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Old 04-14-2016, 09:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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DIY Al beadlocks

I looked into this a few years ago and found a few guys willing to cut me a set, but no one stocking Al beadlock rings. The general consensus was there wasn't a good way to identify what kind of Al the rim was made out of and therefore no way to guarantee the welds would crack and break. I sort of left it at that, ended up selling my XJ, am just now getting back to building another wheeler, and am looking into this again.

Has anyone made their own Al beadlocks or does anyone make the rings to weld up?
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Old 04-15-2016, 06:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I have done a few sets, problem is every wheel is so different in aluminum wheel market that a standard ring wouldn't really work
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Old 04-15-2016, 06:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 04-15-2016, 07:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have done a few sets, problem is every wheel is so different in aluminum wheel market that a standard ring wouldn't really work
So do you identify what Al the rim is and the buy a plate of the correct Al to use?

I don't know the first thing about Al.
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Old 04-15-2016, 08:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I use 5052, spool gun them, then go back over with the tig and clean any impurities.
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Old 04-15-2016, 09:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Do you cut them out yourself or do you have a supplier?
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Old 04-15-2016, 09:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Do you cut them out yourself or do you have a supplier?
I cut them out
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Old 04-15-2016, 09:22 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I cut them out
What's your overall impression of doing this? Worth it? Or stick with steel or an aftermarket Al beadlock rim?
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Old 04-15-2016, 12:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I thinkI remember a thread where someone suggested to drill and tap for a flush mount bolt, to add strength, that was my plan to do a set, weld them up, then drill for dowels and or bolts, just for the added security.

No idea if its needed though.
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Old 04-15-2016, 01:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I thinkI remember a thread where someone suggested to drill and tap for a flush mount bolt, to add strength, that was my plan to do a set, weld them up, then drill for dowels and or bolts, just for the added security.

No idea if its needed though.
To drill and tap what? The rock ring? Like counter bore it for the flush fit and tap the inner ring for the hardware?
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Old 04-15-2016, 01:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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To drill and tap what? The rock ring? Like counter bore it for the flush fit and tap the inner ring for the hardware?
Drill through the ring and tap the wheel. Countersunk hardware threaded into the wheel as a mechanical hold, so that its not only the weld you're relying on.
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Old 04-15-2016, 01:59 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Drill through the ring and tap the wheel. Countersunk hardware threaded into the wheel as a mechanical hold, so that its not only the weld you're relying on.
Oh duh.... yeah that makes sense. So even if a weld starts to fail you have a plan B. I'll definitely go that route then. The price difference isn't crazy between Al beadlock kits and steel and Duramax rims are $100 a set, so bam. Cheap and light beadlocks.
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Old 04-15-2016, 02:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Oh duh.... yeah that makes sense. So even if a weld starts to fail you have a plan B. I'll definitely go that route then. The price difference isn't crazy between Al beadlock kits and steel and Duramax rims are $100 a set, so bam. Cheap and light beadlocks.
Like I said, I have no idea if its needed.
But I talked to a few people that showed me pictures of failed rings, and at least with a half dozen bolts tapped in, if the weld failed, the tire wont fall off, and would get you back to camp.
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Old 04-15-2016, 02:32 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Like I said, I have no idea if its needed.
But I talked to a few people that showed me pictures of failed rings, and at least with a half dozen bolts tapped in, if the weld failed, the tire wont fall off, and would get you back to camp.
Reason enough for me to put 10-20 in each rim. Hardware is cheap and steel beadlocks are heavy. Plus the extra insurance I can drive or flat tow it home helps.
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Old 04-16-2016, 09:02 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Reason enough for me to put 10-20 in each rim. Hardware is cheap and steel beadlocks are heavy. Plus the extra insurance I can drive or flat tow it home helps.
At that point, the weld will be solely to hold air in the wheel/tire. What material will the bolt be made of? You have to consider electrolysis between the bolts and the aluminum rings. Could cause issues within a year if you use a volatile combo. This is a great idea though, might make running aluminum bead locks a better choice than it used to be.
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Old 04-16-2016, 09:13 AM   #16 (permalink)
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At that point, the weld will be solely to hold air in the wheel/tire. What material will the bolt be made of? You have to consider electrolysis between the bolts and the aluminum rings. Could cause issues within a year if you use a volatile combo. This is a great idea though, might make running aluminum bead locks a better choice than it used to be.
Why would there be any electricity flowing between the beadlocks? Are you talking about dissimilar metals reacting with each other? If that's what you mean, there are sealers available that take care of this. The first one, and primarily the only one I've dealt with, is Tefgel. It's satan in tube.

As far as what kind of hardware? I'll just use an alloy socket head bolt. Something like this:

https://www.fastenal.com/products/details/1124292?r=~|categoryl1:%22600000%20Fasteners%22|~% 20~|categoryl2:%22600039%20Sockets%22|~%20~|catego ryl3:%22600042%20Flat%20Socket%20Cap%20Screws%22|~ %20~|sattr01:^%22Imperial%20(Inch)%22$|~%20~|sattr 02:^%22Flat%20Socket%20Cap%20Screw%22$|~%20~|sattr 03:^%22Alloy%20Steel%22$|~%20~|sattr04:^%223/8%22%20-%2016%22$|~%20~|attrlength:1570|~

Edit: Not sure why that won't hyperlink....
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Last edited by whitneyj; 04-16-2016 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 04-16-2016, 09:22 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Why would there be any electricity flowing between the beadlocks? Are you talking about dissimilar metals reacting with each other? If that's what you mean, there are sealers available that take care of this. The first one, and primarily the only one I've dealt with, is Tefgel. It's satan in tube.

