Changing SEE Tires

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peakbagger

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Rather than add to the "infinite" SEE thread I thought I would post a new thread on changing SEE tires. It also applies to my 1300L tires as is also is a Steel Soldier as its former German Ambulance. Both have the same tire size and rims but my 1300L has Conti MPT MIL military tires which have a lugged pattern with a center rib for better highway use. I would have switched to that tire for my SEE but they are no longer in production so the next best thing are set of used Pirelli Pista's which will replace the beat up Michelin XLs which have a lot of sidewall cracking.

The hassle is getting the tires changed out. There are only two places that will change these tires in my area and for both or them its low priority as they didn't sell the tires. Therefore I have to block up the SEE, remove the four tires, make two trips to the tire place to drop them off and then wait a day or so until they get around to changing them and then make a couple more trips to haul the mounted tires and cores home as they charge a bundle to get rid of the old tires and I can get rid of them for free. Its an hour via normal truck or 2.5 with the SEE one way to either one so it eats up a lot of time and hassle. The trade off is change them myself. Long ago I helped change a large stiff tractor tire with spoons and it was major effort. My solution is one of these kits https://esco.net/products/pneu-tek-agricultural-truck-tire-kit/. Not cheap, but expect its going to pay for itself sometimes around the next tire change or puncture. I plan to use the ceramic beads for balancing the new tires so that cuts out balancing. I have see another accessory that centers the bead in the right place when reinstalling the tire but I will try it without it and worse case is I can hack something up. Doing it this way I can do one tire at a time and can use the hydraulics to assist. I already have a bead breaker. I don't have an air blaster yet so may do the ether method for reseating the this time around. I had to reseat the XLs

I will report in when I make the swap but it may be a month or so as the SEE is still surrounded by 2 foot snow banks.
 

Sgt Jiggins

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I hear your frustration with this. It's a logistical headache to get tires swapped out at a shop for me too.

I occasionally consider what it would take for a DIY solution. And keep coming back to the struggle it was for the guys who had all the tools as their disposal to do the job last time I had some 1100x16 XZLs mounted for my M37. It was all the one guy could do to get those tires mounted and he was no small guy. Mercifully I've only had 1 tire-related issue with the SEE - someone had mounted the front passenger in the wrong direction.

I'd be curious to know what your experience with this kit is if you do decide to take the plunge.
 

The FLU farm

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I think this would've fit nicely in the "FLU tire" thread, but either way, an Esco beadblaster may prove more useful than the tire irons. At least for those who already have some sort of decent tire tools.
Of course, there's always starting fluid.
 

SpoiledSpud

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I think this would've fit nicely in the "FLU tire" thread, but either way, an Esco beadblaster may prove more useful than the tire irons. At least for those who already have some sort of decent tire tools.
Of course, there's always starting fluid.
Could you put the links to tools you recommend? Through basic searches I've been unable to find an Esco Beadblaster or your previous suggestion of a Bead Seater that was superior to the ball-valve style. Thanks
 

peakbagger

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Mounting a tire on a rim went pretty slick. Even with the video on their website it looks like there is a learning curve. Tire mounting grease is definitely part of the process, I applied it with rubber gloves. Took me about 15 minutes to get a Pirelli Pista on a SEE rim. The tire bead holder works well but it did make a divot in the paint on the rim. I didn't seat the beads but have already done it a couple of times.

It will be few weeks before I do a full tire swap. I have three complete swaps coming up once the snow melts down enough to get the tires off but I still have a couple of feet piled up around the SEE.
 

