BEADLOCK CONVERSION INSTRUCTIONS
PHOTOS AT BOTTOM OF PAGE
For the safest, strongest & trouble free beadlocks, all conversions should be done by a competent fabricator/welder with correct equipment.
PREPPING YOUR WHEELS AND INNER LOCK RINGS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART NEXT TO WELDING, All welding should be performed by a experienced welder. PLEASE READ ALL STEPS BEFORE STARTING, Your setup, prep & welding procedure may vary depending on personal preference & equipment
If not sure your beadlock kits can be safely installed please bring to shop that has beadlock conversion experience. If located in Phoenix Arizona area, contact FFR-FAB - FFRBEADLOCKS.COM (Limited Availability)
ALWAYS USE PERSONAL SAFETY EQUIPMENT & PROTECTION, SAFETY GLASSES, face shield, gloves, hearing protection, etc. Power tools like angle grinders can be dangerous to operate & can kick back.
Preparing wheels. The area where the inner lock ring contacts the wheel needs to be bare metal. Remove paint, powder coat etc. from within outer lip of wheel, about 1/2"-3/4" worth. Most newer steel wheels are powder coated & can take a lot of effort to remove. A 4½ inch knotted wire wheel or knotted wire cup on angle grinder works well. A flap disc also works but avoid removing too much metal. With care, a chemical paint stripper like (Rust-Oleum Aircraft Remover) can be used as alternative to remove tough powder coat. *it's also recommended to clean paint/coating off reverse (under) side of outer wheel lip to avoid melting fumes & liquefied coating dripping onto opposite wheel bead surface during welding.
Grinder w/ flap disk or knotted wire brush works alone or clean up after chemical stripping.
*If using chemical stripper follow all product label instructions
Lightly clean both the inner and outer edges of inner beadlock rings to reduce sharpness of the edges. Using a 120 grit 4½" flap sanding disc on electric angle grinder works well. DO NOT BEVEL FOR WELD YET. Light clean up as needed (Inner beadlock ring is ring that welds to outer face of wheel)
TEST FITTING INNER RING, CRITICAL STEP.
Test fit inner beadlock ring within the outer lip of the rim.
All FFRBEADLOCKS.com Beadlocks are 'Within Lip' design. Rings are cut at a happy/medium diameter based on standardized wheel sizing, but wheel lip thickness & profile vary. Ring should sit down flush & flat within wheel lip with small weld gap around rings outer diameter. *Vertical part of rim lip (when wheel face up) SHOULD BE FLUSH or just slightly above ring.
*If outer wheel lip edge is above seated ring (due to ring thickness or wheel variables) it is highly recommended to grind down wheel lip close to flush with ring. This can be done with the ring sitting in wheel as a guide. This will insure the best penetrating welds that are deep enough to be ground smooth, this is most commonly needed with 3/16" thick rings although it may be necessary on 1/4" thick rings. At this time, also check ring gap to wheel lip. REMEMBER, final welds must have good penetration to ring & wheel, be deep enough within gap to later surface off top of this weld. If outer diameter of inner lock ring is to tight within lip, reducing ring diameter slightly for proper weld gap may be necessary.
IF YOUR WELDS DO NOT PENETRATE DEEP ENOUGH, YOU WILL END UP REMOVING THE STRUCTURAL PART OF THE WELD WHEN FINAL SURFACING IS DONE.
Bevel outside top edge of inner lock ring for weld penetration/ gap. This bevel & gap will vary depending on wheel, ring thickness, welding process used, welders preference & setup. Full 45 degree bevel works well.
Before welding. Protect center of wheel from weld splatter. Gel type protection works well on powder coat finishes. (Nozzle Aid, "tip dip" from Weld-Aid) is a product proven to protect powder coat with these conversions. Brush several thick coats of gel on all exposed areas in wheel center, as long as left untouched it will usually last/protect until all welding is complete. Other spray anti splatter products may work including Cooking Spray or small welding blanket tucked in center of wheel. *Even with gel or anti splatter, wheel coating may be effected from overall heat & weld splatter.
Center & tack weld inner beadlock ring to wheel. (Make sure weld gap, bevel & rim lip are ready for welds) Visually center inner lock ring within the lip of the rim, a measuring caliper helps gauge multiple places from inside of ring to outer lip of wheel. Clamps or pressure may be needed if ring does not lay flat in wheel. Tack weld rings to the inner lip of wheels in at least four places evenly spaced.
Welding inner lock ring to the wheel. Coning in or warping of inner ring is possible with too much heat. (higher possibility of warping with 3/16" thick inner rings) To avoid this while retaining quality hot welds it's recommended to run multiple shorter beads opposed to each other until all gaps are filled. Welds should end up just slightly above ring to reduce amount of clean up. Weld must have enough penetration "Deep in V" after ground flush with ring.
3"-4" long segmented weld beads work well. Alternating to multiple wheels also helps control heat. Segmented weld joints are potential points of air leaks, even tiny pin holes and cracks will create slow leaks, try to stop & start welds in way to overlap & fill thoroughly. Too high a weld bead will make for a excess effort to smooth ring surface, Too shallow a weld will result in a lot of gap filling. Key is to have deep root weld. Your setup & procedure may vary.
Smooth/Surface the Weld THIS IS THE DIRTY & TIME CONSUMING PART! Smooth/Surface the weld flush to inner ring surface after wheels cool. *Welds should be flush/flat to ring. A large 9" angle grinder with abrasive type disc makes this step quicker before switching to smaller flap type disc. Quality flap disks make big difference. (portable belt sander also works). Gradually bring surface down flush & smooth to ring, when weld/ring is blended flat & smooth, its time to DO A LEAK TEST (small imperfections & weld pits okay at this point).
