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Tire tube that can be neither inflated nor deflated

Old 11-17-21, 07:50 AM
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simplex1
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Tire tube that can be neither inflated nor deflated

Efficient way to clean a tire tube of that nasty paste inside it?


I have some tire tubes with a paste inside. They can be neither inflated nor deflated by pressing the nail of the valve stem core. The only way to deflate them is to unscrew these cores, introduce a thin stick through the hole where the core was and then move it up and down.

The problem is that there is no guarantee I will be able to fully inflate the tire after this operation. At some point the pump is no longer able to introduce air in the tube.


If I roll the tire while the valve stem core is out, like wanting to store it back in the box in which I bought it, then a lot of oily paste gets out of the tube. How can I wash the inside of the tube to get rid of all this paste.
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Old 11-17-21, 07:55 AM
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Sounds like a nominal investment in new tubes wouldn't be the worst idea, they are a consumable item...
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Old 11-17-21, 08:07 AM
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Here is the problem. In the last 45 days I bought two tubes. Both of them suffer from the same issue.

Before, I bought tubes without any paste inside but they failed in a matter of days.

I am afraid to buy new inner tubes.

At least in Montreal, CA, the stores Walmart and Canadian Tire appear to have tire tubes of low quality.
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Old 11-17-21, 08:10 AM
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Throw them away and buy new ones that don't have paste in them.
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Old 11-17-21, 09:22 AM
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I have just discovered that the paste is soluble in warm water. I will try to fill the tube with warm water and then squeeze it. I will repeat the procedure a few times, let it dry and then inflate the tube.
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Old 11-17-21, 09:33 AM
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The OP might try to figure out how/why the non sealant tubes went flat before doing anything more. Are the flats from a puncture (glass/thorns), an impact during riding (snake bite), pinching during install, poor pressure levels allowing the tire/tube to want to spin on the rim (cocked and cut valve stems), poor valve base fit WRT the rim and tire's internal width, tires with cuts or damaged casings or other reasons. Non sealant tubes generally don't self cut or fail with no outside issues. If that/those issues are not dealt with the OP likely will suffer a life of flats happening far sooner then the masses of riders usually have.

Sealant filled tubes are well known for their trying to plug holes. But sealants are not "smart" they don't differentiate between a purposeful hole (the valve) and one that isn't wanted (the poke by a nail). Yet the rider often can't see their choice of buying that sealanted tube as being a shade of grey. "I spent good money for better tubes and I expect them to work" often being the mind set (and this expectation is found with so many other situations we spend our money on) Further, the sealants I have read up on have a service life of their own, often a year. So if one were to want max sealant capacity one would be replacing those tubes annually. My last issue with sealant filled tubes is that the hole plugging ability drops off quickly as the hole size increases. We have seen a number of flats with sealant filled tubes because the rider never removed the offending object and that object continued to poke the tube. Of course the sealant will try to plug the new hole and will until the hole(s) become so large that the sealant can't. How many people examine their tires for road crap stuck in them? How often. If you don't notice the slight initial pressure loss or see the slight bit of sealant oozing out of the tire then that object's being stuck in the tire will go unfound. Andy
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Old 11-17-21, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
The OP might try to figure out how/why the non sealant tubes went flat before doing anything more. Are the flats from a puncture (glass/thorns), an impact during riding (snake bite), pinching during install, poor pressure levels allowing the tire/tube to want to spin on the rim (cocked and cut valve stems), poor valve base fit WRT the rim and tire's internal width, tires with cuts or damaged casings or other reasons. Non sealant tubes generally don't self cut or fail with no outside issues. If that/those issues are not dealt with the OP likely will suffer a life of flats happening far sooner then the masses of riders usually have.

Sealant filled tubes are well known for their trying to plug holes. But sealants are not "smart" they don't differentiate between a purposeful hole (the valve) and one that isn't wanted (the poke by a nail). Yet the rider often can't see their choice of buying that sealanted tube as being a shade of grey. "I spent good money for better tubes and I expect them to work" often being the mind set (and this expectation is found with so many other situations we spend our money on) Further, the sealants I have read up on have a service life of their own, often a year. So if one were to want max sealant capacity one would be replacing those tubes annually. My last issue with sealant filled tubes is that the hole plugging ability drops off quickly as the hole size increases. We have seen a number of flats with sealant filled tubes because the rider never removed the offending object and that object continued to poke the tube. Of course the sealant will try to plug the new hole and will until the hole(s) become so large that the sealant can't. How many people examine their tires for road crap stuck in them? How often. If you don't notice the slight initial pressure loss or see the slight bit of sealant oozing out of the tire then that object's being stuck in the tire will go unfound. Andy
OP: Read this post carefully. Then read it again. Inner tubes rarely puncture without a cause. If you fail to determine what caused a flat you will have another in short order. I also ride in Montreal and rarely have flat tires despite using inner tubes without sealant. Whenever I do suffer a puncture I figure out what caused it and only once in 50 years of cycling was my flat tire caused by what I considered to be a defective inner tube and that particular inner tube was not an inexpensive one.
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Old 11-17-21, 10:36 AM
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I have asked many riders how often they get flats. Most riders don't track their mileage and as such their answer is often a "too often" or Never", rarely with context needed to dive below the surface. Some don't/can't separate out the slow deflation that any rubber bladder can have from leaks from holes/abrasion.

