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MTO, Do You Mount Split Rim Tires?


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Had a 14 inch tire blow up on me once. Was trying to get by in a pinch with a bit too old a tire i mounted on a hay rake wheel to get going. 

Heard  a funny creak and leaned away from Tire ,which was on the ground, just as it let go. Jammed my hand as it went by me and flooped me upside the head with the air hose. Didnt see it any more till it came crashing down a couple of feet away from me. Scared the crap outa me. I threw away sum old tires after that and kept rim on tire machine till beaded up since.....

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9 hours ago, oleman said:

Until recent time (early 70's) all truck tires were mounted on some sort of split wheel.  I have had various vehicles with splits, including a 51 Ford 1 ton that had 2 piece rims that basically rotated in the center to  split for tire mounting.  The other types are either a concentric solid ring (used on an IH 1/2T) or a split ring retainer (used on an IH 3/4T and larger).  In all my years around service stations I have only heard about a split blowing apart except from and article in a distant  newspaper.  I changed many of those type of tires and with a little common sense applied never an issue.  Most aircraft are still split the rim separates at the center and is bolted together.

The last new vehicle I had with splits was a 73 dodge M300 chassis and it had BUD wheels with the split retainer ring. Never an issue with those rims except they are difficult to balance. Now 45 years later there the situation is different BUT with a new wheel again I would have little reservation with working with them.


Yes, those old Ford split rims that were a two piece rim were the ones called the "widow makers". I've got them (17 inch) on the old M68 Mercury truck and don't plan on working on them. All my other trucks have the locking ring and I've worked on all of them without a problem. Cleaning and inspection is important to make sure the locking ring seats. Still, you guys are making me nervous. :-)

Only tire I ever had blow apart on inflation was a 4.00x8 wheelbarrow type tire on a bale stacker. The rim split open on inflation due to rust. Just lucky it was contained between forks on the stacker and it could not damage anyone. I didn't realize how rusty and thin that rim was. 

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I still see split rims going down the interstate on container trailers. I use alot of them around the farm as well. All the tire shops that do truck tires will do split rim tires around here. They just charge more.


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Thing is they got a bad reputation. Don't matter how many you changed and never had a problem. Far more people got away with changing them without problems than were injured or killed by em. But to get a rep like that far too many failed for one reason or another. There is a very good reason that OSHA mandates a cage for em and some insurance companies don't sell policies that cover repairs on split rim tires. Wife's boss sells tires, been doing it for 35 years. He no longer services any multi piece rims mounted tires. His insurance doesn't cover it and he doesn't get enough of em to justify the extra insurance.

While I was active duty 74-96 we would get accident reports 2 maybe 3 times a year of someone badly injured or dead because of a rim failing while a tire was being inflated. That was every year. And the Army had cages available!

We had a not to bright kid that was assigned as the supply truck driver for our company. When his truck was in for quarterly services he was being a pain to the mechanics. They told him that the air in his tire was stale and needed changed. When they went looking for him they found him at the tire cage with all 10 of the tires. He would pull the core, replace it and was airing them back up!



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22 hours ago, 5088downunder said:

I reckon the main reason manufacturers went away from split rims has more to do with the introduction of tubeless tyres. 

I think the largest reason was they sorted out how to make a strong side wall tire without using a wall so thick that it could not be stretched over a rim. They saved a bundle with the simple stamped steel one piece rims and fast stretch over mounting.  AND they got to sell more profit as SAFETY. In  the US the original stretch-over truck tire was the 16.5" and other half size tires size tires. The 15,16,and 17 were still hard-wall tires. 2 piece rims with car-tires size tires were before I can remember but the splits ended in the late 70's in the US on most trucks.

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  • 1 year later...

Two items that pertain to this discussion (searched "multi-piece rim"; "split-rim might also work.). Apparently this cause of injury and death is or was largely unreported in the US. Outside the US, I can find no stats.

1. 109 deaths and injuries reported to OSHA, https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/AccidentSearch.search?acc_keyword=%22Multipiece%20Rim%20Wheel%22&keyword_list=on

2. https://www.inquirer.com/philly/obituaries/20150730_Mary_Ehmann_Auger__90__whose_crusade_against_dangerous_tires_saves_lives.html

ON JULY 2, 1976, 18-year-old Eric Ehmann was working on a large truck tire in a garage in Phoenixville when the tire exploded. The rim struck him in the chest and head, causing massive brain injuries that killed him two days later.

From this tragedy, his mother, Mary Ehmann Auger, was able, through drive and stubborn persistence, to bring about mandated changes in the design of truck tires that have saved countless lives.

Her one-woman crusade took her to Washington, D.C., where she convinced the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to push for legislation to ban and recall the dangerous multipiece, split-rim truck tires.

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