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Create a tire center

The need to keep tillage tools, planters, and grain carts going full tilt, and the growing challenge of finding tire dealers to do repairs have more farmers investing in tire and tube repair centers.

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But deciding on what to buy for such a center can be a bit overwhelming since there is such a wide variety of available tools and supplies. Don Kubly recommends first deciding which tires you want to repair. “If you are only going to repair tires and tubes on trailers, light trucks, implements, and ATVs, you can easily accommodate your needs with a basic setup (as shown above),” he says.

Kubly, Gempler's tire repair answer man, says you can begin to equip a shop for around $500. This kit would have a set of tire irons, a tire hammer, buffer wheel, brushes, chemicals, and a starter assortment of tire and tube patches and valve stems. “This would equip you to handle small- and medium-size tires,” he says. “The larger the tire or the larger the load that tire carries, the greater the need for larger bars, spoons, and hammers or changers with larger capacities.”

1. A heavy-duty four-way lug wrench ($45 to $80) is a must-have for any tire tool arsenal, especially as a fill-in for pneumatic impact wrenches.

2. Ancillary supplies range from tire lubricants ($14 to $16), tire talc ($5 to $7), liquid prebuff cleaner ($10 to $15), repair sealant $22 to $26), and cold vulcanizing cement ($10 to $12).

3. Remote-control air gauges and chucks are a safety must. Units are available in 3-foot ($45 to $50) and 6-foot ($50 to $55) lengths as well as with professional digital gauges ($55 to $60).

4. A pneumatic vacuum bag makes quick work out of sucking dust and debris from tires using shop air. Figure on paying $55 to $65 for this tool.

5. A detailed list of basic supplies inventory is explained later in the story.

6. Tire changers vary greatly in size and capacity both of which affect their price. A simple manual unit (like the one shown) costs $40 to $60, with more advanced manual changers costing $200 to $300. Basic semiautomatic professional changers go for $1,500 to $3,000.

7. Diaphragm liquid ballast pumps range in price from $800 to $1,000.

8. A tire and tube dunk tank is a must to detect those pinhole punctures. Figure on paying $60 to $70 for a basic unit and up to $80 to $90 for a wider tank.

9. Different bead breaking tools are available, ranging from a swan-neck iron ($40 to $50) up to heavy-duty mechanical breakers ($500 to $550).

10. Tried-and-true bottle jacks range in size from 2 tons ($18 to $22) up to 30 tons ($190 to $200) in capacity. Options include trailer jacks ($150 to $500) and hydraulic floor jacks in manual or pneumatic versions ($70 to $500).

11. Tire irons, spoons, breaker bars, and hammers come in a wide variety of types and lengths. Start out with a basic set and add variations as experience dictates.

Repair manual is a must

Regardless of size and equipment, any tire repair center must have two items, Kubly advises. The first is a large, solid worktable. The second is a tire repair manual. “You can't have enough repair information,” he says.

Fortunately, there is ample information available free on the Internet or for a nominal cost.

For a small fee, the Rubber and Tire Manufacturers Association (www.rma.org/publications/tire_service_professionals) offers the following must-have publications and wall charts.

● Care and Service of Farm Tires manual and kit. Publication number: FTK-10/90. Cost $14.

● Demounting and Mounting Procedures for Agricultural Tires (chart). Publication number: FTMP-8/90. Cost: $3.

● Puncture Repair Procedures for Passenger and Light Truck Tires (chart). Publication number: PRP-PLTT-1105. Cost: $2.

REMA Tip Top (www.rematiptop.com/technical_trm), a tire supplies manufacturer, also offers a wide variety of free Web videos and downloads.

Gempler's (www.gemplers.com/tech) offers free technical services as well as a number of online tutorials on tire repair, selecting supplies, identifying tire sizes, and related topics.

Once you've gathered your information, determine which supplies and tools you must have for a repair center.

“There's no need to buy a tire ballast pump, for example, if you would rather have your tire dealer handle tractor tires,” Kubly says. “Especially when you get into large tractor tires. The challenges of handling these tires requires some expertise and experience.”

Changer recommended

One investment Kubly suggests more farmers would find well worth the cost would be a tire changer. “It makes the job of removing a tire from a rim and later remounting it much easier and safer,” he says.

Basic manual changers can cost between $40 and $60. More advanced changers, some which use shop air, rapidly spiral up in costs.

“I can see where most farm shops would have a hard time justifying a professional changer that costs thousands of dollars,” Kubly says. “But once you've used a basic manual changer, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.”

Basic supplies inventory

Kubly offers the following list of basic supplies and parts every farm tire center should stock.

● Tire and tube patches in various sizes.

● A valve core removal tool.

● Valve caps and cores.

● Rubber valve stems for both .453 and .625 valve holes. Note: Rubber stems should only be used on tubes holding up to 65 psi.

● Metal valve stems for use with pressures over 65 psi. Stock stems that bolt on from the inside or outside of the rim. For tubeless tires on planters, for example, stock short metal stems that are more resistant to damage.

● Air-water valve stem assemblies for use in rear tubeless tractor tires.

● Rim nuts for tubes on rear tractor tires.

● Old- and new-style core housings for tractor tires.

● The bushings that are used on the small-stem inner tubes (.453) that get inserted through a .625 opening in a rim.

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