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Title:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR SEPARATING A TIRE BEAD FROM A WHEEL OF A VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/035625
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A ram mounting apparatus has a ram mounting body that includes a connector configured to connect the ram mounting body to a vehicle to resist movement of the ram mounting body relative to the vehicle. A ram holder is coupled to the connector and positioned relative to the connector to hold a ram in at least one position to exert a force on a tire bead of a tire on a first wheel of the vehicle to separate the tire bead from the first wheel when the ram mounting body is connected to the vehicle.

Inventors:
SUTTON, Robert Nicholas (601 Sparwood Drive, Sparwood, British Columbia V0B 2G0, V0B 2G0, CA)
WALKDEN, Alfred Bruce (1540 Kal Lake Road, Vernon, British Columbia V1T 6N6, V1T 6N6, CA)
Application Number:
CA2015/050843
Publication Date:
March 09, 2017
Filing Date:
September 02, 2015
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
KAL TIRE (1540 Kalamalka Lake Road, Vernon, British Columbia V1T 6N6, V1T 6N6, CA)
International Classes:
B60C25/13; B60C25/14
Domestic Patent References:
WO2012056216A12012-05-03
Foreign References:
GB2285608A1995-07-19
US3500891A1970-03-17
CA2809844A12013-09-19
US3332467A1967-07-25
US3066726A1962-12-04
US2380313A1945-07-10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SMART & BIGGAR (Suite 2300, 1055 West Georgia StreetVancouver, British Columbia V6E 3P3, V6E 3P3, CA)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A method of separating a tire bead of a tire from a first wheel of a vehicle, the method comprising:

causing a ram to exert a force on the tire bead when the ram is held by a ram holder of a ram mounting body comprising a connector removably connected to the vehicle to resist movement of the ram mounting body relative to the vehicle when connected to the vehicle.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the ram is a hydraulic ram, and wherein causing the ram to exert the force comprises causing a hydraulic force to be transmitted to the hydraulic ram. 3. The method of claim 1 or 2 wherein causing the ram to exert the force on the tire bead comprises causing the ram to exert the force on a portion of a wheel/rim flange that is movable relative to the first wheel and that transmits the force from the ram to a surface of the tire proximate the tire bead.

4. The method of claim 3 wherein causing the ram to exert the force comprises causing the ram to exert the force on a force transfer body having a force transfer surface

complementary to and contacting an outer surface of the portion of the wheel/rim flange.

5. The method of claim 1, 2, 3, or 4 wherein causing the ram to exert the force comprises causing the ram to exert the force in a generally constant direction.

6. The method of claim 1, 2, 3, or 4 wherein causing the ram to exert the force comprises causing the ram to exert the force in a range of different directions.

7. The method of claim 6 wherein causing the ram to exert the force comprises causing the ram to move within a range of positions defined by the ram holder.

8. The method of any one of claims 1 to 7 further comprising connecting the connector of the ram mounting body to the vehicle before causing the ram to exert the force on the tire bead.

9. The method of claim 8 wherein connecting the connector of the ram mounting body to the vehicle comprises positioning a portion of a fastening body of the ram mounting body in a through-opening defined by a portion of the vehicle proximate the tire.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein connecting the connector of the ram mounting body to the vehicle further comprises, after positioning the portion of the fastening body of the ram mounting body in the through-opening defined by the portion of the vehicle proximate the tire, removably securing the portion of the fastening body of the ram mounting body in the through-opening defined by the portion of the vehicle proximate the tire.

11. The method of claim 10 wherein securing the portion of the fastening body of the ram mounting body in the through-opening defined by the portion of the vehicle proximate the tire comprises locking a fastener in a position through a through- opening defined by the fastening body of the ram mounting body.

12. The method of claim 8 wherein connecting the connector of the ram mounting body to the vehicle comprises positioning a first portion of a fastening body in a through- opening defined by the ram mounting body and a second portion of the fastening body in a through- opening defined by a portion of the vehicle proximate the tire.

13. The method of any one of claims 1 to 12 wherein the ram mounting body is connected to the vehicle at a location spaced apart from the first wheel.

14. The method of claim 13 wherein the ram mounting body is connected directly to a motor housing of the vehicle.

15. The method of claim 8 wherein connecting the connector of the ram mounting body to the vehicle comprises connecting the ram mounting body to the vehicle between the first wheel and a second wheel of the vehicle.

16. The method of claim 15 wherein connecting the ram mounting body to the vehicle between the first wheel and the second wheel comprises removably positioning a first projection of the ram mounting body inside or on a portion of the first wheel and removably positioning a second projection of the ram mounting body inside or on a portion of the second wheel, such that the ram mounting body is generally securely connected to the first wheel and the second wheel.

17. The method of any one of claims 1 to 16 wherein the first wheel is a rear wheel of the vehicle.

18. A ram mounting apparatus comprising:

a ram mounting body comprising:

a means for connecting the ram mounting body to a vehicle to resist movement of the ram mounting body relative to the vehicle; and

a means for holding a ram in at least one position to exert a force on a tire bead of a tire on a first wheel of the vehicle to separate the tire bead from the first wheel when the ram mounting body is connected to the vehicle.

19. The apparatus of claim 18 wherein the means for holding the ram is configured to hold the ram in a generally constant position as the ram exerts the force on the tire bead. 20. The apparatus of claim 18 wherein the means for holding the ram is configured to hold the ram in a range of different positions as the ram exerts the force on the tire bead.

21. The apparatus of claim 18, 19, or 20 wherein the means for connecting the ram mounting body to the vehicle is configured to connect the ram mounting body to the vehicle at a through-opening defined by the vehicle. 22. The apparatus of claim 18, 19, 20, or 21 wherein the means for connecting the ram mounting body to the vehicle is configured to connect the ram mounting body to the vehicle at a location spaced apart from the first wheel.

23. The apparatus of claim 22 wherein the means for connecting the ram mounting body to the vehicle is configured to connect the ram mounting body directly to a motor housing of the vehicle.

24. The apparatus of claim 18, 19, or 20 wherein the means for connecting the ram mounting body to the vehicle is configured to connect the ram mounting body to the vehicle between the first wheel and a second wheel of the vehicle.

25. A ram mounting apparatus comprising:

a ram mounting body comprising:

a connector configured to connect the ram mounting body to a vehicle to resist movement of the ram mounting body relative to the vehicle; and

a ram holder coupled to the connector and positioned relative to the connector to hold a ram in at least one position to exert a force on a tire bead of a tire on a first wheel of the vehicle to separate the tire bead from the first wheel when the ram mounting body is connected to the vehicle.

26. The apparatus of claim 25 wherein the ram holder is configured to hold the ram in a generally constant position as the ram exerts the force on the tire bead.

27. The apparatus of claim 25 wherein the ram holder is configured to hold the ram in a range of different positions as the ram exerts the force on the tire bead.

28. The apparatus of claim 25, 26, or 27 wherein the ram holder comprises a body defining an aperture sized to receive at least a portion of the ram.

29. The apparatus of claim 25, 26, 27, or 28 wherein the connector comprises a fastening body sized to be received through a through-opening defined by the vehicle. 30. The apparatus of claim 29 wherein the fastening body defines at least one through- opening sized to receive a pin to secure a portion of the fastening body in the through- opening defined by the vehicle.

31. The apparatus of claim 30 further comprising the pin.

32. The apparatus of claim 25, 26, 27, or 28 wherein the connector defines a through- opening sized to receive a first portion of a fastening body with a second portion of the fastening body in a through-opening defined by the vehicle.

