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Scott from Rockstomper.com answers questions about his Beadlocks


The only thing I'm unsure of and want to figure out before I buy the Rockstomper locks is this. The outer ring on the Rockstompers is flat - meaning as you tighten the bolts, it will begin to "tilt" as it squeezes the tires bead. In contrast, MRT use a "lazy Z" shape outer ring (in profile) so that the bolted surface will tighten flush to the inner ring while the Z accomodates the tires bead. Any comments appreciated - is it a concern...why?

We recommend torqueing the bolts no higher than 20 ft-lb. The ring will start to "cone" at about 35. As for "why don't you make the ring have metal-to-metal contact" stuff... we wanted a beadlock that'd actually fit all the different tires we might run... from a 31" General Grabber (hey,everybody needs gas mileage sometimes) to a 44" Bogger. Putting a metal support or similar in there, limits what bead thicknesses you can run. Put in a thick one, to match, say, a Bogger, and you've gotta over-torque the thing to make it seat and seal on the Grabber (reverse coning it). Put in a thin one (to match the Grabber) and you cone it to fit a Bogger. Bottom line is, don't torque 'em past 20 ft-lb, and we haven't seen any coning at all. It's when they're torqued to full stall on the air ratchet (no, I'm not kidding, and yes, I do know that's nowhere near what an impact wrench will do), at around 40-50 ft-lb (twice-plus what's recommended for any beadlock), they'll cone a bit. Still haven't broken 'em... I guess that's 'cause I've got too many bolts.


When is the price going up?

I'll confirm that the price will remain the same through at least the end of '01. After that, I dunno... the threaded inserts are the biggest problem. Right now, we're having trouble getting them in the quantities we need at less than a dollar a piece (no,I'm not kidding) so if those problems continue, the price will have to reflect it eventually. I've personally spent three days so far searching all over (physically, web, and on the phone) trying to find a less expensive insert that's still just as durable, and just as maintainable (easy to put in or takeout in case you mess it up) as these, and that we can get reliably.


What's the deal with the different styles of boltsoffered?

The rings come in from the CNC house. If they get button head or hex head bolts, the outers stay as is. The inners (of course) get welded to wheels and/or shipped out as-is; if we weld 'em, we pop in the inserts too, if they ship out as a kit, the inserts ship uninstalled (to keep weld splatter out of the threads). We ship extra inserts just in case, since the install is cake, but it's possible to screw up a couple. We give you 35 per wheel, you need 32. The first one of these I ever did, I hosed all of one insert; I didn't mess up any on the next seven wheels that I did. The countersunk outer rings, get countersunk in house. A cheapo countersink bit, costs about $10-15, and will do a full set. It'll be pretty well toast after that, but it'll do 'em. If you decide further on down the road that you want countersunk bolts, you can countersink the rings yourself, and get the bolts either from us or from any industrial fastener house. So the direct answer on countersinking, is yes, you can countersink 'em later; we do it all the time here. The rings all start out life the same. As for which bolt head style to use... it's kind of a personal preference thing. I look at it from a trail damage perspective. With the hex heads, if you really mangle 'em bad, you can probably get vise grips on 'em. If they're worse than that, you can grind off the heads and use vise grips on the stud part. The button heads, are less likely to get messed up, but if they do, you have to grind the heads off. The countersunk ones, are the toughest to mess up, but also the toughest to remove if you do. I have yet to mess one up that bad, but if you (theoretically) do, you'll have to drill out the head of it. Not fun. I run the countersunk ones on my own truck now, but I was very happy with the button heads before we decided to go all the way to offering countersunk heads. With the rings black and the black heads on the countersunk bolts, it's a mix of "burly" and "stealth". I like it.


Why are the bolts so long they stick into the wheel like that?

Problem is, when you first start the bolts, you need minimum 1.5" long bolts, to get 'em started. But once they're all snugged down and the bead is clamped firmly in place, you only need 1" to 1.25" bolts to hold it in place. With Swampers, it's difficult to start the bolts if they're less than 1.75" long, because the beads are thick and the sidewalls are stiff. But once you snug 'em down, there's a half inch or more thread sticking past the lock ring surface. What you'd end up needing to do, would be to partially snug down the lock ring with longer bolts, then progressively swap to shorter and shorter bolts as you snug it down. Not the easiest thing to do, and far from a quick trail fix if you cut up a tire really bad. I've also seen guys do similar stuff with C-clamps to squash the bead lock rings together in order to get the bolts started. That said, the bolts and inserts and what not, fit within a 14.25" circle, and you need about 5/8" or so on the backside of the ring, clearance available to pop the inserts and thread the bolts. So if your wheels have a 14.25" wide dish on the outside, that's 5/8" deep, the lock rings will fit.


Hey Scott, is it possible for you to make me a send out kit for 20" Rims?

Yes, we can make up a set to fit 20" rims. They'll be quite a bit more expensive, but we can do it. Probably on the order of twice as much. But just think, you'll be the only guy on your block with 20" beadlock wheels. Turnaround would probably be on the order of a few weeks to a month, too... just FYI.


With the Rockstomper design, where they say that they don't cut the outer bead lip off....this may make it cheaper...but would it not also mean you lose the (significant) advantage of being able to easily mount and dismount tires in the field with no special tools, like you can with regular beadlocks??

