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  1. #1
    RC Racer
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    East Detroit
    Posts
    163

    Making tire foams + beadlock install

    After a fair amount of research and a summer of running my new TRX4 in a variety of climates/terrain/water, i knew i had some famous foam failure. The last run i did, there was a lot of wheel wobble, and i could still hear squishing . Even though the last wet run was in late august, 3 months earlier ! It was time to take action.
    I have corporate access to some equipment/materials that i cant disclose, but gave me some options that some may not have but the concept can be duplicated if you can find a foam shop nearby. No, not JoAnn fabrics...

    Taking apart the factory stuff. Started with a 6 hour soak in 200 degree oven to break the glue down on the stock rims/tires. The outer bead broke just fine but the inner was a ▪▪▪▪▪. One tire required major persuasion and even with leather glove, burnt a bit of my thumb just from the hot water inside, and pushing so hard. Once released it was obvious, the foam is junk, and they were absolutely soaked still, dripping all over me as i squeezed the tires off the rims.
    New wheels and foams by J F, on Flickr

    New wheels and foams by J F, on Flickr

    Knowing i like to tinker, there was no way i was gluing these back together again. Thus beadlocks! . Ordered the RC Lions polished set from Amazon. Under $50. Merry Christmas to me !
    First thoughts, thats a lot of screws ! Solid design, nice and sturdy though. Only the 4 screws on the inside actually hold the two halves together. And added a good bit of unsprung weight too.
    New wheels and foams by J F, on Flickr
    New wheels and foams by J F, on Flickr

    Foam replacement...

    Most forums and threads are recommending the proline single stage, and there doesnt seem to be many other options , so i took a leap. Not sure how common people note this, but they are so firm i dont even want to try driving on them, especially compared to the stock foams. So im going to make my own inserts as a softer version of a single stage material.
    Knowing any open cell foam is going to have water breakdown issues , and generally less reliable, i grabbed a couple soft, closed cell options. What i have on hand to start with is about the same firmness but twice the density of the stock foam, and the firmer of the two. The gold colored material below had a faster recovery time after compressing, which just felt right.
    layout and cutting...

    New wheels and foams by J F, on Flickr

    New wheels and foams by J F, on Flickr

    New wheels and foams by J F, on Flickr

    Then comes the big squeeze, fitting the foams into the tires didnt go too bad, only took about 3-4 min each.
    Then i futily tried compressing the rim onto the bead by hand and after struggling for about 10 minutes and losing 2 screws i started rethinking my approach. Many thanks to some thread somewhere that inspired me to build a rim squeezer, that brought it down to a couple minutes each for a fully seated tire/foam/rim.
    Outer side is just a double nut on 1/4" threaded rod, and a small pc of acrylic to protect the metal.
    New wheels and foams by J F, on Flickr

    The inside of the wheel is where the magic happens... 20mm wide plate on the of a 1/4 " acrylic that spans the rim and just a little bit of tire. Tighten down the inside nut, while making sure the bead stays in between the rim layers, line up the screw holes tighten the rim Asm... Voila. Done deal
    New wheels and foams by J F, on Flickr

  2. #2
    RC Racer
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    East Detroit
    Posts
    163
    Tightening down all those little decorative screws on the outer face took a while though. Even on lowest torque setting, my drill stripped the inner cup of the first few screws.
    Huge props to RC Lions for including a couple each of extra cap screws per rim...
    Finished project looks much better than stock, i just need a solution for covering the outer axle stub shafts. Maybe a little chrome acorn nut if i can find one.

    New wheels and foams by J F, on Flickr

    I'll update with a performance review next chance i can get out to the course, but heres a couple initial deformity tests on my workbench. Looks a little tight but better than driving on flats like the soggy stockers ! Its possible i have too much air inside the sealed, assembled wheel, adding pressure into the equation. Maybe i need to burp them?
    I could also carve out some reliefs in the foam if more tread flex is needed.

    New wheels and foams by J F, on Flickr

    New wheels and foams by J F, on Flickr

  3. #3
    RC poster
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Huntsville, TX
    Posts
    4
    Be sure to give us a performance update! Nice work!

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