33. The apparatus of any one of claims 25 to 32 wherein the connector is configured to connect the ram mounting body to the vehicle at a location spaced apart from the first wheel.

34. The apparatus of claim 33 wherein the connector is configured to connect the ram mounting body directly to a motor housing of the vehicle.

35. The apparatus of claim 25, 26, 27, or 28 wherein the connector is configured to connect the ram mounting body to the vehicle between the first wheel and a second wheel of the vehicle.

36. The apparatus of claim 35 wherein the connector is configured to connect the ram mounting body directly to the first wheel and directly to the second wheel.

37. The apparatus of claim 36 wherein the connector comprises:

a first projection configured to be received in the first wheel; and

a second projection configured to be received in the second wheel.

38. Use of the apparatus of any one of claims 18 to 37 for separating the tire bead from the first wheel.

39. A kit comprising:

the apparatus of any one of claims 18 to 37; and

the first wheel.

40. The kit of claim 39 further comprising the ram.

41. A kit comprising:

the apparatus of any one of claims 18 to 37; and

the ram.

42. The kit of claim 40 or 41 wherein the ram is a hydraulic ram.

43. The kit of claim 40, 41, or 42 wherein the ram comprises a force transfer body having a force transfer surface complementary to an outer surface of a wheel/rim flange of the first wheel.

Description:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR

SEPARATING A TIRE BEAD FROM A WHEEL OF A VEHICLE

FIELD

This disclosure relates generally to separating a tire bead from a wheel of a vehicle. BACKGROUND

Removing tires from wheels, particularly in large vehicles such as haul trucks, can be costly and unsafe, for example because of strong forces that may hold tire beads to surfaces of the wheels.

SUMMARY

In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, there is provided a method of separating a tire bead of a tire from a first wheel of a vehicle. The method may involve causing a ram to exert a force on the tire bead when the ram is held by a ram holder of a ram mounting body which may include a connector removably connected to the vehicle to resist movement of the ram mounting body relative to the vehicle when connected to the vehicle.

The ram may be a hydraulic ram wherein causing the ram to exert the force may include causing a hydraulic force to be transmitted to the hydraulic ram.

The method may include causing the ram to exert the force on the tire bead including causing the ram to exert the force on a portion of a wheel/rim flange that is movable relative to the first wheel and that transmits the force from the ram to a surface of the tire proximate the tire bead.

The method may include causing the ram to exert the force on a force transfer body having a force transfer surface complementary to and contacting an outer surface of the portion of the wheel/rim flange.

The method may further include causing the ram to exert the force in a generally constant direction.

The method may include causing the ram to exert the force in a range of different directions. Causing the ram to exert the force may include causing the ram to move within a range of positions defined by the ram holder.

The method may include connecting the connector of the ram mounting body to the vehicle before causing the ram to exert the force on the tire bead.

Connecting the connector of the ram mounting body to the vehicle may include positioning a portion of a fastening body of the ram mounting body in a through-opening defined by a portion of the vehicle proximate the tire.

Connecting the connector of the ram mounting body to the vehicle may further include, after positioning the portion of the fastening body of the ram mounting body in the through- opening defined by the portion of the vehicle proximate the tire, removably securing the portion of the fastening body of the ram mounting body in the through-opening defined by the portion of the vehicle proximate the tire.

The method may include securing the portion of the fastening body of the ram mounting body in the through-opening defined by the portion of the vehicle proximate the tire which may include locking a fastener in a position through a through-opening defined by the fastening body of the ram mounting body.

Connecting the connector of the ram mounting body to the vehicle may include positioning a first portion of a fastening body in a through-opening defined by the ram mounting body and a second portion of the fastening body in a through-opening defined by a portion of the vehicle proximate the tire.

The ram mounting body may be connected to the vehicle at a location spaced apart from the first wheel.

The ram mounting body may be connected directly to a motor housing of the vehicle.

The method may further include connecting the connector of the ram mounting body to the vehicle including connecting the ram mounting body to the vehicle between the first wheel and a second wheel of the vehicle.

Connecting the ram mounting body to the vehicle between the first wheel and the second wheel may include removably positioning a first projection of the ram mounting body inside or on a portion of the first wheel and removably positioning a second projection of the ram mounting body inside or on a portion of the second wheel, such that the ram mounting body is generally securely connected to the first wheel and the second wheel.

The first wheel may be a rear wheel of the vehicle.

In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, there is provided a ram mounting apparatus. The apparatus may include a ram mounting body including a means for connecting the ram mounting body to a vehicle to resist movement of the ram mounting body relative to the vehicle; and a means for holding a ram in at least one position to exert a force on a tire bead of a tire on a first wheel of the vehicle to separate the tire bead from the first wheel when the ram mounting body is connected to the vehicle.

The means for holding the ram may be configured to hold the ram in a generally constant position as the ram exerts the force on the tire bead.

The means for holding the ram may also be configured to hold the ram in a range of different positions as the ram exerts the force on the tire bead.

The means for connecting the ram mounting body to the vehicle may be configured to connect the ram mounting body to the vehicle at a through-opening defined by the vehicle.

The means for connecting the ram mounting body to the vehicle may be configured to connect the ram mounting body to the vehicle at a location spaced apart from the first wheel.

The means for connecting the ram mounting body to the vehicle may also be configured to connect the ram mounting body directly to a motor housing of the vehicle.

The means for connecting the ram mounting body to the vehicle may also be configured to connect the ram mounting body to the vehicle between the first wheel and a second wheel of the vehicle.

In accordance with yet another embodiment of the invention, there is provided a ram mounting apparatus. The apparatus may include a ram mounting body including a connector configured to connect the ram mounting body to a vehicle to resist movement of the ram mounting body relative to the vehicle; and a ram holder coupled to the connector and positioned relative to the connector to hold a ram in at least one position to exert a force on a tire bead of a tire on a first wheel of the vehicle to separate the tire bead from the first wheel when the ram mounting body is connected to the vehicle. The ram holder may be configured to hold the ram in a generally constant position as the ram exerts the force on the tire bead.

The ram holder may be configured to hold the ram in a range of different positions as the ram exerts the force on the tire bead.

The ram holder may also include a body defining an aperture sized to receive at least a portion of the ram.

The connector may include a fastening body sized to be received through a through- opening defined by the vehicle.

The fastening body may define at least one through-opening sized to receive a pin to secure a portion of the fastening body in the through-opening defined by the vehicle.

The apparatus may further include the pin.

The connector may define a through-opening sized to receive a first portion of a fastening body with a second portion of the fastening body in a through- opening defined by the vehicle.

The connector may be configured to connect the ram mounting body to the vehicle at a location spaced apart from the first wheel.

The connector may further be configured to connect the ram mounting body directly to a motor housing of the vehicle.

The connector may be configured to connect the ram mounting body to the vehicle between the first wheel and a second wheel of the vehicle.

The connector may also be configured to connect the ram mounting body directly to the first wheel and directly to the second wheel.

The connector may include a first projection configured to be received in the first wheel; and a second projection configured to be received in the second wheel.

The apparatus may be used for separating the tire bead from the first wheel.

The apparatus may further include a kit which may include the first wheel.

The kit may further include the ram.

The ram may be a hydraulic ram.

