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Thread: DIY Beadlock tech

  1. #1

    DIY Beadlock tech

    This seems to come up often enough that I thought I'd document how I did mine. The pictures I have are all of my set of 16s, but it is the same process whether you are building 15s, 16s, 16.5s, or 17s. I used 16x7 steel wheels. The beadlocks add about an inch or so to the width of the wheel, so I ended up with 16x8 beadlock wheels.

    The first thing you need to do is determine which side of your wheels you need to put the beadlock rings on. This may sound stupid, but let me explain. On the inside of the wheels is a "dished out" area that is used to allow the tire enough room to stretch over the bead when mounting. The dished out area is positioned to one side on the wheel. It is nearly always off-set to the outside facing surface of the wheel. However, on wheels with extremely little backspacing (2" or less) the wheel may be reversed and the dished out area may be towards the inside surface of the wheel. The beadlock rings have to go on the side closest to the dished out area of the wheel. If you put them on the other side you will not be able to get a tire onto the wheel. This means that on some wheels the beadlock will be on the inside of the wheel, by the brakes. If this is not your desired result you may not have wheels that are suitable for making into beadlocks.

    The next step is to take a grinder or wire wheel and clean all the paint, rust, and grime off the lip of the wheel that you will be welding to. This picture shows the area that needs to be cleaned, and it also shows the offset "dished out" area that I talked about earlier.



    Once you've got the lip all cleaned up go grab one of your beadlock rings. Take a look at the edges of the ring. The edges on one side will be sharp and square. The edges on the other side will be slightly smoother and rounder. You want the shoother edges to be in contact with the tires, so lay the side with the sharp edges down on your wheel. Feel all the way around the ring and move it until it looks and feels like it is perfectly centered on the wheel. You also want to rotate the ring so that the valve stem of the wheel is in the middle of two bolt holes. You don't want to have one of your beadlock bolts interfering with your valve stem. Here's a picture of what you should have at this point.




    Now that the ring is positioned where you want it, go ahead and tack-weld it into place in about four spots around the wheel.



    Now find a comfortable spot to sit, and start welding. This weld needs to be pretty close to air-tight, so a quality weld is important. Most of the leaks come from where the welds start and stop, so two welds overlap. I try to make as few welding passes as possible. I can usually weld all the way around the perimeter of the wheel in four or five different sections. Some people say you should weld in many smaller sections to avoid heating up the wheel too much and warping it. That is good advice on many other projects, but I don't think there is any way you are going to warp your wheel, so to minimize the possibility of leaks I weld in as few different sections as possible.




    This next step is something that some people do, and some people don't. After all the rings are welded up I like to grind down the welds a bit. This knocks off all the high spots and rough spots that make the tire harder to mount. Remember, when you go to mount your tires on these wheels the inside tire bead has to slide over this weld.




    Next step is painting, and you already know how to do that... For the best results spray the bare metal with a primer before you spray your color. This will help the paint stick and last longer.

    If rock crawling were easy, it would be called "your mom."

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  3. #2
    Assembling these things is a pain, with thirty-something bolts per wheel. So you don't want to put them together, inflate the tires, and find out you have a leaky weld somewhere and have to take out all the bolts to seal your weld. Take a minute now and smear some RTV over the welds just to make sure they seal when you mount up the tires. When you mount the tires, a lot of that RTV will scrape off. That's okay, any RTV that is plugging up a hole will stay in there and maintain the seal.



    After the RTV dries, you are ready to mount your tires! Take your first tire and lay it on the ground with the side you want facing out laying down on the ground. Take your wheel and lay it beadlock side down in the tire.



    Push one edge of the wheel into the tire and use a pry bar or two to work the tire bead over the edge of the wheel.



    Once you've pried the whole tire bead over the edge of the wheel it will end up like this.



    Now flip it over.



    Center the wheel in the tire and place an outer ring on the outside of the tire. Be sure to place the outer ring on the tire round edges down!



