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Old 11-24-2012, 10:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Best way to fix a slow leak

I've got one tire that's got a slow leak in it. Usually I pump uo to about 75 psi, and check pressures about once a week. Ususally that tire has gone down to about 60 psi. It seems to be getting a little worse as time goes on. The tire's getting low on tread so it'll be due for a replacement before too long anyway, so I'm not sure if it's worth going into the tire store. It's just getting a little tedious to pump up every week.

Does anyone have experience with using Fix-a-Flat or any of those other produts? I've heard mixed reviews. Any other techniques for fixing slow leaks?

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Old 11-24-2012, 10:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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A thorough inspection for a nail. Dab some spit on the valve stem to see if the schraeder valve is loose. After that stick it in a bucket of water and watch it. Of course it has to be a big bucket .

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Old 11-24-2012, 11:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Tire service guys hate fix a flat- it must make their job tougher.

I'd look for a nail first, then at the stem second; loosen then tighten the valve, grab the stem itself and see if you can turn it a little bit as corrosion can and will form in the wheel's stem hole.

Last time I bought new tires several of the dang things had slow leaks and bringing them back to have the beads cleaned (tires and wheels) and carefully installed with bead goop didn't help. It was then that I noticed if I pushed the tire stems to one side, air hissed out. Turns out, a few years ago, a boatload of defective stems came over here from China and I got some of 'em. New stems = problem solved in that case.

I refinished a bunch of alloy wheels last summer and took special care to sand the bead areas smooth and get down into the stem hole with a dremel to remove corrosion and warts from that too. Then I took special care to prime and paint the beads and stem holes; then on top of that I waxed the **** outta them, as well as the rest of the wheel. I am hoping to see an improvement in corrosion resistance from all that.
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Rubber valve stem

Another thing for all of us to remember is that rubber valve stems were really not designed for anything over 40 psi. Anthing in the range that you mention should be a brass stem.

Passenger car wheels and most light truck valve holes are 1/2 inch diam while the brass valves need 5/8 diam holes. Steel wheels are easily drilled out, mag type..... not so much.

If you have a mag type wheel and are running that type of pressure my guess would be that you have a bead leak. As the weather changes the tire and wheel do not expand/contract at the same rate....dirt finds its way in...the wheel corrodes. If you have a stem or bead leak, fix a flat won't help. And yes, tire techs HATE to deal with your wheels after you've used it.
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Mechanic View Post
A thorough inspection for a nail. Dab some spit on the valve stem to see if the schraeder valve is loose. After that stick it in a bucket of water and watch it. Of course it has to be a big bucket .

regards
Mech
A small amount of dish washing liquid in the water will also aid the process. I have seen tires that had to be left submerged for several hours to find the bubble trail. I normally just use a spray bottle with some soapy water.
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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i second with Nemo taking soapy water and rubbing it all over the bead of the tire and the valve stem can lead to air bubbles allowing you to see where the leak is. It could be dirt in the bead, the rim being rusted on the inside edges, or its leaking through the rubber depending on the valve stem or tire.

I would especially not use fix a flat, the only time i use that junk is on my pedal bike when i get a flat cuz i plan on ditching the tube when i get back home anyway. It just gums up everywhere being a pain.

Replacing the tire at a professional shop would probably fix as the last set of tires i had put on they grinded all the rust off the inside of the rims.
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Truck is too heavy not to fix the flat. And 20% under (load vs pressure) means tire ruination ("run flat").

Now, to run this thread off-track:

What tires are you looking at for replacements? I'd recommend the closed shoulder LTX A/S for its' cast iron virtues (despite my early loss of all of them to manufacture defect at 68k), but the wet surface traction leaves something to be desired. I had to move quickly and got the open-shoulder LTX M/S for which MICHELIN substantially discounted the price due to the loss. (And a Colorado 2WD CTD owner of my acquaintance is happy with them in all seasons with short off-road driving)

But I think I might have rather had the BRIDGESTONE Duravis r500 for highest mpg potential. This is a commercial-service tire. I have seen claims of up to 180k in on-road service (with comparable MICHELIN at about 120K).



Note the low/no weight balance requirement and "roundness" in this. IMHO, only MICHELIN and BRIDGESTONE make tires of this quality for pickups in their premium lines:

Bridgestone Duravis R500 HD Tire Test - Four Wheeler Magazine

After I purchase a new spare (still have to hit salvage yard for another alloy wheel: will be rotating more often than 25k and will do a 5-tire rotation as according to MICHELIN), will find an excuse to run up to San Antonio to eat lunch at Mi Tierra and have this service performed (and boy do I wish I could have this done to the company PETERBILT):

http://www.fourwheeler.com/techartic...ncing_shaving/

I will also add (probable brand) CENTRAMATIC wheel balancers as I also have them for the travel trailer.

FrankLee's approach to inspection, clean, paint, wax wheels is tops, IMO, prior to tire purchase. Trying to find the rotational "heavy spot" on each wheel may be worthwhile as well.

My alloy DODGE wheels call for a rubber-based, high-pressure brass valve stem to handle 80--psi pressure. Be sure to include rubber o-ringed SS valve stem caps.

Please avoid stuff like FIX-A-FLAT as it makes tire service a bear afterwards. An emergency can for the wife, maybe.

,

Last edited by slowmover; 11-25-2012 at 02:18 PM..
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I think I may get some soapy water and see if I can find the leak myself.

At my current wear rate, I should still have at least 6 months to a year left on the tires I think. So I'm not in a super-big hurry for new tires.

Based on that recent data I found, I'm leaning towards maybe a set of Bridgestone Dueler Alenza HL 265/70/17 (same size & load rating I have now). Specs say they have excellent RRC, treadwear, traction & temperature ratings.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:17 AM   #9 (permalink)
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But how long will they last? The cost-per-mile is high for a number of tire types with 3/4 & 1T pickups due to their weight and intended use. The fuel savings offset may not be there when placed in context.

And I'm not seeing the 113 Load Index as being consistent with GAWR, GVWR or GCWR given a prudent margin (15%) as recommended. It is a good 20% below the 121 tires in load carrying capacity.

The tread design looks great, however. On an SUV that doesn't get much above 6k or that tows up to medium-sized TT's it may be fine.

It's all I'll have to say on this. Your truck and your tires.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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"Fix-a-Flat" = tire snot!

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