Correct Wheels/ Tires for Hummers
Updated February 4, 2014
- Wheel Specs and Use
- Hummer Wheel Chronology
- Hummer Tire Article
- How to get rid of extra Wheels
- 1 and 2 Piece Wheel Maintenance
- Balance Problems
- Plugging a Tire
- Safe to Remove Runflats from 2 piece Wheels?
- Lug Nuts
Two-piece steel wheels sandwich the tire and run-flat/ bead-lock between two halves that bolt together with 12 flanged locknuts. This design allows repairs to be made in the field without special equipment (tire machine). That’s why all the military trucks have 2-piece wheels. While it is possible to disassemble this wheel in the field it is a major workout to screw on and off the 12 locknuts without power tools. The nice thing about it is that you are able to service the wheels at home if you want. All the 2-piece wheels supplied by AMG prior to the 2000 model year came with 5 sided wheel nuts that require a special socket to remove. This was done to reduce AMG’s liability when these wheels were serviced. If you remove the wheel nuts while the tire is full of air the wheel assembly could explode. By controlling who was able to purchase the socket AMG could insure that only trained technicians could service the wheels. It turned out that many owners were able to obtain or make their own sockets and purchase regular hex flange nuts from the many Army surplus dealers. The latest 2-piece wheels which are standard on the 2000’s now come with hex nuts.
The 2-piece wheels do require some maintenance. Over time depending on conditions such as torque and tire pressure the wheel studs can pop and require replacement. Whenever I've had studs pop it's been on a really hot day on the highway when the tire pressure gets up near 50psi. Whenever I'm on the highway in the heat I watch my tire pressure and don't let it rise above 45psi. Check your wheels at fuel and rest stops. All you will notice is a wheel nut missing. I carry a few studs and nuts with me on trips. You want to replace a blown stud ASAP because it will cause the adjacent studs to carry the load (and possibly fail). It's recommended to replace the blown stud and the 2 adjacent ones. You can do this with the wheel on the truck.
In 2000 AMG came out with a newer style two piece wheel. They are supplied with hex nuts and use an orange / red O-ring which is thinner then the older style O rings. They also have a hole that you need to line up when you put them back together.
12 bolt 2-piece steel wheels, with no beadlock/ runflat with GSA's weighs 110 lbs. In my opinion you should not use a 12 bolt wheel without either a runflat or a beadlock. Unless the tire is inflated to at least 20 psi the tire can come off the rim. If you loose air from a leaking cti system the tire will flatten and come off the rim.
The majority of 2-piece wheels came from the factory with one-piece solid rubber run-flats that also lock both tire beads. They weigh 35 lbs each (total wheel/tire weighs 142) and require that the inside of the tire be coated with special grease. It takes a special run-flat removal tool and a lot of work to change a tire with this setup. I've been told that on early trucks there was a two-piece runflat that appeared for a short time. AMG also offers a bead-lock which is about 10 lbs lighter; total weight 131, doesn’t require any special tools or run-flat grease and locks both tire beads. I've run my GSA tires with runflats at 5 to 8 psi while climbing sand hills at Moab Utah.
I prefer the 2-piece wheels with bead-locks for this reason. It’s my opinion that having a run-flat on a civilian truck doesn’t buy you much. It’s only in very rare situations that you won’t have the opportunity to simply stop and change a tire. If you are forced to drive on a flat you will probably ruin the tire whether you have run-flats or not. If you are running 17” wheels you can’t lower the tire pressure much under 15 psi or the tire will start to hit the run-flat. In addition the run-flat grease makes it difficult if not impossible to patch a tire. So unless you have people with guns chasing you I wouldn’t worry about having a run-flat in your tire.
Above New style 2 piece runflat
I’m not a big fan of the one-piece 16.5" steel wheels because they aren't as strong as the other Hummer wheels. The company that supplied AM General with the one-piece steel wheels turned out many defective wheels. That's why AMG went back to the 2-piece steel 16.5" wheels for the 2000 models.
If you have the 1-piece wheels you probably have 2-piece run-flats installed. In my opinion these run-flats are totally worthless because they don't really lock the tire bead. If you ever have the opportunity to dismount your tires, take out the run-flats and throw them as far as you can. If you decide to keep the 2 piece runflats you will have to get a special Kent Moore runflat cam socket to tighten the runflats. This tool costs $529.00 (12/2007).
The 1-piece wheels are very easy to service once the run-flats have been removed (they weigh around 100). You can have the tires mounted and balanced at most tire stores with standard tire machines. Because 1-piece wheels are plentiful and cost less then the other wheels they make great spares. You should be able to get a used 1-piece wheel and a decent used tire for around $250.00. If you use a 1-piece wheel for a spare make sure you get the required flanged lug nuts. If you already have or are planning to get a tire carrier make sure that the wheels you are going to use will fit on the carrier. I have a carrier I bought for my 2-piece wheels back in 1995 that does not work with 1-piece wheels because the center hub holes in the wheels are different.
In 1996 AMG came out with it's first 16.5" aluminum wheel. Notice that the spokes are smooth. When AMG first came out with 17" aluminum wheels they had the same smooth spoke pattern as the 16.5's. All the later 17" aluminum wheels have a spoke with a 3d profile. All have hidden CTI.
