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Patch a tube with just vulcanizing fluid?

Old 03-22-10, 11:04 AM
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Patch a tube with just vulcanizing fluid?

A word of warning: the title is a bit misleading.

So I got a flat on my tubeless tire set yesterday. Actually, I did not know that it had occurred. I thought for the last 2-4 miles that my rear tire felt a bit bouncy. I was kind of pissed, thinking that the tire had just naturally lost 5-10 psi over the course of my ride (it was a long ride). When I got home, I noticed a huge carpet staple sticking out of the tire, but only after getting a pump onto it and verifying that the tire only had roughly 15 psi of air in it! I've never ridden on a tubular tire but the old story about being able to ride a tire with little or no air in it safely immediately popped into my mind.

Now, I had become a tubeless fanboy at that moment, but then came time to patch this hole. I was not running any sealant inside the tires. I figured that I could just pop it off, and apply a patch to the inside like to a tube in the event of a flat. Well, I sanded a bit, applied the vulcanizing fluid and stuck a patch on as usual. One problem though: the patch did not stick!

My first question is: Does the inside of tubeless tires have a different surface than a regular inner tube? This seems to be the case since my patch did not stick when using the same process and chemicals as I regularly use on tubes.

Second: The tire is sitting in front of my right now pumped up to 100psi. It seems that the vulcanizing fluid alone has sealed the hole. Is this possible? Is it reliable? What the hell is going on?
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Old 03-22-10, 11:14 AM
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Small hole such as a staple could easily be sealed by rubber cement from the
inside, likely as a permanent solution as the probability of something small/sharp
enough to poke the same spot is extremely low. Also inflating the tire tends
to pinch small holes on the inside of the tire (and open holes on the outside of
the tire). Wouldn't work for a hole much more than 1-2mm in size. Dunno
about the coating, but would think a hefty abrading of the inside of the tire
and adequate goop on the tire would allow the patch to stick.
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Old 03-22-10, 11:47 AM
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What's wrong with sealant?
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Old 03-22-10, 12:07 PM
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Messy, no guarantee that it will work, dries out in a few weeks time, not guaranteed to work with CO2, increased rolling resistance (?), added weight slushing around on the outside of my wheel, and I haven't found one that people haven't complained to high heaven about. This one has ammonia, that one doesn't actually seal holes, etc etc. I actually have a bottle of caffelatex sitting in my office/workshop, but I've been hesitant to use it because of all the bad press it has received. Well, actually it has received nothing but good press from bicycle industry mouthpiece sites/blogs that receive bike stuff for free and "review" it (which entails writing about how you love whatever you got for free and how innovative and new it is), but when you read about it on message boards no one's had a positive thing to say about it.

At this point in time I'd rather stop and patch the damn thing if I get a flat, or put a tube in if someone is waiting on me. I have a Hutchinson "tubeless patch kit" headed my way which should arrive today or tomorrow. I will see if their fluid differs from regular ol' vulcanizing fluid.

Last edited by lukasz; 03-22-10 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 03-22-10, 12:23 PM
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the rubber in tires and rubber in tubes are slightly different.

tubes: vulcanized butyl rubber
tire: secret mixture of rubber, chemicals and pigment
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Old 03-22-10, 03:08 PM
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Did you let the glue dry before you applied the patch? You should.
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Old 03-22-10, 07:00 PM
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I have thousands of kilometers of experience on Road Tubeless; I just retired a tire with over 6500k on it and three patches inside. You have to clean the inside of the tire with acetone prior to patching it. A regular patch kit works fine; once you've cleaned it with acetone, the patch welds to the tire so perfectly that you'll never get it off again. Seals quite nicely indeed.

Here's one of them.

rtpatch1.jpg
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Old 03-22-10, 09:23 PM
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If you smoke while you clean the inside of the tire with acetone, be very, very careful.
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Old 03-22-10, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by pmt
I have thousands of kilometers of experience on Road Tubeless; I just retired a tire with over 6500k on it and three patches inside. You have to clean the inside of the tire with acetone prior to patching it. A regular patch kit works fine; once you've cleaned it with acetone, the patch welds to the tire so perfectly that you'll never get it off again. Seals quite nicely indeed.
Does it specifically have to be acetone, or is it just a matter of getting the top layer off somehow? After reading a bit today, I saw that some people wrote about sanding the layer off.

