Splitting Rims

Split Rims on four wheel drives is old technology. The technology dates back about 50 years plus now. This rim was invented to make tube repairs a lot easier as on solid steel rims it was hard work getting the tyre off the rim to get to the tube. The advent of tubeless tyres on four wheel drives came in around 1975 in Australia and has taken over the recreational aspect of tyres on four wheel drives. The method for repairs to tubeless tyres is to plug the hole in situ and then have the tyre repaired by professional tyre fitters once you are back in a town. Most standard new vehicles still come from the factory with steel belted tyres on split rims, and when sold to a customer, the change to radial tubeless tyres and solid steel or alloy rims normally takes place.

I have tubeless tyres for my run of the mill running around and easy gravel roads. Of necessity I run Old Technology Crossply Tyres on Split Rims when attempting to drive tracks which have not been used in a long time. The Australian Bush is unforgiving in this respect as hardened wood splints from trees long dead lie about on these tracks waiting for the unsuspecting tyre to come past. 12/14/16 Ply Crossply tyres have much thicker sidewalls and are better suited to use in these circumstances. The downside is that there is less floatation of the tyre on the track surface and these tyres tend to cut into the road surface making forward movement a small percentage more difficult, and hence more fuel may be used when traversing this type of terrain.

A good policy is, to once a year, split the rims, remove the tyres and the tubes, so that the rims may be cleaned and reseated in good condition.

Now this procedure is a little difficult to do and take photos at the same time but here goes:

I use Tyrepliers….it works for me. At first mark the position of the valve and split in the locking ring with anything that will leave a mark. This will help retain the wheel balance after the repair when refitting the tyre in it’s original position.



Using a car based 12 volt air-compressor will not create a dangerous situation with the Split Rim flying off and injuring a bystander such as can happen when a high a volume air compressor is used at a Tyre repair shop. It is always prudent however, when pumping air into the tyre, to lean the wheel face forward against a tree or whatever, just to be on the safe side.

Oh yes…it’s a bit of hard yakka sometimes, especially late in the afternoon on a distant track somewhere in the Outback when you have to repair a tyre !

Posted in 4x4 Travel Stories.