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post #1 of 23 Old 11-03-2017, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Harbor Freight Mini Tire Changer

Today I broke the code on my HF mini tire changer! I have always been ok with Carlisle tires because they are the size that they say they are. But today I put on two Chinese tires that aren't even close to the measurements printed on their sides. We all know that it is pretty easy to push the first side of the new tire onto the wheel with just a little soap and water. But the next side is the challenge. Today I figured out how to use the little flying saucer thing to put on the second rim of the new tire. First I mounted the front tire on the little stand with a piece of carpet as the no-scratch pad and then the wheel with one side of the tire on it over the threaded rod. Then the two spacers followed by the red bar with the half rod facing down and then the flying saucer with the sloped side facing down. Finally the red threaded cap with the arm on it. Then I put the tire bead breaker on the red cap with the bead foot set up to break the bead. Now you may ask why am I doing all of this stuff. I am willing to do the front tires on all of my JD's but I have given up on the rears. Anyway, put the half rod between the rim and the tire and the breaker foot on top of the tire on the side opposite your direction of rotation. This will hold the tire from moving on the wheel. Then start pulling the red bar around while holding the breaker bar in place. Since the flying saucer is holding the red bar down, it will not want to jump up out of the tire. As the red bar goes around the bead make sure that you keep the tire bead next to your body pushed down off of the ridge inside the rim. If you don't keep it off of that ridge then you and all of the king's horses will never get that tire on. What's different about this time for me is that the red bar is held down in the horizontal plane by the saucer and the breaker foot hold the tire from slipping. Use plenty of soapy water and you can put a four-pound chicken in a three-pound egg! I have fought this thing in the past but now I believe I have it down. I did two tires today with only minor cursing. It was like dancing with a one-legged fat lady though!
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post #2 of 23 Old 11-03-2017, 07:42 PM
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Re: Harbor Freight Mini Tire Changer

What does "broke the code" mean? Roger
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post #3 of 23 Old 11-03-2017, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Harbor Freight Mini Tire Changer

It means that I now know how to use this thing and what all the little pieces are for.
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post #4 of 23 Old 11-03-2017, 07:56 PM
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Re: Harbor Freight Mini Tire Changer

Could you possibly do a video? What HF machine are you using? I can do the rears ok with my Ken Tool irons but haven't tried the fronts.

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post #5 of 23 Old 11-03-2017, 08:51 PM
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Re: Harbor Freight Mini Tire Changer

Two screwdrivers and a little cussing gets front and back changed for me. I am slow on the first tire but speed up on the next.
(Thailand tires to boot)
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post #6 of 23 Old 11-03-2017, 09:37 PM
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Re: Harbor Freight Mini Tire Changer

get the inner tubes down out of the way first,
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post #7 of 23 Old 11-03-2017, 10:37 PM
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Re: Harbor Freight Mini Tire Changer


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post #8 of 23 Old 11-03-2017, 10:42 PM
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Re: Harbor Freight Mini Tire Changer

[QUOTE=Todd_D;11320561]Could you possibly do a video? What HF machine are you using? I can do the rears ok with my Ken Tool irons but haven't tried the fronts.

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I think I mostly understood, but yes the whole time I was reading your description, i was thinking video. I have always wrestled with the fronts on my HF cheapo mini changer (very little it seems at HF that is of high quality, but it has paid for itself many times over) and had Walmart doing the rears for $5 a tire, both mount and dismount, now Walmart charges $10 for each, so each tire went from $5 to $20, so back to the mini-changer. The big tires are a pain, but I find the soap and them being new makes it easier. Taking old ones off can be a challenge. I also recently got a bead setter on the cheap and that thing has paid for itself already too. My first couple of tires were a challenge, but as you say, I broke the code on that one quickly. For anyone who changes tires often or semi often, that thing is awesome

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post #9 of 23 Old 11-04-2017, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Harbor Freight Mini Tire Changer

I just watched the video of the guy using the HF tire changer and he had American tires! There is no way that last bead would flop on like it did in the video if they were Chinese! Where I got the idea to use the bead breaker to hold the tire and to lock the red bar down using the aluminum disc was because it is so hard to hold that tire and use the beading tool at the same time. Some have mentioned using vise grips to hold the tire/rim but the bead breaker is there so you might as well use it plus I had just repainted the rims. And with the red beading bar locked down, you can just pull on it instead of having to worry about it coming out of the tire. I still pay the $10 for each rear because I am too old to be jumping on a stupid tire covered with slippery soap while trying to set the bead! When he put the red cap on, I had already put the silver disc on before that, sloped end down, with the red bar below it. Then when you tighten the red cap down the red bar is held down on the tire and you can pull much harder not worrying about it slipping out.
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post #10 of 23 Old 11-04-2017, 08:53 AM
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Re: Harbor Freight Mini Tire Changer

I have changed hundreds of tires by hand and there are a couple of things that make it much easier.