As far as what kind of hardware? I'll just use an alloy socket head bolt. Something like this:

https://www.fastenal.com/products/details/1124292?r=~|categoryl1:%22600000%20Fasteners%22|~% 20~|categoryl2:%22600039%20Sockets%22|~%20~|catego ryl3:%22600042%20Flat%20Socket%20Cap%20Screws%22|~ %20~|sattr01:^%22Imperial%20(Inch)%22$|~%20~|sattr 02:^%22Flat%20Socket%20Cap%20Screw%22$|~%20~|sattr 03:^%22Alloy%20Steel%22$|~%20~|sattr04:^%223/8%22%20-%2016%22$|~%20~|attrlength:1570|~

Edit: Not sure why that won't hyperlink....
No there won't be electricity flowing lol! But yes dissimilar metals reacting with each other is called electrolysis, but sounds like you have a good plan already.
The link won't work for me though, but I get what the idea is. This will be a good idea imo, lighter than steel, and more reassurance then using just the aluminum weld for holding it all together. How soon will this happen as I'm sure more than just me are interested to see how this turns out. My H2's will make good bead locks, though I'm thinking more and more about inner air locks as time goes on. Unless of course, 17" h1 copies happen anytime soon lol.
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Old 04-16-2016, 09:40 AM   #18 (permalink)
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No there won't be electricity flowing lol! But yes dissimilar metals reacting with each other is called electrolysis, but sounds like you have a good plan already.
The link won't work for me though, but I get what the idea is. This will be a good idea imo, lighter than steel, and more reassurance then using just the aluminum weld for holding it all together. How soon will this happen as I'm sure more than just me are interested to see how this turns out. My H2's will make good bead locks, though I'm thinking more and more about inner air locks as time goes on. Unless of course, 17" h1 copies happen anytime soon lol.
I think you meant galvanic corrosion instead of electrolysis? I could be wrong, but regardless it doesn't matter, we're talking about the same thing.

I won't have the funds (wife is now a stay at home mom and my little girl is due in 6 weeks) for probably 6-8 months. I haven't even started the build yet actually... (work full time and taking 6 classes at night). But the plan is to build a set of these and have wagon wheel steelies as backups. My XJ build will start in June once school is over and everything should move at a fairly quick pace then as I have most of the parts for everything and the axles should be built by then. I just need rims and tires at this point. I'll make sure to update this build thread when I build the rims.
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Old 04-16-2016, 11:04 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I think you meant galvanic corrosion instead of electrolysis? I could be wrong, but regardless it doesn't matter, we're talking about the same thing.

I won't have the funds (wife is now a stay at home mom and my little girl is due in 6 weeks) for probably 6-8 months. I haven't even started the build yet actually... (work full time and taking 6 classes at night). But the plan is to build a set of these and have wagon wheel steelies as backups. My XJ build will start in June once school is over and everything should move at a fairly quick pace then as I have most of the parts for everything and the axles should be built by then. I just need rims and tires at this point. I'll make sure to update this build thread when I build the rims.
You are correct sir. In the piping trades, the old fitters call it electrolysis. Since I'm becoming one of the old guys, I can start calling it by the proper term lol.
Your plans sound pretty solid. I wish you good luck with the little one (i have 4, so let me tell you a little about the life change you're going to see, if it's your first that is)they are fun until teenage years lol! Good luck with school as well, it's a good thing to get done sooner than later. I'm sure you know this!
The build sounds like it is well thought out, and hopefully your timeline stays the same. Definitely keep us updated about the wheels arty the very least as i'm very interested in the outcome! Good luck my friend!
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Old 04-21-2016, 07:59 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Drill through the ring and tap the wheel. Countersunk hardware threaded into the wheel as a mechanical hold, so that its not only the weld you're relying on.
That what I do on the H2 rings
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Old 04-21-2016, 09:02 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I've said it in previous threads, but my small brain tells me that if you cut the rings on a plasma table, the heat from cutting the inner and outer circles along with the bolt holes, combined with the heat of welding is going to take a lot of the tempering out of the aluminum. Meaning, a t-6 aluminum might be taken down to much less, making the aluminum softer. I would want the outer bolt on ring to be as hard as possible as it sees the most abuse, and I would definitely want the threaded holes on the inner ring to be as hard as possible.

This may not be a problem, but I don't know. Also, I could be wrong...it's happened a time or two. That said, if you have the option, I would have them cut on a water jet to reduce the heat that the aluminum sees.

I like the idea of tapping into the wheel, but it seems like it might not work with some wheel profiles and offsets, unless I'm not picturing it right???
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Old 04-21-2016, 11:05 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I like the idea of tapping into the wheel, but it seems like it might not work with some wheel profiles and offsets, unless I'm not picturing it right???
Offset would have nothing to do with it. Drill and tap into the bead seat, that the ring sits on before you weld it. The verticle smooth face. The bolt could protrude into where the tire would have originally sat against.
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Old 04-22-2016, 09:49 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Offset would have nothing to do with it. Drill and tap into the bead seat, that the ring sits on before you weld it. The verticle smooth face. The bolt could protrude into where the tire would have originally sat against.
Got it now. I was picturing it wrong. Good idea.
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Old 04-22-2016, 04:47 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by spidr View Post
I thinkI remember a thread where someone suggested to drill and tap for a flush mount bolt, to add strength, that was my plan to do a set, weld them up, then drill for dowels and or bolts, just for the added security.

No idea if its needed though.
You mean like this?
These were done by MRW (RIP Brant) for me back in '04.


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Old 04-22-2016, 04:50 PM   #25 (permalink)
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You mean like this?
These were done by MRW (RIP Brant) for me back in '04.


My memory is fuzzy, but yup, thats exactly what I was thinking.
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