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We are working on a 1917 Empire, and need to find someone who can mount 34x4 tires on to split rims (26"). Can anyone suggest someone who can do this who is located in Upstate/Western New York, or northwestern PA?

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Now wold be the right time to learn how to do this job. You will need a rim spreader/retractor tool found at swap meets or ebay at usually reasonable prices. It is a tool to have anyway. You unlock the split rim and use the tool to collapse the rim enough to get the tire off and use it in reverse to expand the rim to re-latch/lock the tab. If you are touring and need this service you would be hard pressed to find a local tire shop with the tools or knowledge. here is one on ebay.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/FORD-Model-T-SPLIT-RIM-JACK-Wheel-spreader-1920s-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem27b33faf35QQitemZ170511019829QQptZVintageQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories#ht_4438wt_915

Edited by JFranklin (see edit history)

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I do not think that is a Ford only tool. I believe that most of those were for universal use???? I have one that I use for my 34x4-1/2 tires and it has a stop-lock so you can ratchet it open and closed.

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Most tire companys will not work on a split rim wheel. The problem lies in that if the rim is not in place corectly, it could decapitate the worker when he fills it with air.

One or the reasones is that over the years, the rims and wheels get seperated fron each other and a different rim is put on the wrong wheel.

When inflating them, ALWAYS put the assmbly into a tire cage BEFORE inflateing them.

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Early split rim wheels were just that, split. The straight edge tire rims with a locking ring are the ones you need to worry about. I'm not sure which type you are asking about, Post a photo.

Edited by JFranklin (see edit history)

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There is one on Ebay now at:

FORD Model T or A SPLIT RIM JACK Wheel spreader 1920's : eBay Motors (item 170511019829 end time Jul-15-10 18:07:34 PDT)

They and not hard to change and not that dangerous like truck split rims.

I used to change them without the tool. the tool makes it a lot easier.

I like the ad's text I would like to see you change a Model A tire with this tool. or a late T for that mater

Edited by Jay Wolf
add too (see edit history)

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I believe Coker and Universal Tire both sell reconditioned rim-jacks.

Suggest you find a fellow brass/nickel car owner ( check out the Horseless Carriage Club of America site: The Horseless Carriage Club of America, The Premier Brass-Era Touring Club )

They have an on-line forum, and someone will probably come to your aid.

The "split-rims" that Roger is referring to are the multi-piece rims used on big trucks up through the 1980's. There were a variety of designs, but the really dangerous one is the type where the two rim sections meet in the center channel (used on GM trucks from the late '40s into the 1960's ), and lock together (Hopefully). Mis-matched or worn rim sections would come apart either in the tire shop or sometimes out on the road.

You can well imagine the trail of Liability and litigation that followed.

Truck wheels with the removeable side ring ( two-piece, or three-piece with a lock ring), are more reliable.

So now, ANY "multi-piece" rim is generically branded a "split rim", and tire-guys run away screaming. :eek::eek::eek:

A properly assembled, structurally sound, true split-rim (collapses inward to change the tire) as used on your Empire cannot fail in the same fashion as the truck rims described above.

I agree that you are best-off learning to do this yourself. Will see what my 1918 Dykes manual has to say on the subject.

I can't even find a shop that can correctly mount the 6.50 x 16 tube-type tires on my "modern" 1941 De Soto... been doing it myself "forever".

Had to learn to "do my own" when I was sixteen ( early 1980's) and no tire shop would touch the two-piece "widow-maker" split-rims on my Grandad's '54 Chevy 3/4-ton. ( No decapitation so far, that I've noticed... ;) )

Good luck !

Edited by De Soto Frank (see edit history)

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Folks generally underestimate the damage a split rim can do. It's not a question of getting your arm broken if one flies apart and hits you while you air it up. It is literally a question of decapitation. I grew up in Dad's tire shop. A previous tenant in the building had been killed by a split rim. After killing him the half rim continued upward and impressed a ring in the overhead wood truss, maybe 12 feet from the ground. Lock rings are dangerous but not nearly as dangerous. Biggest danger with the collapsible rims is being badly pinched trying to get them back together. Don't ask how I know.

