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Reseating a tire bead using a home compressor?

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Patrick Morris

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Hi folks. I'm going to be remounting a tire onto a wheel that I had repaired, and I was wondering about using my compressor (5-HP, 15-gal?)---your typical home-shop compressor---to re-seat the bead once the tire's back on.

I know that shops use air to do the re-seating. Do they pull the valve out of the stem and use a special air chuck that pumps air into the tire faster than normal? I would like to try using my compressor before resorting to the more exciting exploding-ether trick.

FWIW, I do have a standard tire-filling air chuck for my compressor, but it won't flow unless it's got the valve "rod" dealie pushing on its center... and I'm not sure it can flow fast enough with the valve in place.

Any thoughts?
 

Thomas

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---Shove the tire onto the rim, opposite the side of the well so as to try and seal that bead snugly, then pull the tread toward the opposite side while someone tries to fill it with air. No need to hold onto the tire once it starts to fill up, so no reason why fingers should get pinched. If it is still being a bear, a ratcheting load/cargo strap around the circumference of the tire, close to sidewall, can push the sidewall outward, giving you less an area to try and cover.

---FWIW, the "well" is the deep portion of the rim. It is not centered, always sits toward one side more than the other. Seal the side that has the least amount of distance between the well and the face of the rim. Then pull the tire toward the side that has more sealing surface.

---Capice?

---HTH
 

Patrick Morris

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Capise.

I know what you mean by "well". It's what made removing the tire by hand possible. Took a little playing around with tire irons to figure out that the bead closest to the well is the one to pop loose first. The removal job went pretty fast once I'd figured out the technique.

So I will try first seating it by hand a little on the well side, which is the outboard side. I guess it can't hurt to spray a little silicone around the beads too, yes?
 

Bill USN-1

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If needed you can use a ratchet strap or a rope and stick around the tire to squeeze in on the tread and force the bead out.
Then just add air. when the bead seats, undo the strap/rope before filling with air or they will get real tight.
 

WRENCH MAN

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Lube up the bead too, tire soap is best, but WINDEX (specifically, not just window cleaner) works well also, when I bead tires at work I don't use the tire chuck, I push the hose coupler directly onto the stem, you won't get more air flow into the tire than that without a tire bead blaster tank.
 

Bill Worden

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Two ways:

(1) Spray a little "Quick start" in the casing and light it. The explosion will seat the tire on the rim. Just a short spray will do.

(2) Take a length of rope about four times the diameter of the tire and tie a small loop in each end. Wrap the rope around the tire's circumference in the middle of the tread and pass one loop through the other and pull it back the opposite way to take up the slack. Put a pry bar or stout stick like a pic handle through this loop and push the end of it into the tire tread enough to enable you to use it as a lever to tighten the rope girdle. This will pull the beads up against the wheel rims so that no air escapes. A clip on chuck is useful if you don't have three hands available.
 

William Griffin

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Yes to your question of needing to remove the valve core. Most air chucks work just fine without the core but unless you have 3 hands, you need one with a locking clip on it. Dish soap in water makes a good bead lube. If you don't have a bottle brush or spray bottle, just stick your fingers in the bowl of soapy water and run them around the bead, then seat the tire on one side, as indicated above, then put the locking air chuck on, then pull up with both hands gently and usually there will come a point where the air takes over and it will start to seat. Once it is blowing up on it's own, move you head and body away from the tire as much as possible. It should snap once for the top and once for the bottom as it goes over the safety bead. There is always a sign made into the tire that says something like "do not exceed X amount of PSI when seating the bead" Pay attention to that. Tires can and do blow up and hurt people. A couple of finer points. If the tire is much wider than the rim you may need to sit the rim on a block to be able to initially seat the bead down on the rim. You can also wham the tire/rim down on the ground doing your best imitation of hitting a pothole at speed. Sometimes that causes the air inside to stick both sides of the tire to the bead. It helps to put the valve stem back in if you try that. If the rim is rusty, the tire will be much harder to seat, clean it up first. If the bead of the tire is torn or chunks are missing from demounting don't reuse it, it's a blow out begging for a face to cave in. You didn't say what size wheel/tire you're dealing with. If it's a 16.5, there will be no safety bead and if you don't get the valve stem back in quick enough, it will pop back of the seat. Smaller wheels and narrow tires on wide rims are the worst to get seated. Finally, the ratchet strap trick works but be sure to take it off as soon as the tire seats. A tire filling with air exerts a large amount of force on the strap and can burst the buckle or make it very difficult to remove. One very last thing about tires in general. They seal on the face of the bead, the area towards the car next door not the part facing the middle of the rim. If there is a rust bubble, piece of wood, stone or even one of those little rubber dingys on a new tire in between the bead and rim at that point it's going to leak. I'm sure you will be able to get it done. Tires going back on a rim they have lived on for a while are the easiest of all to deal with.
 

William Griffin

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Lube up the bead too, tire soap is best, but WINDEX (specifically, not just window cleaner) works well also, when I bead tires at work I don't use the tire chuck, I push the hose coupler directly onto the stem, you won't get more air flow into the tire than that without a tire bead blaster tank.

Some valve stems are too short and fat for that to work, but when it works, it works, I'll agree with that. Of course, when the tire is clamped in a tire machine, it's a lot easier to do that.
 

Jay Tabor

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air chuck is one way, or use an airgun, put the tip onto the schraeder valve stem- with out the valve in it, pull trigger inflates fast, once bead is seated then replace valve stem valve and reinflate.
always use new valve stem and valve..
 

