When it comes to upgrades for serious off-roading, beadlock wheels are up there with lift kits and knobby tires, but their use isn’t limited to SUVs and Trucks. Since 2016, Argo has offered aluminum beadlock rims on their amphibious ATVs to improve their already stellar off-road capabilities. What makes these wheels different, how can you get the most out of them, and how do you take care of them?
What are Beadlock Wheels, and Why Are They Useful for Off-roading?
When off-roading, a low tire pressure lets the casing and tread to can flex more so it can shape itself to uneven terrain for better traction. However, without air pushing on the tire bead, it can roll off the rim when side-loaded in turns or pressed against obstacles. Beadlock tires get around this by clamping the bead with a ring. This mechanically seats the bead instead of relying on air pressure.
Which Models have Beadlock Rims?
Argo made aluminum beadlock rims an option on some HDI models and standard on the Huntmaster 8×8 and LX in 2016. The following year, these rims became standard on all Avenger except the base model. For the 2019 model year, these wheels are standard on the Aurora 800, Bigfoot 800 MX6 and Bigfoot 800 MX8.
Not sure which type of wheels you have? Fortunately, they’re easy to identify. Argo’s standard and offset steel wheels are all black, but their aluminum offset beadlock wheels have exposed metal running from each lug hole to the rim. The rim face also has visible bolts that hold on the bead ring.
The recommended operating pressure for tires on beadlock rims is 1.5 to 3.5 psi under most conditions. Maximum operating pressure is 7.0 psi or the maximum psi rating printed on the sidewall, whichever is lowest. Standard tire pressure gauges won’t work at these pressures, or at least not accurately. That’s why Argo makes a gauge specifically for this purpose.
Choosing the right tire pressure is a matter of balancing the amount of flex needed for traction against the tire’s ability to resist impacts with hard obstacles. Low pressures make the ride more comfortable and work with softer surfaces, while higher pressure will help the tire resist damage from rocks and other hard obstacles. Argo recommends airing up the tires accordingly to match terrain conditions:
Soft terrain – Low pressure (1.5-2.5 psi)
Hard ground – High pressure (2.5-3.5 psi)
Rocky terrain: Near maximum pressure (6.0 psi)
Air pressure shouldn’t have much effect on a tire’s ability to tread water when amphibious. However, increasing pressure will increase buoyancy.
Replacing and Repairing Tires
Tires cannot be removed or installed in the field, but they can be replaced using standard tire equipment. Each wheel comes with two valve stems that need to be inspected when replacing the tire, and both beads on beadlock rims need to be inspected and cleaned to ensure a tight seal.
Tire pressure should never exceed 32 psi when pushing the tire onto the beads. As soon as the tire seats drop the pressure to the standard operating range. After seating the tire and installing both bead rings, air up the tire to 10 psi to check for leaks, then drop the pressure back down to its operating range.
Once the bead seats on one side of the wheel, install the bead ring. When placing the bead ring on the wheel, line up the exposed metal sections on the ring with the exposed metal on the rim. Torque the ring bolts to 7.2 ft-lbs. (10 Nm,) working in a star pattern, like you would when tightening lug nuts.
Need Help with Your XTV? Talk to the Experts at Shank’s Argo.
Shank’s Argo is more than just an Argo dealer: we’re one of the largest dealers in the East, so we have the experience to help you get the most from your XTV. If you’re looking to become an Argo owner, or you need help with your current amphibious ATV, visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s one mile East of I-81 via Exit 10/Marion.
We’d also be happy to let you take a test drive to see if Argo is right for you. Visit www.shanksargo.com to schedule an appointment or learn more.