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Phoenix

Fixing a flat tire

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I may lose some man card points for this, but I have never fixed my own flat tire.

 

I'm not talking about swapping out the spare, I'm talking about finding whatever caused the flat, removing that item, and using the tire patch kit I carry with me.

 

What I am most interested in is hearing how others have done so while on the trail.  I expect that any guidance provided is to make a temporary fix needed to ensure I continue to have a spare tire that holds air.

 

One of my concerns is having a flat while driving down a trail on a week long trip.  I have everything I need to jack up the Jeep and swap out the spare.  Now I am back at camp and have a flat tire, a decent set of tools, a patch kit, and an air compressor.

 

Any tips for finding something that isn't obvious?

 

If it is a straight puncture from a nail; is it as simple as pulling the nail, roughing up the hole and using the tire plugs?

 

What is the deal on side wall punctures?

 

When would I need to remove the tire from the rim?

 

What tools should I have to get the tire back on the rim, and will my air compressor be enough to reset the bead on the rim?

 

Any tips on what to do if the issue is that you broke the stem?

 

As always, appreciate the knowledge...

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Correct.  Tread puncture is fairly straight forward, pull the <nail, screw, whatever>, you will now lose air more rapidly, if you weren't already.  Let it air down until pressure is no longer coming out of the hole, as you will only be fighting the plug and possibly spitting glue in your face.  Only benefit to having some rpessure in the tire is being able to apply more force to the plug insertion.

 

I've had mixed success w plugs, as I usually find it difficult to get the plug doubled over the tool into the hole, and then am worried about ripping it as I pull the tool back out.  If you use the gouging tool and bore out the hole too much then the plug may not work as well..so, tread lightly.  Once plug is in, let sit and glue get tacky and dry.  It's fairly stick, so shouldn't take too long.  Start airing up and look for bubbles. Air up to usual pressure and see what happens.

 

Sidewalls..  Plugs are one things. Tears are a completely different set of You're Screwed.  You may be able to plug a sidewall and use in extreme circumstances on the trail, but I would not trust either for road use.  There may be different patch kits and stitching kits that can be used for road travels, but I would see what others have to say, or what manufactures's claims are on the matter..

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When my brother was in Iraq he ripped a chunk out of a 54" tire on a 2 1/2 ton. Without any real tools on hand the patched the chunk back in with all the super glue they could get their hands on.

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Ream the hole, put the plug on the punch, coat with rubber cement and jam it in.  Repeat if necessary for larger holes.  Repeat a dozen or more times for sidewall cuts.

 

 

Note that any sidewall repair is pretty much going to be good only for trail use. There are places that will repair sidewalls but still they won't guarantee them for highway use.

 

Best way is to plug then apply a patch inside.  Plug as above then trim the plug flat to the inside of the tire.  To apply a patch you have to separate the bead and make enough room to work inside the tire.  Clean the area around the hole large enough for the patch, you can use a rasp or Dremel tool.  Then apply rubber cement to both the inside of the tire and the patch.  Wait a minute or two for the rubber cement to dry then press the patch to the tire and hold firmly. 

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Just two small additions.

 

Add several valve cores to your kits.  Valve cores are cheaply made and the constant airing up and down we do can cause premature failure.  As does running without valve caps.  The right size grain of dirt (not to mention ice) and your valve core is toast without valve caps.  There are also cool, albeit expensive, valve caps that will maintain airpressure without a valve core.  http://www.quadratec.com/products/15156_201.htm

 

As for sidewall tears, my PowerTank tire repair kit (as well as other kits) has tire cord/wire to sew together a tear.  When combined with a patch and glue or plugs and glue, it will supposedly get you off the trail.

 

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Finding holes -

 

Over pressurize the tire to find the leak more easily.

Pinhole leaks can be found by sight/sound/feel.

If you can't see the problem easily water(and/or anything that will bubble) can help reveal the source of the leak.

Use your hands to feel for air moving too.

Spray cleaner solutions are great for finding tiny leaks.

 

Patching vs Plugging -

 

In my experience, for any tire i'd run on the street, i'd only plug the tread surface, not the sidewall.

Patch the sidewall, plug the tread.

 

Plugging -

  • REAM the hole. And I do mean ream, not just poke it in and pull it out. Ream that shit the roughen up the hole and give the plug glue something to grab hold of.
  • It should not be easy to push the plug through, it needs to be a tight fit.
  • Most holes only need a single plug. Messed up holes can take as many as 3 plugs.
  • Punch it all the way in, pull out half way, trim the excess flush.

Patching -

  • Gotta remove the tire from the wheel.
  • THOROUGHLY clean and scuff the patch location.
  • Glue and press patch on firmly.
  • Let it set, and verify its gonna stay.
  • Replace air stem, reassemble, etc.

 

There are combination patch plugs too. Essentially a patch with a glued pin that you force through the rubber from the inside.

 

I can get BLACKJACK brand tire repair stuff at my work( blackjacktirerepair.com ).

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If you blow a bead on the trail it might be a bear to reseat it but I've seen it done before, key is ratchet straps and a decent on board air setup. 

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For reaming a tire for a plug, I've often skipped the hand reamer and went with a cordless drill and drill bit.  Cuts down a lot of time.  Still rough it up with a reamer before the plug through.  

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