MGB & GT Forum

Mounting new tires on wire wheels.

Moss Motors
AutoShrine Sponsor
AutoShrine Sponsor
AutoShrine Sponsor
AutoShrine Sponsor

MGB-1962 Travis L.
Bow, NH, USA   USA
Hello, new to this site. Looking to see if anyone knows of a place in the New England area that mounts tires on wire wheels and properly balances them.

. Hide banner ads & support this website by becoming a > Gold Supporting Member <
Steve S. Stephen Strange
Harrisonburg, VA, USA   USA
1972 MG MGB MkII "The Mouse Trap"
Why not save some money and just do it yourself? You will need good, long tire irons (spoons). They can be hard to find these days, but I got my two-foot-long ones from a trucking supply outfit. There are other laborsaving devices such as mechanical bead breakers available, if you plan on doing this a lot. Be careful not to damage the bead on the tires, otherwise they will be junk. Having on hand a small bucket of soapy water for lubrication will help a lot. I would not recommend using screwdrivers, as you run a much greater risk of damaging the bead of the tire (or the inner tube, where fitted), and they do not give the required leverage. You can also use a 10" carpenter's wooden parallel clamp in order to break the bead of the tire, which can be a lot less work, and requires less room than a dedicated tire machine. However, once you develop skill with tire spoons, they are probably the fastest way to get the job done.

The 'bead' of the tire is the ridged circle of rubber where the tire contacts and makes an airtight seal against the rim of the wheel. Wheel rims have a little 'platform' where the bead of the tire sits, sometimes with a slight safety hump so that the bead of the tire is wedged between the safety hump and the lip of the rim in order to assist keeping it in place in the event of deflation while rolling. Obviously, there are two beads per tire, one on each side. Such wheel rims are referred to as 'Safety Rims'. Note that modern wheels do not use the antiquated pattern of rim edge common to the Rubery Owen wheels of the MGB, but instead use a modern design that will permit the beads of modern tubeless tires to seal against the side of the rim so that they can be fitted without the necessity of using inner tubes.

The procedure is as follows: First, deflate the tire by removing the valve from valve stem. Next, use a tire spoon in order to lever the tire towards the center of the wheel. You may need to go around several times and jump on it in order to 'break the bead' of the tire free from the wheel rim. The idea here is that you need the opposite side of the bead of the tire to be able to tuck down into the lowest part of the wheel rim, so as to give it enough slack to get the near part of the bead of the tire up and over the lip of the wheel rim. Alternatively, you can place either a bottle jack or a floor jack on one side of the tire, and then wedge the other side of the tire against something (a timber to a ceiling joist would work) in order to break the bead of the tire. Now, stand on one side of the tire so that it will tuck into the lowest part of the wheel rim, and lever the opposite side up and over the lip. You will need two tire spoons, leave in place the first tire spoon that you get over the edge of the wheel rim, and then use the second tire spoon to get more of the tire levered over the wheel rim. You will have to start in small increments from the stationary tire spoon, but after you get half the of bead of the tire over the wheel rim, it will become easier. Proceed until the entire bead is on the outside of the lip of the rim. Flip the wheel over and break the other bead of the tire as before. Now there is only one bead of the tire inside of the wheel rim, and the tire will be loose. Put the 'tire side' on the ground, and lift the wheel rim so that part of the bead of the tire is in the lowest part as before. Start one tire spoon in and move the second tire spoon as before, and the tire will pop out of the wheel rim.

Unless you have modern wheels with safety rims or have Dayton wire wheels and have paid extra to have their spokes sealed, you will have no choice but to use inner tubes inside of your tires. Be aware that there is a difference between standard inner tubes and those made for radial tires. Heat build-up is the problem. Not only is the inside of a radial tire rough, but the tire is very stiff and its cross-section is more square in shape than that of a bias-belted tire, which translates to more friction between the tire and the inner tube. Standard inner tubes will overheat and come apart in a radial tire. Inner tubes that are designed for use inside of a radial tire make use of angled, overlapped splicing for protection against this. Beware of inner tubes that are labeled 'radial / bias ply'. These one-size-fits-all inner tubes that are available at most modern tire shops simply will not work in our cars. By all means, use inner tubes that are intended solely for use in radial tires.

There are a few secrets to making sure that a tubed tire will give trouble-free service. Be sure to check the inside of your tire for a little square information block. Some tires will have this and it will scrape against the inner tube, so it should be removed. Run a nylon stocking around the inside of the tire in order to assure that there are no fine burrs or anything that might cause wear of the inner tube. If you are using wire wheels, then make sure that the threaded ends of the spokes do not protrude into the interior of the wheel. Be sure to wrap the inside of the wheel rim with 2" wide 10 mil plumber’s pipe wrap in order to prevent the ends of the spoke nipples from abrading the inner tube, and be sure to put in a new band on the wheel rim.

