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post #1 of 4 Old 07-29-2018, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Tip for installing a trailer tire

I haven't had much trouble installing tires on mower, hand truck and motorcycle wheels but yesterday I simply could not get the bead on a new trailer tire to seal enough to apply air. The WD-40 trick didn't work I think because I only had a grill starter which I think was not a hot enough flame to ignite WD-40 fumes and I didn't have a can of starting fluid. There was simply too large a gap between the bead and the rim. I tried a ratchet strap although that has never worked for me in the past. Then, I noticed that the gap was a little less with the ratchet strap and I got to thinking about using one or two more straps. My straps are 1 1/2" wide. I used all three, side by side across the tread of the tire and the ratchets were staggered around the tire. I applied air and Bingo!

I'll save for a future post a tale about helping my neighbor set the bead on a HUGE tractor tire using the explosive spray method (in this case it was brake cleaner). Both of us ran and hid behind a tree as the tire expanded. It was scary.
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post #2 of 4 Old 08-09-2018, 11:04 AM
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Re: Tip for installing a trailer tire

We used to get flat tires on our front end loader at the junkyard often--always running over bolts,sharp metal pieces,etc...the tires were huge 24" ones that weighed about 400 lbs,and nearly every morning we had to pump up at least one tire on it,and often had to shove several tire plugs in punctures in order to be able to use it that day..

When the tires went flat overnight and came off the bead,it was a huge ordeal to get them to re-inflate..the loader had two piece rims that used a big O ring to seal the halves,a split ring,and the tire could slip off the bead and blow off the rim if you were not careful..

We often had no choice but to resort to using starting fluid and fire to seat the tire beads,we'd clip on the air chuck to the valve stem,let air blow in the tire, and give the tire a healthy squirt of ether,and toss a lit newspaper at the tire from several feet away,never standing directly in front of the rim...and WUMP,it was inflated enough for the beads to seat and the tire would inflate..

Worst part of this dangerous procedure was getting the loader jacked up ,the front tires, we could simply use down pressure with the bucket to lift them off the ground,however the rear tires were a different story,and had all the weight of the engine and transmission on them...

All we had was a 20 ton manually operated railroad jack to use,and more than once we had the loader flop over while we had the tire & rim off it,despite using thick planks under the jack to prevent it from sinking in the soft dirt...it was a hours long dangerous chore to jack it back up again,bit by bit,using wood cribbing..we really should have had a second loader to lift the other one up with, but the only other one we had was a basket case..(blown transmission)..

One day a friend who ran a tire shop came by the junkyard and saw us stuffing a dozen tire plugs in a hole in one of the loader tires--he says "hey--they do sell HUGE tire plugs for heavy equipment tires you know"!...we were surprised,and the boss said "well,if they aren't stupidly expensive,get me some,I'll try them.."

A few days later a box arrived,and it had 4 tire plugs that looked much like a large penis,about 1-1/4" in diameter and 6" long..after we were done laughing at them, and making crude remarks,we decided to install some on two tires on the loader--one had a 1/2" bolt sticking out of it,the other had a gash about an inch long from sharp metal it had run over..
The instructions said "use a 1" hole saw in a drill to remove the damaged area,apply a generous coating of the rubber cement supplied,and pull firmly on the wire made into the plug from the outside ,to fully seat the tire plug against the carcass,and roll firmly with a roller or caster wheel..allow to dry several minutes before inflating the tire"..

So,we proceeded to do the first tire with the bolt in it,and it worked out well..the plug went in OK,seemed to "glue" in nice,and the tire even inflated without having to use the starting fluid trick..

The other tire with the cut was more difficult--the hole saw wasn't large enough to cut out the whole gash,so we had to leave about 3/8" of it showing..the part of the tire plug that goes inside the tire,had a mushroom shape large enough to cover the whole area though,we figured it would work OK...we installed the plug,let it dry,and made several attempts to get the beads to seat and inflate it,to no avail..the sidewall had sat flat too long and refused to seal up enough..

We resorted to using the ether--and after two failed attempts,in frustration my co-worker emptied the remains of the ether can into the tire ,lit the newspaper,turned the air hose on,and tossed it at the tire..I estimate there was less than half the can left..
Normally we just used a long squirt about 5 seconds or so,that was enough to seat the beads..
The explosion was deafening when he tossed the flaming newspaper at the tire....all I remember was hearing a loud BOOOM and feeling the concussion,and seeing a flaming missle looking object go flying off into the junkyard,which started a fire in pine needles almost instantly..we ran over and stomped out the flames,and saw the smouldering remains of the tire plug bubbling on the ground....

The loader tire had a RIP in it about 6" long where we had made the 1" hole for the tire plug..no fixing THAT tire again!...luckily we found a very bald but un-punctured tire at another junkyard nearby,off one of their loaders, they were willing to part with at no charge..

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post #3 of 4 Old 08-09-2018, 11:59 AM
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Re: Tip for installing a trailer tire

Loggers had the wheel off a skidder to replace the tire, they decided to inflate it on the ground to make it easier to mount on the machine. Well! They used a little too much ether, the wheel launched and landed on the tire repairman's pickup. I never heard if he kept his job..
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post #4 of 4 Old 08-09-2018, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Tip for installing a trailer tire

I want to thank you for making my trip to Walmart this morning so much fun. Your post hit my phone as the wife and I were walking across the parking lot. Lasted all the way across the pedestrian walk way, into the store past the carts, past the pharmacy, vitamins and cosmetic section and finally ran out in the nursery area (now turning to Christmas). I really enjoyed reading your recollections about tire woes at the junk yard. Fantastic tale.

Its a good thing I didn't have any ether on hand or I might have had a story of my own. Or, while helping my neighbor with his tractor tire.
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