time had come to replace my old worn out Super Swamper Boggers. My
Boggers had been good to me, but I wanted a little better performance
on the rocks. After careful consideration, I decided to go with the
38.5 x 14.50 x 15 Super Swamper TSL/SX. I wanted good trail performance,
and needed to have a durable tire for the sharp, jagged rocks on the
west coast. Tire failure while out in the middle of the desert wasn't
an option for me!
SX's seem to work great as is, I wanted even better performance. So
I called up the helpful folks at AFCO
Performance Products, and ordered their Ideal Tire Groover with
two different cutting blades (#2 and #5 blades). Grooving the tire's
lugs allows the tire carcass to flex better over rocks, getting a
better footprint on uneven surfaces, and thus gaining more traction.
At $58.95, you can't go wrong with this unit.
things to consider when grooving your brand new tires. It is wise
to use a marker pen to draw out your groove marks before diving in.
This makes it a no-brainer cut session. The other thing that will
keep your biceps from exploding is to make sure the tires are warm
before attempting to groove.
me, it was nice and sunny outside, so the tires were already nice
and warm. The Ideal Groover sliced through the SXs like butter!
is the design I came up with. I decided not to go overboard with the
grooving, but I did do a considerable amount. I used a smaller cutting
blade (#2) on the outer lugs so as to try to aviod them getting tore
off in the sharp/abrasive rocks.
good is a new set of tires, when you have old bent, beat up rims?
After looking around for a tough and reasonably priced beadlock, I
came across High Impact Beadlocks
(Mfd by Allied Wheel).
rims are extremely well built, with 32 grade 8 bolts clamping the
ring to the tire. Here you can see the side view of the well built
is a comparison of the new 32 bolt High Impact ring to the old 18
bolt MRT ring. The High Impact ring has a thick solid ring on the
outer edge that protects the bead of the tire from cuts. The old MRT
ring has sharp edges that can cut a tire at very low pressure.
is a side-by-side comparison of the High Impact ring and the MRT ring.
is what the High Impact rim looks like at a side view. The rims are
high quality Allied rims, that have a good inner bead surface as well.
shot of the surface that the tire bead rests on. There isn't a self
centering ring on the rim itself, but the locking ring seems to center
the tire fairly well when tightening the bolts down. A note I found
on their website regarding centering the tire on the rim:
"Note: The inner lip of the tire is SOFT. it is NOT a proper
surface to use for centering a tire. A tire centered on a diameter
inside this lip can easily be pushed to one side or the other because
this lip is SOFT."
is a shot of the "bead saver" ring. I have found the rings
to be extremely durable, and quite the rock grinders.
the following pictures I aired the Swampers down to 1.5psi. This is
a little lower than you'd probably run on dry rocks (I would personally
run these tires at 4-5 psi), but I wanted to illustrate the performance
of an aired down tire, and the ability of a well built beadlock to
keep the tire on the rim in any conditions.
you can see the tire literally wrapping around the sharp rock, and
the ring of the rim is coming into contact with the rock.
picture of the tire conforming to the trail.
this photo I have the vehicle turned to full passenger lock. Because
of the ultra low pressure, the tire is beginning to fold under itself.
The tire still remained on the rim.
more picture of the tire flexing over the terrain.
found the High Impact/Swamper SX combo to work well in dry rocks.
I have not had the opportunity to try them in snow or mud yet. However
I plan on updating this article once the wet stuff arrives.
SXs held their line fairly well. I was able to steer into ledges and
keep a line without the front end pushing over excessively.
with 1.5psi in the tires. I sidehilled with confidence knowing I wasn't
going to blow a bead.
have had the opportunity to run these tires and rims on serveral
trails now, including the Rubicon Trail, Fordyce Creek Trail (Sierra
Trek), my wife used them in the Reno CalROCS event. I even drove
the vehicle (with a trailer in tow) from Garden Valley, CA all the
way to the Rubicon Trail, participated in the 50th Annual Jeeper's
Jamboree, and then drove it all the way back to Garden Valley. The
tire/rim combo drove amazingly well on the pavement considering
the size of the bias ply tires. FYI High Impact does not recommend
these rims for street use.
I feel that
these tires and rims are an excellent choice for the hard core rock
crawler. I was not able to damage the rims at all. I could only
scratch the paint on the "bead protector ring" on the
clamping ring, and that's about it. The tires are probably the toughest
tire on the market. They laugh at the sharpest of rocks, and make
radial tires look silly in the durability department. But what about
traction? I can say that the traction of the SX compared to the
major competitor's radials is darn close. They don't seem to perform
as well when wheel spin is involved such as when climbing verticle,
but they LOVE to crawl. In a pure crawling contest, the SXs may
just have the edge. But throw in some verticle walls where wheel
spin comes into play, and I think the radials may have the edge.
What about the
tire groover? The tire groover worked flawlessly as advertised,
till I dropped it. Luckily I was just about finished grooving my
tires. I broke the tip off the groover, and had to jerry rig it
back together to finish my last tire. Overall for the price, you
can't beat the AFCO Performance Products Ideal Tire Groover, and
I'd recommend it to anyone. Just don't drop it!
Impact Wheels/Transmission & Gear
Toll Free: 888-898-4331
P.O. Box 6
Rayne, LA 70578
P.O. Box 608
Boonville, IN 47601