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  1. #1
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    Theory of puncture repair

    The main steps of patching a tube are:
    1) Sandpaper around the hole
    2) Apply glue around the hole
    3) Wait
    4) Apply the patch

    Which of these is the most important? Which is most likely to cause a bad patch?

    I ask because I'm having a low success rate with patches and wondering what to improve. Is it important to sand the seam all the way down? Is there a technique to squeezing the patch on so it holds? Etc!

    Steve
    Specialized Tricross Sport 2009. Giant Yukon FX 3.

  2. #2
    Senior Member anti.team's Avatar
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    What to improve:
    Carry a spare tube!
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  3. #3
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    Exactly. I have lots of spare tubes, all with holes in them. I want to repair them to take with me.
    Specialized Tricross Sport 2009. Giant Yukon FX 3.

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    The "sanding" is really just roughing-up the surface so the glue sticks better. You want the surface to be clean before applying the glue. Letting the glue dry before applying the patch is important.

    What sort of failures are you having? The patch not sticking? Have you checked the inside of the tire to make sure no sharp object is stuck in there?

  5. #5
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    Make sure you apply the glue to the tube and not to the patch otherwise it won't stick, and also make sure the area of the glue on the tube is greater than the size of the patch. It doesn't matter if you have glue outside the edges, it dries quickly and can be rubbed off. Blow on the glue before applying the patch, it looks like it turns to ice but it sticks better. I would put something to press down on the new patch before pumping up the tyre.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Proofide's Avatar
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    Just to add: after sticking the patch down, don't neglect to remove the backing if it has one. The patch needs to stretch with the tube when it's inflated, and the backing won't stretch. It'll pull up the edges of the patch. As stated, make sure that the glued area is larger all round than the patch, and that the latter is centred accurately over the puncture (which can be marked with a thin coloured crayon if it's very small. Dust over the whole repair with French chalk or talc to stop that excess adhesive sticking to the cover. Do not inflate the tyre until it's mounted inside the cover. As someone rightly suggested, this whole meshugas can be avoided on the road by carrying a spare tube, then you can do the repair at your leisure in ideal conditions.
    Заступи, спаси, помилуй и сохрани нас, Боже, Твоею благодатию

  7. #7
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    I always carry a spare too.

    When I get a flat, I still do the roadside repair, but I put in my spare tube and put the repaired tube back in my bag. That gives the glue some time to "cure" . . and It'll be ready to use later if I need it. . . you never know. Weather or not the glue benefits from this curing or not . . .I don't know . . .but I don't have problems from repaired tubes either.

  8. #8
    Cabrőnista™ dprayvd's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Mondoman;9475839]The "sanding" is really just roughing-up the surface so the glue sticks better. You want the surface to be clean before applying the glue. Letting the glue dry before applying the patch is important.

    What sort of failures are you having? The patch not sticking? Have you checked the inside of the tire to make sure no sharp object is stuck in there?[/
    QUOTE]

    I use this rather than an abrasive. The "sandpaper" and/or "cheesegrater" will score the rubber, sometimes deeply. Not good.

    As far as "roughing" the surface, what is necessary is the removal of the mold-release compound used in the tube's manufacture. Leveling any seam is good too. Expose pristine rubber and the properly-tackt glue and patch can be used immediatly, and will not fail.

    That's where the blade (especially a straight-razor blade as it is very flexy) is good. A little spit, judicious scraping, some rubbing alcohol = good rubber ripe for the patch.

    I patch until I can't--which has not yet happened--or terminal tube failure (usually age induced). One time, at speed, I picked-up a cotter pin. Eight holes before I could stop. It is still in the rotation. The tire's threads, however, did eventually fail from this.

    I'll shill Slime's Classic Patch Kit. It's a good value. Seal the glue well, though; otherwise it will dry-up on you, most surely.
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  9. #9
    Cabrőnista™ dprayvd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garthr View Post
    -
    I always carry a spare too.

