Fixing Tires on the Ranch – Tractors to Gator – Plugs to Tubes
Hi I’m Mike, they say if it has tires then
its gonna cause you grief eventually, and today on the project list, we tackle tire
troubles, on our Wyoming life. Welcome back to our Wyoming life, please subscribe
and join us as together, we explore the ranch life and escape the ordinary.
This is the project list, a continuing effort to stay in front of all the things that need
done around here. Some jobs are big and some are small but all need done at some point.
If you are ever here and looking for something to do, head to the list cause there is always
a project waiting for you. Today on the project list we are taking a
look at tires. I counted this morning, and all told on the ranch we have over 80 tires
that are in use at least once per year. Whether they are on manure spreaders, haying equipment
or 4 wheelers, all those tires have to be maintained at some point or another.
Some tires are more important, like tires on the gator or skid steer, which get used
constantly and some aren’t high on the priority list, like the tires on the International
tractor, which is only used around the gardens. But when a tire is flat, well then that piece
of equipment is out of commission until it is fixed, and if murphys law stays constant,
which it always does around here, you are going to need it within minutes of finding
a flat tire. Its those piece of machinery we are going
to be working on today, the gator has a slow leak that is becoming a pain to deal with,
the skid steer has rolled a tire off the rim and the international has been down and out
for months, sitting on 3 flat tires and we need to get it up and going to clean off gardens
and get it put away for winter. There’s no better time than the present
to get going, so lets get started. We are going to start today with our skid
steer, a bobcat s630. Gilbert purchased this before he passed away as an upgrade from our
previous smaller bobcat, a 743. The old one couldn’t even lift a ton of feed and this
one does the job with a rated lift compacity of over 2000 lbs and 74 horse power.
Of course with a busted tire, its not doing anything around here. Our plan with this guy
today is to get this tire off and take it to town. Being a heavy lifter on the ranch,
I want to make sure its fixed correctly, if the rim is bent and the bead is leaking because
of that, I want to make sure its at a shop that can fix it. So we are going to take it
to our local tire shop for repair. That also frees up my time to hopefully get
all these other tires done today and behind us.
This machine weighs about 10,000 pounds, about twice the weight of a full size SUV, so some
heavy lifting is going to be needed to get it off the ground.
Call it over kill but we are going to be using a 20 ton bottle jack to get this thing up
where we need it to get the tire off. With it being so low to the ground, getting it
up where we need it is going to be a two stage process. We are going to jack it up as far
as we can, Then support the weight with a 6 ton jack stand. After repositioning the
jack and getting the machine up farther off the ground, then we can take off the lug bolts.
With a dewalt ½ inch drive impact driver, we make quick work of the nuts and get the
tire off. Then its off to town, and Big horn tire, our
local Michelin dealer. We like to work with local businesses as much as possible and Big
horn Tire has been serving our are for over 50 years, and because of that, we know the
owners, the employees and management, for us, that makes all the difference.
With the tire dropped off, then its back out to the ranch for more tire tribulation.
Next up on the list is the gator, this tire has had a slow leak for a few weeks, but its
getting worse. Rather than continue putting air in it every morning, lets nip it in the
bud now and hopefully fix it for good. Gator tires are a lot like four wheeler tires,
although just a little bigger. Gator tires and four wheeler tires can usually be repaired
using a plug kit, which we can hopefully use today.
The first step after getting the tire off though is a bit of detective work, and that
is finding the leak. All it takes is a pin hole and after we inflate
the tire a bit, we can use a mixture of water and soap to help find the leak. On a side
note, I really like these pump up bottles. I discovered them a few years ago and for
things like this they are much better than spray bottles. Using air pressure they can
deliver a constant stream of whatever it is you are spraying, although you do have to
pump them up occasionally. Here’s a hint, always check the valve stem
first for leaks. I have spent an hour looking for a leak before, just to find that it was
the valve stem leaking and it just needed a new core. Save yourself a little time, check
that first, them move on to the tire. Plug kits don’t work well on sidewalls of
tires, so check there too. If you have a whole in the sidewall, you can try patching but
more than likely you will be tubing to fix it. Also check the bead for leaks, the area
where the tire meets the rim, if a rim gets bent, it may just be leaking from there.