The ram may include a force transfer body having a force transfer surface

complementary to an outer surface of a wheel/rim flange of the first wheel. Other aspects and features will become apparent to those ordinarily skilled in the art upon review of the following description of illustrative embodiments in conjunction with the accompanying figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a ram mounting body according to one embodiment from a first side of the ram mounting body.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the ram mounting body of FIG. 1 from a second side of the ram mounting body.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the ram mounting body of FIG. 1, including a partially exploded perspective view of a haul truck according to one embodiment.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the ram mounting body of FIG. 1 connected to the haul truck of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the ram mounting body of FIG. 1 connected to the haul truck of FIG. 3, taken along the line 5-5 in FIG. 4 and showing a ram held by a ram holder of the ram mounting body of FIG. 1 and in a resting position.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the ram mounting body of FIG. 1 connected to the haul truck of FIG. 3, taken along the line 5-5 in FIG. 4 and showing the ram of FIG. 5 in an extended position.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a ram mounting body according to another

embodiment.

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of the ram mounting body of FIG. 7, connected to a haul truck according to another embodiment, and showing a ram held by a ram holder of the ram mounting body of FIG. 7 and in a resting position.

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the ram mounting body of FIG. 7, connected to the haul truck of FIG. 8, and showing the ram of FIG. 8 in an extended position.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a ram mounting body according to another embodiment. FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the ram mounting body of FIG. 10, connected to a haul truck according to another embodiment, and showing a ram held by a ram holder of the ram mounting body of FIG. 10 and in a resting position.

FIG. 12 is another perspective view of the ram mounting body of FIG. 10 and the haul truck of FIG. 11, enlarged to show a force transfer body of the ram of FIG. 11.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a ram mounting body according to another

embodiment.

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of the ram mounting body of FIG. 13, connected to the haul truck of FIG. 3, and showing a ram held by a ram holder of the ram mounting body of FIG. 13 and in a resting position.

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of a ram mounting body according to another

embodiment.

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a force transfer body according to another

embodiment.

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of the ram mounting body of FIG. 1 connected to the haul truck of FIG. 8, and showing the force transfer body of FIG. 16 mounted to a piston of a ram held by the ram holder of the ram mounting body of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a ram mounting body 100 according to one embodiment. The ram mounting body 100 includes a base body, which is a base plate 102 in the embodiment shown, but which may include other functionally equivalent structures in other embodiments. The ram mounting body 100 and the base plate 102 have a first side shown generally at 104, and a second side shown generally at 106 opposite the first side 104.

On the first side 104, the ram mounting body 100 includes a ram holder 108 coupled (by welding, for example) to the base plate 102. The ram holder 108 may be cylindrical or generally cylindrical and defines an aperture shown generally at 110 and sized and shaped to receive at least a portion of a ram, such as a 25-ton hydraulic ram 112 (shown in FIGS. 3, 5, and 6). In this context, "generally cylindrical" refers to a structure that may not be perfectly cylindrical, but that may function the same as or substantially similar to a cylindrical structure. In more general terms, the term "generally" as used herein includes variations to an applicable aspect, embodiment or component described herein that may function the same as or substantially similar to such applicable aspect, embodiment or component (as the case may be) described herein. In various embodiments the ram holder 108 may not be cylindrical or generally cylindrical so long as the ram holder 108 is sized and shaped to receive and hold at least a portion of an appropriate ram sufficient to facilitate the use of the ram to separate a tire bead from a wheel of a vehicle.

In some embodiments, the hydraulic ram 112 may include, for example, a model #13090 or #13100 available from AME International of 2347 Circuit Way, Brooksville, Florida, United States of America, an ENERPAC™ model #RC-256, or a model #C256C available from SPX Corporation of 5885 11th Street, Rockford, Illinois, United States of America, although alternative embodiments may include different ram holders and different types of rams serving the same or similar function. For example, an alternative embodiment may include a 30-ton ram or a 50-ton ram instead of a 25-ton ram.

The embodiment shown includes the hydraulic ram 112 separate from and receivable in the ram holder 108 because the ram holder 108 and the hydraulic ram 112 may be heavy, and installing the ram holder 108 and the hydraulic ram 112 separately may be safer or easier than installing the ram holder 108 and the hydraulic ram 112 together. However, alternative embodiments may include a hydraulic ram integrally formed with, permanently connected to, connected by a fastener to, or otherwise held by a ram holder.

The hydraulic ram 112 includes a hydraulic fluid conduit coupling 113 that may be coupled to or otherwise in fluid communication with a hydraulic fluid conduit 114 that may receive hydraulic fluid from a hydraulic fluid source. In various embodiments, the hydraulic fluid source may include a pump, such as a five-quart 10,000 pounds-per-square-inch ("PSI") model #15920 air hydraulic pump available from AME International of 2347 Circuit Way, Brooksville, Florida, United States of America, an air hydraulic pump such as an

ENERPAC™ model #PA-133 or other PA-series air hydraulic pump, or a Turbo II air hydraulic five-quart model #10502 pump available from Equipment Supply Company of 15270 Flight Path Drive, Brooksville, Florida, United States of America, although alternative embodiments may include different hydraulic fluid sources serving the same or similar function. The hydraulic ram 112 also includes a piston 115 that rests in a resting position and that may forcefully extend from the resting position and away from the remainder of the hydraulic ram 112 into an extended position in response to a hydraulic force transmitted by hydraulic fluid received by the hydraulic ram 112 through the hydraulic fluid conduit 114.

The ram holder 108 defines a longitudinal through-opening shown generally at 116 and shaped to receive a portion of one or both of the hydraulic fluid conduit coupling 113 and the hydraulic fluid conduit 114 as the hydraulic ram 112 is received inside the aperture 110 from the first side 104 of the ram mounting body 100. The longitudinal through- opening 116 terminates at an end region shown generally at 117, which includes retaining regions shown generally at 118 and 119 that are adjacent and peripherally spaced apart from the longitudinal through-opening 116. When the hydraulic ram 112 is received in the aperture 110, a portion of one or both of the hydraulic fluid conduit coupling 113 and the hydraulic fluid conduit 114 may be received (for example by gravitational force and slight axial rotation of the hydraulic ram 112 in the aperture 110) in either of the retaining regions 118 and 119, which may retain the hydraulic ram 112 in the ram holder 108 by resisting any forces tending to remove the hydraulic ram 112 from the aperture 110.

Also on the first side 104, the ram mounting body 100 may include a handle 120, which may facilitate carrying and positioning the ram mounting body 100 as described herein, for example. A connector such as a chain 122 may connect the handle 120, and thus the ram mounting body 100, to a fastener such as fastener pin 124. The fastener pin 124 may include a resilient wire coil 126 coupling a first elongate wire portion 128 to a second elongate wire portion 130 and permitting the first elongate wire portion 128 and second elongate wire portion 130 to move resiliently relative to each other. A clasp 132 is coupled to the second elongate wire portion 130, and the clasp 132 may be connected to and disconnected from the first elongate wire portion 128.

The ram mounting body 100 also includes a fastening body 134, which is coupled (by welding, for example) to the base plate 102 in a through-opening of the base plate 102. The fastening body 134 includes a projection 135 and is positioned relative to the base plate 102 such that the projection 135 extends away from the base plate 102 and towards the second side 106. The projection 135 is generally cylindrical and includes generally diametrical through- openings 136 and 138, each sized to receive a portion of the first elongate wire portion 128 with the wire coil 126 on one side of the through- opening and with the clasp 132 on the other side of the through-opening. The fastener pin 124 may thus be secured to the projection 135 by positioning the first elongate wire portion 128 through one of the through-openings 136 and 138 and then connecting the clasp 132 to the first elongate wire portion 128.

