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Repairing leaking tires


sdodder's Avatar
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12-12-15, 03:07 PM   #1  
Repairing leaking tires

Hi, this isn't exactly a "small engine" question, but here goes. I repair riding mowers as a hobby, and often run across tires that leak. If they're leaking badly I put tubes in them. But sometimes I come across tires with small bead leaks that aren't really that bad ( and I hate putting tubes in 6" tires!). I think I read that someone (cheese?) used oil on the beads to soften and seal them. I'm curious about how that's done, and any other repairs that others have used with success.
I guess I'm getting lazy in my old age, but I'm wondering if anyone has any secret cures for bead leaks. I've tried Green Slime sealant, and wasn't that impressed. Thanks, Steve

 
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12-12-15, 03:19 PM   #2  
Oil to seal a tire?
That would be the first time I've heard of that one.
I could see using soap and water to make it easier to get it over the rim.
Leaking at the bead is often caused from a rusty or dirty rim.

 
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12-12-15, 03:25 PM   #3  
Before I resort to putting a tube in a front tire, I use an ounce or so of one of those aerosol flat tire repair cans. I find that the liquid latex sealant remains liquid inside the tire for quite a while, continuously working to re-seal additional small leaks. And these aerosol tire repair cans seem to hold keep their charge for months . . . . unlike so many other products.

But if that mower is used on rugged terrain, it's often just a matter of time before the twisting of those 'front" tires results in another broken bead; so introducing tubes is usually necessary.

This doesn't seem to be a problem with the "rear" tires which aren't subjected to the same twisting action as are the fronts.

 
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12-12-15, 03:33 PM   #4  
I resorted to using Slime in my ZTR tires. You can even use it in tires with leaking tubes. The key to Slime and the aerosols is to run the tire immediately at moderate speed to spread the material all around the inner surface.

 
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12-12-15, 03:54 PM   #5  
When the tire is just leaking at the bead because it's dry and dusty, I use a squirt can of oil to shoot some between the bead and the rim and that solves the problem every time.

Don't do this on vehicle tires that go on the road as the bead holds the tire in place on the rim. An oiled bead could allow the rim to spin in a hard acceleration on pavement.


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12-13-15, 04:29 AM   #6  
If the leak is at the bead, I always install a tube. If the leak is in the tread area, I try slime. Crazy as it sounds practically every John Deere rider that comes in has leaky tires regardless of the machine age. Dont get me wrong, I like John Deere riders especially the "X" series. Personally, I have a Snapper 2354 with a Kohler engine.

 
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12-13-15, 04:29 AM   #7  
My son's mower had a tire that won't hold air with no obvious leaks. He was having to air it up at least once a month. We filled that tire with Slime and it's been 2 yrs and he's not had to air that tire up yet


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12-13-15, 04:51 AM   #8  
Folks,


Why not use "bead sealer" on leaking beads ?

NAPA AUTO PARTS

It's thick enough to fill rust pits in wheels and imperfections in the tire bead, it also seals dried out/hard beads, I've been using it 30+ years without any issue.....

 
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12-13-15, 05:01 AM   #9  
leak

Mr Cheese-

Thanks for the reply, I thought I had seen you post that fix a while ago. I'm assuming you deflate the tire and lay it on it's side for the oil? Is it necessary to break the bead? I'm going to try it, and I'll report back with my results-

Thanks, Steve

 
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12-13-15, 12:46 PM   #10  
Many years ago we would put regular lube grease on rims that were rust pitted to stop the leaks it worked every time. Have a good one. Geo

 
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12-13-15, 01:48 PM   #11  
Not to add any confusion to this conversation, but, I think all methods mentioned indeed have their own merit.
In response to the OP and the bead leak, I prefer to break the bead at least on the leaking side, inspect the rim then access. Generally some soap and water and a brush on the rim seat and bead on the tire will solve the problem.
Re-seating the bead can be a bit of a problem on some wheels/tires, however, with a decent air supply and a few methods, it is not difficult.

For other leaks/slow leaks, I have had the best luck with Slime. I have had old riders with weather checked-leaking sidewalls and sealed them with slime that held over 2 years. I knew it was the slime because I had green walled tires

I am not a big fan of the aerosol fix-a-flat stuff. Tire changers hate it as it is flammable and really messy.

Either type of liquid repair will retain excess in the tire and possibly repair future leaks. For this reason it not recommended for high speed applications like auto's where tire balance is important.

One other thing I do that I have not seen mentioned, I will over inflate the tire to 30+PSI after any repair. Let it sit for however long before returning to service and setting to normal 8-12PSI.

 
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12-13-15, 02:51 PM   #12  
Petroleum products will degrade rubber, use the proper lube!

 
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12-13-15, 03:08 PM   #13  
Petroleum products will degrade rubber, use the proper lube!
So do sealants

 
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12-13-15, 06:16 PM   #14  
leak

Well, as promised I tried the oil on the beads and it DID stop the leaks. Unfortunately there is also a pinhole leak in the sidewall. So I guess, for a bead leak the oil works. For a pinhole, not so much! Thanks, Steve

 
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12-14-15, 11:55 AM   #15  
Unfortunately there is also a pinhole leak in the sidewall.
If you can remove the tire, slime will easily take care of pinholes. I have also found that less than the recommended amount will work with minimal effort.

 
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12-14-15, 02:14 PM   #16  
leak

Now I'm curious about the slime. BFH mentions tire removal- remove tire from bead? Remove wheel from machine? Any problems with valves? Any other tips for success? Thanks, Steve

 
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12-14-15, 03:12 PM   #17  
If I remember correctly on my son's mower we took the valve core out of the stem and then with the tire at the specified clock angle put the slime in.


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12-15-15, 07:16 AM   #18  
Just removed from the machine to rotate the tire and allow the slime to flow to the leak.
As marksr stated, remove the valve core, squeeze in the slime, replace the core and inflate to 20+ psi and rotate the tire so the slime can flow to the leak.
Once sealed return tire to correct psi.

 
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12-15-15, 08:54 AM   #19  
We installed the slime on my son's mower with the tire/wheel still mounted to the mower. The tire was off of the ground [mower on a jack stand or block] The instructions stated a specific clock position for the valve stem but I don't remember what that was. I assume we rotated the tire once we were done putting in the slime.


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12-15-15, 09:10 AM   #20  
Normally I install with the stem at 6 0'clock (however the instructions state to place in the upper half of tire) Then spin the tire continuously for a few minutes. Some rear tires may not be able to spin fast enough still mounted to the drive system and might work better removed. Also just driving the tire per instructions are an option as well.

 
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12-15-15, 09:29 AM   #21  
I said rotated when I really meant spin if I remember correctly it was a front tire so there wasn't any issues with spinning it.


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