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I picked up a split rim tool at Hershey a few years back and it didn't open up far enough for my 26 inch rims but I have since picked up a Weaver split rim tool that is mounted to the floor. This is the cats pajama's. I can now change a tire in ten minutes with no fear of pinching the tube. I have been changing tires for friends that have split rims. You should see if someone in your area has one of these or an old gas station or tire shop may have one buried some place.

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Green Sixteen,

Look for Dandy Dave on the Buick forum to do this for you.... He is a crackerjack mechanic and has a 15 Buick with the same size tires.... He is in NY too!

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Probably best to call these "demountable rims" so as to not freak out people about the dangerous later model split rims. I replaced all 5 tires on my Stude having never done it before. You learn what works as you go along and I find that tire irons and screw drivers are helpful also.

I bought a rim spreader on ebay and it was invaluable when changing these.

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Probably best to call these "demountable rims" so as to not freak out people about the dangerous later model split rims. I replaced all 5 tires on my Stude having never done it before. You learn what works as you go along and I find that tire irons and screw drivers are helpful also.

I bought a rim spreader on ebay and it was invaluable when changing these.

An excellent suggestion, given the general terror and panic caused by the mere mention of "split-rim"... :rolleyes:

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I think a lot of your replies to split rims are confused about cars in the twenty's and cars in the 60 s the term split rim is totally different the old model T & A's had split rims designed for a driver to fix his tire on the side of the road .A car owner back in the day was a lot more incline to fix his own car, not like to day if you have a flat you call AAA . An initiative person of the day would carry a small block of wood with him a tire patch kit and a small air pump place the block of wood across inside your rim and use the car jack to spreed the rim enough to lock it down .You know men to day just don't think

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Probably best to call these "demountable rims" so as to not freak out people about the dangerous later model split rims. I replaced all 5 tires on my Stude having never done it before. You learn what works as you go along and I find that tire irons and screw drivers are helpful also.

I bought a rim spreader on ebay and it was invaluable when changing these.

25erduplex said it vey well.

There are very different types, and the "Demountable" with a split running from side-to-side, either 90 degrees like my '27 Chevy, or even on an angle as my '14 Buick, are relatively simple once you get the hang of it. BUT, if you use the rim spreader tool, you MUST avoid the tendancy to overdo it, either collapsing or expanding. You could damage the rim, and even leave on "EGG-SHAPED" (don't ask how I know - you don't want to see an old man cry!). Common sense, and caution make a ton of difference.

good luck,

Marty

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I think a lot of your replies to split rims are confused about cars in the twenty's and cars in the 60 s the term split rim is totally different the old model T & A's had split rims designed for a driver to fix his tire on the side of the road .
As long as we're shaking the dust off of a 2 1/2 year old post, Model "A"s did not have split rims. And, yes, the split rims, that the original poster is referring to, are no more dangerous than changing the tires on a bicycle

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You don't necessarily need a rim jack to compress demount-able (split) rims on early cars.  I use a ratchet strap hooked on opposite sides of the rim to compress it.  

 

Once the new tire is on the rim, I use a bottle jack and blocks of wood to expand the rim and lock it back into place.  

 

It's easy to do.  Just be sure to use lots of baby powder on the inside of the tire so your tube won't bind or stick.  

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1 hour ago, Roger Frazee said:

Just be sure to use lots of baby powder on the inside of the tire so your tube won't bind or stick.  

What you need is TALC (a mineral), which used to be the primary component of baby powder, long since removed for product safety reasons although it didn't hurt us old guys.  Baby powder is now cornstarch, so unless you have old containers of baby powder marked as talc, it's better to buy "tire talc" from NAPA or other serious parts sellers.

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Growing up in Dad's tire shop in the late 1960's we changed thousands and thousands of tube type tires on all size and style rims.  Never once did we use Talcum powder or any other powder.  It is not necessary and can be a problem if you later mount the tire tubeless. That talc rolls itself up into little balls the size of peas and flies around inside the tire.   As a kid in the tire shop I actually had a collection of these balls. 

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In hot and humid weather Dad did use corn starch to prevent galding in certain areas of the body.  His body,  not the body of the tire.

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