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Old 02-28-2011, 09:57 AM   #1
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Bead-balancing tires

Just replaced the Chinese junk tires on my new Flagstaff with Maxxis 8-plies, and the tire guy told me about bead-balancing. No more lead weights to fall off, they just throw a bag of what looks like glass beads into the tire. It works like the old liquid balancing, but less messy.
The cool thing is that if a stone gets stuck in the tread, the beads will adjust the balance, and when the stone falls out, they readjust again. The tires will always be in balance. How cool is that?
Has anyone had any experience with this? Just wondering if the beads eventually turn to dust?

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Old 03-01-2011, 04:57 AM   #2
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They might be OK for the trailer or pavement pounder, but I would never use them in my Power Wagon or any vehicle in which you have to change air pressure. I air down when not towing and increase when towing. I also air down for off road situations. With the beads, you have to make sure the valve stems are at the 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock position to minimize the bead loss when airing down. The four tires are never in the same position, so you have to keep moving the vehicle and despite this, you still loose a few which hurt if they hit you and eventually there will not be enough to be effective.


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Old 03-01-2011, 07:42 AM   #3
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We've been using them for a few years, on the larger mud terrain tires, and on dually wheel applications, where the wheel doesn't fit our spin balancer. They seem to work good, with no comebacks.

The things you have to make sure of:

1. No moisture in the tire. It needs to be clean and dry inside for the beads to freely roll and not clump together. Need a good air supply with a water filter/separator to keep moisture out of the tire, when inflating. Never use fix-a-flat products. If you do, then you have to dismount the tire, remove everything and start completely over after it dries out. Some stuff will always leave a sticky residue and will prohibit the beads from rolling correctly.

2. If you ever have the tire patched (don't use plugs), you will need to make sure there is no residual glue left inside the tire where it was ground down to install the patch. Applying baby powder will take care of this.

You also have to determine if you want to install a new bag of beads at this step as they have to be removed from the tire prior to fixing it. We have been able take a cup and scoop out the beads prior to repairing the tire, then pouring them back in the tire with pretty good luck.

3. If you use the filtered valve cores that come with most packs, then that should take care of any beads coming out when airing down. Just press the valve core down to release the air (don't remove it). The filtered valve core also keeps the small beads from becoming trapped in it, and the valve core not sealing back.

4. Yes, the beads do become smaller as they constantly roll and rub on each other. That's where the different manufacturers hawk their products as being better than the competition. We have seen a pretty good difference in the sizes when replacing tires later on down the road which we installed the product in. It was still working though.
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Old 03-01-2011, 07:53 AM   #4
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wmtire, thanks for the great info, very thorough.
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:32 PM   #5
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Been using them on motorcycles for years. Mostly for cosmetic reasons (no weights) They seem to work great!

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Old 03-01-2011, 04:37 PM   #6
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My father was telling me about the bead bag's - they were at a truck stop getting a tire changed on there motor home a few years back - apperantly they used them on the RV when the tires where installed when new so they have been around along time - mostly used on Semi's and Large Motorhomes

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