like WD40 because a petroleum product doesn't dissipate. It will be there forever.” Once a tire is mounted to the wheel, Mulkey suggests looking at the thickness of the tire’s bead. “Paying attention to the thickness of the tire bead is very critical to properly mounting a beadlock ring,” he said. “Standard tire beads in the industry are about .620. Most wheels are built to accommodate that, but some tire companies who have really big tires will have a bead that is upwards of 3/4 of an inch. So the compression of the bead is different from one tire maker to the next. In this case, we have to apply spacers to the beadlock ring, so that it stays flat and doesn't bow inward. When the ring bows inward it puts all the torque to the outside of the bolts causing premature bolt failure.” Raceline manufactures beadlock ring spacers to take up the extra space for tires with large beads. “Anything over .680 we recommend a spacer,” said Mulkey. “When the bead is over .750 you can add two spacers.” The spacers come in four pieces that make up the full circumference of the wheel. “When using the spacers, the ring is bolted down and offers support,” said Mulkey. “This keeps the ring from bending downward which puts all the torque on the outside of the bolts. Some tire and wheel assemblies need two spacers.” Beadlock Ring Bolting Pattern When mounting the beadlock ring to the wheel, Mulkey suggests starting the first bolt in the 12:00 o'clock position. He uses the valve stem as a starting point. Adding another bolt to the six o’clock, then nine o’clock, and three o’clock positions are a good way to start. “With these four bolts tightened down that secures everything, then you can start judging on your gap because when you get down to 10-foot pounds of torque on the bolts, the ring is fully compressed on the tire bead. Then you can pay attention to the gap and see if you need to add spacers.” Mulkey then recommends adding bolts to the immediate side of each of the four starting positions until all the bolts are inserted and properly torqued to the wheel manufacturer’s specifications. Proper Wheel Width Matching the wheel width to the natural “set” of the tire, (inside width of the tire’s wheel opening) is important to get the most traction from your beadlock wheel and tire combination, according to Mulkey. “Measure the natural set of the inside of the tire and that gives me the correct width of the wheel to use,” said Mulkey. “The reason is when using lower air pressures, the tire is trying to get back to its natural width. If you have too wide of a wheel, the tire tread, under low pressure, will want to bow inward providing less traction. That’s the tire trying to get back to its natural set or state. A narrower wheel will allow the tire, under low pressure, to crown. When it rolls over an object, it won’t collapse over itself and give you better traction.” “For vehicles like SCORE Trophy Trucks, it’s better to run a wheel that is a bit narrower than the natural set of the tire. Most racing tires will have a nine-inch natural set, so they will run an 8.5 inch wide beadlock wheel. That seems to be the perfect setup for those guys and in the same way, off-road enthusiasts can look at matching the wheel and tire in the same way.” SJ

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