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Interco's Super Swamper SXs, High Impact Wheel's Beadlocks, and AFCO's Ideal Tire Groover Get put to the Long Term Test!
By Lance Clifford
Image002.jpg The time had come to replace my old worn out Super Swamper Boggers. My Boggers had been good to me, but I wanted a little better performance on the rocks. After careful consideration, I decided to go with the 38.5 x 14.50 x 15 Super Swamper TSL/SX. I wanted good trail performance, and needed to have a durable tire for the sharp, jagged rocks on the west coast. Tire failure while out in the middle of the desert wasn't an option for me!
Image005.jpg While SX's seem to work great as is, I wanted even better performance. So I called up the helpful folks at AFCO Performance Products, and ordered their Ideal Tire Groover with two different cutting blades (#2 and #5 blades). Grooving the tire's lugs allows the tire carcass to flex better over rocks, getting a better footprint on uneven surfaces, and thus gaining more traction. At $58.95, you can't go wrong with this unit.
Image010.jpg Some things to consider when grooving your brand new tires. It is wise to use a marker pen to draw out your groove marks before diving in. This makes it a no-brainer cut session. The other thing that will keep your biceps from exploding is to make sure the tires are warm before attempting to groove.
Image013.jpg For me, it was nice and sunny outside, so the tires were already nice and warm. The Ideal Groover sliced through the SXs like butter!
Image015.jpg Here is the design I came up with. I decided not to go overboard with the grooving, but I did do a considerable amount. I used a smaller cutting blade (#2) on the outer lugs so as to try to aviod them getting tore off in the sharp/abrasive rocks.
1010188_IMG.JPG What good is a new set of tires, when you have old bent, beat up rims? After looking around for a tough and reasonably priced beadlock, I came across High Impact Beadlocks (Mfd by Allied Wheel).
1010193_IMG.JPG These rims are extremely well built, with 32 grade 8 bolts clamping the ring to the tire. Here you can see the side view of the well built clamping ring.
1010194_IMG.JPG Here is a comparison of the new 32 bolt High Impact ring to the old 18 bolt MRT ring. The High Impact ring has a thick solid ring on the outer edge that protects the bead of the tire from cuts. The old MRT ring has sharp edges that can cut a tire at very low pressure.
1010195_IMG.JPG Here is a side-by-side comparison of the High Impact ring and the MRT ring.
1010189_IMG.JPG Here is what the High Impact rim looks like at a side view. The rims are high quality Allied rims, that have a good inner bead surface as well.
1010190_IMG.JPG A shot of the surface that the tire bead rests on. There isn't a self centering ring on the rim itself, but the locking ring seems to center the tire fairly well when tightening the bolts down. A note I found on their website regarding centering the tire on the rim:
"Note: The inner lip of the tire is SOFT. it is NOT a proper surface to use for centering a tire. A tire centered on a diameter inside this lip can easily be pushed to one side or the other because this lip is SOFT."
1010198_IMG.JPG Here is a shot of the "bead saver" ring. I have found the rings to be extremely durable, and quite the rock grinders.
1040405_IMG.JPG In the following pictures I aired the Swampers down to 1.5psi. This is a little lower than you'd probably run on dry rocks (I would personally run these tires at 4-5 psi), but I wanted to illustrate the performance of an aired down tire, and the ability of a well built beadlock to keep the tire on the rim in any conditions.
1030398_IMG.JPG Here you can see the tire literally wrapping around the sharp rock, and the ring of the rim is coming into contact with the rock.
1030397_IMG.JPG Another picture of the tire conforming to the trail.
1040404_IMG.JPG In this photo I have the vehicle turned to full passenger lock. Because of the ultra low pressure, the tire is beginning to fold under itself. The tire still remained on the rim.
1030400_IMG.JPG One more picture of the tire flexing over the terrain.
1040409_IMG.JPG I found the High Impact/Swamper SX combo to work well in dry rocks. I have not had the opportunity to try them in snow or mud yet. However I plan on updating this article once the wet stuff arrives.
1040403_IMG.JPG The SXs held their line fairly well. I was able to steer into ledges and keep a line without the front end pushing over excessively.
1040407_IMG.JPG Even with 1.5psi in the tires. I sidehilled with confidence knowing I wasn't going to blow a bead.

Overall Impressions
I have had the opportunity to run these tires and rims on serveral trails now, including the Rubicon Trail, Fordyce Creek Trail (Sierra Trek), my wife used them in the Reno CalROCS event. I even drove the vehicle (with a trailer in tow) from Garden Valley, CA all the way to the Rubicon Trail, participated in the 50th Annual Jeeper's Jamboree, and then drove it all the way back to Garden Valley. The tire/rim combo drove amazingly well on the pavement considering the size of the bias ply tires. FYI High Impact does not recommend these rims for street use.

I feel that these tires and rims are an excellent choice for the hard core rock crawler. I was not able to damage the rims at all. I could only scratch the paint on the "bead protector ring" on the clamping ring, and that's about it. The tires are probably the toughest tire on the market. They laugh at the sharpest of rocks, and make radial tires look silly in the durability department. But what about traction? I can say that the traction of the SX compared to the major competitor's radials is darn close. They don't seem to perform as well when wheel spin is involved such as when climbing verticle, but they LOVE to crawl. In a pure crawling contest, the SXs may just have the edge. But throw in some verticle walls where wheel spin comes into play, and I think the radials may have the edge.

What about the tire groover? The tire groover worked flawlessly as advertised, till I dropped it. Luckily I was just about finished grooving my tires. I broke the tip off the groover, and had to jerry rig it back together to finish my last tire. Overall for the price, you can't beat the AFCO Performance Products Ideal Tire Groover, and I'd recommend it to anyone. Just don't drop it!

Contact Information    
High Impact Wheels/Transmission & Gear
Greg Miller
Toll Free: 888-898-4331
www.high-impact.net
Interco Tire Corp.
P.O. Box 6
Rayne, LA 70578
Phone: 337-334-3814
Fax: 337-334-9796
www.intercotire.com
AFCO Performance Products
P.O. Box 608
Boonville, IN 47601
Phone: 1-800-417-7441
www.rpmnet.com