Referring to FIG. 3, the ram mounting body 100 may be connected or fastened to a vehicle, which is a Komatsu™ 930E haul truck 140 in the embodiment shown, but which may include other vehicles in other embodiments. The haul truck 140 has a left-side front wheel assembly 141, a right-side front wheel assembly 142, a left-side outer rear wheel assembly 143, a left-side inner rear wheel assembly 144, a right-side inner rear wheel assembly 145, and a right-side outer rear wheel assembly 146. Each of the wheel assemblies includes a tire and a wheel/rim assembly. In general, "wheel" and "rim" may sometimes be used interchangeably, and may sometimes refer to different structures. Herein, a "wheel/rim assembly" refers to an assembly including a wheel, a rim, or any other structure to which a tire may be mounted to mount the tire rotatably on a vehicle. In the Komatsu™ 930E haul truck 140 of the

embodiment shown, the tires are known as "59/80 R 63" tires, which are tires having a radius of about 63 inches (or about 1.6 meters), although alternative embodiments may include different tires.

For illustration purposes, the left-side inner rear wheel assembly 144 is shown including a tire 147 and a wheel/rim assembly 148. The wheel/rim assembly 148 includes a wheel 149, detachable wheel/rim flanges 150 and 152, and a mounting flange 154. The wheel/rim flanges 150 and 152 may also be referred to as side rings. The tire 147 may be mounted to the wheel/rim assembly 148 with tire beads of the tire 147 proximate the detachable wheel/rim flanges 150 and 152. The wheel/rim assembly 148 may vary in different embodiments, and for illustration purposes may include a RIMEX™ Taper Secure Radial (TSR) wheel, for example. The detachable wheel/rim flanges 150 and 152 are movable relative to the wheel 149 as discussed below. The detachable wheel/rim flanges 150 and 152 may be movable to at least two positions:

(1) a mounted position wherein the detachable wheel/rim flanges 150 and 152 are mounted firmly and securely against generally opposing and distal portions of the wheel 149 when an inflated tire (e.g. tire 147) is mounted on the wheel/rim assembly 148 and firmly abuts the detachable wheel/rim flanges 150 and 152, with the detachable wheel/rim flanges 150 and 152 providing a secure seal between the tire 147 and the wheel 149 in the mounted position; and

(2) a detached position wherein the detachable wheel/rim flanges 150 and 152 are detached from or loosely in contact with wheel 149 such that the tire 147 may be removed from or mounted to the wheel 149.

Likewise, the left-side outer rear wheel assembly 143 includes a tire 155 and a wheel/rim assembly 156. The wheel/rim assembly 156 also includes a wheel, two detachable wheel/rim flanges, and a mounting flange 157. Outer rear wheel assembly 143 may be configurable similar to inner rear wheel assembly 144.

The haul truck 140 may have a diesel-electric powertrain including a motor housing 159 coupled to an electric wheel drive assembly 160, which for illustration purposes is a General Electric™ GDY85 electric wheel drive assembly in the embodiment shown, but which may include other powertrain structures in other embodiments. The electric wheel drive assembly 160 includes a mounting flange 162 connectable to the mounting flange 157 to mount the wheel/rim assembly 156 and the left-side outer rear wheel assembly 143 to the electric wheel drive assembly 160, and a mounting flange 164 connectable to the mounting flange 154 to mount the wheel/rim assembly 148 and the left-side inner rear wheel assembly 144 to the electric wheel drive assembly 160. The motor housing 159 includes mounting flanges 166, 168, 170, and 172 extending rearward from the motor housing 159. The mounting flanges 166 and 168 support a load absorber 174, and the mounting flanges 170 and 172 support a load absorber 176. The load absorbers 174 and 176 support a dump body 178, which can carry heavy loads in mining operations for example. Therefore, the mounting flanges 166, 168, 170, and 172 are structural components of the haul truck 140 that are able to withstand significant loads and that remain generally stationary relative to the chassis, drivetrain, and other structural components of the haul truck 140. The mounting flange 166 includes a through-opening shown generally at 180 and sized and shaped to receive a portion of the fastening body 134 to connect or fasten the ram mounting body 100 to the haul truck 140 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. When the left-side outer rear wheel assembly 143 is removed from the electric wheel drive assembly 160, the ram mounting body 100 may be connected or fastened to the haul truck 140 to facilitate removing the tire 147 from the wheel/rim assembly 148 as described below. First, the electric wheel drive assembly 160 or other structure at the rear end of the haul truck 140 may be supported on a jack or other support structure, and the tire 147 may be deflated to relieve pneumatic pressure from the wheel/rim flanges 150 and 152. Then the hydraulic ram 112 may be received inside the aperture 110 formed by the ram holder 108 with the hydraulic fluid conduit 114 initially disconnected from the hydraulic fluid conduit coupling 113 and with the piston 115 facing away from the base plate 102.

Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, a portion of the fastening body 134 may be received through the through- opening 180 such that the base plate 102 contacts the mounting flange 166 and faces the tire 147, and such that the projection 135 extends away from the mounting flange 166 on a side of the mounting flange 166 opposite the tire 147. When the base plate 102 is thus positioned, an end surface 182 on an end body 183 coupled to the base plate 102 is positioned to abut an outer surface 184 of the motor housing 159, which limits rotation of the ram mounting body 100 about the fastening body 134 in the through-opening 180. Further, the first elongate wire portion 128 of the fastener pin 124 may be positioned through the through- opening 136 with the clasp 132 connected to a portion of the first elongate wire portion 128 opposite the wire coil 126 to lock the fastener pin 124 in a position such that portions of the fastener pin 124 extend away from the projection 135 and contact the mounting flange 166 to secure the fastening body 134 in position through the through-opening 180, and thus to secure the base plate 102 against the mounting flange 166. The fastening body 134, the end surface 182, and the fastener pin 124 thus cooperate to connect or fasten the ram mounting body 100 to the haul truck 140 at a structural component of the haul truck 140 that is spaced apart from and proximate to the wheel 149 to resist movement of the ram mounting body 100 relative to the haul truck 140, and the fastening body 134 thus functions as a connector to removably connect the ram mounting body 100 to the haul truck 140 as described above.

Referring to FIG. 5, the tire 147 includes a bead wire 186 proximate the wheel 149, and a bead surface 188 between the bead wire 186 and the wheel 149. In various

embodiments, the ram holder 108 may be positioned relative to the base plate 102 such that, when the hydraulic ram 112 is received inside the aperture 110 formed by the ram holder 108 with the piston 115 in the resting position and facing away from the base plate 102, and when ram mounting body 100 is removably connected to the vehicle proximate the tire 147, the ram holder 108 is sized and shaped to hold the hydraulic ram 112 with the piston 115 spaced apart from the tire 147 but positioned to contact a portion of the wheel/rim flange 152 when the hydraulic ram 112 is activated with a force sufficient to dislodge the wheel/rim flange 152 from the mounted position on wheel 149 thereby dislodging the tire 147 from a sealed position on the wheel 149 and placing the wheel/rim flange 152 in the detached position. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, when ram mounting body 100 is removably connected to the vehicle proximate the tire 147, the fastening body 134 may be positioned or received through the through- opening 180, and the end surface 182 of the base plate 102 may abut the outer surface 184 of the motor housing 159, such that the ram holder 108 holds the hydraulic ram 112 with the piston 115 spaced apart from the tire 147 but positioned to contact the wheel/rim flange 152 when the piston 115 is activated and extends from the resting position away from the remainder of the hydraulic ram 112 and into the extended position. As shown in FIG. 5, the ram holder 108 holds the hydraulic ram 112 such that the piston 115 extends towards the outer surface 184 of the motor housing 159 and at an acute angle 189 from the base plate 102, and thus towards the outer surface 184 of the motor housing 159 and at the acute angle 189 from the mounting flange 166. In the embodiment shown, the acute angle 189 is about 65.7°. However, in alternative embodiments, the acute angle 189 may differ and may, for example, be from about 60° to about 70°, or about 66°.