Casual or infrequent riders often say they have to pump up their tires every time they ride. Daily or high mileage riders often say once a week or two. The time span between reinflations might be the same but the number of rides between can be quite different.

My personal history seems to be a flat (a true poke, hole, blow out) about every 1000 miles. This is pretty close to my friends experience. Some years I have had only 1 flat and some years I've had a half dozen. I ride between 2500 and 4500 miles a year, about half my annual miles are in the city and half in the more rural areas of NYS.

The shop I "work" at (sort of retired this sept, still on call) sees a lot of urban transportation riders. It's always interesting to follow a new to commuting rider evolve from the reactive type of maintenance/repair approach to that of more proactive attention to their bike. Some of this is their being more skillful/confident in how they position themselves WRT traffic and lane edges. As one becomes more able to ride where car tires roll one sees less road crap that causes some flats. Andy
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Old 11-17-21, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by simplex1 View Post
I have just discovered that the paste is soluble in warm water. I will try to fill the tube with warm water and then squeeze it. I will repeat the procedure a few times, let it dry and then inflate the tube.
Instead of inserting warm water into the tube, why not first try to just place the tube in hot water to warm up the paste to make it less viscous?
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Old 11-22-21, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
The OP might try to figure out how/why the non sealant tubes went flat before doing anything more. ...
Manufacturing defects. A multitude of microscopic unpenetrated holes, visible with a magnifying glass, on the exterior surface of the inflated tube. One of these holes becomes a through hole and the tube starts losing pressure. These tubes can be fixed, to a certain extent, with patches that covers the entire area of microscopic holes. One such patched tube lasted about 2 years, in my case.
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Old 11-22-21, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
I also ride in Montreal and rarely have flat tires despite using inner tubes without sealant. Whenever I do suffer a puncture I figure out what caused it and only once in 50 years of cycling was my flat tire caused by what I considered to be a defective inner tube and that particular inner tube was not an inexpensive one.
I also had no problem with the quality of the inner tubes before 2018.

Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
Instead of inserting warm water into the tube, why not first try to just place the tube in hot water to warm up the paste to make it less viscous?
I will try your idea.

Last edited by simplex1; 11-22-21 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 11-22-21, 11:22 AM
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Better idea: just throw away your crappy sealant-filled tubes and buy good tubes off the Internet if you can't find them locally.
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Old 11-22-21, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Better idea: just throw away your crappy sealant-filled tubes and buy good tubes off the Internet if you can't find them locally.
OP lives in Montreal, as I do. There are dozens of bike shops all over the city. There are 6 good bike shops within 6 km of where I live with several others not much farther away than that
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Old 11-22-21, 12:35 PM
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.
...FWIW, I ordered a bulk batch of 8 Continental tubes, unboxed (so cheaper) a few months back. They were not advertised as sealant filled, but the first four I installed all had defective Presta valves. I could overpressure the pump to get air going into them, but there was no way to let air out without removing the valve core. The 4 unused ones, I returned, but the installed tubes I decided to try fixing with new valve cores, bought in a package of 20, also on Amazon.

This worked fine, and I didn't have to go to all the work of removing the defective tubes and replacing them, so easier.

I've been buying Conti tubes in bulk, and using them for years, and this is the first time I've had a problem with them.
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Old 11-22-21, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.
...FWIW, I ordered a bulk batch of 8 Continental tubes, unboxed (so cheaper) a few months back. They were not advertised as sealant filled, but the first four I installed all had defective Presta valves. I could overpressure the pump to get air going into them, but there was no way to let air out without removing the valve core. The 4 unused ones, I returned, but the installed tubes I decided to try fixing with new valve cores, bought in a package of 20, also on Amazon.

This worked fine, and I didn't have to go to all the work of removing the defective tubes and replacing them, so easier.

I've been buying Conti tubes in bulk, and using them for years, and this is the first time I've had a problem with them.
It's a good time to be a counterfeiter...
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Old 11-22-21, 06:48 PM
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Rubber is naturally porous so you might see small holes that is normal. What is not normal is for a tube to be filled with paste (bicycle tube that is not toothpaste or tomato paste tubes) I would not use any paste filed tubes and sealant filled tubes I would avoid unless I was the one adding the sealant but in that case I would probably stick with going tubeless.

