Inflating utility cart tires

dynamike59March 9, 2010


I went out to my shed today and found both of my 4.80/4.00-8 tires on my utility cart were flat.

I tried a strap around the tire to try and get the bead to seal but no luck.

I have a large air compressor set a 90psi discharge pressure but no matter what I try I can get the bead to seal.

Do I need to take them to a tire shop or has any one solved this problem.


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You don't need air pressure, you need air volume. You will need to remove the valve from the stem as it restricts the flow of air. Put your strap, rope, whatever around the tire. Have the tire valve close at hand or better yet have a helper. Put the chuck to valve and when the beads seat quickly install the valve.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 4:38PM
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I have had limited success with the strap method but have had a few tires that I just could not get to seat that way. I prefer the lighter fluid method. A squirt of lighter fluid in the tire, vaporize for a few seconds, light, and boom your tire is seated. Works good for me but not popular among many people because it is somewhat scary. That's ok. I'm not trying to convince anyone to try it.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 8:03PM
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That's the funniest way I ever heard of to seat a tire !

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 6:01AM
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The first time the tire guy, where i worked, did that--it scared the bejabbers out of me! I had to check my drawers. But, it works--my son did it one day at his place.
I have also found, if no other way-try installing tubes in them, or go buy those "never-flat" tires and wheels. You will NEVER have another flat-they are that good!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 4:06PM
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I have had limited success with the strap method. It helps to put some lubricant around the bead to lubricate it. I use murphy's oil soap diluted about 15:1.

I have found it can take days to seat this way. I take it and bounce it on the area that has not seated.

I have pretty much decided I'd like to try the explosive method. When you say "lighter fluid" do you mean the stuff used for barbecues or the naphtha stuff used in Ronson lighters?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 8:26PM
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Well guys I tried the big bang theory and gave up.
The question is how much to use.
I tried carb cleaner and on the first try got a good pop but not enough bang to seat the bead..
I used a burning rag on the end of a five foot rod but the problem is that you sometimes have to push down on the tire to expose the fumes.
I went back in to the shop and tried a different strap and got both the tires inflated.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 11:14AM
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The explosion method will seat a bead where there is a large air gap that you can't pull close enough to the rim, but if the bead won't seat and the rim is lubricated, you just need more air pressure.

I seeing two topics being discussed, I think.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 4:10PM
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Here's a link to explosive tire mounting on U-tube.

Here is a link that might be useful: redneck tire mounting

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 11:17PM
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Having worked for a couple of years in a place where we dealt with this sort of problem all of the time, I cringe at the thought of setting a bead with explosive gas. In a small tire, the difference in volume of air that takes you from setting the bead to blowing out the side wall is pretty small. One of my coworkers suffered multiple breaks in his arm when a side wall failed while setting the bead and contacted his hand.
I whole heartedly agree with the use of lube; I use "bubbles" soapy solution. If I can't get it to set with a strap and a air pump, I start looking for an inner tube.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 5:55AM
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I think seating a small tire with the lighter fluid method is safer than pressurizing it with a high pressure air hose. (Other than the obvious fire hazards etc.) A tire and wheel only has a fixed amount of air once the fuel ignites and the tire seats to the rim. Enough pressure to blow the tire off the rim could never be reached. The fire runs out of air after the initial whoosh of flame. In most of the videos I saw there was way too much fuel used. A small amount of fuel allowed to vaporize is all that's needed under normal conditions.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 10:17PM
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I deal with this difficult problem every day. Many tires I mount come in squeezed flat from banding during shipping. Almost no amount of air or "explosive" methods are any help. What works for ANY tire that will not bead is heat. I have a round kero heater that I fire up, prop tire up with a couple of 1/2 pull handles and cook it about 10-15 minutes. Put the air to it and it will blow right up. Clean the beads etc. before you start and the tire will likely hold air. I have worked in tire stores and service stations and this method is the best I have found for small tires short of having a Cheetah inflator.

Mike Merritt

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 9:02AM
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Is the tire on the rim? What are 1/2 pull handles and explain a little more, please.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 3:33PM
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My interpretation of what networker was describing is that he places something between the 2 beads of the tire to "open up" or spread the tire back out from its compressed condition due to shipping. With the beads spread wide and held open by the "pull handles" or other convenient "prop", the heat from radiant kero heater allows the rubber and cord plies to relax and lose their "set". When the tire is relaxed and the beads are far apart, it is easier to get the beads to seal and seat to the rim lands. At least that's my take on the technique described.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 8:18PM
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Wow missed this Thread , Interesting Methods ! I agree with Runny , Dynamike lack of adequate volume is what makes the strap or what I call Tourniquet method troublesome.Removing the Valve Stem Assembly usually works. Secondly a dirty or damaged bead or rim will certainly cause headaches. The clean and lubed technique with proper pressure and volume has always worker for me on Wheel Barrow or Small Boat trailer sized tire situations. With larger more less pliable side walled and bead applications , the method that Mownie and Net worker advise should be quite beneficial . As far as the Big or Small Boom Method as advised by Ray and cautioned by Wheel Boy I agree that it is best left for those not at faint of heart and well knowledgeable of the Flash Points of the Flammable if not Explosive Products they intend to use lol . Great link on the Redneck Method Ray ! I remember well I Co-Worker back in the Trades playing what he thought would be a Practical Joke (Bigger is Better) filling a small waste bucket baggy with Acetylene and tying a piece of cotton string as a wick at lighting it . The explosion fortunately did more than startle his target co-worker but blew the windows out of the 12 pane Quonset Welding Hut. Normally they would place a used Styrofoam cup upside down and light with string wick . The Guy almost was fired , probably should have been for such stupid Horse Play ! Anyhow I normally go Rust's Route with chronic troublesome tires (tube) it ..T .