Factory 17" Aluminum wheel with hidden CTI
Factory 17" Aluminum wheel with hidden CTI
This is the wheel that came on the 10th anniversary truck. It's a 20 bolt 2-piece forged Hutchinson which comes with either a bead-lock or a run-flat as an option.
The factory aluminum wheels are great because they are light, run true and hide the CTIS hardware. These 2-piece forged aluminum wheels are the best wheels ever made for a Hummer because they are very strong, light and lock the tire beads.
The problem is that they cost new from the factory well over $1000 each (without tire) and take a lot of work to mount the tire. Most tire shops won't touch these wheels and if they do it isn't unusual for them to charge 1000.00 to mount and balance 4 tires.
This is also the wheel that was used on the Duramax Alpha trucks. The outer area around the center hub was painted black.
These are the standard 20 bolt 2-piece forged Hutchinson aluminum wheels. The problem is that they cost new from the factory well over $1000 each (without tire).
These are the beadlocks for the above 20 bolt wheels.
This is a picture of the 20 bolt 2-piece forged Hutchinson with a runflat and a Goodyear MTR tire. This wheel setup sells for 2000.00 each. I don't think it ever came on any hummer vehicles. I took the picture at one of the hummer homecoming vendor booths.
These are the the Cepek 8.5"x 17" Aluminum wheels with Hidden CTI which are probably the most popular aftermarket wheel for the Hummer because they have a load rating of 4500 lbs and are very strong. As of this writing they are the only aftermarket wheel for the H1 / HMMWV that has the correct offset. They cost around 400.00 each. These wheels come in 18" also.
These are the the Cepek 8.5"x 17" Aluminum wheels with Exposed CTI
This is the latest 16.5" x 9 - 24 bolt 2 piece steel military wheel. It was developed to handle the extra heavy loads of the up armored hmmwv's.
There are 2 varients of this wheel. One with the bolts evenly spaced around the circumference and one with the bolts unevenly spaced.
The evenly spaced wheel pictured has a standard rim fitting (1/4" npt female pipe) that is used on all the hummer military steel wheels which allows you to use standard CTI lines. This wheel is rated at 4080 lbs each.
The unevenly spaced wheels have a smaller sized hole which is not compatible with standard Hummer CTI rim fittings. This was probably done to maximize the wheel strength. This wheel is rated at 4540 lbs each.
Reported to me on 11/5/2012 "The military has been unloading tons of those wheels with tires mounted, and at a very low price, so there's been a lot of guys purchasing them as extra sets for off roading," Just Google "24 bolt hummer wheels".
12 bolt two-piece 16.5” steel wheels with Goodyear MT radial tires were offered from the beginning on the Civilian Hummer. The two-piece steel wheels were delivered with 5-sided flange-headed wheel and 6-sided tapered lug nuts. These wheels were used on all non-recruit trucks until January of 1996. The MT tires were standard equipment until 2001.
The first design of 1-piece 16.5” steel wheels (using 6-sided tapered lug nuts) made its appearance in the 1993 model year "Recruit Series" Hummer. This is the only truck they were used on. The Recruit was an attempt to make a bare bones lower cost entry level truck.
In 1995 the 16.5” Goodyear GSA highway touring tire was introduced as an option.
In January of 1996 a new 1-piece 16.5” steel wheel using flanged-head lug nuts became the standard OEM wheel until the 2000 model year.
For the 2000 model year a new third generation 2-piece 16.5” steel wheel (6-sided flanged-headed wheel nuts and 6-sided tapered lug nuts) became standard equipment. The 16.5” one-piece aluminum wheels, 17” two-piece aluminum wheels and the Goodyear 17” MTR tire were options.
The 2001 model year was the same as the 2000 except a 17” Goodyear GSA tire was offered. Most of the 2001’s I’ve seen came with the 17” aluminum wheels and GSA tires.
In 2002 the 17” one piece aluminum wheels with GSA tires are standard equipment with the 2 piece aluminum wheels and MTR tires optional. No more 16.5” MT’s
A standard disclaimer. Working on Hummer wheels is heavy and can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing. Realize that even the best wheels can be bent. If you experience vibration check for balance, wheel run-out and out-of-round tires.
These Magnesium Runflats were only used with the older Military wheels.
First generation eight bolt two piece wheels were never offered for the Civilian Hummer's. They were used on military HMMWV’s with Goodyear RT II bias ply tires only. You cannot use radial tires with these wheels. They are not strong enough. They won't take the force from the tire pressure. These wheels are fitted with a standard 3/8" hole valve stem.
Many Hummer owners don't have a spare. If fact when I bought my first truck in 1995 I didn't think I needed a spare. The second week I had the truck one of the GSA's split the sidewall while driving on a city street. I was able to get it home with the CTI pump running. This is when I discovered that the tire and wheel weighed 160 pounds and was too big to just throw into a trunk of a car and drive 40 miles to the dealer. I wished I had a spare in the garage. I paid the price (800.00) and bought a new wheel and spare.
When I bought my 3rd truck which was a 98 it came with the one piece wheels. I replaced them with 2 piece wheels and beadlocks. I sold off the one piece wheels by getting some older tires which were takeoffs from a dealer; mounting them up; dumping the 2 piece runflats and selling them off as inexpensive spares for 200 each. The tires are all the same diameter so there is no problem and they don't weigh that much. Sell them with the lug nuts because the one piece wheels use the flanged ones.