Looking for the specific difference between "Split Rings" and "Split Rims/Widowmaker"

Loco_Hosa

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Ethel, Wa
Looking for the specific difference between "Split Rings" and "Split Rims/Widowmaker"

(Not sure if this should be under Deuce or Safety)

About a year and a half ago I picked up a 1980 C20 for $150 from a GI on Fort Lewis. I brought it over to the folks house to work on it and my grandfather, a mechanic of 40 years whos opinion I respect in most every way, wouldn't come within 20 feet of the truck due to the split rim wheels. I managed to find some great wheels and tires at pick a part fr $20 and replaced the 2 split rims and made them go away, and all was good.

Now, I just bought my Deuce. I have read a few posts explaining that these are ok, but I need to invest in a 3 foot length of cheater hose for inflation's. Every post I have read so far just says that they are different, but doesn't explain why they are different.

Id take your word for it of course, but grand pap wont, so I would like some facts to present when I have the conversation about it.
 
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AMX

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Walland tn.
Professionals put all of them in a cage before seating the bead. The reason split ring wheels have such a bad reputation is due to the number of people decapitated by them when used incorrectly. i actually knew a man who was decapitated by one. They just arent very forgiving of mistakes. They are still a very usuable style and are still found on mant trucks. At one time no one wanted a two or three piece wheel either. I like the two piece.
 

treeguy

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Fort One Bay - Cape Cod, MA
The way that the deuce rims are designed are in some opinion - safe. So here it is, with the rubber on the rim and the bead in its normal location, the rings cannot come off. The rubber bead edge is over the ring so, the ring cannot expand to come off of the lip on the main rim because the rubber bead is locking the ring into place. To take off the ring you need to deflate the tire and collapse the bead edge back/inboard enough so that it gives the ring clearance so you can walk the ring off over the lip edge on the main rim unit. The problems that I have heard about are from improper rubber install on the rim and the ring not seating behind the lip on the main rim. The other possibility is if the lip on the main rim is rusted or corroded enough maybe the ring could shoot off perpindicular to the truck, but the lip would really have to be scary looking and you'd probably pick up on it. Although crap happens if you abuse your truck. Good luck, I hope this helps ease your concerns for split rims. The mil. used this design from what I know of to facilitate tire/rubber changes in the field with out a tire machine as is required for one piece rims.
 

mightymanx

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I will take a stab at this:

Split rims got their bad rap a looong time ago. Mostly due to fear complacency and ignorance.

When you mount a tire on the split rim the split part is just like a giant C-clip this was the predecessor to the bead locker

When you re-inflate the new tire on a regular rim the rim the bead is not seated and the tire pops into place on the rim.

With a split rim the split ring also needs to pop into place with the tire. Well if not everything is lined up and happens perfectly things go bad. When the tire pops into place if it is not lined up the ring goes flying. So imagine a 10-pound ring flying about. The safety precaution for that while you are changing tires it to put the whole assembly in a cage or wrap a chain through the rim and around the tire and ring several times.

The other problem with split rims is if they receive a large amount of sudden damage like smashing it into a rock hard enough to deform the rim the ring can pop off. When the tire pops and becomes un-seated.

IMHO
You are probably in a crash type scenario when that happens anyway so other things like tie rods and parts will be flying also. You are not driving away no matter what rim you have.

I like them because you do not need a tire machine to change tires but they are not for the local novice tire guy to play with there is tons of potential energy in tires and when that energy turns into kinetic energy WATCH OUT!!
Split rims compound that problem with flying metal disks.

Most rural areas are not scared of them but in today’s sue happy society major places will not take the time to train their people for higher risk things like split rims they just have a flat out no policy.

Dismount video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeBx8V7-ZTg&feature=related

Re-mount video:
(Safety chain usage around the 6:00 mark)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfmlSbKol14&feature=related
 
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SEAFIRE

Member
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Location
Seadrift Texas
Are the deuce factory rims true split rim wheels?

Our County tire mechanic calls them lock ring rims.

The County has a true tire cage now, they used to chain the tire/wheel with two chains around the tire through the hub to an eye bolt set in the garage slab to remove the ring.

The County has some dumptrucks with similar wheels, except that the "spoke" stays on the vehicle, and the rim is held on the hub with 6 bolts along the edges of the rim.

Only one local tire shop will mess with split rims, there reputation is well known I guess. Our County guys have never had a problem fixing flats, replacing tires, etc. I guess if it's done safely and correct, there is no problem.

I'm not an expert, just my 2 cents...:grin:
 

ODdave

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If you have ever tryed to dismount a deuce tire i think you will see there not gonna just "pop off". Just remeber everything needs to be clean when installing and use a cage, or other sutable restraint for it when seating the bead.
 

