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1985 GM M1008 - GI Gyp: Part 3

1985 Gm M1008
John Cappa | Writer
Posted December 30, 2013

Putting Meaty Tires & Wheels Under Our CUCV Project

Tires and wheels make the truck. Pick the wrong rolling stock and not only will your 4x4 perform poorly, it will look goofy too. Last installment, we lifted our ex-military truck and slapped on the tires and wheels. This time around, we’ll give you a closer look at what we chose for rolling stock, why, and how it all came together.

We wanted wide. Our truck really isn’t built for overly narrow and tightly treed trails, but we were looking for excessive flotation and tread-like traction. It doesn’t get much more tread-like than an Interco Super Swamper Bogger. Unfortunately, these tires provide some of the worst on-road manners of the street-legal-tire world. The good news for us is that we don’t plan to spend a lot of time on the street. We began building the truck around 40-inch-tall tires, so we opted for a set of 18/39.5-15 Boggers.

Square-fender GM trucks, and most older trucks in general, just don’t look right with many of today’s wild, chromey, large-diameter wheels. Nothing could be truer of an ex-military truck like our ’85 M1008, so we stuck with the smallest diameter wheels we could fit, hosed in black paint. But it wasn’t as easy as ordering mass-produced wheels from a catalog. Our low lift, custom bed, and large brakes were sure to cause clearance issues, requiring us to look for custom wheels that wouldn’t break the bank. We called upon National Tire & Wheel to build us a set of Eaton 32-bolt Type 402 beadlocks. These durable and affordable steel wheels are available in many different lug patterns and have an outer bead ring that clamps the tire in place, allowing us to run the single-digit air pressures we need on the trail. A non-beadlock version is also available. You can order your Eaton wheels with almost any backspacing in many different widths, so they are the perfect wheel solution for everyday builds as well as oddball projects. We ordered our 15x12 8-lug wheels with an unheard-of 1.5-inch backspacing. This provided the clearance we needed for the inner fenderwells of our M101A3 bed and front Dana 60 brake calipers. Our 15-inch wheels conveniently fit over our 1-ton brakes (front and rear) without any grinding. Another added bonus with the Eaton beadlocks is that you can mount the tires yourself in your own garage. Keep an eye out for the next installment, where we’ll upgrade our steering system to handle these extra-wide meats.

Step By Step

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  • 1. The Eaton wheels from National Tire & Wheel are hosed with a thick coat of protective black paint. Sometimes the paint can get into the beadlock threads. It’s a good idea to chase them with a tap. We carefully used a pathetically weak 3⁄8-inch drill and a 5⁄16-18 tap to quickly clean the threaded beadlock holes.

  • 2. Don’t forget to insert valve stems prior to mounting the tires. We opted for some Klune-V Rapid Air Down valve stems that allow us to quickly deflate the tires without tools for improved traction and ride off-road, however standard steel and rubber valve stems fit in the Eaton wheels as well.

  • 3. Set the tires in the sun to warm them up before mounting, a warm tire is more malleable and easier to mount. Lube up the tire beads with tire lube or a mixture of liquid soap and water before pushing the tire onto the wheel. A rubber mallet can be used to help seat the outer bead into the beadlock. Setting the wheel center on the top of a 5-gallon bucket allows the tire to more easily rest in place on the wheel while you assemble the beadlock.

  • 4. Always use plenty of antiseize on the beadlock bolts to keep them from galling or rusting in place over time. The design of most beadlock wheels leaves the bolt threads open to the elements so this is a critical step if you ever plan to dismount the tires without too much trouble.

  • 5. We carefully used a 3⁄8-inch drill and socket to initially tighten the beadlock bolts. We snugged them in an even crisscross pattern until our cheapie drill motor couldn’t tighten them anymore.

  • 6. Use a torque wrench to tighten the bolts to 10 lb-ft and then 15 lb-ft in a crisscross pattern. You’ll need to go around the wheel several times before all the bolts are properly tightened. We typically need to go around the wheel 5-6 times before the bolts are fully seated.

  • 7. Give the inner tire bead a good soaking with tire lube or soapy water prior to filling the tire with air. It’s a good idea to avoid injury from possible explosion by always using a clip-on air chuck when filling the tires and seating the inner tire bead.


National Tire & Wheel
Wheeling, WV
Interco Tire
Rayne, LA 70578