As indicated above, the hydraulic fluid conduit 114 may be initially disconnected from the hydraulic fluid conduit coupling 113, but once the ram mounting body 100 is removably connected or fastened to the haul truck 140 as described above, the hydraulic fluid conduit 114 may be connected to the hydraulic fluid conduit coupling 113 as shown in FIG. 6, and a hydraulic force may be transmitted by hydraulic fluid through the hydraulic fluid conduit 114 and to the hydraulic ram 112 to cause the piston 115 to extend forcefully from the resting position away from the remainder of the hydraulic ram 112 and into the extended position to contact forcefully the wheel/rim flange 152 and dislodge the wheel/rim flange 152 from the mounted position in a direction away from the hydraulic ram 112 as shown in FIG. 6. In various embodiments, causing a piston of a ram to exert a force may involve, for example, causing a source of pressurized fluid to transmit pressurized fluid to the ram.

Referring to FIG. 6, because the inner bead of the tire 147 is proximate to and abutting the wheel/rim flange 152 in the mounted position, movement of the wheel/rim flange 152 in the direction away from the hydraulic ram 112 transfers force from the hydraulic ram 112 to a bead region of the tire 147 proximate the bead surface 188 of the tire 147, which separates the bead surface 188 from the wheel 149. Therefore, once activated the hydraulic ram 112 exerts a force on the bead region of the tire 147 sufficient to separate the bead region from the wheel 149 when the hydraulic ram 112 is held by the ram holder 108. In various embodiments, the fastening body 134 may be used to securely connect the ram mounting body 100 to the haul truck 140 so that the hydraulic ram 112 is securely positioned to consistently dislodge the wheel/rim flange 152 from the mounted position when the hydraulic ram 112 is activated. Further, in various embodiments, because the ram holder 108 is coupled to the base plate 102, because the base plate 102 rests against the mounting flange 166, and because the mounting flange 166 is a structural component of the haul truck 140, a structural component of the haul truck 140 accommodates forces from the hydraulic ram 112.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, the aperture 110 (shown in FIG. 1) formed by the ram holder 108 is sized and shaped to hold the hydraulic ram 112 in a generally constant position, so that when the hydraulic ram 112 is activated causing the piston 115 to extend from the resting position and into the extended position, the piston 115 exerts a force in a generally constant direction with the piston 115 contacting the wheel/rim flange 152 sufficiently to dislodge the wheel/rim flange 152 from the mounted position on wheel 149. More generally, in various embodiments, the ram holder 108 may be configured to hold the hydraulic ram 112 so that when the piston 115 extends from the resting position and into the extended position, the piston 115 exerts a force on the wheel/rim flange 152, wherever the wheel/rim flange 152 may be positioned on the wheel 149 to provide a secure seal between the tire 147 and the wheel 149, to exert a force upon activation on the bead region of the tire 147 to separate the bead region from the wheel 149 when the hydraulic ram 112 is held by the ram holder 108 connected to a portion of the haul truck 140 proximate the tire 147. FIG. 7 illustrates a ram mounting body 190 according to another embodiment. The ram mounting body 190 includes a base body, which for illustration purposes is a base plate 192 in the embodiment shown, but which may include other functionally equivalent structures in other embodiments. The ram mounting body 190 and the base plate 192 have a first side shown generally at 194, and a second side shown generally at 196 opposite the first side 194.

On the first side 194, the ram mounting body 190 includes a ram holder 198 coupled (by welding, for example) to the base plate 192. The ram holder 198 defines a flared aperture shown generally at 200 and sized and shaped to receive at least a portion of a ram, such as a 25-ton hydraulic ram 202 shown in FIG. 8, although alternative embodiments may include different rams. Because the aperture 200 is flared, the ram holder 198 may hold the hydraulic ram 202 in a range of positions defined by the aperture 200. Although the embodiment shown includes the hydraulic ram 202 separate from and receivable in the ram holder 198, alternative embodiments may include a hydraulic ram integrally formed with, permanently connected to, connected by a fastener to, or otherwise held by a ram holder. The ram holder 198 also defines a longitudinal through-opening shown generally at 204 that may receive a portion of one or both of a hydraulic fluid coupling and a hydraulic fluid conduit similar to the longitudinal through-opening 116 described above. Also on the first side 194, the ram mounting body 190 may include a handle 206, and a chain 208 may connect a fastener pin 210 to the handle 206 and thus to the ram mounting body 190. The fastener pin 210 may be similar to the fastener pin 124 described above.

The ram mounting body 190 also includes a fastening body 212, which is coupled (by welding, for example) to the base plate 192 in a through-opening of the base plate 192. The fastening body 212 includes a projection 214 that extends away from the base plate 192 and towards the second side 196. The projection 214 may be generally cylindrical and includes a generally diametrical through-opening (shown generally at 216) and is sized and shaped to receive a portion of the fastener pin 210.

Referring to FIG. 8, the ram mounting body 190 may be connected or fastened to a portion of a vehicle, which for illustration purposes is a portion of a Komatsu™ 830E haul truck shown generally at 218 in the embodiment shown, but which may include other vehicles in other embodiments. The Komatsu™ 830E haul truck 218 of the embodiment shown is similar to the Komatsu™ 930E haul truck 140 shown in FIGS. 3 to 6, although the tires of the Komatsu™ 830E haul truck 218 of the embodiment shown are known as "40.00 R 57" tires, which have a smaller radius (of about 57 inches or about 1.45 meters) than the tires of the Komatsu™ 930E haul truck 140 shown in FIGS. 3 to 6. Further, the tires of the

Komatsu™ 830E haul truck 218 of the embodiment shown have slightly different widths than the tires of the Komatsu™ 930E haul truck 140 shown in FIGS. 3 to 6. However, alternative embodiments of the haul truck 218 may include different tires. Similar to the haul truck 140 shown in FIG. 3, the haul truck 218 has a left-side inner rear wheel shown generally at 220, which includes a wheel 222, a detachable wheel/rim flange 224, and a tire 226 including a bead wire 228 proximate the wheel 222, and a bead surface 230 between the bead wire 228 and the wheel 222.

Also like the haul truck 140 shown in FIG. 3, the haul truck 218 includes a motor housing 232 having an outer surface 234, and a mounting flange 236, which is also a structural component of the haul truck 218 that is able to withstand significant loads and that remains generally stationary relative to the chassis, drivetrain, and other structural components of the haul truck 218. The mounting flange 236 defines a through- opening shown generally at 238 and is sized and shaped to receive a portion of the fastening body 212. The motor housing 232 and the mounting flange 236 of the Komatsu™ 830E haul truck 218 of the embodiment shown are similar or substantially identical to the motor housing 159 and the mounting flange 164 respectively of the Komatsu™ 930E haul truck 140 (shown in FIGS. 3 to 6).

