North Dakota Military Vehicle Collectors Association
Combat Wheel Mounting
1. Gather up the tools you’ll need. For this project for a set of five wheels & tires, we used the following: Soft-blow hammer (saw only limited use, mostly it’s available if needed). ½-inch drive ratchet, with 6-inch extension & ¾-inch 6-point socket, ½-inch drive cordless impact wrench & ¾-inch socket (optional, but very handy),Tire pressure gauge,Valve stem retainer tool, Needle nose pliers, Valve core removal tools (preferably a notched valve stem cap instead of a combination tool, for reasons that’ll be discussed later), Tire mounting lubricant application brush, Tire mounting lubricant (this 1-gallon jug is more than sufficient), (not pictured) 6 small margarine tubs, or similar containers (one for each wheel’s hardware, plus one to use for placing the valve stem core in while you are working on a tire), (not pictured) Air compressor, with sufficient hose to reach your work area, and (not pictured) ½-inch drive torque wrench
Now for reproduction combat wheels. First, my G-503 didn’t have the correct wheels when I bought it, so I didn’t have them to reuse in the first place. If I did, they would’ve had to been in good condition for me to consider reusing them – as they should for you too. A wheel is a basic safety item on any vehicle. A rusty, corroded, pitted rim exacerbated by 75 years of metal fatigue retaining a tire and tube under air pressure may look OK sand-blasted and a thick new coat of paint, but should always be looked at as being a potential grenade. You do not want a catastrophic failure of a wheel of any vintage while driving a vehicle – especially an open jeep. Some folks may have a beef with modern manufacturers of combat wheels, but I’d rather bet the safety of my vehicle on a newly made component over a stressed old part that should be retired.
One other thing that you’ll need that’s just as valuable as the components is a number of folks to assist you. While there are several things where one person is fine with doing some of this work, there are times when you can’t get enough hands to get something to cooperate. Those of us who contributed to this project have had various levels of experience with this before – some a little, some a lot. We agree that this procedure is best done with three people, possibly four if they work well together. Two could get this accomplished, but if experienced and pre-planned to have things laid out and ready to go as needed. Even well organized and capable, one person would likely be very frustrated, especially a novice. In a perfect world, this would be a good club meeting project, if several members had tires to mount. Finally, have ample room on your workbench or a stout table – at least with enough bare space to for a tire with about a one foot radius around it and accessible from at least two sides across from each other.