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Beadlock Wheels

3843 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  FJVP
I have absolutely no idea why people who drive their FJC's hard off the beaten path don't buy beadlock wheels. When you air the tires down (and I hate to air-down by the way), they are far more likely to pop off the bead. I hate trail repairs. I hate to use the Hi-Lift jack in off-camber and rocky places. One could say there's a lot of hatred in my soul, but it all comes back to experience and there are things I'd rather not do. That's why I went toward the beadlock wheel.

Walker-Evans beadlock wheels with wide locking rims mounted with Nitto 305/70R17 tires.

Beadlocks do require more maintenance than the standard wheels. You need to know how to use a torque wrench to tighten the bolts periodically. How often? I check about every 500 miles and usually they don't need an additional turn of the torque wrench.

Legal Issues with On-Road Beadlock Use

Even though the "off-road" beadlock design is not legal to run on the street in some states, it is legal in California and this is a SoCal Forum. There isn't any provision in the California Vehicle Code that would prohibit their street use.

Beadlocks have been around for over fifty years but they’re not US Department of Transportation (DOT) approved. DOT does not give approval for the wheel itself. (Approval means that the wheel has been submitted to and approved by DOT.) Improper maintenance of a beadlock by a user impacts liability issues that a manufacturer faces, therefore it is rare to find a DOT approved beadlock except for commercial use

As for your or (more to the point) MY liability in using them on the street, if there is an accident due to my negligence in keeping the BL ring bolts tightened properly then I expect to be sued if that is the cause of the accident. Beadlocks used on the street bring the same sort of exposure as a lift, oversized tires, after market brakes or anything else that alters the OEM parameters of the FJ.

About the Wheels

At the risk of sounding ego driven, custom wheels do provide a dramatic improvement in style and performance. I also looked the people doing the racing. Many of them are running wheels from Walker Evans for the most demanding, punishing racing that a wheel could be expected to be subjected to. The Donahoe rig that won and placed in Baja races ran these wheels with NO problems. They also ran Nitto tires with great results. I admit to copying success in my build-up and in my choices. Wheels and tires won't get tougher trials than on the long Baja races.

Each wheel begins as a single aluminum casting with the beadlock surface cast directly into the wheel, rather than being welded on later as is the case with some other beadlock wheels that I looked at. This one step casting process creates a stronger wheel and eliminates the possibility for leaks at the mounting surface. The valve stem is located as far as possible into the wheel, to protect it from rocks and obstacles that would normally damage it. Each wheel is rated for a 3800-pound load.

Walker Evans Racing's one-piece beadlock rings are made of 6061 T-6 aluminum and are specifically designed and precision manufactured for rock crawling and general off-road abuse. The use of 24 grade-8 bolts on the bead lock ring provides an evenly distributed and reliable clamp onto the tire. Depending on the specific tire, they can be aired-down very low to get the best possible traction while maintaining a grip on the bead and essentially “run flat”.

The backspacing was custom cut for the FJ with the 6-lug pattern we use. I use Gorilla Lugs/Wheel Locks.

I ordered the standard finish on the wheels and the extra wide, fully polished, aluminum ring and mounted Nitto Terra Grappler - LT305/70R17 (33.9”) on them. Walker Evans Beadlock tires require that the tires used have a three-ply sidewall construction. The Nitto Terra Grappler three-ply sidewall construction employs an advanced silica compound that resists punctures, cuts and tears in the sidewall area.
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Being a Scorpio....I am a fan of the Scorpion. Larry, your whole set up is what mine aspires to be....I love the beadlocks...
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