I'm looking for something more roadside friendly than acetone, I think. That procedure is fine for once I get home--your patch photo looks great. Do you have experience with the road tubeless patch kits? I am interested in the compounds that allegedly just patch holes after being exposed to whatever hole you may have (assuming it is fairly small).

By the way, the fluid alone did not hold. The tire was flat after a few hours.
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Old 03-23-10, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by lukasz
Does it specifically have to be acetone, or is it just a matter of getting the top layer off somehow? After reading a bit today, I saw that some people wrote about sanding the layer off.
Sanding might work, but that's not going to "chemically prep" the area like acetone. I suppose there may be other chemicals that would work but acetone is cheap and simple.

Originally Posted by lukasz
I'm looking for something more roadside friendly than acetone, I think. That procedure is fine for once I get home--your patch photo looks great.
It's really easy to carry and use it on the side of the road; you just get a small Visine bottle, dump the contents, scratch out the label and write Acetone, then fill it up. The little nozzle makes it simple to apply the acetone precisely; it also doesn't weigh much.

Originally Posted by lukasz
Do you have experience with the road tubeless patch kits? I am interested in the compounds that allegedly just patch holes after being exposed to whatever hole you may have (assuming it is fairly small).
I tried some of those things when using tubulars but they never worked well, though I could only do it from the outside.

Really, using Stan's sealant is the way to go. I've had a number of rather small punctures that were neatly taken care of because I had sealant; I didn't even have to stop to deal with it, as the sealant caught the hole and saved enough air to keep going. Obviously, as you've found, Road Tubeless is somewhat run-flat.

Overall, I was pretty delighted to find that a cheap patch kit and a little bottle of acetone was all I needed to do a quick side-of-the-road repair that would last forever with the expensive tires.
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Old 03-23-10, 07:35 AM
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Most people would carry a spare tube to fix a flat, not patch the tire out on the road.

I imagine the tubeless patch kit has instructions. Try reading them.
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Old 03-23-10, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS
Most people would carry a spare tube to fix a flat, not patch the tire out on the road.
Once you know how to do it, it's easier and faster to fix the puncture.
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Old 03-23-10, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by pmt
Sanding might work, but that's not going to "chemically prep" the area like acetone. I suppose there may be other chemicals that would work but acetone is cheap and simple.



It's really easy to carry and use it on the side of the road; you just get a small Visine bottle, dump the contents, scratch out the label and write Acetone, then fill it up. The little nozzle makes it simple to apply the acetone precisely; it also doesn't weigh much.



I tried some of those things when using tubulars but they never worked well, though I could only do it from the outside.

Really, using Stan's sealant is the way to go. I've had a number of rather small punctures that were neatly taken care of because I had sealant; I didn't even have to stop to deal with it, as the sealant caught the hole and saved enough air to keep going. Obviously, as you've found, Road Tubeless is somewhat run-flat.

Overall, I was pretty delighted to find that a cheap patch kit and a little bottle of acetone was all I needed to do a quick side-of-the-road repair that would last forever with the expensive tires.
The thing about using fluid to patch a hole from the outside on tubeless is that you don't have a separate tube moving around under the rubber. I think that this could make patching tubeless on the road in such a way more viable than tubulars. The hole you see is the hole that you must patch.

Good idea about the small bottle of acetone. Maybe I will give that a shot. I am wary of using Stan's as I believe it has ammonia in it, which can mess up aluminum rims. At the same time, sealants with no ammonia in them seem to not really... work.


Originally Posted by DaveSSS
Most people would carry a spare tube to fix a flat, not patch the tire out on the road.

I imagine the tubeless patch kit has instructions. Try reading them.
I do carry spare tubes right now since I'm not sure how patching would work. Clearly on Sunday it wouldn't have worked at all. I'd also carry them if not riding alone so as not to slow a group down.

I don't have a patch kit in my posession yet, and instructions are certainly not available online. Forget about finding something like Hutchinson Protect'Air in an LBS. I've called all of their listed distributors that are in my area. From the photos it seems like the tubeless patch kit I have on order contains Hutchinson's own vulcanizing fluid concoction, patches, and a bit of the same sealant you'd purchase to put into the tires as a preventative measure. I'm kind of disappointed about how little information there is about this stuff online. A lot about sealants, but not much about anything else. Why must the ride be so smooth
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Old 03-23-10, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by lukasz
I am wary of using Stan's as I believe it has ammonia in it, which can mess up aluminum rims.
Stan's promises that there is no ammonia and it will not damage the rims. Having done Stan's Road Tubeless conversions on four different types of wheels, I can tell you that they all look perfect. I can't imagine that Bontrager, Neuvation, Velocity Aerohead, and Rigida all use significantly different aluminum than everybody else.
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Old 03-23-10, 08:38 AM
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Can you perceive a difference in ride quality between running empty tires and tires with sealant in them? How much sealant do you use in a tire? I see Stan's recommends 2 ounces.

