Saturday, February 26, 2011

Changing a Tire

Unless you're blessed with very good luck, the odds are that you're going to have a tire problem that requires you to change a tire. There are two basic approaches - change it yourself, or call your road-service plan. You DO have one of those, right?

The latter really is the easier way, but then there is always the chance that your problem could occur somewhere without cellphone coverage and many miles from a service facility. The only way home is to change that tire yourself. Keep in mind that that an LD is a very heavy vehicle compared to your car and certain safety requirements must be followed. You'll also need the right equipment. The tire/wheel assembly is also quite heavy.

Jacks: It's recommended that you carry two, especially if you do not have leveling jacks. With one tire flat, especially on the front, there may not be enough room to get that 10-12 ton bottle jack underneath the lift point. If so equipped, you can use the leveling jacks to raise that corner up enough to get the big jack in place. Without leveling jacks, you'll need the smalled jack to do that task.

Before jacking, set the emergency brake and block two other tires to keep the vehicle from rolling. Slightly loosen the lug nuts.

- You need to use a 1/2" breaker bar with a 3-4' cheater bar to loosen the nuts.

- You could also a 110v impact wrench, assuming you have a working generator. A 12-volt impact wrench will not be hefty enough for the job.

-- Chicago Electric Power Tools Industrial 45252, available from Harbor Freight, is one that an LDer reports does the job.

Caution: Once the vehicle is raised, it's a very smart idea to put some blocks or jack stands in place to keep the keep the vehicle safely aloft should the jack fail. If you have to do the job without blocks or stands, be VERY certain that you put no part of your body in a position where it could be crushed should the rig fall.

After replacing the tire, be sure to properly torque the nuts to spec.

Contributors: Larry Wade, WxToad, George Peters

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