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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Punctures and Wires

Something I haven't tried but thinking about it! How easy is it to get a tyre off a wheeel?

I have had a couple of punctures. My tyres are tubed and I am wondering whether the wires are protruding through too far and/or the rim tape is inadequate. The first was repaired by the local garage and quite honestly I don't think they would have been bothered to check the "why's".
I now have had a second puncture (different wheel) and would like to check it out myself.

I have an old tyre lever somewhere (probably Grandfather's!) and wonder just how easy it is to get one side of the tyre over the rim. Thinking I could use an old hub unit inside the wheel with a nut on to give a bit of location as I literally lever the tool around. It's just thinking of cycle tyres I know they can be real b*s***ds to get on and off.

I don't want to risk damaging the rim or tyre so thought it makes sense to ask for advice first.
Graeme W

It is as you described, and doing it by hand is the same as when the tire shop does it with a machine: one lip is slipped into the recess in the rim so that the second lip can be slipped over the flange. Frankly, it is easier to damage a tire/rim using a machine (because of the forces available), but usually shops have a lot of experience and don't cause damage. Doing it by hand is a pain, until you get the tire, rim and tube all lined up just right, and then things go right together surprisingly easily. Oh, and it helps immensely if you have some way to hold the rim down to the ground while working (back in the day, shops had a steel post they'd clamp the rim to).

Three unique challenges with wire wheels:
- pinching the tube during assembly. Easily done, and can take ages before it begins to leak, or leak right away.

- lack of spoke wrap, leading to tube chafe, and leaks

- presence of an inspection sticker on the inside of the new tire, causing tube chafe and leak

the first one I've struggled with before (on motorcycles and bicycles), and the last one cause me to get three flats in rapid succession after fitting new tires, once upon a time. Nice square hole in the inner tube lined up right with where the little sticker was on the sidewall of each tire!


Norm Kerr

THat's a point! I am going to need to hold the wheel down pretty firmly. I wonder if it could be done on the car?
Graeme W

I've been thinking of getting one of these...
Dave O'Neill2


Don't try to do it on the car. There is nothing to be gained there, and you may bash up a wing. Prying the tire off the wheel is a piece of cake. You don't need any special tools to hold it. All you have to do is stand on it. In fact you need to stand on it to mash the bead into the center of the wheel opposite of where you are prying. (if it were the rear wheel on a farm tractor, then you would pry it off without removing it from the tractor)

But, the hard part is getting the tire bead to break loose from the wheel prior to prying it off the rim. Tube type may not be quite as tight as tubeless, but don't count on it. I've broken the bead loose by laying the tire on the ground and then driving on top of it with another car, but I use a heavy car. You can steer around the tire you are breaking down to stay close to the wheel.

You can also do this with a tire hammer and soap, but if you aren't experienced you may bash the wheel. You can buy a tool just to break the bead. It might be cheaper than what Dave points out, and you don't really need anything special to pry the tire off once the bead is broken.

Also, you can't reasonably just pull one side off to look inside unless you have broken the other side loose.

C R Huff

Charley: loose already! Driving out the garage before I knew it was flat did for that!
You make it sound easy! I'll have a go at it.
Graeme W

Here is a pic and link for a bead breaker. Looks like it is $45 USD here. Don't know what it would be there.


C R Huff

Well yes, Graeme, I see you have discovered the other way to break the bead loose. Well done! I don't recommend it routinely though because it can be destructive.

C R Huff

It wasn't my intention to drive with it flat and it was only a car's length before I thought 'Odd, must have a brake binding'.
Graeme W

I'd not want to be in any car that had had its tyres run over while lying on their sides, I hate to think what damage that does to the tyre! Fair enough though if the tyre's not going to be used again, in which case you could just angle grind it off.
Rob Armstrong

Dave O - Max bought summat similar a couple of years back - only to find that Rostyles won't go over the central spigot, centre hole is too small!
David Smith

Rob: if the distance is only a car's length at snail's pace I would have thought the potential for damage is no worse that the car's weight sitting on a flat tyre overnight anyway.
G Williams

G Williams,
I think Rob means Charley's idea of driving over the tyre with another vehicle - which I wondered about - rather than Graeme crawling a few yards with a flat
Nigel Atkins

I don't see why anyone would have a problem with running over the tire with a car to break the bead from the rim. You are just pressing the bead off with a rubber tire instead of a steel breaker press. I wouldn't want to take a tire off with an angle grinder. What a mess of smoking burnt rubber that would be.

Regrooving tires with a power circle saw when you don't have a hot iron regroover is a big enough mess. I also think it would be quite a trick to cut the bead with an angle grinder and not gouge the rim.

C R Huff

Driving on a flat would be OK for a short distance at a low speed.

I can't see how you would get the tyre off without squashing the tread sideways enormously when driving over it. Proper tyre levers shouldn't be compressing the tread at all, just popping the bead off.

The tyre machines I've seen are relatively gentle even compared to do-at-home tyre levers. The bead breaker above is designed to not touch the tread.

I'm just worried the tyre would be damaged then explode or de-laminate when being used in anger.

It's possible to damage a tyre by hitting a kerb at relatively low speed, I've put a bulge in a sidewall simply by parking too close to an edge and not noticing and leaving it there overnight. I guess this bent the internal wires, but that was a brand new tyre and I still threw it away.

The angle grinding is messy, (cut the bead wires with wire cutters after you can get at the insides) but I'd rather make a big rubbery mess than have a tyre explode later on.