Thomas

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... Dish soap in water makes a good bead lube. If you don't have a bottle brush or spray bottle...
---Agreed, but while dish soap works well as a lubricant it also gets sticky. So that would make it ideal for seating beads, but not so good for mounting the tires. When it comes to mounting, if "duck butter" ("shop nickname" for all tire soaps, but an age-old tire soap brand) or tire soap is not on hand, liquid laundry detergent works best and can be diluted 1:4 for mounting purposes. If you've never worked with "duck butter" then you can't understand the levels of "ease"... lol. The difference truly is a line between work hard with tools and tire slips on easily enough to bust your helper in the head/hand with the tool.

---If the well is closer to the outboard side then yes, seat it first. It is harder to get the bead to "seal" on the side closest to the well if done last, because the sidewall will tend to bottom out on the rim lip prior to the bead actually touching the high point of the rim.

---Next time before you pull the tire off, mark the location of the valve stem on the tire's sidewall. It'll make balancing easier... and if a new tire, always put the yellow dot @ the valve stem unless manufacturer specifies otherwise.
 

Patrick Morris

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Thanks all. Great info. For the record, the wheel is a steel 15" x 7"w, and the tire is a 31x10.5 General Grabber AT that's been on the wheel for 2-3 years. So it's been on there a while, and the rim is relatively narrow for the tire size. I guess guess both will work to my advantage?

I also made sure to mark on the tire where the valve was, so I can remount it in the same orientation.

What happened was that I bent the rim pretty good in one spot a couple of weeks ago while driving in a wash out in the desert---ran over a rock that was bigger/sharper than it seemed I guess. I found a wheel shop in town that could repair it, and so that's done. I'm hoping they did a good enough job that it doesn't leak. I don't feel like having another wheel made.

A few asides...

When I mentioned silicone spray in my first post, I meant that it would be used as a lube. But I guess Windex is best? I imagine Windex will dry quicker. FWIW, I just used soapy water, brushed onto the bead area, when I pulled it apart. Seemed to work okay.

When I mentioned trying the exploding ether trick what I meant was using the "Quick Start" method Bill Worden described. I'm kind of curious about that since it looks so easy. And I'd like to learn how at home in case I ever have to seat a bead out on the trail. I've seen it done on youtube. My approach would be to remove the valve core first, and start with a small squirt and work up progressively until I learn what works for my tires. And I'd take the precautions of wearing safety goggles, gloves, long sleeves etc. Ear plugs might not be a bad idea.

But I guess I'll be practical and try to do it with my compressor first. I will play with the locking air chucks that I have and maybe the air gun and/or direct-coupler idea too.
 

Jay Tabor

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silicone spray is a good choice, any water base/soap mix will corrode the wheels.

those so cal deserts get wheels!
I was cruising down a road in anza years ago- and a sharp pointed rock angled towards the road, glanced off the tire side wall and the rock slid down to the wheel rim and WHAMMO! my whole scout went airborne!
get out and see the resultant damage, hearing the hiss, and pushing on the tire, I quick like pulled out my trusty ball peen hammer and beat the steel rim back into shape and that stopped the leak!
went on my way..
I'll bet it was the same rock that got you!
 

Patrick Morris

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I've been driving out there for decades. Just got a little distracted. Rookie move on my part. Here are some pics of that fun night and the damage it caused. BTW, I found out that my hydraulic bottle jack (red) was too tall to put under the axle. I had to borrow my buddy's mechanical jack from his Toyota. And then it wouldn't raise the axle high enough to swap on the spare w/o digging a hole. Good thing this was on sand and not rock.

I'm just hoping the tire is okay. I can't see any obvious damage. Won't know until I try to inflate it. Unless you guys thinks it's dumb to try and reuse this tire...
 

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William Griffin

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It will probably be fine. A steel wheel bent like that is easy to hammer back into shape. It's almost like they want to bend back to where they should be given some large ball pien hammer encouragement. Nice looking Scout, by the way!
 

WRENCH MAN

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A really big crescent wrench will bend that bead back too, you may have to put it back on the truck to hold it? I use the tire machine to hold them.
 

Patrick Morris

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Thanks again. I always carry a 3# sledge with me; had it in the truck that trip. Maybe I should carry a good ball-peen hammer too. Then I'd be able use both, using the sledge for force and the BP for directing the blows carefully.

UPDATE: It's done. Or at least the tire is back on the rim and holding 25# of air. The reinstall and reseat turned out to be ridiculously easy. I used silicone spray to lube the beads, and I found that my little 2.5G/1HP pony compressor provided enough air to get things seated with a nice POP-POP. I tried Mr. Tabor's suggestion of just pressing the hose coupling onto the coreless stem. Worked like a charm. :)
 
Last edited:

hillbilly4008

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(2) Take a length of rope about four times the diameter of the tire and tie a small loop in each end. Wrap the rope around the tire's circumference in the middle of the tread and pass one loop through the other and pull it back the opposite way to take up the slack. Put a pry bar or stout stick like a pic handle through this loop and push the end of it into the tire tread enough to enable you to use it as a lever to tighten the rope girdle. This will pull the beads up against the wheel rims so that no air escapes. A clip on chuck is useful if you don't have three hands available.

The same can be done with a small ratchet strap. This way you dont have to worry about it slipping loose while you are attempting to put air in the tire.
 

IronMaiden

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They don't use ratchet straps (or similar) around the circumference of the tire any more because it can break the cords and ruin the tire.

I have always had good luck with starting fluid and a match to mount nearly any tire (especially on really wide rims).

When you are wheeling that method it usually your only choice when you are aired down and loose the bead.
 
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