#1 - The rims are called "drop center rims". That smaller diameter section is the drop center. You must make maximum usage of this. When one side of the bead is bottomed out in the drop center that gives the other side the most clearance over the rim. This pertains to both removing the tire and installing it.

#2 - Lube lube lube. Sometimes it does take a bit of wrestling. It's just the nature of small rims. Keep applying lube. It dries out or is absorbed pretty quickly and the tire bead becomes sticky. I just use either liquid dish soap or hand soap like goop or go joe. I think the hand soap stays slicker longer.

#3 - Maybe it will come back to me senior moment
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post #11 of 23 Old 11-04-2017, 09:25 AM
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Re: Harbor Freight Mini Tire Changer

I was actually just looking at these and reading the reviews. I believe I will be picking one up.

They got rave reviews from the people that understood how to use them.

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post #12 of 23 Old 11-04-2017, 12:11 PM
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Re: Harbor Freight Mini Tire Changer

Quote:
Originally Posted by rayjay View Post
I have changed hundreds of tires by hand and there are a couple of things that make it much easier.

#1 - The rims are called "drop center rims". That smaller diameter section is the drop center. You must make maximum usage of this. When one side of the bead is bottomed out in the drop center that gives the other side the most clearance over the rim. This pertains to both removing the tire and installing it.

#2 - Lube lube lube. Sometimes it does take a bit of wrestling. It's just the nature of small rims. Keep applying lube. It dries out or is absorbed pretty quickly and the tire bead becomes sticky. I just use either liquid dish soap or hand soap like goop or go joe. I think the hand soap stays slicker longer.

#3 - Maybe it will come back to me senior moment
AHHAAAA !!!!

#3- If a rim has a lot of offset to the outside you may have to remove and install the tire off the back side of the rim. If the drop center is biased a good bit towards the back side of the rim then that's when you know.
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post #13 of 23 Old 11-04-2017, 01:19 PM
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Re: Harbor Freight Mini Tire Changer

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Originally Posted by inspectorudy View Post
I just watched the video of the guy using the HF tire changer and he had American tires! There is no way that last bead would flop on like it did in the video if they were Chinese! Where I got the idea to use the bead breaker to hold the tire and to lock the red bar down using the aluminum disc was because it is so hard to hold that tire and use the beading tool at the same time. Some have mentioned using vise grips to hold the tire/rim but the bead breaker is there so you might as well use it plus I had just repainted the rims. And with the red beading bar locked down, you can just pull on it instead of having to worry about it coming out of the tire. I still pay the $10 for each rear because I am too old to be jumping on a stupid tire covered with slippery soap while trying to set the bead! When he put the red cap on, I had already put the silver disc on before that, sloped end down, with the red bar below it. Then when you tighten the red cap down the red bar is held down on the tire and you can pull much harder not worrying about it slipping out.
yes, there is definitely a difference between brands (sources) and age when it comes to tires, guy in video had it pretty easy compared to some of my trials. And while I don't just stick with Carlisle and American, I avoid anything Red China at any cost, like I will purchase Kendas which are often Taiwan, which I know is the other China, but friendly one

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post #14 of 23 Old 11-04-2017, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Harbor Freight Mini Tire Changer

I only used the term "Chinese" to indicate that they were not American made. I have not looked to see where they came from. I would never do this on a car tire and stick with reputable brands. In the video, the guy does not even have the outside bead down in the groove around the middle of the rim and the top bead just flops onto the rim. I can tell you that my two new tires would not have ever been able to do that. No groove, no mount. Rayjay is right about the need to have the bead on the mounted side down into the groove. I am going to take a picture of my setup but I don't have any tires to show being put on. I have done maybe twenty tires and this was by far the tightest but the tricks I discovered made it possible where I didn't think I would be able to ever get them on.
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post #15 of 23 Old 11-04-2017, 07:28 PM
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On front ties only use the bead braker. From there a set of tire spoon, some lube and a clean flat surface is all that's required. Off and on.
I do the back tires on a regular machine. All my lawn equipment gets tubes so setting the bead is not a problem.
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