Many of us run low tire pressure to create a better footprint of the tire and to improve traction. However, without beadlock rims or some sort of bead retention device, the tires can come off during certain maneuvers. That’s when having the proper tools and the knowledge to use them comes into play. A whoops! is just that: a mistake. But being able to fix the mistake and mosey back home off the trail is what is most important.
If you’ve ever lost a tire bead on the trail, you know how potentially bad a situation it can be. Getting a simple flat isn’t as bad because you can usually refill the tire after plugging the puncture. But when the tire pulls away from the rim due to low pressure or impact, that situation can cause problems. Sure, you can swap out the spare, but what if that’s no good either due to a prior damage? That’s when having a lot of air in a storage tank comes in handy.
While most any air compressor system can simply fill a tire, a big blast of compressed CO2 from a Power Tank can blow the tire onto the rim and fill it as well. Power Tanks are designed and optimized for carbon dioxide, and this compressed gas is the key to Power Tank’s success. It packs three times the energy of standard air in a safe, convenient, easy-to-use package.
Steve Sasaki is the owner of Power-tanks, and was recently out on the trail running low pressure in the snow for better flotation. As luck would have it (for us anyway), he somehow popped a bead off the rim and had to fix it on the spot. Luckily he shot some photos of his debacle so we could show you the tips and tricks to reseating a tire back on a wheel.
Step By Step
1. Losing a bead on the trail means that the tire has separated from the wheel and the bead bundle of the tire (A) has slipped beyond the safety bead bump (B) on the inside of the rim. You could try and hold the whole tire against the safety bead and inflate the tire with a compressor, but the air usual leaks out at the slow rate of air going into the tire. That’s when you need a big blast, lots of volume all at once. That will force the tire bead over the safety bead bump so the sealing can begin.
2. The first step is taking the weight off the tire so it can conform to the wheel. Sasaki used a Hi-Lift jack to lift the truck while stabilizing it with a winch cable to a tree. This keeps the truck from moving sideways, while blocks under the other tires can help keep it from sliding. He also dug out the snow underneath the tire rather than jacking the truck up higher for clearance. Lower is always better.
3. Lots of air volume is needed to reseat the bead, and the valve core is a big restriction. Removal is easy if you have the right tools. Make sure you don’t drop or misplace the valve core, as they aren’t easy to find in the snow in the woods! Clean out the area between the bead and rim for a good seal. Mud and debris can keep the tire from seating correctly, so wash it out with water if needed.
4. The Super Coupler from Power Tank delivers a large volume of air, unlike the restrictive regular clip-on chucks. The volume of CO2 is what seats the bead, so using this method is the best. Set the outlet pressure on the regulator to full open (250 psi in this case) and push the Super Coupler straight over the valve stem. The sudden rush of air should force the tire onto the rim. Hold the chuck on until a pop is heard, indicating a seal, then install the valve core and check the pressure. Sometimes it helps to hold the tire against the rim, so a helper is handy.
5. Adjust your pressure up or down depending on what it took for the bead to seat. The Power Tanks need to be placed between vertical and 45 degrees to function properly. They come in a variety of sizes and a few different regulator styles, but all feature around 40-45 cfm flow rate, which is a lot of volume.
6. Power Tank sells the Monster chuck (A), which works on the company’s Monster valves. These make airing up and down superfast due to the larger diameter. The four-way valve stem tool (B) is indispensable in the tire world. A Super Coupler (C) is far better than the standard air-filling