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 10:53AM
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I use the flash bang method only if the tire is impossible to mount with my current resources. I put tires on for a living for quite a long time. Net worker and Mownie are right. The shipping straps crimp tires and they are the worst. The heating method will work I'm sure. But that could result in some dangerous scenarios too. Melted tire etc. But in the right hands it probably works good. Done properly crimped tires respond well to the flash-bang method. The trick is getting quick vaporization and the right amount of air. Usually takes a few tries. Never, I repeat, never, never, never, add pure oxygen to the mix. That will blow your head off and all the windows in the neighborhood. That being said I think small tires have a self limiting factor that makes the flash-bang method relatively safe. They have a limited amount of air to burn and so the method is relatively benign. I would not do a truck tire or tractor tire myself although it would work. I'm just too conservative to risk being on youtube in an "idiot" video.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 11:26AM
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Ray: I know what you meant , the volumetric capacity of the small tires make it relatively safe unless Oxygen or Acetylene or perhaps Gasoline or Naptha are used for the expansion coefficient roflmbo ! Thanks for the link , I saw other Redneck Truck Tire Inflation Method on the link , specifically where a 4x4 tire was inflated via your method quite effectively back in woods. I would and Shall use this method anytime under those specific and proper conditions . I agree you would not want to make U-Tubes Dumbest Redneck list or complicate being stranded in Tim Buck Two with a flat and 3rd degree burns lol . Great Thread and Good Conversation !

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 11:47AM
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Could not keep cart tires inflated, installed tubes, problem solved

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 5:18PM
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I tried the tourniquet method, for about an hour and could not get it to stay on. I didn't care for the "explosion" approach. I went to Harbor Freight and bought a recheted strap. After securing it around the tire, and racheting it snug, and then adding air with my small electric air compressor, I was done, in less than four minutes. No need to resort to inserting a tube as others suggested. I have tubeless on the hand utitility cart, wheelbarrow, and on the small cart/trailer I pull behind the lawn tractor.

If you choose this option, make sure you get a racheted strap, not just a tie down strap. Mine cost 16.99 for a set of two, you can get cheaper ones, but I avoided thoses. The strap is 1 1/4 inches wide. It worked perfectly.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 8:27PM
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Almost a year after the last post, here I am to say I just tried the cleaning method on a tire that would inflate, when I pulled it toward the outside rim edge, but then deflated in ten minutes. Cleaned both the tire bead and the wheel where the tire meets and it's still inflated after 2 hours. I spread the dish soap around on both too. I also used a bungee strap at the circumference of the tire so I wouldn't have to get on the ground to pull the tire again. Worked like a charm!
Had some lithium grease on hand if the soap did not worked as lube. Now on to the constantly deflating tire on my generator.
Thanks to all the posters above.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 11:32PM
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My utility cart is a 10f^3 Craftsman which after about 5 years the tires would not hold air. (Yes Rusty, I keep it outside in the elements.) For last 15 years I have kept it going with tubes in the tires. It was a noble wrestling match to get these in but definitley worth it. Now the cart sides have rusted off the frame and the tires are all dry rotted and starting to leak again. Time for a shiney new green one!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 7:55AM
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Bought new tires over the internet and when they arrived, they were compressed from the shipping straps (and probably from sitting stacked in a warehouse). Took the tires and rims to a local tire shop and the owner could not get the beads to seal. He told me to come back the next day and they would be ready. The next day they were done. I asked what he did and he explained that he bought a bag of kid's party balloons and inserted them inside the tire and inflated them until the bead was pushed up against the rim and then inflated the tire. Unfortunately, I didn't see him do it but it apparently is a well known trick of the trade per him.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 10:47AM
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Tire shops manned (womanned?) by professionals have a tool called a bead blaster that makes short work of seating collapsed tire beads safely.

The ether (explosive trick) is a sure way to get nominated for a Darwin award... regardless of how many times it works one day it won't and you'll see how your medical insurance or death benefits work.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 1:47PM
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enigma_2(z5 IN)

You can use an inner tube to get the same results as as a tire inflation strap.
Use one that has a smaller diameter than the tire.
Turn it inside out (so the valve stem is on the outside of tube.)
Stretch the tube tightly around the outside of the tire.
Inflate the tube to compress the tire and force the tire beads against rim.

On my last tractor, the right front tire had a nasty habbit of leaking air & going flat. I used this method as it's the easiest and fastest. Didn't even need to remove the tire from the tractor. - To "jack" the tractor up off the ground, I used a hand truck. Stuck the platform under the front of the tractor, tilted the handle down to the ground, used my toolbox to supply the needed weight to keep the tractor up and reembooberated the tire.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 5:33PM
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When new tires are stored and shipped like this there are no backyard tricks that will seat the beads... other than using tubes.

If you desire tubeless mounting then the ONLY thing that works is a bead blaster

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:09PM
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Great info. I went with the inner tube replacement after repeat rim leaks. Does anyone know how much PSI I fill the tube now that I have it installed? It's a "Tire Science Universal 4.80 x 4.00 for 8" rim.
Was a real bugger to install but I used a brake tool to ease it around the rim and shove it under the tire.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 3:33PM
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there may be a PSI spec on the sidewall of the tire itself...

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 7:09PM
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Use the rated PSI in the owners manual or what is stated on the sidewall of the tire. The tube itself has no PSI rating, it is the tire that has a spec.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 7:57PM
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