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Old 06-12-2013, 02:10 PM   #1
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Tire Story...

About a year and a half ago, I bought a set of four tires for the rears. Around six months later, checking the air pressures before leaving for the days drive and found the inside passenger side dually was flat! Yikes. Glad I found it before driving off on it.

Slowly drove it to the local dealer of the chain where I'd bought it and they pulled it, opened it up and said they changed the seal on the solid brass extender, since they really couldn't find a leak.

So, off I went, always checking the air pressures all around before driving for the day. Everything seemed to be OK for several months. Then, last week, got up in the morning ready to leave on the next adventure and find the tire with zero pressure, this would be the 2nd time.

Filled it to 50psi and drove to a tire shop. They remove it, pressure it up to 125psi and dunk it into their tank. No bubbles, and it's a full immersion tank so they would be easy to spot if it was leaking. They don't charge me anything so off I go.

Drive 300 miles in the heat and stop often to check the pressure...it's normal the whole trip. Stop at an RV park for the night, and the next morning, it's at zero pressure. 3rd time it's gone flat overnight.

Lucky the RV park was right across the street from a big rig shop. And they were open on a Sunday! So, drive over there, tell the tech the story of the tire going flat overnight 3 times, he pulls it and dunks it into a water tank.

This time, the rim must have been cool enough for the bubbles to show up. And it's not the tire, or the brass extension, the cap, or the Schrader valve core. It's the tire rim that's leaking. There are three rusted through spots in the rim. The rust holes are near the middle of the rim, and what seemed to be happening is that during a cool night, the metal rim would contract, opening several tiny holes allowing air to escape. When it would happen, and how much air would be leaking out, would be determined by local overnight temperatures. When driven a while, the rim would heat up, expand a little and plug those holes so the tire wouldn't lose air while driving.

It took three shops to find this simple leak, and I'm lucky that it didn't cause a ruined tire. Or two.

Anyway, the shop didn't have that rim, and it was Sunday, so we cleaned up the spots as well as possible, cut some Eternabond patches for them, and got back on the road. So far so good. But I'll be looking for a good rim now that I'm settled for a while. But, even though it has gotten fairly cool overnight since the patches were put in, it hasn't lost any air.

So, if you have a strange intermittent leak from one of your tires, and the shop can't find it, look carefully for rust spots on the rim!
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Old 06-12-2013, 02:24 PM   #2
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We had a new '88 Okanagan MH. Came with nice chrome wheels. The wheels were not made to handle the weight of the rig and I ended up breaking two of them. Ended up with the factory having to buy me 4 new Alcoa rims.
So yes, rims can and do break.
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Old 06-12-2013, 02:37 PM   #3
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Strange that when the second shop dunked it in water, the rim did'nt cool enough for the leak to appear .
Even stranger they did all that for you, for nothing !
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Old 06-12-2013, 03:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by 96 Wideglide View Post
Strange that when the second shop dunked it in water, the rim did'nt cool enough for the leak to appear .
Even stranger they did all that for you, for nothing !
I think that was due to the fact that it was a very hot day. The rim had been baking away for 4-5 hours by the time the shop got to dunking it in the tank. And the water had been sitting in the tank for long enough for it to be room temperature.

BTW, that shop was http://www.atoztire.com/stores.cfm?Location=Farmington
very helpful people. Read some reviews of their big tire mobile service and they had lots of high praise. They're in Farmington, Colorado.

The shop that actually found the leak, and let me patch it without complaint, and only charged me $18 for all the work on the tire, is right across the street from Black Bart's RV Park in Flagstaff, AZ.
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Old 06-12-2013, 03:12 PM   #5
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I like the creativity of an eternabond temp fix - something to remember for such emergencies. Thanks for sharing your story.
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Old 06-12-2013, 03:41 PM   #6
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Wow, $18 to dismount a set of duallies, remove a tire from the rim, then put it all back together. What a deal .
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Old 06-12-2013, 04:43 PM   #7
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Wow, $18 to dismount a set of duallies, remove a tire from the rim, then put it all back together. What a deal .
That's exactly what I thought at the time. I was expecting $40 as that was their minimum charge. They only charged me $10 for all the shop time and $8 for some shop materials. What a bargain.

The place is the Little America Hotel, in Flagstaff. Has a gas station, truck diesel section, convenience store, and the big truck repair shop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomWalt
I like the creativity of an eternabond temp fix - something to remember for such emergencies. Thanks for sharing your story.
Yeah, I thought it was clever, if I do say so myself. And you are welcome. Thought I'd share the story and the fix as it was rather confusing when I could go for 2-3 months with the tire being fine, then it would just go flat.
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Old 06-12-2013, 05:47 PM   #8
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Is it even possible to buy an inner tube anymore? That would be a longer-term fix for a wheel leak.
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Old 06-12-2013, 06:46 PM   #9
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Is it even possible to buy an inner tube anymore? That would be a longer-term fix for a wheel leak.
Yes, tubes are still sold and used. Tire shops will not put a tube in a tire on a rusted rim though, rust will quickly destroy a tube as it constantly rubs on both tire and rim with sidewall flex. Tubes will greatly extend the useful life of tires.
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:25 PM   #10
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Confused, how do tubes extend the life of a tire and can tubes be installed on a 22.5 rim? Would installing tubes be proper pm?
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Old 06-13-2013, 12:52 AM   #11
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Confused, how do tubes extend the life of a tire and can tubes be installed on a 22.5 rim? Would installing tubes be proper pm?
Remember that my rims are 20 years old...and a rim can gain moisture inside the tire over time, when you're pumping it up with random truck stop air systems. Some of which may not have the proper drying systems.

I don't think installing tubes would gain anything. However, when replacing tires, it would be good PM to investigate the rims for signs of excess moisture and rust spots. Also, it's been pointed out to me that sometimes, rims have welding spots that can rust through. So, again, visual inspection is the key.
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:09 AM   #12
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What about aluminum rims should they be inspected in the same manner?
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:05 AM   #13
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What about aluminum rims should they be inspected in the same manner?
I would think so because aluminum can corrode, crack, and rot just like steel can. Different process, but similar effect.
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Old 06-13-2013, 02:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_HiTek View Post
I think that was due to the fact that it was a very hot day. The rim had been baking away for 4-5 hours by the time the shop got to dunking it in the tank. And the water had been sitting in the tank for long enough for it to be room temperature.

BTW, that shop was A to Z Tire; Our locations
very helpful people. Read some reviews of their big tire mobile service and they had lots of high praise. They're in Farmington, Colorado.

The shop that actually found the leak, and let me patch it without complaint, and only charged me $18 for all the work on the tire, is right across the street from Black Bart's RV Park in Flagstaff, AZ.
Farmington has not subsided from NM yet! lol

GCR tires in San Antonio replaced a leaky inside duel valve stem on my MH. No Charge and I could not even get them to take a tip.
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