Here is an Old-timey-mechanic's tip: dust the inside of the tire and the exterior of the inner tube heavily with talcum powder. The stuff will act as a dry lubricant for reducing chafing. If you can, find an unscented product as the perfumes might have some effect on the rubber. Perfume in talcum powder rots rubber, which is why scuba divers never use it on their wet suits. Unscented talcum powder is sometimes called 'French Chalk', therefore you might find it under that name as well. It also helps to 'burp' the tire when you first inflate it against the walls of the tire before it seats against the wheel rim in order to get any air out that might be trapped between the inner tube and the tire. Repeat this after it has been inflated in order to seat the bead of the tire. Once the inner tube has been inflated and the bead of the tire is seated, remove the valve stem core and let the pressure out of the inner tube. Move the valve stem around (gently) while it is deflating. This lets any air out that is trapped between the inner tube and the tire, causing a bubble. Repeat this process until no more air escapes around the valve stem, then re-install the valve core, and then inflate the tire to its normal operational pressure.

Soapy Avatar
Soapy Silver Member Ken McGuire
Livonia, MI, USA   USA
For the occasional job, you can get a $42.00 tire tool from Harbor Freight (less the readily available 20% coupon) that makes a quicker job of the bead breaking and reassembly - and doesn't require nearly as much bending over. It will need to be bolted to your garage floor, but I just put in the anchors and plugged the holes after so that I can re-mount it in just a few minutes. If you do your own, be sure to check for broken, stripped or loose spokes.

My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder." (Steven Wright)

The doctor must have put my pacemaker in wrong. Every time my wife kisses me, the garage door goes up.

“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” Will Rogers

. Hide banner ads & support this website by becoming a > Gold Supporting Member <
sweep Avatar
sweep Gold Member Chris W
Gosford, NSW, Australia   AUS
1966 MG MGB "Basil"
2013 Volkswagen Tiguan
2015 Audi A3
Any tyre place can fit them.

Run them with no weights first, There's a good chance you won't need balancing.

See here:

And here:

The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.

To the intelligent person, life appears infinitely mysterious, but the stupid have an answer for everything.

ghnl Avatar
ghnl Silver Member Eric Russell
Mebane, NC, USA   USA
1961 MG MGA "Calvin"
Try contacting a local British car club - the members there might have some leads for you. For example:

Eric Russell ~ Mebane, NC
1961 MGA #61, 1981 Alfa Romeo GTV6, 1984 Alfa Romeo Spider, 1991 Honda ST1100

V8MGBV8 Avatar
V8MGBV8 Carl Floyd
Kinggsport, TN, USA   USA
In reply to # 3694971 by sweep Any tyre place can fit them.

Not here. It has become a lost art.

Some modern radials (my dad's Michelins) now have ridges molded inside that cause wear on the inner tubes.

bencii Ben Colpitts
Mansfield, OH, USA   USA
1966 MG MGB
Have you checked with britbits in Rye?

. Hide banner ads & support this website by becoming a > Gold Supporting Member <
MGB-1962 Travis L.
Bow, NH, USA   USA
Hi Ben, yes they use a local tire shop which I went and visited. They use a standard tire machine which clamps on the rim. I was hoping to avoid clamping on the rim and finding a place that uses the center hub and also trues up the spokes if needed. I thought that is how it was done back in the day, maybe I am wrong.

ghnl Avatar
ghnl Silver Member Eric Russell
Mebane, NC, USA   USA
1961 MG MGA "Calvin"
Balancing must be done with the proper adapter - so that the wheel is secured via the hub the same way it would be mounted on the car. See:

Removing/installing tires is likely best done by a rim clamp.

Eric Russell ~ Mebane, NC
1961 MGA #61, 1981 Alfa Romeo GTV6, 1984 Alfa Romeo Spider, 1991 Honda ST1100

. Hide banner ads & support this website by becoming a > Gold Supporting Member <
mgdriver67 Avatar
mgdriver67 Silver Member Stephen Farrell
Pensacola, FL, USA   USA
1967 MG MGB MkI "Lulu"
2016 Volkswagen GTI
2017 Honda Ridgeline 4WD "Mom's Truck"
Send them to Hendrix in NC. They mount tires, balance and true wire wheels. I found a local shop in Pensacola to mount the tires and balance but not true. I discarded the two that had wobbles and bought 2 new ones. One day I might have them refurbished but it was easier just to buy new ones and not too much more $. Some cycle shops can still true them too.

MGB-1962 Travis L.
Bow, NH, USA   USA
Hi Stephen, yes I found them as well and according to their site they mount and balance the proper way. I was concerned about shipping (handling damage) and was hoping to find someone closer. If not, I will give it a shot.
Thanks for the help.

mvheim Avatar
mvheim Silver Member Mark Heim
1966 MG MGB
Harbor Freight sells a bubble balancer for less than $40 -- it works fine. I have their tire mounting machine and it works OK. I can't imagine using tire irons -- even with the enormous lever on the machine I can barely break the bead, and I lift weights regularly. Without everything bolted down, no way.

Max Heim
'66 MGB California Melee 2006 & 2014
'66 MGB rolling project

. Hide banner ads & support this website by becoming a > Gold Supporting Member <

To add your reply, or post your own questions

Registration is FREE and takes less than a minute!

Having trouble posting or changing forum settings?
Read the Forum Help (FAQ) or contact the webmaster

Join The Club

Sign in to ask questions, share photos, and access all website features

Your Cars

1972 MG Midget MkIV

Text Size

Larger Smaller
Reset Save

Sponsor Links