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OK....time to get the Trepador tires onto the bead locks.
As with any other TJ project, you'll need a couple of tools. In this case, a 5 gallon bucket and an impact gun are two very important tools to have. The bucket allows you to get the tire up off the ground a bit (anything similar that will do the job is just fine) and the impact gun (or perhaps a heavy duty cordless drill) saves you bunches of time as you screw the 24 grade 8 bolts into the lock rings. In addition to this, you'll want an inch pound torque wrench, some anti-seize compound, and two or three tubes of RTV. I wrapped up the tool list with a couple of tire irons and a couple of small pry bars (by small, I mean the ones that are about 10" long).
A week or two before the tires arrived, I broke out the RTV and spread a nice bead of the sticky stuff along the TIG weld where the ring lock attaches to the wheel. This is a good practice which will take care of a small pin hole in the weld. I've seen more than one bead lock that goes flat in a week's time. RTV is cheap and this is good insurance for sure....and it beats the heck out of having to break the wheel down later on and apply the RTV that you should have done before you mounted the tire! (no, I didn't learn this by trial and error)
What I almost managed to do was assemble a bead lock and tire without putting in a valve stem....DOH! So get out your valve stem insertion tool and do all of the wheels NOW! Poke the valve stem through the wheel and thread the insertion tool onto the valve stem threads. Using the "prying" leverage that the tool offers, pop the valve stem into position. It is so easy with the right tool.....cost is under $10 and worth the investment.
One other important detail....pay close attention to the tire rotation arrow. Maxxis went to great expense to ensure your tire provides you with maximum traction and performance. Do you and them a favor and orient it on the wheel correctly to take advantage of this! I mention this only because I've seen folks mount the tire (usually the 2nd or 3rd one) and after all is said and done, realize that it will be rotating backwards once the wheel is bolted to the axle. I'm not sure if I've done this or not....but I know I didn't do it this time for sure!
With the valve stem installed, I set the wheel on the floor (not quite bucket time yet), noted the direction of the arrow (yep, it is going the right way), and worked the inner tire bead over the lock ring. If there had been two of me, I could have done this without tire irons....but I was a pit crew of just one so I cheated and helped the tire slip onto the wheel. Took less than a minute to coax the tire into position.
Once the inner bead was fully on the wheel, the wheel and tire were placed on top of the 5 gallon bucket. Doing this saves you from bending over so far (it's an old folks and sore back thing) AND it allows the weight of the tire to work in your favor. I used a pair of small pry bars to work the outer tire bead around the lock ring, getting it flush and even. You want to be certain to get the tire properly positioned around the inner ring.....nice and even it must be.....ready for the outer ring to be drawn tight against the tire to lock it into position.
The two lock rings are held together by grade 8 bolts. While the bolts I used were zinc plated, I used a small amount of anti-seize compound on the end of the bolts. If you are new to anti-seize, you will find that a little goes a long way. Dab a small bit on the first 4 or 5 threads, set it aside, and repeat 23 more times on the remaining bolts. By the time you are on tire #5, you will be a pro at this step!
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