91W350

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Salina, Kansas
The split rim design is an old one and I have not seen them on a deuce. Instead of having an outer locking ring, the wheel itself is two part. Firestone was the main manufacturer, but there were others. The worst of the lot, Firestone RH-5degree wheels. I am not sure how you go about breaking one down or assemble it and I do not care to learn. The seam is in the middle of the wheel or close to it. I would stay away from any similar wheel. The Budd style locking ring wheel is a different design than this wheel. Glen
 

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Jake0147

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Panton, VT
A lot of good answers.... Here's the SHORT version to tell in an instant.

Go look at your deuce front wheel (where the ring is on the outside). At the split, you can see inside where the tire is visible in the gap. That's the safer of the two types in question, although all due respect is in order.

On a Widowmaker, you will see that the outer bead area is solid, one ring with no split. There will be a third piece of the wheel, a split lock ring that retains the non-split outer bead area.


Truth is, most folks at tire shops these days don't know the difference and rarely if ever see either one. Anything that is not a one piece drop center wheel is a "widowmaker" to them.
When you find that they misidentify your wheels, DO NOT ARGUE. Politely thank them for their time and walk away. You are placing them and other members of the staff in danger, simply by the fact that your wheels need respect, and they have clearly defined to you that they do not know how to go about that.
Most folks find a tire shop that is knowledgeable in such things eventually. If not, definately explore farm tractor and construction equipment shops. There you will find someone familiar with inner tubes, tube flaps, two piece (split ring) wheels, three piece (lock ring, or "widow maker") wheels, and several other types with equally catastrophic results when something goes wrong. They will know the difference between your wheel and a "widowmaker". By being familiar with the wheel and the process, they know the risks and consequences, and can manage them accordingly so that mounting these tires is a non event even if they do screw it up.


One other thing to add...
If you're going to use an improvised cage... Careful about sticking tires under things, including trailer beds and inside of utility sheds. That'll stop a lock ring for sure, but with the pressure that comes out of the inevitable ruptured tube all at once, here's a comparison. A modern, one piece wheel, 245/22.5 (about deuce tire size) IN A CAGE... A remount of a flat that should never have happened, but that's another story. Sidewall goes out at about in the tire cage. The cage contained the shrapnel just as it should. A very, very full MAC MB1700 tool box a few (four? five?) feet away got knocked flat on it's back. Six guys could not stand it up, I don't know what the weight was but it was all there... That's pretty open, not a lot of containment. Now when you try to contain the air on five sides out of six... I can see a shed or trailer being someplace else when you're done. I'd highly recomend lacing a stout chain (with lots of slack) around the tire and through every other hand hole, and leaving it open with the lock ring facing up (And lots of slack...) If it fails, the ring goes up, the air rupture faces up, the ring is easily contained by the chain, and the air has NOTHING to act upon so by the time it gets to you it's just a small breeze, and the wheel will necessarily be forced downwards, so it's not going anywhere either.

My personal solution is to do this with a "T" at the compressor (glad-hand in my case) end of the hose with a gauge installed, so I can be around the corner when it inflates. When you open the valve, you get an artificially high pressure, but just like any inflator gauge, stop the flow and you'll read the tire pressure.
Once it's seated and filled (and inspected) you're golden, it's not going anywhere and may be treated as any other tire and wheel assembly.
 

Loco_Hosa

Member
462
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18
Location
Ethel, Wa
Thank you all for your clear and helpful responses. I doubt I will be able to convince my grandfather of this either way, but at least now I understand it well enough to attempt. I also have added a few items to my shopping list, thank you all!
 

DAC112UDM

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New York
Hello all.

After reading this and just about anything I can find on split ring wheels, I am left with a question.

Why do you have to deflate the tire before removing it? Obviously if youre changing tires, its a no brainer. But if you are simply rotating or doing a break job, why deflate? I have seen it done MANY times overseas, and its never an issue there. I also worked on planes, and we always deflate them (but thats a different animal really, split riM, which can hide problems when you remove the main hub nut. You remove it, pull the tire, one bounce, and boom, 350psi wants out all at once).

But on a 100psi tire (11.00x20), that I would want to simply remove to check the brakes for example, why is it bad to remove it inflated (and remove lugs) but ok to install it inflated and tighten lugs? Is it simply due to the vibration of an impach wrench? What if youre not using one, but rather a long breaker? Does it still apply?

Thanks.

PS, not even OSHA goes into the WHY, just dont do this. I am more curious because most stuff requires a flat tire, and since I am disabled, I COULD lift it, but its not worth it, breaking my back even more.
 
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