Tire Size and Bead lock Necessity for Airing Down

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I'm looking for advice and experience regarding tire size and the necessity of bead lock wheels for airing down. I'm driving a 2020 Jeep JLU Rubicon Diesel. It serves as both by daily driver and overlanding rig so I'm keeping modifications to a reasonable level. However I do plan, in a few years to travel not just across some of the harder trails in the US, but also do some international travel with the rig (and family). I'm educating myself on tire size and also the necessity of bead locks. I understand the great utility in airing down and haven't done it much yet. I'd like to stick with more readily available tires (easier to find and replace both nationally and internationally). Thinking about Goodyear KO2 All Terrains. Currently running 32" and want to upgrade to 35". 37" seem like they would significantly increase wear and may require drive train modification to the vehicle as well as transmission regearing. Just wanted to get everyone's thoughts on useful overlanding / moderate off roading tire size and the necessity of beadlocks for airing down. Thanks in advance!
 

bgenlvtex

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Beadlock wheels are: heavy, expensive, (mostly) not DOT approved, and because of the DOT thing most shops won't service them. So plan to service them yourself. There are some hybrid dual application wheels that can be mounted with or without the beadlock (OEM Raptor and TRX wheels for instance). I also saw recently someone building wheels with some additional retention for the bead toe machined into the wheel but I don't remember who it was now (icon maybe?)

They do however work. Whether your personal needs dictate the inconveniences that are customary with them can only be answered by you.
 
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Beadlock wheels are: heavy, expensive, (mostly) not DOT approved, and because of the DOT thing most shops won't service them. So plan to service them yourself. There are some hybrid dual application wheels that can be mounted with or without the beadlock (OEM Raptor and TRX wheels for instance). I also saw recently someone building wheels with some additional retention for the bead toe machined into the wheel but I don't remember who it was now (icon maybe?)

They do however work. Whether your personal needs dictate the inconveniences that are customary with them can only be answered by you.
Very helpful, this definitely leans me toward non-headlock as the frequency with which I would air down that much would probably be minimal against the challenges you listed.
 
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bgenlvtex

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Very helpful, this definitely leans me toward non-headlock as the frequency with which I would air down that much would probably be minimal against the challenges you listed.
Bear in mind that "air down" is a relative term and generally "airing down" to a reasonable degree 20ish PSI will accomplish your goal without significantly increasing the likelihood of unseating a bead. There are certainly extreme circumstances where it is beneficial, but if you are simply airing down to soften the ride and modestly increase traction 20psi is going to do that on most vehicles.
 

MMc

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“I also saw recently someone building wheels with some additional retention for the bead toe machined into the wheel but I don't remember who it was now (icon maybe?)” not sure about Icon but Method makes some. I have aired down to 9psi on my stock Ram wheels. I would learn the gas trick to reseat the tire on the wheel, I have done it on somebody’s else’s truck bur never my own. I am on the fence about KO2’s the first set of 2’s didn’t last but 28k. I have run KOs for years, we’ll see about the KO2’s this time.
 
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Boostpowered

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Unless you have a massive amount of horsepower and torque you really have no need for beadlocks.
As said before there aren't many dot approved ones, another company though that makes em dot legal is aev. Unless you plan on bombing through the desert at 80+mph or your rig has enough oomph to spin the rim inside the tire when aired down there really isn't a need for it.
I have beads on my rock crawler and can say they aren't fun to mess with and very heavy compared to a stock wheel, also you can still pop a bead with them if they aren't a double bead lock and that's worse to deal with than re beading a normal rim/tire combo in my opinion
 

MidOH

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Method has non bead locks now, that have an extra large lip and a groove around the bead. Try those instead.

Deadlocks suck on the highway. The ones that I've experienced, obviously don't get balanced.
 

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Beadlocks are often tough to balance, and tough to maintain a good seal with. I run them on sand rails and SxSs, but not on my WJ. A lot of people *think* they need beadlocks, when they really don't. A 35" or 37" will work brilliantly on your DJLUR (with a 2.5" lift for the 37") and they give you a ton of sidewall, which means more footprint without airing down as drastically as your 32"s would need to match. I'd say 14-16psi is very safe, and should be all you ever need unless you get into pretty hardcore crawling, at which point I do suggest a beadlock. I'm on a 315/75-16 (~35x12.5") and was at probably 12-14psi in this pic:
Jeep1.jpg

Plenty of sidewall flex and huge contact patch, but not at risk of knocking it off the bead slowly working my way through that v-notch.

As for gearing, feedback on the DJLUR so far is that the 3.73s (the diesel Rubis get 3.73s, not 4.10s) are pretty good, even up to a 37" tire. If you find the 3.73s aren't enough there are plenty of options and shops to regear the axles (not the transmission) but I don't think you'll find you need to. The 8-speed has very deep gears in the first few gears, combined with the torque of the diesel folks have been really happy with the 3.73s and 37"s.

-TJ
 
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Beadlocks are great for extreme use vehicles. As most before me have said, they can be heavy, expensive, and tough to balance. They are also a lot of maintenance. Most rims now that are geared towards the offroad market have some sort of beat retainer built in, method I believe has a few extra ribs built into the bead seat. Mopar makes DOT approved beadlocks wheels that can be used with or without the beadlock ring. Myself, I don't run them mainly because I can't afford them. I run my rig through what some would call "extreme" situations and I do t have beadlocks. Without beadlocks I would suggest a not dropping pressure below about 13-15 psi, however I run mine at 6psi on the trail and have been for years. I have taken years to get used to the vehicle and know it's limitations and it's breaking points. Also this is my personal oppinion and experience.
 

