Technology

BeadBuster XB-550 review: Tire-changing on tractors made easier

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Farming can be some of the most rewarding and toughest work out there, but, as a farmer, you are often the only person you can count on to repair your own equipment. The bigger the machinery, the bigger the tools (for the most part), and having specialty tools to make the job easier is key. One tool worth having on hand is the BeadBuster XB-550, which is a lifesaver when it comes to making tire changes in a hurry.

The XB-550 Heavy Duty is the biggest and baddest member of the BeadBuster family and is designed to work on everything from tractors to trucks to side-by-side utility vehicles.

My grandfather and grandmother plowed their own land and fed several generations of children and grandchildren from that land. My grandfather, Vernon Sosebee, owned his own business called Sosebee’s Lawn and Garden, where he would not only work on his own tractors, but nearby families would bring their equipment to have it fixed there as well.

beadbuster XB-550

One of Grandpa Vernon’s favorite tractors was a 1955 Ford 640. I remember riding the passenger side fender while holding on to the seat as he plowed up acres of potatoes. I was extremely fortunate to inherit the old Ford about six years ago. I love this tractor and do my best to keep it in good running condition — and that is where I came to first use of our BeadBuster XB-550 Heavy Duty bead breaker.

Features:

  • Tire bead breaker hammer is made in USA
  • 4-way Configurable for a Variety of Rim Sizes (2-sided Ram Foot and Included Magnetic Spacer)
  • Durable Steel Construction (AISI 1020 Cold Rolled)
  • Extremely Rugged Design, Heavy Duty for Big Tires
  • MIG Welded
  • Grd-5 Hardware
  • Polyester Powder Coat Finish
  • Padded Clamp Arm (Will not scratch or dent rims)
  • Patented Design
  • 1-year warranty

The BeadBuster family of tools has been my go-to for many years, as the XB-450 is one that helps me break down the beads on all of my ATV tires. The ATV tire world is typically smaller than the world of tractor tires, and I needed something just a little bigger for this Ford project. I noticed the left front tire on the tractor was losing air on a regular basis, so I needed to break the tire down and inspect it for issues.

The XB-550 is perfect for most tractor rims. Made of 1020 cold rolled steel, the XB-550 is built to last for years using grade 5 zinc-plated hardware. The BeadBuster is made to be very easy to use, but there are a few things to consider when breaking a bead on any tire.

beadbuster XB-550

Before I used the BeadBuster tool, I lubricated the tire sidewall with some WD-40. This allowed the foot of the BeadBuster to slip under the lip, or bead, of the rim. I was able to slip the foot of the bead buster between the tire and rim with very little pressure on the clamp arm, thanks to the lubricant.

Once started into the bead between the tire and rim, the XB-550 HD can be operated with a simple ratchet/socket combination or something a little more powerful like the DeWalt 1/2-inch drive impact drill, which is what I used. Using the impact driver made the job much easier, but using this type of tool requires plenty of caution so you do not damage the bead breaker itself due to the torque available in the battery operated tool.

beadbuster XB-550

After I inserted the XB-550 HD in several different places around the 6.00 x 16SL tread, the tire was finally ready to be removed with the help of some tire spoons.

I initially suspected that the leak was due to a faulty tire valve, but it turns out that these tires have some very old tubes in them, and that is where the problem was. Regardless of the issue, the BeadBuster XB-550 allowed me to break down the tire and at least look for the problem. This tool is fairly compact (10x9x3 inches) and retails for $249, and it is something that I’ll keep with me when I travel with machinery just in case I need to use it on the road.

 

Whether he’s in Mexico covering the Baja 1000, building ATVs for local racers, or out enjoying the trails, Rick Sosebee’s passion shows in his stories. Learning to wrench his own machines from his grandfather, Rick also has an undying appreciation for the mechanics of vehicles of all types.

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of AGDAILY. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
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