Walker Evans Racing, Mopar/Hutchinson, OMF & KMC Beadlocks
Airing down tires gains traction and improves your vehicle's off-road performance. We all know this. Unfortunately, when the tires are low they can come off the bead, spin on the rim (ruining balance), and do a number of other things that aren't needed or wanted. The peace of mind we get using a beadlock wheel while aired down cannot be overstated.
There are a number of fine beadlock wheels available today. We were given the chance to mount up and try three different types of beadlocks to use on JK Wrangler projects we're building. Of course, these beadlocks would work just as well on a light-duty truck, prerunner, or trailrunner. Mopar Accessories provided a set of Mopar/Hutchinson wheels, KMC supplied its new beadlock wheels, and also sets of OMF beadlocks on Mickey Thompson Classic II wheels and OMF beadlocks on Jeep factory Rubicon rims. OFF-ROAD Editor-in-Chief Phil Howell mounted a set of Walker Evans Racing beadlock wheels and will comment on them.
Mopar/Hutchinson Rock Monster Beadlock WheelsThe first set we mounted were the Rock Monster wheels by Mopar/Hutchinson from Mopar Accessories. Right away, you notice just how heavy and beefy this wheel is. It weighs 55 pounds and the outer ring looks like it could stop a .50-caliber round. The outer half of the wheel is several inches thick. One nice feature of the Mopar/ Hutchinson beadlock is that both the inner and outer beads are beadlocked. This is accomplished by a heavy rubber ring that is inserted into the tire before the tire is slipped onto the larger inner half of the wheel. When the two halves of the wheel are bolted together, the rubber ring presses against the inner and outer beads and holds the tire tight against the wheel. The two halves of the wheel are sealed airtight with a rubber O-ring.
Anyone installing these wheels should follow the manufacturer's instructions on tightening sequence and torque settings. As with all beadlocks, this is very important. The Mopar/Hutchinson wheels have five studs that are longer to assist in getting the beadlock started. The studs are double-nutted to make sure they do not back off. These wheels went together the easiest of any beadlocks we've ever mounted. Then, we decided to take one apart. Yikes! It took two guys an hour to get one wheel apart. The tolerances are so tight that, once bolted down, taking them apart is a daunting task. We're sure disassembly would get easier after several mounting/takedown cycles, but that first time is tough. Take your time and work your way around the wheel, and it will come apart eventually. We did need to run 1.25-inch wheel spacers to fit a 37-inch tire on the JK, as the wheel has 6.25 inches of backspacing.
This is one tough-looking wheel and, after wheeling in Moab for a week at low tire pressures, it performed perfectly.
ProsEasy to installHeavy-dutyDOT-approvedCool military styling
ConsHeavyDifficult to disassembleWheel spacers needed for larger tires
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