Military wheels - Combat Rims
I'm interested in brief orientation on combat rims. Are they appropriate for a 1949 Dodge Power Wagon? To my untrained eye it seems like a simple matter to change the tire (deflate, unbolt, pull ring, pull tire/tube, assemble in reverse order) with none of the inherent danger of split rims which have allegedly killed people before while they were being changed. Right? Wrong?
I have them on a 1948 PW and also on a 1942 Carryall. I like them for the looks and for the convenience. You will get different opinions on this, but I would say the exploding split rims were always from worn rings/wheel or inflation before the ring was fully seated. The ring fits into a grove. If the ring/wheel was damaged or deformed from the tire mans hammer, if the mating surfaces were rusty and not cleared back to their original depth and design, then filling the tire with air and HOPING the tire would seat the ring was wishful and dangerous way to work.
The problem was that people got lazy and went through the steps without taking the time to understand the basic design.
Clean the grove, chip and clear the rust, if in doubt, pre-assemble with out the tire and SEE if the ring seats and how well. If the rim is a goner do not use it. That's not so difficult. Split rims gave a lot of service for many years.
What really happened was tubeless tires. They required a air tight rim and a round valve hole. One piece rim, easier to manufacture, lighter, easier to balance, heat dissipation, higher speeds, multiple piece rims went to the side of the stage. Split rims and combat rims had a lot of pieces and a lot of places to hold and trap water. Water being what it is would then migrate into where ever it could get, and working with any bare steel and oxygen, begin to rust. What does this all mean? The rims after a period of time damn near grow into the tire bead. Depending on how well the rims were cared for or how long they have been mounted, various levels of sustained sweaty beatings will be necessary to separate tire from rim. The combat rim is the same. Things just grow together. A good tire machine can reduce the hammer damage and is a lot easier on the tire man.
My combat rims? I like them. When I get a flat, jack up the truck, unbolt the ring, pull the ring out (the tire bead is stuck to it) and fish out the tube. Patch the hole in the tube, feel around the inside of the case for sharpies, vacuum out the inside of the case until it is CLEAN and put it all back together. Partially inflate your tube and work it so it has no overlaps as you assemble. With reasonable care and understanding you should get many more years of service from your combats. David