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Old 09-14-2010, 11:53 AM   #1
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Any drawbacks to adding tubes to stop a slow leak?

A couple of the Alcoa wheel on my TT will not hold air (slow leak). It has been recommended to me to use inner tubes.

The tires are one-season-old radials, standard size ST.

Anything negative about adding the inner tubes?
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:48 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Aage View Post
A couple of the Alcoa wheel on my TT will not hold air (slow leak). It has been recommended to me to use inner tubes.

The tires are one-season-old radials, standard size ST.

Anything negative about adding the inner tubes?
Make sure you rebalance the complete running gear assembly, namely the tire, wheel and hub and drum.

If you cannot do that, then add the slip on balancers to the drums.

Andy
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Old 09-14-2010, 01:13 PM   #3
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It will tend to throw off the balance, so be sure you have the spin balanced.

Occasionally one encounters the claim that using tubes in a tire designed to be tubeless adds to the risk of overheating and failure. I don't know whether that's supported by the facts or just another piece of tire folklore.

In most cases the rim can be made to seal by careful buffing, unless it has a crack. Did your tire guy try that first? They get lazy and don't really buff out the corrosion sometimes. If it has a crack well obviously you should scrap it.
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Old 09-14-2010, 02:00 PM   #4
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Consider that the aluminum wheels may be leaking/failing. I had one develop a hair line longitudinal crack about 2" inside the spokes when the A/S was out of warranty.

I was on my way to the EAA July/August fly-in at Oshkosh, WI, but needed to have some “on-going” air conditioner warranty work done so I drove to Jackson Center, OH, where they did the air conditioner work and replaced the wheel under warranty (even though out of warranty).

They said they had never seen an aluminum wheel fail like mine ……… I guess that makes me feel “special”?
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Old 09-14-2010, 02:37 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by withidl View Post
Consider that the aluminum wheels may be leaking/failing. I had one develop a hair line longitudinal crack about 2" inside the spokes when the A/S was out of warranty.

I was on my way to the EAA July/August fly-in at Oshkosh, WI, but needed to have some “on-going” air conditioner warranty work done so I drove to Jackson Center, OH, where they did the air conditioner work and replaced the wheel under warranty (even though out of warranty).

They said they had never seen an aluminum wheel fail like mine ……… I guess that makes me feel “special”?

Well then, I'm special too!!

Within a year of buying our AS used, I was polishing the wheels and found that two of the four Alcoa wheels had numerous hairline cracks in the radius where the spokes meet the rim.

I contacted Alcoa and learned that the wheels were "just" within warranty- forget what it was, maybe three years.

This wheel is now longer made by Alcoa, but they were able to find me two new replacement rims.

I have been watching them closely and so far they seem fine.

I was actually hoping they might not have found replacements in kind as I feel that with the weight of my trailer, (GVW 8400) the rims are pretty close to capacity and I wouldn't mind moving to a heavier rated rim.

Although my rims were cracked, they were not losing air.

Brian.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:03 PM   #6
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All wheels have a weight rating. It would be nice to know what the rating of your wheels is compared to the trailer weight.

A friend of mine found his 13,500 lb. trailer had 2 6,000 lb axles under it. The factory didn't see anything wrong with that. You have to check everything now days. He also found the tires grossly undersized upon getting home when 2 of them heated up enough he could not get his tire lock in place because the tires had expanded 1 in. each. The tires were underrated for the load.
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:02 PM   #7
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Found this on a short search:

Some 80's to early 90's Ford Aluminum wheels had a porosity problem. Ford
has a TSB on it and a fix that used epoxy paint to seal the inside of the
wheel.


That sounds like the reasonable path to investigate.
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
All wheels have a weight rating. It would be nice to know what the rating of your wheels is compared to the trailer weight.

A friend of mine found his 13,500 lb. trailer had 2 6,000 lb axles under it. The factory didn't see anything wrong with that. You have to check everything now days. He also found the tires grossly undersized upon getting home when 2 of them heated up enough he could not get his tire lock in place because the tires had expanded 1 in. each. The tires were underrated for the load.
In my case, my Alcoa wheels are stamped inside the rim as being rated for
2200#, the GVW of my trailer is 8400#.

I would rather have wheels that are rated a bit higher and I think you can get 15" alum. wheels rated at 3000# and maybe a bit more.

If ever I see any more cracks on the wheels I have, that's where I'll be going!

Brian
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:06 PM   #9
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Rivet Mystery Tire/Wheel Leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
A couple of the Alcoa wheel on my TT will not hold air (slow leak). It has been recommended to me to use inner tubes.

The tires are one-season-old radials, standard size ST.

Anything negative about adding the inner tubes?
Before you go breaking down your tires try getting a valve stem tool and tweaking the cores in each gently. Sometimes a slow leak ia caused by the core not being seated or they always seeped and the caps are now seeping as well. I found replacing the cores and caps has helped after 5 years on all tires, especially with the permanent steel ones in most trailer and motorhome wheels. Nothing is forever as they say.
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
In my case, my Alcoa wheels are stamped inside the rim as being rated for
2200#, the GVW of my trailer is 8400#.

I would rather have wheels that are rated a bit higher and I think you can get 15" alum. wheels rated at 3000# and maybe a bit more.

If ever I see any more cracks on the wheels I have, that's where I'll be going!

Brian
Unless those wheels are made in China. I'd much rather have wheels from AMERICAN RACING or another quality supplier than to trust to low-dollar generic aluminum trailer wheels.

I wouldn't worry over those ALCOA ratings on that trailer weight. Others can disagree.

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Old 09-14-2010, 06:24 PM   #11
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Before you install tubes how about making sure where the leaks are. When testing for leaks I use a 30/70 ration of Simple green and water. Spray the rim at the bead of the tire first and make sure it is not a rim to bead leak, very common. If that is not the problem spray the rim itself and the valve stem. Lastly spray the complete tire.

Simple green will produce very small bubbles at a leak. Much easier to spot than an occasional large bubble from soap.

Pay close attention to the stems as there were some 10,000,000 Chinese valve stems shipped in that tore at the base when they were installed. Some leaked and many just broke off if touched.

My first guess will be the rims at the tire bead. Aluminum wheel tend to keep dirt on the wheel between tire changes. If they are not cleaned that dirt will cause a leak.

If you have to install tubes consider using Nitrogen instead of air for inflation. Nitrogen will not heat up and expand while on the road.
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:32 PM   #12
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I will second the notion of checking for cracks. I have had two wheels with cracks,one steel, one aluminum. Adios, John
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:20 PM   #13
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Check the valve stem, not the inner Shrader valve component. They are quite often at fault.
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:25 PM   #14
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Thanks for all your thoughts. It may be spring before I can remedy this, but I have tucked away all your advice.

Thanks again, folks.
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