    When I get a flat, I still do the roadside repair, but I put in my spare tube and put the repaired tube back in my bag. That gives the glue some time to "cure" . . and It'll be ready to use later if I need it. . . you never know. Weather or not the glue benefits from this curing or not . . .I don't know . . .but I don't have problems from repaired tubes either.

    +1.

    Unless I'm inbound a couple of mile from base, then I'll wait until I'm dry and do the repair.
    .


    What is 50 miles of good road? Yes, I call it a very easy distance.

  10. #10
    Mmmmm potatoes idcruiserman's Avatar
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    The important steps are sufficient glue to completely cover the patch and a bit beyond and waiting for the glue to dry.
    Idaho

  11. #11
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    On the road I carry the Park GP-2 self-adhesive patches.
    They are simpler and quicker to use, and I haven't had any failures.
    (I do carry a spare tube just in case of major damage.)

    Once I get home, I swap out the tube with a previously patched (or new) tube.
    The self-adhesive patch is removed and a permanent patch is installed.
    The patched tube hangs on the wall until it is needed.

  12. #12
    Senior Member SlimAgainSoon's Avatar
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    When patching at home, I use a shop clamp to squeeze that puppy on there good.

  13. #13
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    It can be quite convenient to just fix the tube without taking the wheel off, esp the back wheel where it can be a bit fiddly and messy if you don't have gloves.

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    1) Sandpaper around the hole
    . Yep. Make sure all of the smooth rubber is roughed up. You don't want deep gouges but you do want no sheen at all on the rubber. Then you want to make sure all the rubber dust is off the area.

    2) Apply glue around the hole
    . I usually use the end of the glue tube to mush the glue around before it dries, to make sure any rubber dust is in the glue rather than on the surface.

    3) Wait Important. Make sure the glue is completely dry, but don't touch it. The glue surface will be slightly shiny when ready; you'll learn to recognize this.

    4) Apply the patch. When you remove the backing from the patch, make sure you don't touch the exposed surface. Stick the patch over the puncture, and then use the end of your plastic tire lever to go back and forth over the patch. If the patch lifts off then one of the earlier steps has been compromised. It should stick down well.

    5. Use a good patch kit. There are differences. I use the Rema Tip-Top and have no problems, but there are other kits. The better kits have individual patches with foil on one side and plastic film on the other.

  15. #15
    lungbuster estabro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Chaos View Post

    1) Sandpaper around the hole
    . Yep. Make sure all of the smooth rubber is roughed up. You don't want deep gouges but you do want no sheen at all on the rubber. Then you want to make sure all the rubber dust is off the area.

    2) Apply glue around the hole
    . I usually use the end of the glue tube to mush the glue around before it dries, to make sure any rubber dust is in the glue rather than on the surface.

    3) Wait Important. Make sure the glue is completely dry, but don't touch it. The glue surface will be slightly shiny when ready; you'll learn to recognize this.

    4) Apply the patch. When you remove the backing from the patch, make sure you don't touch the exposed surface. Stick the patch over the puncture, and then use the end of your plastic tire lever to go back and forth over the patch. If the patch lifts off then one of the earlier steps has been compromised. It should stick down well.

    5. Use a good patch kit. There are differences. I use the Rema Tip-Top and have no problems, but there are other kits. The better kits have individual patches with foil on one side and plastic film on the other.
    If you are obsessive, clean with alcohol before #2.


  16. #16
    Spinning @ 33 RPM Glynis27's Avatar
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    I have never had a patch fail, but I have never tried the glueless type. After I apply the patch to the tube, I put it down on a hard surface and rub the back of it with my tire lever. It allows all the air bubbles to come out and makes sure you have good patch to tube contact.
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  17. #17
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    I have finally become a successful patcher. Most important change for me was the "wait" part. Now I time myself and wait ~10 minutes after putting glue on before sticking the patch on the tube..

    Also, now I inflate the tube slightly and try to make it close to its inflated size before applying the patch.

