Robert U’Ren of Willys Jeep UK shares some of his helpful fixes and tips on buying, selling, repairing and recommissioning World War Two and Hotchkiss Jeeps

Robert’s 1944 Jeep has original wartime split-rims and tyres

My old 1944 Ford Jeep has original wartime split rim wheels. The two front tyres have always slowly deflated over a long period of standing, but I never took the wheels apart to replace the inner tubes because they looked old and rusted, and I didn’t want to disturb the paint patina. The deflation was extremely slow, a bit like bicycle tyres that gradually go flat through the winter, but I was concerned that one day the slow deflation might turn into a fast one, so the time had come to tackle the job (and try not to chip the paint in the process).

Half-a-day and a very sore back later I got it done, using a few tricks I had learnt from previous tyre changes on Jeeps. But even with all the correct tools to hand and plenty of previous tyre-changing experience, these old combat wheels fought me all the way. First, I undid the valve cover and let the air out. Then I removed all the nuts holding the two halves of the wheel together – they were well seized but my impact wrench and a hexagonal socket loosened them, saving me from having to heat them and potentially burn the paint. I have a ½-inch thick rubber mat that I laid the wheel on to protect the workshop floor.

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