The ram mounting body 190 may be connected or fastened to the haul truck 218 to facilitate removing the tire 226 from the wheel 222 as described below. First, the rear end of the haul truck 218 may be supported on a jack or other support structure, and the tire 226 may be deflated to relieve pneumatic pressure from the wheel/rim flange 224. The hydraulic ram 202 may be received inside the aperture 200, and a portion of the fastening body 212 may be received in the through-opening 238 such that the base plate 192 contacts the mounting flange 236 and faces the tire 226, and such that the projection 214 extends away from the mounting flange 236 on a side of the mounting flange 236 opposite the tire 226. When the base plate 192 is thus positioned, an end surface 240 on an end body 241 coupled to the base plate 192 is positioned to abut the outer surface 234 of the motor housing 232, which limits rotation of the ram mounting body 190 about the fastening body 212 in the through-opening 238. Further, in various embodiments a portion of the fastener pin 210 may be positioned through the through- opening 216 to secure the fastening body 212 in position, and thus to secure the base plate 192 against the mounting flange 236. The fastening body 212, the end surface 240, and the fastener pin 210 thus cooperate to connect or fasten the ram mounting body 190 to the haul truck 218 at a structural component of the haul truck 218 that is spaced apart from the wheel 222 to resist movement of the ram mounting body 190 relative to the haul truck 218. The fastening body 212 may therefore function as a connector to detachably connect the ram mounting body 190 to the haul truck 218 as described above.

As shown in FIG. 8, the hydraulic ram 202 includes a piston 242 that contacts or is proximate to the wheel/rim flange 224. FIG. 8 illustrates the wheel/rim flange 224 before receiving a force from the hydraulic ram 202. Before the hydraulic ram 202 is activated and exerts a force on the wheel/rim flange 224, the hydraulic ram 202 is in a position, within the range of positions defined by the aperture 200, that is relatively oriented towards the outer surface 234 of the motor housing 232. A fluid conduit may be coupled to the fluid coupling of the hydraulic ram 202, and upon activation a hydraulic force may be transmitted by hydraulic fluid to the hydraulic ram 202 to cause the piston 242 to extend forcefully from the resting position shown in FIG. 8 to an extended position to contact forcefully the wheel/rim flange 224 and move the wheel/rim flange 224 in a direction away from the hydraulic ram 202 as shown in FIG. 9. In various embodiments, as the piston 242 extends from the resting position to the extended position shown in FIG. 9, the piston 242 remains in contact with the wheel/rim flange 224 and moves through a range of positions defined by the aperture 200. Specifically, the range of positions defined by the aperture 200 may range from a starting position inclined relatively towards the outer surface 234 of the motor housing 232 to an end position shown in FIG. 9 oriented away from the outer surface 234 of the motor housing 232 (towards tire 226) relative to the starting position shown in FIG. 8. More generally, in various embodiments, the ram holder 198 may be configured to hold the hydraulic ram 202 so that when the piston 242 extends from the resting position and into the extended position, the piston 242 exerts a force on the wheel/rim flange 224, wherever it may be positioned, to exert a force on the bead region of the tire 226 sufficient to separate the bead region from the wheel 222 when the hydraulic ram 202 is held by the ram holder 198 while the ram mounting body 190 is connected to the haul truck 218.

Referring to FIG. 9, because the inner bead of the tire 226 is proximate the wheel/rim flange 224, movement of the wheel/rim flange 224 in the direction away from the hydraulic ram 202 transfers force from the hydraulic ram 202 to a bead region of the tire 226 proximate the bead surface 230 of the tire 226, which thereby separates the bead surface 230 and the bead region from the wheel 222. In this way, for various embodiments the hydraulic ram 202 exerts a force on the bead region of the tire 226 sufficient to separate the bead region from the wheel 222 when the hydraulic ram 202 is held in position by the ram mounting body 190 connected to the haul truck 218. In various embodiments, because the ram holder 198 is coupled to the base plate 192, because the base plate 192 rests against the mounting flange 236, and because the mounting flange 236 is a structural component of the haul truck 218, a structural component of the haul truck 218 accommodates forces from the hydraulic ram 202 as the hydraulic ram 202 upon activation causes the wheel/rim flange 224 to move to separate the bead surface 230 and the bead region from the wheel 222.

As indicated above, the motor housing 232 and the mounting flange 236 of the Komatsu™ 830E haul truck 218 of the embodiment shown are similar or substantially identical to the motor housing 159 and the mounting flange 164 respectively of the

Komatsu™ 930E haul truck 140 (shown in FIGS. 3 to 6), but the tires of the Komatsu™ 830E haul truck 218 of the embodiment shown have a smaller radius and a slightly different width than the tires of the Komatsu™ 930E haul truck 140. The ram mounting body 190 differs from the ram mounting body 100 (shown in FIGS. 1 to 6) to accommodate for the smaller radius and slightly different width of the tires of the Komatsu™ 830E haul truck 218 of the embodiment shown. However, in other embodiments, a force transfer body may alternatively accommodate for the smaller radius and slightly different width of the tires of the

Komatsu™ 830E haul truck 218 and may thus allow the ram mounting body 100 to be adapted for use on the Komatsu™ 830E haul truck 218.

For example, referring to FIGS. 16 and 17, a force transfer body 360 according to one embodiment includes a piston mounting body 362 configured to be mounted to a piston of a hydraulic ram 364. In the embodiment shown, the hydraulic ram 364 is similar to the hydraulic ram 112 (shown in FIGS. 3, 5, and 6) and includes a piston similar to the piston 115 (also shown in FIGS. 5 and 6), although alternative embodiments may include different rams. In general, the end of a piston of a hydraulic ram may include a hole that may be about 1.375 inches (or about 3.5 centimeters) in diameter and about 1.375 inches (or about 3.5 centimeters) deep. The piston mounting body 362 may be configured to be mounted to the piston of the hydraulic ram 364 by receiving a portion of the piston mounting body 362 in such a hole on the end of the piston of the hydraulic ram 364. The force transfer body 360 also includes a projection 366 and a projection 368, and the force transfer body 360 defines a recess shown generally at 370 between a surface 372 of the projection 366 and a surface 374 of the projection 368.

FIG. 17 illustrates the ram mounting body 100 (also shown in FIGS. 1 to 6) removably connected to the Komatsu™ 830E haul truck 218. As indicated above, the motor housing 232 and the mounting flange 236 of the Komatsu™ 830E haul truck 218 are similar or

substantially identical to the motor housing 159 and the mounting flange 164 respectively of the Komatsu™ 930E haul truck 140 (shown in FIGS. 3 to 6), so the ram mounting body 100 may be removably connected to the Komatsu™ 830E haul truck 218 generally as shown in FIGS. 3 to 6 and as described above for the Komatsu™ 930E haul truck 140. Further, as indicated above, the hydraulic ram 364 is similar to the hydraulic ram 112 (shown in FIGS. 3, 5, and 6), and as shown in FIG. 17, the ram holder 108 may hold the hydraulic ram 364 generally as shown in FIGS. 3 to 6 and as described above for the hydraulic ram 112. Further, as with the hydraulic ram 112, the ram holder 108 is sized and shaped to hold the hydraulic ram 364 in a generally constant position.

As also shown in FIG. 17, the piston mounting body 362 of the force transfer body 360 may be mounted to the piston of the hydraulic ram 364 and positioned such that, when the mounting body 100 is removably connected to the Komatsu™ 830E haul truck 218 as described above, and when the ram holder 108 holds the hydraulic ram 364, a portion of the wheel/rim flange 224 is received in the recess 370 between the surface 372 and the surface 374, and the surface 372 is positioned to contact an outer surface of the wheel/rim flange 224 and transfer a force from the hydraulic ram 364 to the wheel/rim flange 224 to move the wheel/rim flange 224 and separate the bead surface 230 and the bead region from the wheel 222 (shown in FIGS. 8 and 9) generally as described above and shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. Therefore, the surface 372 is a force transfer surface that is complementary to, and that may contact, an outer surface of the portion of the wheel/rim flange 224.