Of course this worry of mine only matters if you're thinking of putting a 'run over' tyre back on, if it's getting thrown away then there's no harm taking it off like that.

Rob Armstrong

You might be right, Rob. Come to think if it, most of the time I did it that way I was throwing them away. Usually if I was doing my own tubeless repair, I plugged it and didn't have to take the tire off. Maybe the other times I just got lucky.

C R Huff

I driven over car and motorbike tyres to break the bead.

But now I use an acro.

btw. That tyre is now in my boot as my spare.

Lawrence Slater

it's only a spare until you use it
Nigel Atkins

What a tool kit you have Lawrence! Large stillsons (noted from a much earlier thread about not having a socket large enough for the rear hub nuts), 5' scaffold pole (useful, as you demonstrated to me) and now an acro. I know the scaffold pole travels in the boot (.... and a spare diff), but the acro too?

Very impressed with the timber fitted to the wall to break the other bead at the same time. Presumably at the OTHER end you have a second wheel so you can do two repairs simultaneously!
G Williams

The tyre came off easily! Rim tape looks ok and quite robust and found a small puncture in the outer edge so next step will be to check the inside of the casing. I did brush off a sliver of metal at a similar point so I think that was the offending item.
All I have to do is get it back now!
G Williams

Nigel, so is the petrol in my tank. :)

Graeme. At the other end there's a wall, and on the other side of that wall, there's another acro, to support the bulge caused by the first one. lol.
Lawrence Slater

Lawrence: sadly, I believe you!
G Williams

Could do with some advice on getting the tyre back on.
I tried and gave up until I could get hold of a second tyre lever. I've realised one wasn't going to do.
The tyre is over the rim on one side and I've tried feeding the inner tube up through the gap and at the same time feeding the valve through the rim. All a bit fiddly and then I've put a bit of air in to remove the creasing and try to help avoid the potential for the tube to be "nipped".
I read somewhere that I should push the other side of the tyre into the weel and try to get the lip under the tube in the area of the valve.
Should I use talc on the tube? What about some sort of luube on the tyre rim?

All suggestions welcome.
G Williams

You do need 2 levers, but any strong flat ended bit of metal will do. Washing up liquid helps to slide the tyre rim over the edge.
Lawrence Slater

Tyre shops use soft soap or white food grade grease to help the bead over the rim.
Of course all wire wheel owners may face this problem soon as it is becoming more and more difficult to find
a tyre shop that can cope with them. If you've tried your local Quickfit, you just get a "Sorry mate, we don't do them(sic)"
M J Chapman

Nowadays most tyre places can hardly be bothered with repairing punctures, even in modern tubeless. My local garage/tyre suppliers tooks 3 days to repair a puncture in my modern car and a similar time when I had a puncture in one of the other spridget wheels. THey charged an arm and a leg... and I provided the inner tube. I tackled the current one myself so I could be sure it was a true puncture and not damage by a spoke.
But now having started it I don't want to have to pick up all the bits and go down to the tyre bay with a "can you put this back for me?"
G Williams

You need a bead breaker and a tyre lever and a lot of patience... If people tell you its easy, I wouldn't do business with em. For the sake of 10 a wheel to get a garage to take them on and off for me... its definitely worth it.

I took a full set of wheels to a garage saying "i'm going to refurb the rims" - so they took them off and I said I'll bring em back for new tyres when I've refurbed them. No charge! (I actually did bring them back for tyres a year later)
C L Carter

No bead breaker needed - that was easy. But as I said in the thread, I want to make sure I know what caused the puncture as a spoke protruding through the rim tape would just cause another puncture. The best way to do this was to gewt inside and have a look - I don't think the average garage would want to be bothered.
G Williams

I've found that the traditional "burglar's" jemmy makes a very good tyre lever.
Peter B

Peter: unfortunately Uncle Jim "disposed" of them when he had a visit from the Men in Blue only last week. As he is now detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure I can't ask there whereabouts until the next visiting order.

So I bought a pair on Ebay. I wouldn't want to google "burglar's jemmy" - you never know what they look for at GCHQ. I bet you are on their list already, just for mentioning it in the first place!
G Williams

so are YOU now

I found a shot of your uncle on ebay, with his jemmy too. :)

Lawrence Slater

I see GCHQ personnel use unmarked cars although there is a certain familiarity!

Lawrence: that's not Uncle Jim - he was taller, although he was once arrested for appearing in public with a bear behind. That must have been the bear.
G Williams (Graeme)

I thought I'd clicked for that not to show, I must have changed it and forgot to click again

all went wrong as I later change back except I left the GCHQ - do you think I'd be good in the secret service - not if it involves computers
Nigel Atkins


I would have thought that you, of all people, would know that if you add a vehicle to your profile, it appears on all previous posts.

So, when you originally posted as GCHQ, your car and profile wouldn't have been visible, but then it came back when you changed it ;o)
Dave O'Neill2

Best stick to the day job then Nigel. lol.

Lawrence Slater

Nigel, you can buy the useful handbook "Profile Changing on midget and Sprite Bulletin Boards" on Ebay.
G Williams (Graeme)

I tried ordering a copy but it got sent to Cheltenham and that caused all sorts of problems, I'm in court a week next Wednesday :(
Nigel Atkins

I thought it was criminal offence to impersonate a government department.

Oh, Hell! perhaps it's not an impersonation.
Peter B

I can't say either way but please watch you language when next using your phone
Nigel Atkins

This thread was discussed between 03/01/2013 and 19/01/2013

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