*A turntable or hard plastic surface like plastic folding table make rotating/ repositioning wheel easier for getting a consistent surface. A smooth blended surface is recommended & preferred for bead seat clamping area.
*Alternative to welds being blended flush/flat to ring is to grind weld smooth to a consistent (slightly raised) flat bead around wheel. This is an acceptable surface for tire bead but it has to be a consistent surface. Leak test still needed and silicone when mounting tire is recommended.
LEAK TEST. Compressed air, eye protection, blow gun, spray bottle with soapy water, (lots of dish soap). With wheel face up, spray top surface of lock ring liberally with soapy water, direct compressed air up from under ring within center wheel (tip of blow gun directly in "V" under ring) Look carefully for soap bubbles at weld area, mark location of any pin hole or weld gap leaks with paint pen etc. Grind in a cavity (die grinder etc.) at leak locations & refill with weld, smooth area carefully, repeat leak test & weld/fill as needed. Fill & smooth any other imperfections on ring so tire bead has a smooth flat surface for sealing. (This surface does not need to be 100% perfect but large weld pits or imperfections may cause leaks) *LEAK TEST IS IMPORTANT, make sure the weld area is airtight, if not you may have tire air leaks.
Set Anti Coning Rings (Only after leak test passed & surface smoothed) Center anti-coning ring on face of inner beadlock ring with bolt holes on outside of anti coning ring. Small clamps to hold in position for tack welds help. Stitch weld anti-coning rings in at least four places evenly spaced (these don't need to be full perimeter structural welds, just enough to hold rings in place) Splatter protection on ring clamping surface helps with clean up. It's okay if anti-coning ring is close to bolt holes as long as bolt shank can pass through.
Clean/degrease wheel. Clean wheels & lock ring bolt holes of weld splatter, clean grinding dust/anti splatter etc. with soap & water. High pressure water spray helps remove grinding grit on painted/coated surfaces.
Prep & Paint bare metal & heat affected areas of wheels. Sand/Scuff areas to be painted, protect areas to remain unpainted, apply self etching primer & paint to inner ring and bare metal areas on wheel to match base wheel color. *To reach inside of inner ring, spraying from behind wheel through hub opening helps. If you used protection during welding, the majority of center of wheels should not need paint.
Outer Beadlock Rings. (may want to do first so dry when conversions finished) Prep for paint or coating by surfacing edges and rounding sharp edges as needed. Sand/scuff surfaces as needed. Rounding outer diameter edge of ring is recommended. Clean/degrease. Prime and paint outer rings. Allow to dry completely before tire mounting.
Trouble free beadlocks. Optional but recommended for DIY conversions due to tire, & wheel sealing surface irregularities, a layer of silicone during tire installation on inner lock ring at weld area/ tire mating surface can help assure a trouble free beadlock.
The now inverted tire bead surface may have irregular rough surface that may not seal well against beadlock ring causing air leaks. varying tire mold textures or previous tire bead damage may cause air leaks.
Not performing leak test during conversion is another reason for air leaks, even tiny pin holes in weld will cause slow leaks, basic silicone or black RTV works well.
Contact us with any questions. FFRFAB@GMAIL.COM
Intended for off-road use
POWDER COAT/PAINT REMOVAL: TOOLS FOR PREP, A COMBINATION OF CHEMICAL HAND/POWER WIRE BRUSH WORKS WELL. USE CAUTION W/ CHEMICAL STRIPPER ON SKIN/EYES.
CLEAN UNDER SIDE OF LIP TO STOP COATING FROM MELTING DURING WELDING
PROTECTION FOR CENTER OF WHEEL WHILE WELDING, ANTI-SPATTER OR FOLDED WELDING BLANKET WITHIN WHEEL CENTER
CENTER & CHECK GAP FOR WELD
*BEVEL RING TO YOUR PREFERENCE, FULL 45 DEGREE WORKS WELL, SLIGHTLY BEVELING RIM LIP CAN HELP WITH GETTING FULL PENETRATION
RING PREP BEFORE WELDING IS IMPORTANT TO QUALITY WELD
Welds should end up just slightly above ring to reduce amount of clean up. Weld must have enough penetration "Deep in V" after ground flush with ring. 3"-4" long segmented weld beads work well. Alternating to multiple wheels helps control heat. Segmented weld joints are potential points of air leaks, stop & start welds in way to overlap & fill thoroughly. Too high a weld bead will make for a excess effort to smooth ring surface, Too shallow a weld will result in a lot of gap filling. Key is to have deep root weld. Your setup & procedure may vary.
READY FOR SMOOTHING
SET OF BEADLOCKS READY FOR LEAK TESTING
MOST IMPORTANT STEP TO HAVE TROUBLE FREE BEADLOCKS L E A K T E S T
COMPRESSED AIR UNDER RING WITH SOAPY WATER, L O O K FOR B U B B L E S.
GO AROUND COMPLETE RING 360 DEGREES - MARK ANY LEAKS FOR SPOT REPAIR
GRIND SHALLOW PIT AT LEAK LOCATION
FILL WITH WELD & GRIND SMOOTH
CHECK YOUR WORK! DO A SECOND LEAK TEST
CENTER & CLAMP ANTI-CONING RINGS, USE CLAMPS TO HOLD IN PLACE,
TACK WELD IN SEVERAL PLACES, STITCH WELD IN SEVERAL PLACES ON INSIDE
READY FOR PAINT,
TO COAT UNDER RING, WITH WHEEL STANDING UP SPRAY THROUGH HUB OPENING FROM REAR