While our Citroên-adapted tire mounting machine worked exactly as planned, that glosses over the significant learning curve that Terry and I went through. That YouTube video made the process look deceptively easy. Terry and I struggled and sweated for hours while we slowly discovered the many small tricks and techniques that make things possible. Just in case anyone out there ever wants to try to use such a machine (or even ours), here are a few of the key tips we have collected:

  • mount the machine very solidly to the floor; we used a 4 ft x 4 ft sheet of 1 1/4 inch thick plywood.
  • bead-breaking is harder than it looks, but can be aided by liberal application of hammer blows to get the shoe into place.
  • lubricate the bead and rim with a real bead lubricant product, not just soap and water.
  • this is a two person job, unless you are very agile and very strong.
  • when mounting, make sure both sides of the bead can sit in the narrowest part (the well) of the wheel, and will stay there while you rotate the tire iron; we used a pair of welding pliers to help us.
  • keeping the beads in the well is the most important job of the second person.
  • when you insert the mounting head of the tire iron, there is a twist of the wrist that makes the whole thing work; you hook onto the rim first, then rotate and twist the head back towards you to pick up the bead of the tire; it is easier to show than to describe.
  • when everything stays exactly in place, the forces to rotate the tire iron are much lower; if you are struggling, check that the tire has not accidentally seated its bead onto the rim;
  • lowering those forces means that the bead is stretched less; that will reduce damage to the tire.

So there you go. If you ever feel like you want to give this a try, feel free to contact Bob.

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