The FLU farm

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Indeed, it's two inches wider. But so is the tire, so other than having an "extra safety bead" to deal with, it's no different than seating a stock tire on a stock wheel.
It would've been easier to do with the tire on the ground, but I was too lazy to take the wheels off.
 

peakbagger

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To date I had two tires deflate over the winter and pop off the bead with the net result in the spring I end up with a very badly distorted bead and sidewall with the tire sitting on the rim with lots of varying gap between the tire and the rim. After reaching inside the rim and changing the tire stem, I have successfully popped my tires back on the rims three times using a modified starting fluid technique. The first tire had two successful attempts as I discovered that if the tire seated with starting fluid is not immediately inflated after popping the bead on the rim, that the heated air inside the tire cools rapidly, contracts and can pop the tire off the bead. I had the valve stem internals installed in all my attempts and am unsure if removing the internals would make the difference as its fairly small passage. On the second tire I just had an air chuck available and put it on the tire as soon as it seated.
 

The FLU farm

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Indeed, the trick when using ether is to already have an air hose ready. As you noticed, otherwise the tire often comes off again.
It helps a bit to remove the Schrader valve, providing an air inlet.

Removing the Schrader valve helps a lot when reseating or mounting tires, but requires an air chuck that operates without it, which most don't.
Had I attempted to reseat that tire with the core still in valve stem, I'd likely still be out there trying.
 

peakbagger

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Well I did a full tire swap today and the tools work as advertised. I did pick up a small accessory piece that they sell which guides the bead down in the depressed part of the rim. I only dismounted one tire and there is definitely a learning curve but took me about 45 minutes. I had already mounted a tire on a spare rim a month ago and my second one went a lot quicker. I don't have an air tank for seating beads so I did my version of the starting fluid trick. I have 2 more tires to do and expect the next two will go quicker. They warn you to let the tools do the work and its true technique is far more important.

The sidewalls on the original Michelin's were toast so it was definitely time. I also tried out my new click torque wrench. Its definitely makes for reliable torque settings on the lugs.
 

peakbagger

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I am not a video person. If you go to this link https://esco.net/video-gallery/ and scroll down through the videos and look for" Pneu-Tech tire dismount and mount" It covers the tools except for the optional tire wedge. https://esco.net/products/hd-bead-demounting-wedge/ and a beat breaker. https://esco.net/products/esco-manual-bead-breaker/.

As for setting beads with starting fluid, plenty of videos on YouTube, here is a mild one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0K1V00yUe6o. Note they have a compressed air type bead sealer next to the tire so I expect this was the last resort. I want to stay much farther back so I use a piece of PVC conduit, and tape a bunch of match sticks to the end of the conduit. I then spray the inside of the tire. I then stand back well back, light the matches well away from the tire and then swing the matches to the space between the rim and tire in from the side. When the ether lights off, the conduit swings out away from the tire and I am out of the line of fire. Its important to add air immediately to the tire as the gases in the tire can cool and contract, pulling the bead off the tire. The process is definitely not OSHA approved.
 
Last edited:

M1078MAN

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this bead seating process has been used for along time. Just a few pointers

Remove valve core

Have clip on chuck

Be very careful-more is not better. use a poll or sling the match

Stay out of trajectory if tire comes off bead when you didn't follow more is not better

we always put the forks tines on top

Tire bead lube or grease is your friend

On stubborn ones, we would rap a 5k ratchet strap around the diameter of the tire and tighten slightly

then we finally got one of those infiltrators which puts air to the bead in volume at the time

Most of all, tires can kill you, take the appropriate precautions
 

The FLU farm

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When the ether lights off, the conduit swings out away from the tire and I am out of the line of fire.

The process is definitely not OSHA approved.
Don't bet on that you're in the safe zone, peakbagger. I've seen a tire and wheel combo (probably as heavy as a FLU's setup) go some 15 feet in the air and then land about 20 feet from where it was lit.

While that was the most spectacular/educational one I've witnessed, there has been plenty of other situations. In retrospect they are all funny, seeing people getting their hats and sun glasses blown off, tires coming off the rim, etc., but any one of them could've easily ended badly.
 

alpine44

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Just saw the following trick on Benzworld:

Get a bicycle inner tube that fits the rim (e.g. 20") lubricate it, shove it between tire and rim, and inflate it to fill the gap. Then, slightly inflate the tire and pull out the squished inner tube.
 
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