In general, the force transfer body 360 may function as an adaptor to adapt the ram mounting body 100 for use on the Komatsu™ 830E haul truck 218 of the embodiment shown by accommodating the relatively smaller radius and slightly different width of the tires of the Komatsu™ 830E haul truck 218 of the embodiment shown when compared to the

Komatsu™ 930E haul truck 140 shown in FIGS. 3 to 6. Using the force transfer body 360 to adapt the ram mounting body 100 for use on the Komatsu™ 830E haul truck 218 may in some embodiments be more economical than the ram mounting body 190 (shown in FIGS. 7 to 9). More generally, in other embodiments, other such force transfer bodies may adapt ram mounting bodies such as the ram mounting bodies described herein for various different vehicles or tires.

FIG. 10 illustrates a ram mounting body 244 according to yet another embodiment. The ram mounting body 244 includes a base body, which for illustration purposes is a base plate 246 in the embodiment shown, but which may include other functionally equivalent structures in other embodiments. The ram mounting body 244 and the base plate 246 have a first side shown generally at 248, and a second side shown generally at 250 opposite the first side 248.

On the first side 248, the ram mounting body 244 includes a ram holder 252 coupled

(by welding, for example) to the base plate 246. The ram holder 252 is generally cylindrical and defines an aperture shown generally at 254 and is sized and shaped to receive at least a portion of a ram, such as a 25-ton hydraulic ram 256 shown in FIG. 11, although alternative embodiments may include different rams. Although the embodiment shown includes the hydraulic ram 256 separate from and receivable in the ram holder 252, alternative

embodiments may include a hydraulic ram integrally formed with, permanently connected to, connected by a fastener to, or otherwise held by a ram holder or the ram mounting body 244. The ram mounting body 244 may include a generally cylindrical connector body 258 defining a through- opening shown generally at 260 and extending between the first side 248 and the second side 250 of the ram mounting body 244. On the second side 250, the ram mounting body 244 includes a force transfer body 262 including force transfer surfaces 264 and 266 that transfer forces from the hydraulic ram 256 to structural components of a haul truck as described below.

Referring to FIG. 11, the ram mounting body 244 may be detachably connected or fastened to a vehicle, which is a Caterpillar™ 797 haul truck shown generally at 270 in the embodiment shown, but which may include other vehicles in other embodiments. The haul truck 270 has a motor housing 272 and a right-side inner rear wheel 269 similar to the wheels described above, with a tire 274 and a wheel/rim flange 276 similar to the tires and wheel/rim flanges described above and mounted to the wheel 269. The motor housing 272 includes mounting flanges 271 and 273 extending rearward from the motor housing 272. The mounting flanges 271 and 273 define respective generally collinear through-openings, and a fastening body 275 may be positioned through the through-openings of the mounting flanges 271 and 273 and through the through-opening 260 (shown in FIG. 10) of the connector body 258 to fasten or connect the ram mounting body 244 to the mounting flanges 271 and 273. The mounting flanges 271 and 273 are structural components of the haul truck 270 that are able to withstand significant loads and that remain generally stationary relative to the chassis, drivetrain, and other structural components of the haul truck 270, so the connector body 258, the mounting flanges 271 and 273, and the fastening body 275 thus cooperate to connect or fasten the ram mounting body 244 to the haul truck 270 at a structural component of the haul truck 270 that is spaced apart from the wheel 269 to resist movement of the ram mounting body 244 relative to the haul truck 270.

Referring to FIGS. 11 and 12, the hydraulic ram 256 includes a piston 278 and a force transfer body 280 at a distal end of the piston 278. The force transfer body 280 includes a curved force transfer surface 282 that is complementary to a curved surface 284 of the wheel/rim flange 276. Similar to the embodiments described above, the piston 278 is shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 in a resting position, and when upon activation the piston 278 extends away from the remainder of the hydraulic ram 256 and away from the ram mounting body 244, the piston 278 and the force transfer body 280 transfer a force from the hydraulic ram 256 to the wheel/rim flange 276 sufficient to move the wheel/rim flange 276 in a direction away from the hydraulic ram 256, thereby dislodging the wheel/rim flange 276 from a mounted position. In so dislodging the wheel/rim flange 276 from the wheel 269, the piston 278 and the force transfer body 280 also cause the wheel/rim flange 276 to move a bead surface of the tire 274 in the direction away from the hydraulic ram 256 to separate the bead surface from the wheel 269. The hydraulic ram 256 may thus exert a force, via the wheel/rim flange 276, on a bead region of the tire 274 to separate the bead region from the wheel 269 when the hydraulic ram 256 is held by the ram holder 252 and when the connector body 258 is connected to the haul truck 270.

In the embodiment shown, the aperture 254 is sized and shaped to hold the hydraulic ram 256 in a generally constant position, so when the piston 278 extends from the resting position and into the extended position, the piston 278 exerts a force in the generally constant direction. Further, the generally constant direction in the embodiment shown is generally parallel to the portion of the fastening body 275 that extends through the through-openings of the mounting flanges 271 and 273, and is thus generally parallel to a notional line that extends through respective centers of the through-openings of the mounting flanges 271 and 273. The generally constant direction may also be generally horizontal in the embodiment shown. More generally, in various different embodiments, the ram holder 252 may be configured to hold the hydraulic ram 256 so that when the piston 278 extends from the resting position and into the extended position, the piston 278 exerts upon activation a force on the wheel/rim flange 276, wherever the wheel/rim flange 276 may be positioned on the wheel 269 in a manner that provides a secure seal between the tire 274 and the wheel 269, to exert a force on the bead region of the tire 274 to separate the bead region from the wheel 269 when the hydraulic ram 256 is held by the ram holder 252 as the ram mounting body 244 is connected to the haul truck 270 proximate the tire 274 in the manner described above.

FIG. 13 illustrates a ram mounting body 286 according to yet another embodiment. The ram mounting body 286 includes a base body, which for illustration purposes is a base plate 288 in the embodiment shown, but which may include other functionally equivalent structures in other embodiments. The ram mounting body 286 and the base plate 288 have a first side shown generally at 290, and a second side shown generally at 292 opposite the first side 290. On the first side 290, the ram mounting body 286 includes a stop body 294 having a stop surface 296 extending away from the base plate 288 and facing towards the first side 290. The base plate 288 also includes a portion or projection 298 extending past the stop surface 296 on the first side 290 of the ram mounting body 286. On the second side 292, the ram mounting body 286 includes a stop body 300 having a stop surface 302 extending away from the base plate 288 and facing the second side 292 of the ram mounting body 286. The base plate 288 also includes a portion or projection 304 extending past the stop surface 302 towards the second side 292 of the ram mounting body 286. The ram mounting body 286 also includes a ram holder 306 coupled (by welding, for example) to the base plate 288. The ram holder 306 is generally cylindrical and defines an aperture shown generally at 308. The aperture 308 extends generally parallel to the base plate 288 and faces the first side 290. The aperture 308 is also sized to receive at least a portion of a ram, such as a 25-ton hydraulic ram 310 shown in FIG. 14, although alternative embodiments may include different rams. Although the embodiment shown includes the hydraulic ram 310 separate from and receivable in the ram holder 306, alternative embodiments may include a hydraulic ram integrally formed with, permanently connected to, connected by a fastener to, or otherwise held by a ram holder.

