Harbor Freight tire changer?? - GL1800Riders
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-19-2008, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Harbor Freight tire changer??

Anyone own and use the Harbor Freight tire changer? I'm looking for comments as to its quality and ease of use. I have changed tires on the VTX that I used to have, but all I had then was a set of tire irons. Seems like the HF tire changer would make things a lot easier. My original tires on my '07 are at 5300 mi and I'm down to the wear bars. So I will be changing tires before long. Most every shop around here wants at least $70.00 to mount and balance. Some are higher than that. I figure I can buy the HF equipment for a little over $100.00 delivered and do my own. Any thoughts or comments will be appreciated.

Thanks, Steve
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-19-2008, 08:07 PM
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Re: Harbor Freight tire changer??

I had the HF tire changer I sold it, and got the NoMar tire changer...I wouldn't go back to the HF tire changer...if you want a cheap tire changer that needs some work to make it so you can use it, without damage to your wheels get the HF changer...if you want a good tire changer that will work for many years, don't buy the HF changer.

I may not have a "CLUE" about the real world..But I can spot a back stabbing sissy "Dummy" when I see one.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-19-2008, 09:41 PM
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Re: Harbor Freight tire changer??

I have the HF changer and have used it several times with good suscess. It does have to be modified to keep from scratching up the rims. I use the Mojo Blocks for this purpose. They bolt on top and in front of the rim clamps and are made from really hard plastic. I also use a couple of nylon cinch straps around the spokes of the rims and around the arms of the changer to keep the rim from moving while mounting the tire. I bought the Mojo lever to mount and dismount the tire. It has the same hard plastic tips on it to keep rims safe. Front tires are a breeze. Rear tires are harder. Run Flat car tires are the hardest but doable. It needs to be bolted down to a solid base to work well. Fred H. shows how to do the entire process on his DVD series. I have less than $200 in mine and work fine. No mar starts at $500.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-19-2008, 10:34 PM
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Re: Harbor Freight tire changer??

Ditto what JohnACMan said. I bolted mine down to the concrete and it works fine. I used the Mojo Lever, and the bolt snapped. Continued the work with the Harbor Freight bar, and all was well. I also used a Marc Parnes balancer to balance the tires. All in all, under 300 bux total. You can buy more expensive models, but why ? If $$$ is no object, go for it. I used plasti-dip on the parts of the HF tire changer that holds onto the tire....3 coats.

Also here is a good read: http://www.pbase.com/fredharmon/tirechange
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-20-2008, 10:06 AM
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Re: Harbor Freight tire changer??

I also thought about what the charge was for a tire change and my HF stuff was paid for in doing one wheel. Is it the best tool around? Probably not. Does it hold a wheel so you can do the change? Definitely.

Since I got mine, I've either done alone or with other bike owners: 3 GL1500 tires, 1 VTX1300 front tire, 2 GL1800 rear tires, 1 GL1800 front tire, 2 small trailer tires.... and I'm about to order tires for my own GL1800 to be installed before the end of this riding season.

Here's another link that I've found useful: http://www.clarity.net/~adam/tire-changing.html.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-21-2008, 02:38 AM
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Re: Harbor Freight tire changer??

Do a search on this board for the HF tire changer and you'll get some good ideas about how to modify them to make less likely to scratch your rims. They are okay for home use but there are better products out there, albeit at higher prices.
Here is what I did to mine...
I made my pads by cutting out pieces from a polyethylene cutting board, tapering one edge to fit under the original metal hook and mounting them with one countersunk through-bolt. Next I mounted 6 roller looking rim grabbers, two per pad. The rim grabbers are availble from NoMar for about 12 bucks and come with their own hex-head mounting screws. I just drilled a hole in the polyethylene pads a little smaller than the screws and screwed them in. They fit very snug. The cutting board was about 10 bucks. With everything included my modifications to the HF machine cost me about $25.00. So far I have changed five 245/45 17inch car tires and two tubless motorcycle tires tires with this setup and a Mojo bar. No complaints and no scratches on the rims.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-21-2008, 07:07 AM
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Re: Harbor Freight tire changer??

Mine works great. changed two tires for a friend just yesterday afternoon. It was 100 degrees outside. Too hot to ride anyway. (We were inside)
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-21-2008, 08:06 AM
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Re: Harbor Freight tire changer??

I changed two Exmark ZTR lawn mower tires on mine yesturday!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-21-2008, 11:59 AM
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Re: Harbor Freight tire changer??

I've changed 25 to 30 MC tires on my HF tire changer ( even Harleys...) since I bought it about 4 years ago. Once you get use to it, its easy...
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-21-2008, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Harbor Freight tire changer??

Thanks to everyone for the comments and to Mad Meteor for the pics. That really looks like a nice set up.

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