with Drew Huber
Installing New 33 x 12.5 SSR Swampers
After my little trip to Moab this year and seeing all the Zuks running 33?s I decided I was ready to upgrade my wheels and tires. I had previously upgraded the front axles by adding birfield rings to them. In choosing a new wheel I had to decide on which tire I was going to run first. After a lot of research I opted for the new Swamper SSR line of radials. I chose the 33 X 12.50 SSR mainly due to it?s reputation and the fact that it has a strong sidewall. They are close to a true 33″ tire and the tread section is wider than the other Swamper Radials.
After deciding on the tire, I then selected Williamette Wheels to custom build a set of 15X8 steel wheels with a 2″ backspacing and threw in beadlocks for good measure. Jeff Pollock was already running this setup and he gave me some great advice. This combo really widens the stance of my Zuk considerably. The wheels look like a 10″ wheel due to the backspacing. I am very pleased with the quality of the wheels and beadlocks. I highly recommend Williamette due to their great attitude and customer service. They even gave me a call after I received my wheels just to do a follow up. You don?t find that kind of service too often.
Mounting the tires on the new wheels was done at Mayo Tire here in Birmingham, AL. It is a very simple process, simply slip the tire over the wheel and install the beadlock ring with the supplied bolts. You can even replace a tire in the field with this set up. You don?t have to have a tire machine in order to set the bead onto the wheel like you do with a conventional wheel. The wheels only weakness has been in balancing, it took more weight than my old Eagles did but I didn?t get beadlocks for the highway anyway.
This wheel and tire combo has been put to the test both at Monteagle, TN and Tellico, NC. All I can say is they ROCK! Running about 4 to 5 pounds of air has the SSR?s really flexing and the beadlocks mean no worry. The last run I was on I managed to fold a rear tire almost completely under the wheel. The beadlock ring was almost touching the ground and it still kept a bead. Had I done that with a conventional wheel, let?s just say I would have gotten a chance to run my spare. The rings have taken quite a beating with battle scars to prove it. They have been slammed into rocks, scraped over tree roots and bounced off of rock ledges, no problems so far.
As far as the tires are concerned, I would buy another set in a heartbeat. They ride smoother than any other Swamper I?ve seen and they flex like crazy. They have been really abused with no signs of wear. These tires are really sticky too; they just grip rocks like there?s no tomorrow. So far I?ve run them in the rocks, off camber, and some pretty deep mud and they have performed flawlessly. I can?t comment on what kind of mileage to expect from these tires, as my rig sees mostly trail use and does not see much street driving. I still feel that the SSR would satisfy anyone?s needs when it comes to an extreme off road tire. So until next time, see you on the trail!
Williamette Wheels 1235 S.E. Grand Ave. Portland, OR 97214 (503) 232-8141