Broken Beads and Bottle Jacks

Discussion in 'Flatbed Trucking Forum' started by Big Texas Transport, Jun 2, 2024.

  1. Big Texas Transport

    Big Texas Transport Bobtail Member

    Nov 30, 2018
    Sharing a lesson I was glad to learn today in case it can help others.

    Bottom line up front: Consider carrying a bottle jack and enough blocks to support any axle end at its normal ride height or slightly higher.

    I walked around my truck resetting on a Sunday morning at a truck stop and found two flat trailer tires, one on each axle end at the right rear. WTF?! The weight on the trailer was straining the remaining tire on each axle end so much that I thought the bead/seal was going to break ON THEM at any time. That would have been a pickle; four flat tires on one rear corner of my trailer. I wouldn’t have been able to even limp into a repair bay.

    I decided I wasn’t going to get screwed with a Sunday roadside assistance call cost for two flat tires in a truck stop with a closed repair shop a few hundred feet away. So I figured I would raise each axle end and block them up to support the weight until the following morning.

    I got a 12K lb bottle jack at a local Wal-Mart because they were out of the 20K jacks; the 12K barely did the trick but thankfully it did.

    Here’s the lesson I was glad to learn, and I’ve been around automotive and truck tire work for a long time. Broken beads on big truck tires are usually a problem, though, and I had two, one on each axle end.

    While raising each axle end with air pressure escaping from broken beads, the flat tire returned to its normal shape, and the bead reset itself. Once each axle was at normal height and pressure in the tires was normal, I blocked the axles at normal height.

    It was a fluke, but one tire had a nail causing a slow leak, and the other had an automatic tire inflation tube that had a hole rubbed in it. That was an easy fix; I removed the tube until I can get a new one and I’ll just manually check and adjust tire pressure until I do. I left a jack in place on the other axle (nail in the tire) to prevent it from sagging again overnight, and in the morning I’ll fire the truck up early to get the pressure back up.

    So I was looking at a heck of an expensive “roadside” assistance call with two flat trailer tires, with a load on a Sunday, and I ended up with a simple slow leak in one tire that I’ll get fixed ASAP.

    Having a good bottle jack and blocks and a tire inflation hose to connect to the truck’s air line is a good idea. It saved me a bunch of money today.

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    CAXPT, booley, cke and 7 others Thank this.
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  3. W923

    W923 Road Train Member

    Feb 28, 2022
    Might add a small bucket of murfys tire soap…it’s like grease but safe for tires and will fill the gaps between the bead and the rim until you build enough pressure to get the tire out to it

    OLDSKOOLERnWV Captain Redbeard

    Nov 29, 2011
    West Virginia
    That’s why we use to carry 2 short 2”x8’ boards, lay the 2x8 down in front of the inflated tire and pull up on it, usually gives enough height to make the flat tire take a bead and hold air while you add air.

    Not a big fan of Harbor Freight, but, their 20 ton air Jack can be quite handy. I usually carry one in the side box along with multiple tools. Not likely anyone will stop to help like they use to, and shops will usually rake you over the coals for repairs….
  5. Big Road Skateboard

    Big Road Skateboard Road Train Member

    May 2, 2021
    A 4" strap can work also. Roll your inflated tire up on a rolled up 4" strap, it'll lift the other off the ground.

    I also do this to put my chains on.

    And a winch bar suffices as an improvised tire bar if your sidewalls aren't too stiff.
  6. Boardhauler

    Boardhauler Road Train Member

    Dec 21, 2008
    Ballin' in it for Shakey
    ^^^^^^^^This is why I lurk around here^^^^^^^
    Much wisdom in this section - Thank you all!
  7. OlegMel

    OlegMel Light Load Member

    Apr 8, 2023
    A 4x4 works great. Also get yourself a repair kit and make sure to have air hose as well as brake cleaner (make sure it’s flammable one) and not the ComiFornia one. I’ve had the repair kit for 3 years and last Friday it saved my ###.

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