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With the bolts ready to go, I positioned the outer ring (line up the bolt holes with the inner ring), made sure there was a flat washer in each of the ring's 24 holes, and then promptly discovered that my bolts were too short.
NOT TO WORRY..... I was ready for that. Depending on the brand of lock ring, length of bolt, and the thickness of the tire's bead, the bolts may be just a bit too short to get going. I had 4 bolts sitting nearby just waiting for this situation....these were my "starter" bolts. They were a quarter inch longer than the others. That extra 1/4" was all that was needed for me to get the ring clamping process started. I positioned the four starter bolts (I used grade 5 since I could easily spot them and they would be removed in a few minutes) equally around the ring and put several full turns on them using a regular ratchet.
NOTE: I should mention here that you do not want to permanently replace the short bolts with longer bolts. There is a good chance that a longer bolt will bottom out against the wheel (where it passes through the inner lock ring) and you will not achieve the proper clamping force to hold your tire in position.
With the outer ring now slightly compressed, I was able to thread in a pair of the Grade 8 bolts on either side of each starter bolt. Once I had these 4 pairs started, I removed the starter bolts and continued hand threading each bolt into one of the 24 holes. When I was confident that all of the bolts were threaded into the inner ring correctly (now was not the time to cross thread a bolt), I switched over to the battery powered impact wrench. I used a criss-cross pattern (much like tightening lug nuts) to snug the bolts down a turn or two at a time. Take your time and keep the pressure even. You can watch the gap between the inner and outer ring disappear as you continue to snug the bolts tighter and tighter.
When the gap between the two rings started getting smaller, it was time to check my progress using an inch pound torque wrench. Follow your manufacturer's recommendation for proper torque specs. The Champion rings are torqued to 168 inch pounds. I bought a Craftsman 3/8" drive inch pound wrench several years ago for another project. It was just what the doctor ordered for doing these bolts.
Plan on spending some time on this part of the project. Work your way around the wheel. You will eventually get to the point where the bolts are all properly torqued and they won't turn any further when you check them for the "umpteenth" time. This is the point where having a stool next to the bucket works out well.....it's all about saving the backs of us ol' timers.
For me, the score was 1 down and 4 to go. My back was holding up pretty well (I wouldn't be saying that by the time #5 was wrapped up) and I was ready to go again. Did I mention you need to watch for the rotation arrows as you mount the tires. <grin> Just in case you may have forgotten about it.
Well, here is a pic of my hard work mounted on the driver's side of the D30 front axle.
A couple of items I noted as I did the installation. I gained approximately 3/16" at the front bumper. Given that the MT/Rs that were on the front axle had about 3K miles on them, I don't attribute the height change to the MT/Rs having low tread. The Trepadors run closer to true size.
For those of you wondering about the footprint of the Trepador, I checked the MT/Rs against the Trepadors and found that the span from outer most tread block edge to outer most tread block edge was 3/4" more on the Trepadors. This measurement was taken with both tires inflated to 29 PSI.
A little closer pic showing the sidewall lugs. As I mentioned, they are not as aggressive as the Trepadors that Brad has on his buggy, but I am confident I'll see improved performance when trying to get the sidewalls to bite against the rocks.
Poser photo with all tires mounted and ready to go. I torqued the lug nuts to 100 foot pounds and then drove the vehicle home (about 20 something miles). Since these were new wheels, I broke out the torque wrench and checked the lug nuts. Sure enough, a few of the nuts were a bit loose (took about a quarter turn) while several on the passenger rear took a good turn to snug them back to spec. After putting another 25 miles on them, I checked them again. This time, only 1 lug nut took just a small amount to snug it down (maybe an eighth of a turn). I'll check them again in a hundred miles and see how they are doing. With this kind of investment in wheels and tires, I've no intention of skipping such a simple yet important maintenance step....doing so could have easily led to my losing a tire on the freeway. That would NOT be a good thing!
I drove Lady to work this morning (I usually van pool) just to see how the tires performed on the freeway. Although I don't use her as a daily driver, she averages just under 10K miles per year. I don't tow to the trails so highway handling is just as high on the list for me as is trail performance. I ran her up to 80 MPH this morning to see how the tires felt....no vibrations. As I usually cruise about 65~70 MPH, I felt this an adequate speed test. I had the tires balanced at a local Discount Tire and watched the tech has he spun them on the machine. I didn't note how much weight each tire took but the first two tires came off the machine with 3 and 5 ounces respectively. Thanks Maxxis for making a good tire!
That is about it for now. As soon as I get these on the trail (hopefully in a couple of weeks), I'll add some first impressions in regards to trail performance.
Good trails and remember to TREADLightly!
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