— HOW TO INSTALL, by the staff of Dirt Wheels —
Currently, we as off-road enthusiasts still despise the fact that we at some point will get a flat tire on our machines. Whether it’s a UTV or an ATV, riding in the rough, rocky, muddy, sticky, wet—whatever the case is, our tires are prone to getting flats. Even with 10- or 12-ply tires we have flatted them, and those high-ply tires add a ton of weight to the machine, especially on a UTV.
Luckily, there are several flat-prevention systems that are complete lifesavers. TireBlocks is one flat-prevention system that will help you out if you puncture a tire, and you can run a lighter six-ply tire without worry. TireBlocks are comprised of multiple specialty foam blocks that sit inside the tire, and they keep the tire from completely going flat. You still run a small amount of air inside the tire or, if you prefer, you can run no air at all. More traction is an added benefit when using TireBlocks.
Our associate editor Colt Brinkerhoff ran an entire NHHA ATV desert racing season on one set of TireBlocks while running zero air in all four tires on his TRX450R without a failure. Now, even with these flat-prevention systems, you can still get punctures in the tires, and they do add some weight. But, systems like the TireBlocks will get you back to your camp or to your destination with a smile on your face.
Installing them can be tricky if you’ve never done it. We put together a 21-step process to help you through your TireBlocks install. We suggest that you purchase the installation tools when you order your own set of TireBlocks. The Halo assembly retails for $150 and the Spreaders retail for $85.
QUICK TIP: We suggest setting up a table or a bench to install the TireBlocks. This will prevent a sore back or muscles, because install time will take around two to three hours to complete the full set.
1. There are two different sizes of TireBlocks for 10-inch front rims and 9-inch rear rims. The rear is the wider TireBlocks, while the smaller version is for the front. Depending on machine and tire selection, you may use the same-size TireBlocks on all four wheels.
2. First on the to-do list is to drill (completely through the valve stem) two 1/16-inch holes into the inside portion of the valve stem. You will do this on each wheel.
3. Next, cut the small plastic tube around 1/8th of an inch with a pair of wire cutters. You will want to cut a total of four tubes.
4. Place the 1/8-inch tube on a straight pick or even the drill bit that was used to drill into the valve stem.
5. Force the tubes through all four holes on the valve stem. It’s okay if they’re sticking out a bit.
6. The valve stem should now look like this picture. We did this so that the air has multiple exits, even if the TireBlocks are resting on the valve stem. It’s also crucial to do this to get an accurate reading on your tire gauge when inflating the tire to the correct air pressure.
7. We suggest removing the valve-stem core completely before installing the TireBlocks. Not only does it help with letting air escape when mounting the tire, it also has another purpose that is a bit of a pro trick, which we’ll get to later, that will help seat the bead quickly.
8. A bottle of silicone-type lube is provided to make installation easier and keep the TireBlocks lubricated while riding or racing. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of the lube; the more you use, the longer the foam blocks last. We coat the side, top and bottom of each block. No need to rub it in.
9. Once the TireBlocks are coated with the silicone, it’s time to install one foam block at a time. The easiest route is to shove one side down first, then rock it back and forth while forcing it down. You will get to a point where you can’t put any more in. At that time it’s time to use the TireBlocks spreading tool, which is found in the TireBlocks toolkit
10. It’s important to make sure that you grease both all-thread pieces with all-purpose grease. This ensures the heat from spreading the tools apart and won’t ruin the threads.
11. We then install each side of the spreader so that they are resting against each other (as shown). You will then use a 1/2-inch impact gun and a 1 1/8-inch socket to screw the all-thread into the threaded nut on the outside of the spreading tool. This will start to press against the other side of the tool, which will spread the blocks apart.
12. With the spreader maxed out on the threads, we can now install another foam block (sometimes we’ve gotten lucky and added two blocks at once). You will repeat this step with the spreading tool until you can no longer fit any more foam blocks inside the tire. Every tire is different from the next, even if it’s the same brand, so you may use every block in the box or you may have some left over.
13. Now that all the foam blocks are installed, it’s time to install the Halo backing plate to the wheel itself. It has a total of eight holes, whether we’re mounting them to a Yamaha wheel or the popular Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki etc. wheel, this plate has you covered. Install the two bolts that are provided and tighten them with a ratchet.
14. Another crucial point when installing the tire onto the wheel and the Halo is to make sure to put the bead-lock ring on first. The Halo then sits on top of the tire near the outside edge. Install the greased all-thread and washer for the Halo assembly into the backing plate that we just installed onto the wheel.
15. Also, we’ve found that it’s less of a hassle if you place the wheel, tire and Halo assembly on top of a smaller trash can or something similar. This allows the all-thread to pass through unobstructed.
16. We then snug up the tire to the wheel using our handy impact gun and 1 1/8-inch socket on the all-thread. You’ll want the wheel and tire fairly tight to each other.
17. For this part, set the tire, wheel and Halo assembly on a flat surface. Using long tire spoons that we got from Harbor Freight for leverage, we inserted the spoon into the tire and rotated it until it popped on. You may need an extra set of hands for this.
18. Now we flip the tire, wheel and Halo assembly back on the trash can and continue tightening the all-thread. This will begin to pull the wheel through the tire and past the TireBlocks as it goes. Don’t be alarmed that the blocks start to twist; this is normal. Be sure to snug the wheel to the tire completely and don’t loosen the Halo yet.
19. We can now install each bolt for the beadlock while the Halo is still tight. We suggest snugging them up with a ratchet first, then use a torque wrench to get them torqued to 10–12 foot-pounds. When torqued to the proper setting, we remove the Halo and backing plate completely.
20. For the final part of the install, we need to seat the bead. Here is the pro tip that we mentioned earlier. With the valve-stem core removed, we grabbed the coupler of our air hose and shoved that onto the valve stem itself. It forces more air in the tire than a standard air inflator. You can also do this with a standard tire install; it takes about half the time to seat the bead. We run about 4 pounds of air in the front and 2 pounds of air in the rear, but you can use more or run no air at all. We’ve done it all with killer results!