    Now you can start putting in bolts. I usually start with four bolts spaced evenly around the wheel and then fill in the spaces. They don't have to be really tight. Just tighten them all evenly. You will probably have to go all the way around the wheel at least twice to get all the bolts tightened evenly. There will be around 3/8s of an inch of space between the two beadlock rings when you are done. There may be more or less space than this depending on how thick the bead of your tires are. You may notice a bit of "coning" on the outer rings. This can be minimized by placing a V-belt inside the bolts between the two beadlock rings. I did this on my 15" DIY beadlocks, but did not bother on the 16s. They don't seem to have much of the coning, and it doesn't bother me anyway. I do not have the correct part numbers for the belts to use for the different sizes of DIY beadlocks, but hopefully someone will post those.



    You're ready to put air in this thing! You may have to push the back side of the wheel into the tire while the air chuck is on the valve stem to get it to seal enough to seat the inside bead. I use a clip-on air chuck so I can just flip the tire over and step on the wheel to get it to seal.



    That's it! It's a beadlock! You can now air down as low as you want without fear of your tires coming off the wheel.

    If rock crawling were easy, it would be called "your mom."

  4. #3
    .......a few dollars more mbryson's Avatar
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    Nice write-up

    You still liking the Maxxis?

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by mbryson
    Nice write-up

    You still liking the Maxxis?
    Thank you!

    Yes, still love those tires.
    If rock crawling were easy, it would be called "your mom."

  6. #5
    Seasoned Mall Cruiser
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    Very nice! You make me want to run out and buy a welder! It's been to long since I did any welding!


  7. #6
    Just Hanging Out Shawn's Avatar
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    Good Job RM,

    oh and,,, nice rims

  8. #7
    baaaaaaaaaad to the bone BlackSheep's Avatar
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    Nice writeup monkey!!

    Only thing I would recommend is to use a bit of tire lube when muonting the first bead, and don't use a sharp pry bar to mount them. Use a Proper tire iron (minimizes risk of damage to inner liner and bead)



    sorry man, I'm a tire guy.....
    According to Webster's:
    BlackSheep: A discreditable member of a respectable group.

  9. #8
    Mbryson's hairdresser I Lean's Avatar
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    Holy crap, you must have been bored today. Excellent write-up, Billavista would be proud.
    Carl

  10. #9
    training wheels Hickey's Avatar
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    Ya know, I coulda lent you my beadlock welding jig, if I woulda known you were doing this.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn
    oh and,,, nice rims
    Thanks, I picked 'em up cheap from some sucker...
    If rock crawling were easy, it would be called "your mom."

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by BlackSheep
    Nice writeup monkey!!

    Only thing I would recommend is to use a bit of tire lube when muonting the first bead, and don't use a sharp pry bar to mount them. Use a Proper tire iron (minimizes risk of damage to inner liner and bead)



    sorry man, I'm a tire guy.....
    Where can one purchase proper tire irons? Does Harbor Freight have them? I'd like to get some.
    If rock crawling were easy, it would be called "your mom."

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by I Lean
    Holy crap, you must have been bored today. Excellent write-up, Billavista would be proud.
    Yup, bored... Hey, do you have the V-belt part numbers for the different size wheels? Post 'em up!
    If rock crawling were easy, it would be called "your mom."

  14. #13

    starting fluid

    Nice write up

    Couple of things I do differently.

    I don't mess around with the air chuck foot on the back method, I just ether those babies. The neighborhood kids love it.

    Also soapy water makes it easier to get the front bead in. Don't think it would work to well if you use RTV though.
    bobbed tractor 451/727/203/d300/d60s

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by troutbum
    Nice write up

    Couple of things I do differently.

    I don't mess around with the air chuck foot on the back method, I just ether those babies. The neighborhood kids love it.

    Also soapy water makes it easier to get the front bead in. Don't think it would work to well if you use RTV though.
    Oh yeah. I left that out. I always spray some soapy water on the tire bead to help the wheel slip inside it.
    If rock crawling were easy, it would be called "your mom."

  16. #15
    Want a mudflap ticket? utahxjer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockMonkey
    Oh yeah. I left that out. I always spray some soapy water on the tire bead to help the wheel slip inside it.
    whoa, thanks, for the write up!
    Quote Originally Posted by Cody View Post
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