Video Gallery: How to mount a tire on a wheel with explosive gas

You can shoot butane gas into a tire that's come off its rim. After igniting it, it gets surked onto the rim by creating some sort of vacuum, I presume. You can use non-aerosol fuel, too, although you risk melting or burning the rubber. Make sure you follow up by inflating the tire, not by sucking its cheeks back in. Short and sweet. Of course, sometimes it all goes horribly wrong.
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9 Responses to Video Gallery: How to mount a tire on a wheel with explosive gas

  1. dculberson says:

    My brother said this was how they used to seat the bead in the diesel shop he worked at back in the day. As a matter of course! Unbelievably dangerous for a daily activity, in my opinion. Really cool, though.

  2. Takuan says:

    useful to know. How can this information be subverted?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Interesting method, but I know an easier way. I worked in a tire shop for years before I decided to go back to college (got kicked out the first time around).

    1) Have a nice long air hose with the kind of end on it that locks onto the valve stem, like you see on most bike tire pumps and Coates machines.

    2) Pick up the tire, with the air line attached and your foot on the air supply pedal.

    3) Bounce the tire off the floor, turning on the air just before the first time it hits. If the bead doesn’t seal on the first bounce (with practice, it will) and you aren’t skilled at dribbling a mounted tire basket-ball style, catch it on the up-bounce.

    4) Repeat step 3 until the tire seals.

    I strongly second Cajun’s remark about fix-a-flat; there is a special hell just for people who give a mechanic a tire without warning him that fix-a-flat has been used in it. I’ve known tire-men who’d sabotage your car for that, by pulling a cotter in your steering linkage for example. As long as you warn the tire guy, it’s OK to use the stuff, otherwise don’t.


  4. cajunfj40 says:

    You’re welcome, Joel. BTW, I messed up one sentence, it should read “You still need a source of compressed air to re-fill the tire after seating the bead, either conventionally or with explosive methods…”

    STEFAN GRUBER @#4: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bicycle tire that was difficult to seat the beads on by pumping the tube full of air. Presumably you could use it on a hard to seat tubeless bicycle tire – something I’ve never seen in the wild. Note: this isn’t a way to inflate a flat tire – it is a way to get a tire’s beads re-seated. Your run-of-the-mill flat tire usually hasn’t had the bead seals broken. With a flat tire, you have to find the leak that let the air out and fix that. With a busted bead, your leak is visibly obvious – the gap between the tire bead and the rim is a dead giveaway. Seal that gap – by re-seating the bead – and you can just pump it back up. Unless, of course, there is another leak.

    TAKUAN @#5: Subvert it? Hmm. Well, if you don’t like your buddy, you could fill his tires with pure oxygen or better yet coat the inside of the tire with a strong heat-activated oxidizer. before you go four-wheeling… That could potentially allow an excess of fuel to really go bang, or maybe cause his tire to burn up. Be sure to stand upwind, though…

    Of course, though some wouldn’t call it a subversive use, you could also use this knowledge to impress a potential bed partner…

    Another safety note: Those “Fix A Flat” aerosol refill cans? If you ever use one, or if you use this “flaming bead reseat method”, ALWAYS tell the mechanic who next gets to play with that tire that you did so. The gas in the can is often flammable. Mixed with the air already in the tire and you have enough to make a respectable bang, just like in the above videos. If the damage to the tire is bad enough, or if there is some other defect that has invisibly weakened the tire, that “respectable bang” could send tire shrapnel into his face, totally ruining his day.

  5. Takuan says:

    good fix-a-flat point, I’ve heard other tire people curse it too.

  6. salo says:

    I think whats actually happening here is that they create a small explosion and rapid expansion of gasses within the tire, inflating it violently onto the rim.

  7. cajunfj40 says:

    I’ve seen this done in person, it’s pretty cool.

    SALO @#1 is right, it’s pressure popping the bead up on the rim, not vacuum.

    I worked at an auto repair shop for a summer, and got to run the tire mounting rig enough times to learn a few things. Definitely not everything, but enough. Seating the bead is much harder than just pumping the tire up. Shops tend to use a nice-sized (say a bit larger than your average 20-lb propane tank) compressed air “surge” tank with a larger diameter hose leading to the tire valve chuck. The surge tank is important – unless you have a really good bead seal you’ll never get the tire seated just on shop pressure. Learned that one by running the shop’s big compressor storage tank empty… The surge tank and large air hose allow a “burst” of pressure to go into the tire, replacing air faster than it can leak out around the beads. This then pops the beads up against the rim and after that you put the valve back in and inflate normally.

    You still need a source of compressed air to re-fill the tire after seating the bead, either conventionally or with shop methods – though with shop methods you can sometimes be quick enough with the valve-stem core install tool to keep enough air in.

    The “sucking the sides in” bit in the “Redneck Tire Mounting” video is due to the chilling effect of the expanding compressed air being introduced into the very hot space inside the tire. The air hose couldn’t flow enough air to fill it faster than the gases within the tire contracted upon chilling.

    A few tips: Always remove the valve stem core before attempting this sort of remount. Otherwise the risk of tire explosion is much greater. I think “the Tong way to fit a tyre” omitted this step, due to the lack of whistling through the open valvestem. Do not put your finger over the valve stem after the “bang” to try and keep the tire inflated – not only will the hot gases trying to escape burn your finger, they won’t keep it full as they cool. Always wait a bit before commencing re-inflation, especially if you used a lot of fuel. Introducing fresh air into a hot, fuel-rich environment can cause a second explosion while you are much closer to the tire…

    Another way to seat the bead, that does not involve fire, is to put a ratchet strap around the circumference of the tire and cinch it down tight. This makes the seal against the rim a lot better and can make it possible to inflate the tire enough to get the beads seated. You’ll want a lot more soapy water on the rim, though, to minimize the friction of the bead so it doesn’t take too much pressure.

    Wow, it’s been ten years since I was last in an environment (off-road) that would involve this sort of creative mis-use of tools. Had to change at least four tires one day due to the beads pushing off the rim from running at low pressure. Good times.

  8. stefan_gruber says:

    Do you think the same could be done for bicycle tires?

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