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Tire Changing 101 (or less)


Albert

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I got my first chance to try out the Harbor Freight tire changer this weekend so I thought I'd post a couple of impressions. If anyone feels the urge to recommend alternate methods please do. I'm very much in the learning phase of this thing.

 

I had planned on picking up a 4x4 sheet of 3/4" plywood but the only precut they had was 2'X 4' so I figured I'd give that a try. I inserted 3 carriage bolts throught the plywood and tightened them down using fender washers. The threads protruded through the plywood making studs to which I could bolt the tire changer. All very straightforward.

 

I had already coated the red painted surfaces on the HF machine with duct tape and/or milk jug plastic, to protect the rims during use. These turned out to be partially successful (no major problems but I still wound up with red paint in places on the rim). Before getting started on the tire change I needed to first remove my front wheel (06 RT). Removing fender, brake calipers, etc. proved to be a no brainer and in short order I was down to removing the axle. Therein started what turned out to be a 2 hour scrounge through my garage trying to find something (anything!) that contained a 22 mm hexagonal shape. Well, to be honest after the second hour I wasn't all that concerned with hex shapes and 22 mm was quickly loosing importance too. I finally gave up and decided to make a trip to the auto parts store while I still had time (3pm Saturday). Two stores later I return to the garage in possession of a 13/16" spark plug socket with a hex base that, at least to my eye, seemed really close to 22mm. My eyes not being what they once were it turned out the socket base was really 23+ mm. Not to worry, I have a grinder. It was at this point that the irony of BMW's choice of names for the RT front axle hit me. I was now well into my third hour removing the "Quick Release" axle. Eventually the grinder pursuaded the socket that it was meant for more important work than spark plugs and I had a working system. Spark plug socket inserted in axle with an extension inserted through the axle from the opposite side. thumbsup.gif This setup indeed worked but not without some considerable elbow grease. Somewhere in Berlin, Gunther the gorrila (factory quick release axle installer), is chuckling over his Dinkelbeer imagining a puny American practically lifting an RT off the ground in an attempt to break the "quick release" axle loose. So with these little set backs, phase one was complete.

 

Tire removal was a breeze. In fact it went so quickly it felt like cheating. Having changed numerous tires on my bikes over the years I wasn't really sure I could change one without cursing and found, to my pleasant surprise that I could. grin.gif Seriously, breaking the bead and removing the old tire was perhaps 30 seconds, amazing. The HF bar that's been compared to others here was really no problem.

 

Installing the new tire is where I'll need some practice as well as any advice anyone has. The placement of the tire is around waist high and works pretty well. The first bead was easy to force over the rim using only hand pressure. Getting the final bead over wasn't quite so smooth. First, I hadn't allowed for the bead unseating itself as I worked the bar around the rim. I recalled seeing others here placing a leather pad on the rim and clamping a small c-clamp on the rim to prevent this. Possibly because of the mess I had made trying to find something approaching a 22mm hex, I could not find my small C-clamps. I managed to overcome the problem by holding a tire spoon in place while rotating the bar. This only worked up to a point as the tire began to try to seat itself in the beads and there's no way to get the bead over the rim if the rest of it isn't held down toward the center of the rim. After some minor cursing (ahh the memories), I discovered that a larger C-clamp could hold the tire below the bead and allowed me to finsh the install. Note I didn't torque down on the clamp on the tire, just tightened it enough to hold the bead away from the rim.

 

During the install I also had the tire spin on the rim as I rotated the bar, and the wheel slip a couple of times as well. I'm thinking that placing some old inner tube on the contact surfaces of the rim clamps will provide better protection and more grip. In all I'm satisfied with the HF changer but I need some practice and some technique modification before I'll be productive with it. In the short term I fully expect that I'll be sprinkling some expletives in with my tire changes but I'm hoping to eventually clean up my act. thumbsup.gif

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During the install I also had the tire spin on the rim as I rotated the bar, and the wheel slip a couple of times as well. I'm thinking that placing some old inner tube on the contact surfaces of the rim clamps will provide better protection and more grip.

 

The rim clamps were the main reason I went with a Nor-Mar Classic tire stand. The HF rim clamps are just painted metal; plus they wouldn't work with the rims from my wife's GS with out modification.

 

I too am new to the self tire-changing experience. On my previous bike(F650gs), I did it once the old fashoned way with tire irons and a plastic bucket(to protect the brake rotor). I swore I'd never change a tire that way again.

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I had already coated the red painted surfaces on the HF machine with duct tape and/or milk jug plastic, to protect the rims during use. These turned out to be partially successful (no major problems but I still wound up with red paint in places on the rim)....(edit)....During the install I also had the tire spin on the rim as I rotated the bar, and the wheel slip a couple of times as well.

 

If you paint a coat of Plasti-Dip on the contact surfaces of the rim clamps it will solve both of the above mentioned problems...HTH

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I cut up an old inner tube to protect the rim and to stop the spinning. Didn't completly work. Rim was protected but it still spun. I used a nylon strap around the rim and the HF changer. The rim twisted a little but not much.

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+1 for Mikes comment about the Plastic Dip. I put 3 coats on mine and it works out alot better than the inner tubes. I always had trouble getting the tubes to stay in place.

 

thumbsup.gif

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My first experience on the HF unit is a carbon copy of the one described. I found that if you place a series of wooden wedges between the rim lip and the tire bead that forces the bead into the releif area of the rim, it really helps. This seems to provide additional slack at the tire bead during the final thrust required to finish the mount. Also, view the videos on the NoMar site, they have some good ideas!!

 

I found another alternative to pad the rim clamps. I took an old mountain bike tube and cut 3 lengths about 2 inches long. The pieces slide over each clamp leaving a tail above the clamp. The rim takes up the tail when installed and the pieces are easily replaced when cut. Why do I feel like Martha Stewart passing on a cookie recipe? wave.gif

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All I know is that I would have REALLY liked this thread about a month ago... smile.gif (Or, I should say my rims would have appreciated it... eek.gif)

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Two important things to remember on the HF unit.

 

Don't bother using the tire bar to install a tire. It works fine removing one, I wrap the tip with a piece of lubed leather to protect the rim.

101124956-M.jpg

 

but installing works best with a 14" bar, and a 9" bar, and a couple rim protectors.

 

01-tire-change-12.jpg

I use a C-clamp to keep the bead from slipping off when installing a tire.

 

I also have a set of nylon inserts, made by my friend Kermit, that keep me from scratching the rim. I added some pieces of inner tube to make them less slippery for tire removal.

 

0001-HF-Clamp2-1.jpg

 

They work great. They also work well with both wire wheels, and cast.

 

I have changed about 50 tires on my HF unit so far, and haven't scratched a rime since the second or third one.

 

Jim cool.gif

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