I find that many peopel don't understand this concept, so you are not alone. Cutting the stock bead surface off or not is irrelevant when it comes time to mount tires on a beadlocked wheel. On a beadlocked wheel, the inner bead is still used, but the outer bead of the tire now sits OUTSIDE of the rim, and in the case of a beadlock, OUTSIDE of the new welded on flat plate. That being the case, whatever is behind that welded on plate is irrelevant, since the tire doens't tough it any more. You can't "just drop the tire over the outer bead seat" on any wheel, beadlock or not. It takes some work; if it doesn't, there wouldn't be enough material there to hold the bead properly. I can do it by hand with a hammer and a tirespoon (or a chunk of tube in a pinch), but it doesn't "just drop on". The other brands of lock setups I've played with... are exactly the same when it comes to tire install.


What centers the tire on the wheel with the Rockstomper design?

The outer ring centers the tire on our beadlock design. It sounds like it'd be imprecise, but with 32 bolts, it's consistently within 1/32" of round and centered. I wish I could get Swampers that were that close. Basically, just start about four bolts with the outer ring sitting on the bead, and then keep adding bolts till they're all started. Torque 'em all down (that takes a while) and then seat the inner bead, and you're ready to play. But for centering, the outer ring centers the tire, and the bolts center the outer ring to within 1/32".


What's involved with welding on the inner ring? Is it something a lathe or machine shop is required for, or is it something a competent welder could do at home?

If you're putting the locks on the outside of existing wheels, you don't need a machine shop. You do need a competent welder, and straight wheels. Since the lock welds to the outer lip, if your wheels are hashed, this is a good time to get new ones. If you're wanting to keep your existing wheels, and not widen them in the process, you'll need a big lathe or a mill to machine off the outer bead. We'll do it, but it's a PITA; Then the rest of the install is pretty much the same. Assuming you put 'em on the outside, all you have to do is wire-wheel the paint, grime, rust, etc., off your wheels (obviously, with the tires off) around the outer lip where you'll be welding. Then put the inner ring on (the one with bigger holes in it) and center it up by hand. It's an exact match for the OD of the wheel, so it's cake to center, just run your fingers around the OD of the whole thing. Tack it in place in a couple opposite spots, then keep crisscross-tacking it till you've got it tacked in about every three inches or so. Then go back and fill in the space between the tacks. Since you're depending on that weld to hold the air into the wheel and also to hold the lock ring onto the wheel, it has to be a good weld; if you're not a good welder, don't try it. That's why we offer installation. But a competent welder, can install them him/her self. After the rings are welded on, you'll need to pop the rivet-nuts (a bolt, a stack of washers, a pair of Channel Locks and an impact wrench make this really quick-n-easy), then put the tire back on, put all the bolts in, snug it all up, air it up, and go play.


Ok, I know they are for "offroad use only," but say someone was planned on using them on road. With the self weld concept, would there be anyway to get them somewhat balanced so driving down the road was not annoying?

Balancing them is not a problem if you have a friend at a tire shop. Many tire shops won't touch 'em for fear of liability or something, but they balance just like normal wheels. You just have to use stick-on weights instead of clip-ons. Or use Equal, or steel shot, or golf balls, or any of the assorted other methods for balancing wheels that come up around here. Most of 'em work, and most are a lot cheaper than a trip to the tire shop every time you go 'wheeling (to fix the out-of-balance from the chunked tread).


When milling the outside edge off so you dont add a lot of extra width to your existing wheel when adding the beadlock, how much do you take off? I have access to all the machinery, just need an idea of how much to mill off.

If you choose to mill it off, you should mill it off to the safety bead, which is typically about 1.25-1.5" down from the outer lip of the wheel. You'll see it there, with the tire off, about an inch in from the inside of the outer beadseat area.


I love those button head bolts. Will I be able to get a allen wrench in them after 5-6 runs? My rims have taken a bad beating from the rocks.

I've usually been able to use a little pick to get crud out of the allen heads. Worst-case, with the button heads, you can grind off the heads if they're really really really hashed, but I have yet to booger one up that bad. I've even got the same bolts holding on my skidplate, and they're still serviceable.


Does this mean I will need to pay for a machinist to install these on my rims?

No. You will need to pay for a welder to install them on your rims, if you're not a qualified welder yourself. But you do not have to machine your wheels to install these. Bear in mind, not machining your wheels, then putting these locks on, will make your wheels wider. So, bottom line... If you have 15x8's and want 15x10 beadlocks... get our rings, weld them onto your wheels. Presto-change-o, you now have 15x10 beadlocks. If you have 15x8's and want 15x8 beadlocks... get 15x6's and our rings, and weld them together. It's about the same cost as taking your 15x8's to the machinist (or sending them to us) and having the outer bead machined off, then the rings welded up. Or simply call us, and for about $125 apiece, you can have 15x8 beadlocks, no hassles, no headaches, no shopping around....


I can run a bead as nice as the one I saw in the pics, so I don't think I need a welder. I'm more concerned about my rock rashed edges. One lip even has a slight bend in it. So, just smooth the lip of the rim out and weld away?

If the bead edges aren't really hashed, you can smooth 'em up (grind off the high spots till they're true again) and weld away. If they are really hashed, it's time for a rim (or four), depending on how hashed they are. Slight low spots are much easier to deal with, than high spots -- lows just mean a little gap to fill with the welder, while highs mean an out-of-true wheel.


Are there sides to either the inner or outer lock ring?

One side is rounded; the other isn't. The rounded edge goes towards the tire. It's not that important, but it makes life a little easier; the rounding is very slight.


The bigger holes are the inner ring right?

Correct.


Weld on inner ring before inserting nutcerts?

Correct.


What is the torque spec?

20 ft-lb maximum; I've got mine at 10, and not leaking.


RockstomperInstall Article


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