Woodbridge Kart Club
Anyone who ever tried to mount a tire on a one-piece wheel rim will be able to confirm that this can be a daunting task. Getting the stiff rubber of the tire bead over the edges of the wheel rim is often exceedingly difficult. Ask anyone who ever tried it, and almost all will tell you (usually garnished with a few expletives) what a difficult endeavor this is.
My experience with mounting tires on one-piece wheels came very early on in my karting career. Racing in a novice class I was required to use Bridgestone YBN tires, pretty much the hardest tires out there. I managed to mount them, though, so I would think that whatever worked for me and my YBNs should work for anyone else as well, especially if softer tires need to be mounted. I do have to caution you, though: There is no magic trick which will allow you to mount the tire without effort. It will still be a struggle, but by following the advice of this document, you may ease your struggle just enough to make the whole thing possible, and not throw tire and rim out of the window in disgust.
Oh, and one more thing. Strange things happen these days, so please allow me to put a disclaimer in here:
Mounting a tire bears the risk of serious property damage and/or injury, including but not limited to: Burned down houses, stains or holes in the carpet, damaged tires or rims, upset neighbors or family members, strained backs, burned hands, poisoned pets, broken hands, hernias, headaches, death and all sorts of other forms of aggravation and grief. Just because I am describing a way to mount tires does by no means imply that the procedures outlined below guarantee that any of the before mentioned disasters can be avoided and I certainly will not be responsible for any damage, injury (physiological and psychological) or other negative side effect that may occur when you try to mount a tire. Don’t follow my advice if you can’t live with that! Thank you.
Now back to the regularly scheduled program.
What’s the problem?
Quite simply, the openings in the side of the tire are too small to fit over the edges of the wheel rim. This is understandable, since the bead of the tire, i.e. the ‘edge’ of the openings, needs to sit firmly on the wheel rim in order to provide a good seal. Furthermore, the ‘lib’ of the wheel rim extends outward even further, to provide a seat for the tire bead and to prevent the bead to slip off the outside edge. The tire therefore needs to be stretched considerably in order to fit on. Stretching a tire however is the hard part, unless you happen to be the Hulk.
So, what’s the solution?
By following the considerations and steps outlined below, mounting the tire will still not become a breeze, but it will certainly help to make it somewhat easier.
First, choose your location. Don’t try to do the tire mounting on hard concrete, since you might damage tire or rim. If you have a very secure stand of some sort into which you can mount the rim, by all means, use it. But if you are like me, i.e. you don’t have such a tool, you might try it in your living room. Why there? Because you probably have some carpet there, and that seems to work best for this purpose. Carpet is good, because it is soft enough so that neither tire nor rim will be scratched or damaged. On the other hand, it will allow the tire-rim combination to get some grip during the upcoming struggles of squeezing the tire on. I tried to protect the carpet with some old newspapers or card-board, but it simply didn’t work. The rim would slip around too much on such a surface. I eventually just tried it directly on the carpet, and it worked much better. Also, since tire and rim are rounded, the carpet will actually not get damaged. It might get a little dirty, though, but by washing the tire and rim before the operation starts, you can limit that as well. Some people have suggested using an old mud-flap from a truck. They are made from rubber, and thus are soft and will also prevent tire and rim from slipping around. I have not tried this, but it sure sounds like a great idea.
The smaller edge
Now identify the smaller edge of the wheel rim. Very often, the inside, i.e. the side of the wheel rim which does not contain the valve, is smaller than the outside of the wheel rim. So when choosing your side over which you will attempt to slip the tire, make sure you choose the smaller one. Some types of wheel rims (e.g. Douglas wheels), seem to have equally sized ‘lips’ on both sides. However, when you look closely at the edge of the inside lip, you can probably see that the lip is made somewhat thinner, and that its edge is more rounded than the edge of the outside lip. So even in the case of equally sized lips, the inside lip is still a little easier to slip the tire over.
Lube. Lot’s of it…
Now place the rim on the floor, standing on the outside edge. Proceed to lube the upper, i.e. inside, edge of the rim. People have suggested various substances to use as a lube. I personally use ordinary dish washing liquid, while someone else even suggested KY Jelly. Whatever you do, choose something slippery that can be washed off and does not damage the rubber of the tire. BTW, you are free to do this over some old newspaper, since some of the lube might drip on the floor. For the actual act of mounting the tire, you should go back on the carpet, though. Be sure to apply plenty of lube all around, and keep the lube close by, since you might need it again later.
In the oven
Place a paper towel on a cooking sheet, and put the tire on that paper towel. Now place this ‘tire cake’ in the oven, and heat it to some 200 F. [/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]