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Billiebob

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Jeep really does make a trail rated vehicle. Everything stock is capable and balanced. As you state....35s, 37s will increase wear and lead to premature breakage. Stick with 31s, 32s, 33s and be happy. IF you neeed beadlocks you would not be asking. Beadlocks are for the extremes and offer zero advantage if you don't need them. Plenty of guys air down to 15psi on stock rims.

Understand, going bigger is not always an upgrade.
 

Pathfinder I

Method has several styles with "Bead Grip technology" the bead area on the rim has three lips that grab the bead. As far as low pressures you can run 15 psi or even 10 psi and be fairly sure your not going to debead a tire unless you put a lot of side load on it. High speed corners at real low pressures are the only time I've lost a bead.
I agree with your tire size assessment.
 
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tjZ06

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Jeep really does make a trail rated vehicle. Everything stock is capable and balanced. As you state....35s, 37s will increase wear and lead to premature breakage. Stick with 31s, 32s, 33s and be happy. IF you neeed beadlocks you would not be asking. Beadlocks are for the extremes and offer zero advantage if you don't need them. Plenty of guys air down to 15psi on stock rims.

Understand, going bigger is not always an upgrade.
Rubicons come with a ~33" stock. The OP has a Rubicon, there's no reason he'd ever want to run a 31 or 32". 35"s will cause very little change in parts wear or breakage, especially if done on a stock offset rim. The biggest change in wear comes with offset changes. Breakage with the D44s and the torque of the diesel is a possibility, but is more about the driver than the tire. A stock ~33" M/T and an aftermarket ~35" M/T are going to have nearly the same potential for breakage. 37"s, sure a bit more yet - but there are tons and tons and tons of people running 37"s for Overland-type use without issues. Maybe they'll need unit-bearings at 80k miles instead of 100k miles, but for most that's a trade-off they're willing to make, and probably should just be replacing them 50-60k to be safe either way (even on stock tires).

With a JL Rubicon unless you're doing something WAY out there and totally unheard of there is plenty of data to go from, no need to speculate. Look around on the Jeep forums and Jeep YT channels and you'll get real-world feedback from tons of folks who have tried everything you might consider.

-TJ
 

BensonSTW

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A bigger advantage than beadlocks, that I have found, when running low air pressure, is the ability to air back up. I hate having to drive 50 miles with 20 psi in my tires. Granted my truck is heavier than your jeep. And in a jeep, unless your crawling or duning, you’re probably not going to spend much time aired down anyway.
 

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If i can piggy back of this topic. How much sidewall is required to air down and drive? Im likely to only do mild off roading and trail driving. My truck came with 20” wheels and I have a mere 7” side wall. I’m seeing full sized rigs with much smaller wheels and it has me thinking if I should sell mine for a size or two smaller to increase the side wall, which wont be much 34” tire with 18” is only 8” of sidewall.. is that juice worth the squeeze?
 

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If i can piggy back of this topic. How much sidewall is required to air down and drive? Im likely to only do mild off roading and trail driving. My truck came with 20” wheels and I have a mere 7” side wall. I’m seeing full sized rigs with much smaller wheels and it has me thinking if I should sell mine for a size or two smaller to increase the side wall, which wont be much 34” tire with 18” is only 8” of sidewall.. is that juice worth the squeeze?
I would look more into the load ranges. A lighter load range will flex better but could also wear quicker depending on the weight of the truck. Also you can air down to wherever you feel comfortable. Trial and error. Start airing down a little bit each time you go out and as long as your not banging your rims your fine. Most lighter rigs will air down to as low as 15psi with issues on a lighter load range tire and you may be able to do this as well ( not sure with a full size rig). Myself I. My rock crawler, I run 6 psi without beadlocks on 37x12.5r17
 

MMc

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If i can piggy back of this topic. How much sidewall is required to air down and drive? Im likely to only do mild off roading and trail driving. My truck came with 20” wheels and I have a mere 7” side wall. I’m seeing full sized rigs with much smaller wheels and it has me thinking if I should sell mine for a size or two smaller to increase the side wall, which wont be much 34” tire with 18” is only 8” of sidewall.. is that juice worth the squeeze?
Be careful with offset and breaks. Make sure they will fit before you purchase. You might want to think about tire availability too, nothing like being in BFE with a hole in a trie and not being able to get another.
 
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oneleglance

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I run Method wheels with "Bead Grip" and my 8000lb van has never had any trouble.
My Nitto Ridge Grapplers are 45 psi on the highway and 25 psi on washboard/rocks, for deep/soft sand I will drop to 15 psi and have never lost a bead.
The key is slow turns and not mashing on the skinny pedal.
I am sure I could go lower psi but have not needed to yet.
123276024_10218226465754983_1572616128263385239_o.jpg
 
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Smileyshaun

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Carry 2 hefty ratchet straps and a air compressor. If you happen to pop it off the bead Use both ratchet straps around the tread to squeeze the tire towards the bead and with a little bit of wiggling you should have no problem getting it seated back on with the air compressor
 

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The general rule of thumb is that is it usually safe to air down to your wheel diameter. So, if you have 17" wheels it is usually safe to air down to 17psi. Your experience may vary.

The next question is how low do you need to go to get the contact patch you are looking for given your wheel/tire combo and vehicle weight? This takes some experimenting on various trail surfaces.