Product Review:
R&R Beadbreaker and Tyre Refitting Tool
Http:// Short Cuts

By: Joe Micciche - February, 2001

Are you looking for an easy way to break a tire down from the wheel?

One of the obvious hazards of off road adventure is tire failure. While everyone should always have at least one full-size inflated spare tire at all times, other essential items include a tire plug and repair kit and an air source. Even so equipped, an unfortunate turn of events or extended backcountry travel can require some creativity and hard work to keep all tires inflated.

Breaking a tire down from the wheel is typically a task that can be accomplished in the field, yet homebrew methods and tools result in very difficult work and the potential to destroy a salvageable tire. Now, however, the R&R Beadbreaker and Tyre Refitting Tool can provide the enthusiast with a comprehensive kit to safely and quickly remove a tire from a wheel, and easily refit it.

The R&R Beadbreaker was designed by 75-year old engineer Wolfgang Boessler, who due to age and physical conditions found it impossible to change tires on his own. The result is a tool that is designed to be used on the tailgate or cargo area of a truck with minimal effort required to change the tire. The R&R Beadbreaker works on wheels from 8" up to 17" (it refits tires on 13" to 17" wheels), and it can also be used on ATV, split, trailer, and agricultural wheels.

The complete kit includes everything for teardown and repair. The repair kit provides a comprehensive set of material for repairing tube or tubeless tires. Packed in the provided canvas bag, the kit weighs less than 20 pounds and takes up little space.

Instructions and a videotape on usage of the tool are also included. The written instructions are adequate, but the videotape provides a great tutorial on using the beadbreaker, and I found it more helpful than the instructions. However, after using the tool once, the entire process is very intuitive and it's actually quite easy.

While the repair kit is comprehensive - it includes a valve stem and removal tool, valves, patches, rasp, vulcanizing cement, plug tool and much more - the quality of the individual parts is not something I'd consider long-lasting compared to the Safety Seal kit. However, the Beadbreaker itself is very heavy duty and well-constructed, and has an anodized finish for protection. Included are two chrome-vanadium tire irons which are plenty strong, and a tire spreader attachment which allows the user to "open" the tire up for internal repairs.

Note: After delivery of this kit and prior to publication of this article, the manufacturer upgraded the plug tool and reamer with a heavier-duty design.

Using the R&R Beadbreaker
Grease the threaded rod, bushing, and barrel nut prior to use. Keep them lubed for continued operation.
Mark the tire in relation to the valve, and also be sure to mark the position of any weights.

The principle behind the Beadbreaker is straightforward. Using a formed and welded tool which spans the diameter of the wheel, one end has an angled guide plate which rests on the tire while the other end rests on the wheel. An anchor on a threaded rod is seated in the hub hole of the wheel, and the rod is then fed up through a pivoting block in the tool. A barrel nut is threaded on the rod, and as the nut is tightened the guide on the tire acts as a lever pushing the tire bead down off the rim. The tool also simplifies reseating the tire with minimal reconfiguration: when reinstalling the tire, the guide instead pushes the tire onto the wheel, and the end plate and retaining bolt keep the tire in place during the process. After getting the tire almost completely on the rim, tipping the tool up away from the wheel finally seats the tire - all with minimal effort.

Prior to using the Beadbreaker, the threaded rod, brass bushing, and barrel nut have to be greased to ensure the rod is not galled during use, and to allow easy tightening of the barrel nut once the tool is in place. Grease the threaded rod and push some grease into the barrel nut, then work the barrel nut the down the length of the rod to within a half inch of the weld and back up to distribute the grease. This maintenance should be done only periodically after the first use.

It is also recommended that the tire be marked in relation to the valve stem, so that upon reassembly the tire is fitted in the proper location. Mark the positions of any balancing weights on the wheel as well, in case they come off during the process.

The end plate and retaining bolt in place, ready for use.

The Beadbreaker works by forcing the guide end down onto the tire, which pushes the tire down off the bead. To position it on this 15" wheel, the retaining bolt and nut for the threaded rod are removed, and the end plate is locked in place. The nut should be threaded onto the bolt allowing approximately 1/4" of thread showing on the end, and this bolt is then threaded into the Beadbreaker, with the nut utilized as a jam nut. This ensure the end plate is held securely. (Note: For 16", 16.5", and 17" rims, the end plate is extended and inverted.)

The tool is then laid across the wheel, with the guide end resting on the tire just outside the wheel and the end plate resting on the wheel, with the tab pointing up away from the wheel to avoid damage to the wheel. The threaded rod has an anchor welded on the end, and this anchor is placed in the hub opening of the wheel. The threaded rod fits through a pivoting block held by two 13mm hex bolts: the suggested angle of the rod when the anchor is in place is between 50 and 75 degrees, and several tapped holes provide adjustment. If needed, remove the two 13mm bolts and move the block to a more ideal position, then retighten the bolts. Once this is all in place, begin tightening the barrel nut down with either a 19mm or 3/4" wrench (a Crescent Wrench works just as well, and proves how easy this is).

Winding the barrel nut down to break the bead. The guide end pushes the tire down off the bead until the tool contacts the wheel. Use the provided tire irons to remove the wheel from the tire.

The guide end will push the tire down off the wheel until the tool comes in contact with the wheel. It may be necessary - and prudent - to back off the barrel nut after the first attempt and move the tool 45 degrees on the wheel and do it again. Once the bead is sufficiently off the wheel, use the tire irons to guide the tire bead up off the wheel, then flip the tire over and break the bead on the other side. After the bead on the other side has been broken, the tire irons are used to remove the tire from the wheel. At this point, necessary repairs can be made.

Refitting the tire

A great feature of the R&R Beadbreaker is that it also facilitates simple reinstallation of the tire. Lubricate all bead surfaces, then throw the wheel into the tire. If the wheel cannot be pushed into the tire, use the tire irons to get it in.

Throw the wheel into the tire to get it started. Use plenty of soapy water on the bead.

The end plate on the Beadbreaker can then be inverted, so it forms a hooked end, and the retaining bolt is reinstalled. The retaining bolt in this process also acts as a stop on the tire so it does not slip as you reseat the bead, which eliminates any duress during reseating. Slide the end plate into the tire and pull it back until the hook touches the wheel, then lay the guide end on the tire. Place the anchor in the hub hole and tighten down the barrel nut until the guide end touches the rim. With the tool remaining in place, use the hook ends of the tire irons to guide the tire back onto the wheel: start the tire iron at the end plate and guide each one around the tire, and take small steps to refit the tire. As the tire is seated and the tire irons cannot be used any longer, loosen the barrel nut and push up the guide end, which will force the final area of the tire back onto the bead. The tire is now ready for air!

The Beadbreaker starts the tire back onto the wheel. Use the tire irons to finish the job.


For those who truly wish to be self-sufficient during backcountry travel, the R&R Beadbreaker is a wonderful tool that allows quick and easy tire repair. The overall quality of the tool itself ensures it will be reliable over the long haul, and the complete repair kit (supplemented with an air source, spare innertubes, and perhaps an additional repair kit) will enable nearly any tire repair. And like the Hi-Lift Jack, usage of the R&R Beadbreaker is not limited to offroad use, which increases it's value quotient for anyone who wishes to repair tires at home, on the farm, or on a multitude of other vehicles.

Contacts Related Links
  • R&R Beadbreaker
    Safari 4x4 Centre
    Dept ORN
    Unit 15/543 Churchill Road
    Kilburn, South Australia
    5084 Australia
    Phone +61 08 8369 0060
    Fax +61 08 8369 0057
    Please contact the manufacturer for distribution and pricing information.

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