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Tube replacement

Old 07-10-22, 05:39 AM
  #1  
442dude
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Tube replacement

Hello!

Here's my story: Went out for a ride last week only to find that my front tire is flat. Pop it off, pull out the tube...don't see anything obvious. Feel around the inside of the tire...nothing pointy or sharp. Inflate the tube, can't find the leak. Inflate the tube some more and give it a listen...nothing. Inflate it some more and I find it! It's leaking at the base of the tube stem. So now I check the rim - no burrs or anything rough around the hole...rim tape looks good. So here's my question:

This tube has about 5000 miles on it - Does anyone change tubes every once in a while to avoid this? Do you think I missed something when I was checking the rim? Or do you think it was just one of those things that happens? Schrader tube BTW.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 07-10-22, 07:05 AM
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flangehead
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I have had similar valve base failures on different rims. Not frequent enough to be worth chasing down a root cause.

Originally Posted by 442dude View Post
Or do you think it was just one of those things that happens?.
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Old 07-10-22, 07:31 AM
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Crankycrank
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Check the stem hole in the rim. Make sure there are no burrs and I like to put a small bevel around the edge of the hole to reduce cuts. Nothing fancy, just take some fine grit sandpaper and lightly take the sharp edge off the hole. Not unusual for stems to get a cut at the base after enough miles but less likely if you don't wrestle it around when inflating and make sure it's perfectly straight coming out of the rim. You can also make a rubber washer from an old tube to slip over the stem and cover the base before installing the tube which adds a little more protection from cuts.
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Old 07-10-22, 08:40 AM
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Road Fan
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To protect the next tube, I think those are great ideas. But bottom line now is, you need a new tube.
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Old 07-10-22, 12:05 PM
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442dude
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Thanks for the replies - Next time I have the wheel off I'll take a closer look at the hole again just to make sure I didn't miss something. Was wondering if there was something obvious I didn't know about. I like the "rubber washer" idea - will definitely do that. New tube already installed from my spare parts pile and so far so good!
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Old 07-10-22, 01:34 PM
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Could be a valve hole burr, but it could also be too much bending and such from your pump head when you put it on and off.
Check your technique as well as your gear.
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Old 07-10-22, 04:02 PM
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I've had many tubes fail at the bottom of the valve stem; I think it's a spot that's prone to failure as the valve stem wiggles in the hole and gets stressed by removing the pump. I use valve stem nuts, but not super tight, and they seem to help.

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Old 07-11-22, 07:14 AM
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andrewclaus
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Riding with under-inflated tires will allow the tire and tube to rotate on the rim and stress the valve stem, sometimes tearing it at the base.
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Old 07-11-22, 08:14 AM
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pdlamb
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Most of my tube failures related to the valve stem start with a pump head that's too tight/small. When the pump is right, you'll still get an occasional failure, but it's generally random. No sense replacing a tube that's as likely to fail as the replacement is.
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Old 07-11-22, 09:46 AM
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MudPie
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Originally Posted by 442dude View Post
Hello!

... It's leaking at the base of the tube stem. So now I check the rim - no burrs or anything rough around the hole...rim tape looks good. ...

Thanks for your thoughts.
Funny, same just happened to me yesterday. I rode Saturday, then when I started to prep for my Sunday ride, the front was completely flat. I removed the tube, and found a "tear" about an inch away from the base of the valve stem (lPresta) where it contacts the rim tape, pretty much centered in the rim. Odd, I thought, and felt around the area and nothing. I just put in a new tube and just chalked it up to some unexplainable phenomenon. Note, I have over 40,000 miles on this rim and never seen such a failure.

The only thing I could think of that I did differently, is I may have used one of those small mini-pumps to pump up that tire a few days ago. I was digging thru my junk box and "found" and old Zefal mini pump and thought I'd see if it still works and how close I could get to 100 psi with it. I think I used the front wheel for the test. I usually use a floor pump in my garage or CO2 cartridge when on the road. So perhaps the action of using the handpump stressed the valve area. Good news is, the pump was actually fairly easy to achieve 80psi without much effort and now I carry it as an alternative to the CO2 for on road repairs.
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Old 07-11-22, 10:26 AM
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Another oddball cause of puncture is the rim tape. One time I had a rim tape that was sticking up at the edge of the u-shaped depression in the middle of the rim. This sticking-up edge eventually rubbed a slit in the inner tube. I fixed this by going to a wider rim tape.
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