    Then I install the patched tube and pump up right away.
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  18. #18
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    What patch kit are you using? How old is it?
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    I didn't have luck with patching until I picked up a proper patch kit @ the LBS. One of the touring ones with the correct vulcanizing fluid. The key after that was making SURE I waited the instructed amount of time before removing the plastic cover. Making sure you put a wider spot of glue than you need is important also.
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  20. #20
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    In response to a few comments:
    - Yes, I carry spare tubes and repair them at home.
    - I tried the Slime glueless patch kit. Of the 6 patches in the kit, 4 failed immediately. One failed a bit later. The last one looks like it's about to fail. With each one I inflated the tube a bit so the patch wouldn't have to stretch too much, but when I deflated it, the patches seemed to shrivel up and lose contact.
    - "What patch kit are you using? How old is it?" - one brand is "thumbs up" (made in Taiwan) - a pretty basic one from LBS, has patches with foil/plastic. Not old.
    - "What sort of failures are you having? The patch not sticking?" - generally it's a corner or two not quite sticking.

    Just to add: after sticking the patch down, don't neglect to remove the backing if it has one. The patch needs to stretch with the tube when it's inflated, and the backing won't stretch. It'll pull up the edges of the patch.
    That's interesting. I often find it hard to remove the backing because it ends up glued to the tube. And if I try and peel it, sometimes it peels the patch off too.

    After doing a few more, I think what I'm mostly doing wrong is not making the glued area big enough. It seems to me if you even have one corner that isn't well glued, the whole thing can peel off. I'll also try waiting longer.

    The one big thing that has helped save my sanity is testing the tubes before using them. After patching, I inflate them to, then leave them overnight. If they're still inflated in the morning, I'll trust them.

  21. #21
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevage View Post
    The main steps of patching a tube are:
    1) Sandpaper around the hole
    2) Apply glue around the hole
    3) Wait
    4) Apply the patch

    Which of these is the most important? Which is most likely to cause a bad patch?

    I ask because I'm having a low success rate with patches and wondering what to improve. Is it important to sand the seam all the way down? Is there a technique to squeezing the patch on so it holds? Etc!

    Steve
    3) Wait

    Don't rush the time for the solvent in the glue to evaporate. "Wait" means more then 30 seconds. 2 minutes is good, 10 minutes is better, overnight is a little long but it does work

    Carrying a spare tube is better and then fix the hole at home. But if you have to fix on the road, relax and wait awhile.
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  22. #22
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    The relatively new Park Tool GP-2 glueless patch-kits streamline the process. There is no glue to wait for to dry. Clean. Sand. Peel. Press. Go. The whole kit is about the size of your thumbnail.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cateye View Post
    Only panthers007 is stupid enough to believe that this is a good idea.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Proofide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevage View Post
    I often find it hard to remove the backing because it ends up glued to the tube. And if I try and peel it, sometimes it peels the patch off too
    The last patches I used here were called Cure-C-Cure. They had a foil covering on one side, which you removed before sticking them down. Then you were confronted with a paper backing, which had a slit down the middle, so you could remove each half from the centre outwards. This took care of any tendency to pull at the edge of the patch. These patches were also chamfered so they blended into the surface of the tube. By contrast, the old Dunlop patches we used in the sixties were the same thickness all over, so they lifted at the edges much more easily.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by VNAM75 View Post
    Make sure you apply the glue to the tube and not to the patch otherwise it won't stick, and also make sure the area of the glue on the tube is greater than the size of the patch.
    for my problems with bad patches it was this and the proper wait time.

  25. #25
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    Maybe you're not waiting long enough or adding too much glue, which would increase the time you need to wait. I have left the glue to dry all day in the sun then overnight before joining patch to tube, and it worked like a charm. Not that you have to wait so long (I forgot I left a patch job unfinished), but too long is definitely better than too short. Leave your home patch repairs to dry overnight before putting the patch on and see how well they stick.

    there is also mold release on the tubes. It is a substance which keeps the tube from sticking to the mold when it is manufactured. There is also sometimes cornstarch. Clean those off very well, even if you have to rub the tube against some concrete. I feel that is better than the metal scrapers they give you if you wipe off the grit.

    I use the plainest patch kits you can buy in the hardware section of the grocery store. They work great.

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