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Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Steel Beadlock Competition Wheels

By Shawn Pagan

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High Impact Has Allied Rock-A-Thons!

Allied Wheel Beadlock"Man those beadlocks sure are cool, wish I had a set" is a comment heard all the time at four wheeling events across the country. For a long time they represented the truly hardcore among the sport, but like everything else, as time has gone on, beadlocks have become so popular that many companies are starting to produce "faux" beadlocks just so that street vehicles can have the "beadlock look."

Someone once told me that if I didn't know what beadlocks were or how they worked then I didn't need beadlocks. Yet according to just about every available off-highway magazine in print and many of their advertisers, I do need them. But reality usually dictates perception (at least in this case), and through lack of funds or more pressing upgrades I refused to acknowledge them for use on my own vehicle.

When I finally started seriously looking at beadlocks my senses were overwhelmed. Did I want aluminum or steel? Did I want 16 bolts? 18 bolts? 32 Bolts? 36 bolts or even 40 bolts?  Did I want a steel or aluminum ring? Did I want to send my current wheels to someone and have them converted? Did I want two sets of tires? Could I get them balanced? Would they even be legal? Maybe I should just get the faux beadlocks. No, I think I want the real thing.

While looking for beadlocks I started to look around at the companies that had been building them for years (yes people, long before your 4x4 decided to go rockcrawling, beadlocks where built for competition race cars).

I went through all of the catalogs and local race shops, talked to many who had them and many who thought about getting them. Then TXJEEPER asked me to take a look at a set of beadlocks from company that was just started in the rockcrawling competition arena.

For years Allied Wheel Components has been building wheels and components for just about every type of competition on four wheels and has even made wheel centers for other well-known brands. Allied ships 6,000 - 7,000 rims per week out of their two facilities, which provide roughly 320,000 square feet of manufacturing space. The Rock-A-Thons are being built in their newest facility, which comprises 200,000 square feet of that total space.

Allied's new entry into the beadlock niche is called the "Rock-A-Thon Steel Beadlock Competition Rock Crawling Wheel," or Rock-A-Thon for short.  The promise of performance given their reputation in racing was enough to entice me and the coollook didn't hurt either.

The folks at Allied have over 20 years of experience in building beadlocks. These years have helped to develop a top-notch, unique beadlocking system, which helps the ring center the tire better than other brands.

The inside of the beadlock ring is angled at 5 degrees, which matches the angle of tire bead on most tire brands. This angle helps the ring slide itself, and consequently the tire, into the proper position. It also provides a larger contact patch than a straight cut.

In addition to easier centering, the outer edge of the rings are rounded instead of straight-cut like other brands. When a tire is running at very low pressures, the sidewall will overlap the beadlock ring. If the ring's edge is straight, then the edge can cut into the sidewall and damage it. This can eventually lead to a sidewall air leak and defeat the purpose of the beadlock.

Armed with my knowledge of what everyone either liked or hated about beadlocks and all of the rumors good and bad that I had heard about running beadlocks, I was anxious to get these mounted up and try them out.

Mounting them on the rims is really pretty easy. No special tools are required. The first step is to get a container for all of the bolts and washers - if you have 5 rims like I do that's 160 bolt and washer pairs!

Next, remove the outer ring, and lay it aside. Then install a good quality valve stem. I choose to go with a standard rubber truck stem for two reasons - first, I have had good luck with them, and second, you will notice that on these wheels the valve stem is moved well back into the rim where it will be protected and the beadlock ring will not interfere with it when you are trying to air up and down.

After you have the stem installed, place the wheel on a flat surface with the valve stem up. Grab a tire, use a sponge with some soap and water to lubricate the back bead (the bead that will not be locked) as this will help the tire to both drop over the bead and it will assist when setting the bead when you air the tire up.

Place the tire (back bead first) on top of the rim and work it down over the outer bead area until the front bead sits flush against the outside of the wheel. Position the tire so that it is visually even all around the face of the rim. Once you have the tire even, lay the outer ring over the top of the tire bead and visually align the bolt holes.

Start your first four bolts evenly around the rim, turn each of them in only about 4 or 5 turns. At this point you should have bolts in at the 12, 6, 3 and 9 positions. You may want to use a paint pen to mark these locations as they will come in handy later.

Continue and install the rest of the bolts by hand in a crossing pattern until all of them have been installed with 4 or 5 turns.

Visually inspect that the tire is still well-centered on the rim, as this will be your last chance to center it. If it is not centered you will need to bump it on the opposite side with your knee or even bounce it on the ground to get it re-centered.  If you can't get the tire centered, now is the time to loosen the outer ring and work the tire around.  If the tire is not centered it may balance but might feel more like an egg than a wheel when going down the road.

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock WheelsUsing a ratchet and a socket, tighten the bolts using the same crossing pattern that they were installed with. If you are using an air ratchet keep it on it's lowest setting, as you do not want to torque the bolts down at this point. Tighten only to the point where all bolts are down flush to the surface of the outer ring.

With all of the bolts snugly tightened, take a torque wrench and start tightening each bolt in the original crossing pattern. Torque the bolts to at least 12 ft./lbs. but do not exceed 15 ft./lbs.  I would do that first pass at around 8 ft./lbs. just to make sure you pull everything down nice and evenly.

After getting the bolts to the desired torque setting, it is imperative that you follow the next step in explicit detail. Re-torque all of the bolts to the proper torque 3 more times!  While this may sound redundant, each time you make a torque pass around the ring it stretches the ring and compresses the tire. In order to keep the wheel assembly balanced and correctly shaped it is very important that these steps are followed.

Once you have the beadlock attached to the wheel, it's time to add air. I found it easiest to run the air hose through the center of the wheel and then attach it to the valve stem. This allowed me to put the tire face down on the ground and push lightly on the back of the rim. This helped the inside bead to start its seal. Each tire was aired up to 28 lbs. and then the bead on both sides was coated with soap and water to check for leaks. Having found none, I took them to be balanced.

(Click on Photos to Enlarge) 

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
First Step: Remove the outer ring.

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
Install a quality valve stem.

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
Notice how far back the valve stem sits.

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
Using soap and water will help with the install.

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
Position the tire on the rim.

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
Make sure the tire is centered on the wheel.

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
Place the outer ring on the wheel and visually line up the bolt holes.

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
Install the first four bolts like this - 12, 6, 9, 3.

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
Using a cross-over pattern, tighten all of the bolts until they are just flush with the outer ring.

Allied Racing Wheels Rock-A-Thon Beadlock Wheels
Be sure you have a nice and even gap all of the way around. If you do not, you may need to loosen the outer ring and start over.


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(Comments and truths about beadlocks)

Note: Allied beadlocks are "For Competition Purposes Only" and each wheel has a sticker stating so.

Allied Racing Wheels
(a division of Allied Wheel Components)
123 Edison Way
Garden Grove, CA 92841
Phone: (800) 52-WHEELS
The Shop Off Road
430 Perkins
League City, TX  77573
Phone: (281) 332-7911


Shawn Pagan

Shawn Pagan is a staff writer for ROCKCRAWLER.com as well as Our Land Use Editor. Shawn resides north of Houston, TX.

Contact Shawn at thepagan@rockcrawler.com

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