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Beadlocks... Oh how Fun...

August 21, 2017


Building some of the most capable vehicles on the planet calls for some very healthy tires.  We usually run 40" tires and larger and when we're off road we air down those monsters to get better grip, a wider foot print and in sand, some flotation qualities.  Now, airing down tires brings both good and bad if not done right.  If you are running the standard type wheel found on 99% of the vehicles out there then airing down a tire past 12 PSI can bring some very unwanted blowing a bead off of the wheel.  You see , air pressure pushing out on the inside of the tire keeps the tire on the wheel.  Lowering the air pressure now lowers the forces being placed on the tire from the inside.  Once the pressure on the inside is lower than a force on the outside like a rock, it can very easily pop the tire bead off of the wheel.  If you are out in the middle of the desert miles from anyone with an air compressor and you pop your bead your in trouble.


But what if you had a way to keep that tire on the wheel at even lower air pressures?  What if you could go all the way down to say 5 psi?  Imagine the grip your tires could have.  Well, you can have that. 


Beadlocks!!!  The military, or more appropriately, Dodge with it's Combat Wheels, were the first to have beadlock wheels.  Drag racers and off roaders were next to have beadlock wheels to keep tires on the wheel.  Some of them used to just drive screws through the wheels and into the tire bead to do this.  Others had two piece wheels or big rings that held the bead on.  The latter is what we will look at today.


First though, Lets see what tires we're using.





These are the Cooper Discoverer STT PRO tires in 40 x 13.50 x 17" version.  They are an impressive tire.  Well mannered on the street, awesome off road, and in my humble opinion, better than the tires coming out of Goodyear or BFG.  The side walls are super tough, the tread pattern is great for both off road and on road and some of the little details took some thought.


These things had the thickest bead I've seen in a long time.  thicker than my IROKS and thicker than the MTR's and BFG's. 



Next are the wheels.  These are the ATX  AX757 Chamber Pro II wheels 17"  these wheels have a recessed lip for the tire bead to sit on so they are self centering unlike other beadlocks and the clamping ring has ridges to help hold the tire in place when you air down.  Not only that but they have steel inserts for the locking bolts to grab onto instead of cast aluminum.  I like that alot.