None of these issues are our culprit today and after checking through the tread for a
while with our soapy mixture the leak is found. A very small pinhole, likely caused by a cactus
thorn that hit the tire just right. The tell tale sign of a leak is small little bubbles
that will froth up and continue to grow and maybe even pop depending on the size of the
hole. Now that we found the leak, don’t loose
it, mark it or set it up on the very top of the tire so you can find it again and get
your plug kit. Mine is from safety seal. A friend of mine
runs a tire shop and suggested it to me and I have always had good luck with it, he even
taught me a trick that I’m going to share with you here in a minute.
The kit includes the plugs, a reamer to make your hole a bit bigger for the plug and the
plug installation tool, along with some special lube to make everything a little easier to
do. First off we are going to use the reamer to
make the hole a bit bigger, seems counter productive doesn’t it? I though so, but
it makes sense that we need a hole big enough for the plug to fit into. The reamer is pushed
into the existing hole and pops right through, use a little lube if its too hard of a push
and twist it around a bit. Now it’s a leak. Grab one of the plugs, which are a rolled
rubber that is very sticky and put it in the installation tool, add more lube and push
that into the hole you just made. Its going to be a tight fit, once you get it in there,
push down on the plunger and pop the tool off the plug.
We have now plugged the hole, but we aren’t quite done. This is where we go off the instructions,
and follow my friend Chads, advice. The instructions call for you to cut the tails of the plug
off with a razor blade, but we are going to go caveman style and burn it. Fire is good.
And with this little flame we melt the rubber around the plug and hopefully create a more
solid attachment between the tire and plug. Once it burns down a bit then the tire goes
back on, and the gator is out of the shop and back to work.
Last but not least is the international tractor model 606. This tractor was manufactured in
1966 and originally sold for only 4900$, it carries a 3.6 liter 6 cylinder gas engine
that works great for Erin around the gardens at 50 horsepower. Mostly it is used for tilling,
but it has been known to work a brush beater at times.
Tires are pretty rough on this thing, and a decision is going to have to be made on
weather or not its work spending thousands to put new tires on it, for now, my goal is
to get it standing on its own and run it into the shop where we can decide what needs done.
Lets start with the flat front tire, these are standard truck tires and once we get it
off we can take it to the shop. No searching for leaks on this one, the valve
stem is broken off so we are going to put a tube in it for now.
First things first, we need to break the bead. I don’t have a bead breaker to do this,
so we are going to go old school with a duckbill hammer.
Working our way around we break the bead and free the tire on each side.
Then in come the tire spoons to get it off the rest of the way, and in comes Lincoln
to help. Slowly but surely we work our way around the
tire, working tire spoons around, until its off the rim on one side and we can get the
old tube out. The new tube goes in, making sure to have
the valve stem lined up correctly and held in place, then using the same spoons we work
our way around again, prying the tire back in place.
Then add air, using the pressure from the tube to reseat the bead.
Back to the tractor we reinstall the tire and then its time to try to get the back tires
to hold air. I really like the screw on tire chucks and
by using one and clamp on the trigger, each tire on each side until we are up and ready
to go. Then its time to fire this thing up and get
it into the shop. As you can see these back tires are pretty
weather checked and wore out. I don’t expect them to hold air for long, but by having it
in the shop we can decide if its worthwhile to spend the 800$ per tire to replace them,
tube them or just keep airing them up. Time will tell.
Off to town again, this time to pick up our skid steer tire and get that put back on.
They couldn’t find the leak in it and ended up tubing it anyway, but it should work and
with that done, my tire torment is over for the day, only 68 more tires to check.
Thanks for coming along today, with that done, we have decisions to make, but we also have
a few more pieces of equipment back up and running, ready to get to work. Which I’m
sure isn’t far away. If you are interested in checking out any
of the products used in todays video, head on down to the description, nothing here is
sponsored, this is all the stuff I use and I’m happy to share it with you.
I promised you guys a winner today of this hat, the summer hat that we didn’t blow
up and I’d like to do that now. Drumroll please…..no drum roll? Come on, a little
one…. Alright that’s better.
The winner of this Stetson straw is John Boling from Evansville, Indiana. Thanks John and
everyone else, don’t be discouraged because we have more great giveaways coming up. John,
I will be in touch, But that’s it for me, a little birdy told
me that we are having breakfast for dinner tonight and I have my fingers crossed for
some of Erins pancakes. Thanks for watching, please subscribe, comment and like and until
I see you again, thanks for joining us in our Wyoming life.