Stage 11

Internal Bead Locks

When was the last time you were driving your pride and joy [I am talking about your Land Rover here nothing else] along some ruts or pushing it hard into a corner and had the frustrating experience of rolling a tire bead off the rim? Well I have not done it for quite some time but it is not fun. I think the last time I did it was in Toolangi State Forest in Australia and I popped 3 beads in less than 10 yards [dont ask].

I have tried various options to counter this problem from running tubes to the Second Air System. Ive never really liked traditional Bead Locks as they only protect the outside bead and not the inside. I once had a friend who put self tapping screws through the rim into the tire bead inside and out on all his tires to hold the bead. A bit drastic but effective! I have been looking for a better solution for quite some time and think I have found it.

These double Beadlock Rims are produced by USA 6x6 and comprise a split rim set up with a solid internal PVC ring. The PVC insert holds both beads on the rim from the inside of the tire. This design has proven successful with thousands now on the road and by all accounts hundreds of satisfied customers. The PVC insert is 3/4 inch thick and comes with a lifetime Guarantee against breakage

Whilst I was only interested in them for the Discovery Short Ass project, USA 6x6 say that they can offer these wheel rims in over 8600 options. Yes thats a lot but they individually tailor them to your specific order. Given the variation in Land Rovers out there from older Series vehicles to the newest, this style of beadlock can be obtained in sizes from 15, 16, 16.5, 17, and 20 inch sizes. Whilst most Land Rovers only use rim widths from 6 8 inches, they can be obtained in widths from 6 to 14 inches.

OK they look good but how strong are they? These rims are rotary machine welded by a certified welder for a claimed perfect weld every time. When I inspected them they looked solid, strong and well put together. One complaint I would have here though was that many of the holes stamped through for bolting the two rim sides together were not great. Some holes retained the donut hole section and had to be punched out whilst others were drilled extremely close to the edge making it quite hard to get the nuts on the rear to bed down easily. This was not a big issue but you need to be aware of it if you ever get some of these rims.

The double beadlock rims have a pressed punch center and a cold roll 3/8 laser cut ring with a machined O-ring groove to provide an easy seal and unseal for trail disassembly. Now it took us on average 1 hour per tire and rim assembly with air tools so trail repair may be mechanically easy but it will not be time and wrist easy. I think you would also have to take the longer all threads [see installation instructions below] with you to help seating the rims back together.

If you want some of these rims for your Land Rover make sure you are NOT in a hurry. Their production run is currently only 2 sets per day therefore the typical delivery time is about 4 weeks. Keith Kreutzer [my co-driver and owner of Rovertracks] worked with USA 6x6 for some time to get precisely what we wanted. Future Land Rover orders placed through Keith for a standard 5 stud pattern should take a lot less time than we took given that they now have the specifications.

If you want some of these Rims for your Land Rover they can be ordered through Keith Kreutzer at Rovertracks by emailing him at keith@rovertracks.com , tell him I sent you.

Also look out for the write up in LRM magazine

Installation Instructions

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The following comes from our experience putting them together and some reading online. They are not the official installation instructions mainly because the rims did not come with an instruction sheet, something they need to consider providing.

Putting the Rims together was not overly difficult but was time consuming. Everything you need except soapy water, grease and a drill & bit were supplied with the kit. Interestingly they do not drill the valve stem holes leaving that to the purchaser. It is not hard being a simple inch hole so you can place it virtually wherever you want in the dropwell section of the outside rim section. Make sure you check internal clearances with the PVC insert before drilling to make sure you get a good spot. By the time I had drilled two of these my cordless drill was out of puff and the old standby plug in drill was forced into action. Make sure you install the valve stem at this stage as you cannot do it once the Rim is together.

Next we installed the PVC insert into the tires. By we, I mean Keith Kreutzer and another club member Ralph Brandt. This was not easy as our Simex Tires have extremely hard beads and do not have much flex. In the end we needed soapy water for lubrication, 2 pry bars, knees and copious amounts of pushing and shoving to get the PVC inners through and into the tires.

Placing the back half of the rims on some 4 x 2 boards on top of a flat cardboard surface we could then position the tire into place. Given that the Simex tires are directional we also had to ensure that they were pointing in the right direction. Some soapy water was applied to the bead to help them slip easier.

The first O ring we tried to install was destroyed. The next few instructions are based on what we found worked.

To help the O ring slide into place we applied lots of grease to the back portion of the rim in and around where the O ring would sit. The O rings supplied were a little small to just sit in place however stretched into place when the rims were tightened down. This may have been because it was about 0 degrees Fahrenheit when we were doing this, far to cold for putting tires on rims.

When putting the tire onto the back half of the rim we made sure that the internal PVC section was centered to slide over with ease[ I say with ease slightly tongue in cheek because it is a tight fit].  Once the beadlock and rim was seated squarely we put more soapy water on the outside bead to allow the outside of the rim to be positioned.

At this point we placed the O-ring in the groove section on top of the grease that we had previously applied to ensure it slide into place.

At this stage it would have been helpful for the kit to have supplied some longer all threads to help position the two rim sides together. We actually bought some and cut 4 pieces to 6 inches long with appropriate nuts. These were then placed around the rim to help align top and bottom and to start the process of bringing the two halves together. We then tightened these down in turn until there was about a 1 inch between the two rim pieces. At this stage we inserted all of the remaining bolts. When inserting them we had to ensure that they all went through on the outside of the O ring to give it a stop guide when continuing the tightening. If you do not check this then you will destroy the O ring and the rims will not seal.

From there we tightened down all of the remaining bolts by circling them over many rounds. We made sure we did not go too far in any particular spot so as to get an even torque around and protect the O ring This process was made much easier with one of us holding a spanner [read wrench] on the nut whilst the other tightened down the bolt. As stated above some of the holes needed to be punched clear as some metal had been left over in the cutting process.

This whole job was done with the rims laying down. This was to allow the O ring to seat properly which may not have happened if the rims were standing up. Whilst more of a pain this way at least we were assured of a clean join.

Other than pumping the tires up and putting them on the Discovery that was about it. Ill let you know how they perform after the event.

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