Always check your entire system for what caused the puncture and solve that, when using a tube, use one of good quality from a known source cheap stuff from non-bike places probably not any good. Any number of the local shops in your area and if nothing else plenty of brick and mortars with online presence and if not that plenty of online only bike stores that at least in most cases are actually selling legitimate goods.
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Old 11-23-21, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.
the first four I installed all had defective Presta valves. I could overpressure the pump to get air going into them, but there was no way to let air out without removing the valve core. ... the installed tubes I decided to try fixing with new valve cores, bought in a package of 20
This worked fine, and I didn't have to go to all the work of removing the defective tubes and replacing them, so easier
I have spare valve cores (from old tubes). I will remove the core from the tube with sealant inside (the one that I can not deflate or inflate) and replace it with another valve core. You gave me a good idea.
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Old 11-23-21, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by simplex1 View Post
I have spare valve cores (from old tubes). I will remove the core from the tube with sealant inside (the one that I can not deflate or inflate) and replace it with another valve core. You gave me a good idea.
I always have at least several cores on hand saved from discarded tubes. You never know when you might need one from a ham fisted pump head install, a clogged or leaking core or a friend needs one etc.
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Old 11-26-21, 09:51 AM
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Plus ^1 save valve cores !!!

I save old tubes, and never thought to use the core inside ....


GREAT IDEA !!!!


Thank you all for sharing !!!!
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Old 11-26-21, 05:32 PM
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One flat is an accidental puncture, 2 flats is a pattern. While I always check for protruding glass or spokes when I fix a flat, if there is a second on the same tire/tube there is usually a root cause that can be fixed. Sometimes the tire itself needs replacing, sometimes the rim tape, sometimes it takes a little blood from rubbing your finger inside to find the piece of glass. Lots of reasons but eventually you find it, sometimes the hard way.

The way to prevent flats is to buy a lifetime supply of patches, cement, valve cores and spare tubes. You'll never get another flat. Also, never talk about never getting flats...
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Old 11-26-21, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
I always have at least several cores on hand saved from discarded tubes. You never know when you might need one from a ham fisted pump head install, a clogged or leaking core or a friend needs one etc.
That is a good idea; I will do that from now on. Is the Presta core the same regardless of stem length? And do you have a recommended Presta core tool?
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Old 11-26-21, 09:02 PM
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Apart from sorting out the problem(s) with the inner tubes, flats from punctures by road debris may be greatly minimized or even eliminated by using puncture-resistant tires (eg, Schwalbe Marathon Plus) or tire liners. I use both these strategies: Marathon Plus on my "nice-weather" bike, and tire liners inside the studded tires of my "winter" bike. I have not had a flat from a puncture in at least 10 years.
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Old 11-27-21, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
That is a good idea; I will do that from now on. Is the Presta core the same regardless of stem length? And do you have a recommended Presta core tool?
Presta cores can be a little different between brands but IME the threads have always been the same and should be interchangeable even if the length of the core and/or stem is different. Presta tools don't need to be anything extravagant. They have a pretty simple job of just snugging up the valve with minimum force and there are various tools from very small plastic tools to nicely made metal versions with varying prices. Pretty much anything here will be fine but getting a tool with both Presta and Schrader removal heads can come in handy. presta core removal tools - Bing You can also just use a small adjustable wrench or just a pair of pliers if you don't care about marking up the core flats or trashing a stuck core. I have an old mini chain tool I carry with me the has the slot where the pushed out chain pin goes through that is just the right size to use as a core removal tool so check any chain tools you have to see if they fit and then no need to get a special tool and also some spoke wrenches may fit.
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Old 11-28-21, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
Presta cores can be a little different between brands but IME the threads have always been the same and should be interchangeable even if the length of the core and/or stem is different. Presta tools don't need to be anything extravagant. They have a pretty simple job of just snugging up the valve with minimum force and there are various tools from very small plastic tools to nicely made metal versions with varying prices. Pretty much anything here will be fine but getting a tool with both Presta and Schrader removal heads can come in handy. presta core removal tools - Bing You can also just use a small adjustable wrench or just a pair of pliers if you don't care about marking up the core flats or trashing a stuck core. I have an old mini chain tool I carry with me the has the slot where the pushed out chain pin goes through that is just the right size to use as a core removal tool so check any chain tools you have to see if they fit and then no need to get a special tool and also some spoke wrenches may fit.
At least with Presta cores they sell replacement kits that are universal so the cores must be universal. And the kits are cheaper than a new tube. I wish I'd realized that a while ago because I've thrown away a few good tubes over the years after I broke the core. It was when I last broke a core that I finally ordered the kit and was able to fix it on the bike easily.

One thing I've learned though, I should always pump with the valve at the very top, this way the pump head does not put any sideways pressure on the valve, bending the pin which eventually breaks. And as I said above, once you have a lifetime supply of tire/tube repair items you'll never need them because by then you've figured out what you do wrong.

And here is another trick. When mounting a difficult tire, always have the last section at 90 degrees to the valve, not 180. The valve gets in the way of the bead so it can't go to the narrowest point in the spoke groove opposite from where you are working. It may be all you need to get the tire on without irons. That will avoid pinch flats.

Last edited by zacster; 11-28-21 at 10:43 AM.
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