Referring to FIGS. 3, 13 and 14, the ram mounting body 286 may be connected to a vehicle, which for illustration purpose is the haul truck 140 from FIG. 3 in the embodiment shown, but which may include other vehicles in other embodiments. FIG. 3 illustrates the right-side inner rear wheel assembly 145 and the right-side outer rear wheel assembly 146 of the haul truck 140, and FIG. 14 illustrates that the right-side inner rear wheel assembly 145 includes a wheel 316 (similar to the wheel 149 described above), a wheel/rim flange 318 similar to the wheel/rim flanges described above and movable relative to the wheel 316, and a tire 320 mounted to the wheel 316 inside the wheel/rim flange 318. FIG. 14 also illustrates that the right-side outer rear wheel assembly 146 includes a wheel 322 (similar to the wheel 149 described above), a wheel/rim flange 324 similar to the wheel/rim flanges described above and movable relative to the wheel 322, and a tire 326 mounted to the wheel 322 inside the wheel/rim flange 324. The right-side inner rear wheel assembly 145 and the right-side outer rear wheel assembly 146 are mounted to an electric wheel drive assembly 328 similar to the electric wheel drive assembly 160 described above.

As shown in FIG. 14, the ram mounting body 286 is positionable and connectable between the right-side inner rear wheel assembly 145 and the right-side outer rear wheel assembly 146 by positioning the projection 298 in a space between the wheel 322 and the electric wheel drive assembly 328, and by positioning the projection 304 in a space between the wheel 316 and the electric wheel drive assembly 328, with the stop surface 296 positioned at or near the wheel 322 and with the stop surface 302 positioned at or near the wheel 316.

When the ram mounting body 286 is thus positioned, the stop bodies 294 and 300 resist longitudinal and rotational movement of the ram mounting body 286 relative to the wheels 316 and 322, and the projections 298 and 304 resist vertical and lateral movement of the ram mounting body 286 relative to the wheels 316 and 322. The wheels 316 and 322 are structural components of the haul truck 140 that are able to withstand significant loads and that remain generally stationary relative to the chassis, drivetrain, and other structural components of the haul truck 140, so the wheels 316 and 322, the stop bodies 294 and 300, and the projections 298 and 304 thus cooperate to connect the ram mounting body 286 to the haul truck 140 at a structural component of the haul truck 140 to resist movement of the ram mounting body 100 relative to the haul truck 140, and the stop bodies 294 and 300 and the projections 298 and 304 thus functions as a connector to detachably connect the ram mounting body 286 to the haul truck 140 as described above.

When the ram mounting body 286 is thus connected to the haul truck 140, a piston 330 of the hydraulic ram 310 faces towards the wheel/rim flange 324, and a force transfer body 332 on a distal end of the piston 330 is positioned with a force transfer surface of the force transfer body 332 against an inner surface of the wheel/rim flange 324. The force transfer surface of the force transfer body 332 is complementary to the inner surface of the wheel/rim flange 324 to facilitate transferring force from the piston 330 to the wheel/rim flange 324. FIG. 14 illustrates the piston 330 in a resting position, and in response to a hydraulic force, the hydraulic ram 310 can forcefully extend the piston 330 in a direction towards the wheel/rim flange 324 to force the wheel/rim flange 324 in a direction away from the hydraulic ram 310 to move the wheel/rim flange 324 in the direction away from the hydraulic ram 310 to separate a bead of the tire 326 from the wheel 322. The hydraulic ram 310 may upon activation thus, via the force exerted on the wheel/rim flange 324, exert a force on a bead region of the tire 326 sufficient to separate the bead region from the wheel 322 when the hydraulic ram 310 is held by the ram holder 306 and when the stop bodies 294 and 300 and the projections 298 and 304 are connected to the haul truck 140.

In the embodiment shown, the aperture 308 is sized to hold the hydraulic ram 310 in a generally constant position, so when the piston 330 extends from the resting position and into the extended position, the piston 330 exerts a force in a generally constant direction. Further, the generally constant direction in the embodiment shown is generally parallel to the base plate 288, and is thus generally horizontal and parallel to an axis of the wheel assemblies 145 and 146. More generally, in various different embodiments, the ram holder 308 may be configured to hold the hydraulic ram 310 so that when the piston 330 extends from the resting position and into the extended position, the piston 330 exerts a force on the wheel/rim flange 324, wherever it may be positioned, to exert a force on the bead region of the tire 326 to separate the bead region from the wheel 322 when the hydraulic ram 310 is held by the ram holder 308 and when the stop bodies 294 and 300 and the projections 298 and 304 are connected to the haul truck 140.

In alternative embodiments, additional stop bodies (namely, in addition to the stop bodies 294 and 300) may be added to the ram mounting body 286 adjacent one or both of the stop surface 296 and the stop surface 302 to adjust an overall length between opposite stop surfaces of the ram mounting body 286 to accommodate for different separation distances between wheel assemblies in particular embodiments. For example, such additional stop bodies may allow the ram mounting body 286 to be adapted for an embodiment including wheel assemblies that are farther apart from each other than the right-side inner rear wheel assembly 145 and the right-side outer rear wheel assembly 146.

Referring to FIG. 15, a ram mounting body 334 according to yet another embodiment is similar to the ram mounting body 286 (shown in FIGS. 13 and 14) and includes a base body, which for illustration purposes is a base plate 336 in the embodiment shown, but which may include other functionally equivalent structures in other embodiments. The ram mounting body 334 also includes a ram holder 338 and side plates 340 and 342 coupled (by welding, for example) to the base plate 336. The ram mounting body 334 has a first side shown generally at 344, and a second side shown generally at 346 opposite the first side 344. On the first side 344, the ram mounting body 334 includes a stop body 348 having a stop surface 350 extending away from the base plate 336 and facing towards the first side 344. On the second side 346, the ram mounting body 334 includes a stop body 352 having a stop surface 354 extending away from the base plate 336 and facing the second side 346 of the ram mounting body 334.

However, on the first side 344, the ram mounting body 334 also includes a stop body 356 that is removably attachable to the base plate 336. The stop body 356 has a stop surface 358 that is positioned such that, when the stop body 356 is removably attached to the base plate 336, the stop surface 358 extends away from the base plate 336 and faces towards the first side 344 at a position farther towards the first side 344 than the stop surface 350.

Therefore, removably attaching the stop body 356 to the base plate 336 may adjust an overall length between opposite stop surfaces of the ram mounting body 334 to accommodate for different separation distances between wheel assemblies in particular embodiments.

Ram mounting bodies such as the ram mounting bodies described herein may, for example, be formed by welding or otherwise fastening components cut and formed from sheets of one or more different metals. For example, some ram mounting bodies may be formed by steel, aluminum, or various different combinations of steel and aluminum that may balance relatively higher strength of steel with relatively lower weight of aluminum to provide a combination of strength and weight that may be suitable for particular applications.

In various different embodiments, vehicles and wheel assembles of the vehicles may vary from the embodiments shown, and accordingly ram mounting bodies of such different embodiments may vary from the embodiments shown. In general, various different embodiments may involve configuring a ram mounting body such that, when the ram mounting body is fastened or otherwise connected to a vehicle, the ram mounting body positions a ram to contact a wheel/rim flange or other structure that, when contacted forcefully by the ram, causes a tire bead to be separated from a wheel. Various different embodiments may also include a ram body thus configured. In general, embodiments such as those described above may facilitate separating a tire bead from a wheel by allowing a ram to be positioned and held in a position that allows transfer of force from the ram to a wheel/rim flange or other structure that, when contacted forcefully by the ram, causes the tire bead to be separated from the wheel. Therefore, embodiments such as those described above may permit easier, less-costly, and safer separation a tire bead from a wheel of a vehicle when compared to other techniques for separating a tire bead from a wheel of a vehicle.

Although specific embodiments have been described and illustrated, such embodiments should be considered illustrative only and not as limiting the invention as construed according to the accompanying claims.