Last edited by lukasz; 03-23-10 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 03-23-10, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by lukasz
Can you perceive a difference in ride quality between running empty tires and tires with sealant in them?
Nope, I don't put a whole lot in there, and it doesn't weigh much. It would be interesting if someone did scientific, double-blind tests with and without sealant to see if a difference can be felt. It's only twelve grams extra weight, which even at the very outside of the tire isn't going to make a big difference on an 700 gram wheel.
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Old 03-23-10, 08:48 AM
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I don't really care about a scientific verdict. If I can't perceive it, that is good enough. You say 12 grams of weight per wheel. How many ml do you use?
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Old 03-23-10, 08:51 AM
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Anyone who can find the location of a puncture, then patch a tire faster than a tube can be inserted must be totally inept when is comes to installing a tube. I could get a tube into a tire long before any patching glue can dry.

Finding the location of a small leak, out on the road, could be quite difficult. The only smart choices are to carry spare tubes or use a sealant. Even with sealant, a small cut could require a tube to repair. I've been riding for 25 years and never patched a puncture while out on the road. That's how you recognize a newbie - fiddling with glue on the roadside.
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Old 03-23-10, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by lukasz
I don't really care about a scientific verdict. If I can't perceive it, that is good enough. You say 12 grams of weight per wheel. How many ml do you use?
Twelve mL. That's plenty.
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Old 03-23-10, 08:57 AM
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12 ml is 12 grams huh? I didn't know it had the same weight as water! That is also less than 1/4 of what Stan's recommends for MTB applications.

Originally Posted by DaveSSS
Anyone who can find the location of a puncture, then patch a tire faster than a tube can be inserted must be totally inept when is comes to installing a tube. I could get a tube into a tire long before any patching glue can dry.

Finding the location of a small leak, out on the road, could be quite difficult. The only smart choices are to carry spare tubes or use a sealant. Even with sealant, a small cut could require a tube to repair. I've been riding for 25 years and never patched a puncture while out on the road. That's how you recognize a newbie - fiddling with glue on the roadside.
I said that I would use a tube if strapped for time, and you have to find the puncture even when inserting a tube unless you want to flat your replacement. I've gotten many flats on clinchers, and no, I've never patched a tire on the side of the road. In any case, not having a tube in the first place changes the dynamic a bit. I'd rather look like a newbie and retain the ride quality than stick a tube in and feel (comparatively) like I'm riding on wagon wheels.

Last edited by lukasz; 03-23-10 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 03-23-10, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS
Anyone who can find the location of a puncture, then patch a tire faster than a tube can be inserted must be totally inept when is comes to installing a tube. I could get a tube into a tire long before any patching glue can dry.

Finding the location of a small leak, out on the road, could be quite difficult. The only smart choices are to carry spare tubes or use a sealant. Even with sealant, a small cut could require a tube to repair. I've been riding for 25 years and never patched a puncture while out on the road. That's how you recognize a newbie - fiddling with glue on the roadside.
If you haven't repaired Road Tubeless, you have no knowledge to post on the subject.

Finding the puncture is instant, because if it's large enough that the sealant doesn't seal it, then the sealant is hissing out so you know exactly where it is. The glue, if spread thinly, dries right away and the patch welds right on. In theory, self-stick patches would work and be faster, but I haven't used those.

I think it also depends on how much of a hurry you're in. When on a 300k brevet, an extra twenty seconds to patch the Road Tubeless tire isn't going to make much of a difference.
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Old 03-23-10, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS
Anyone who can find the location of a puncture, then patch a tire faster than a tube can be inserted must be totally inept when is comes to installing a tube. I could get a tube into a tire long before any patching glue can dry.

Finding the location of a small leak, out on the road, could be quite difficult. The only smart choices are to carry spare tubes or use a sealant. Even with sealant, a small cut could require a tube to repair. I've been riding for 25 years and never patched a puncture while out on the road. That's how you recognize a newbie - fiddling with glue on the roadside.
True, but I carry a spare tube and a patch kit. If I get two flats in a ride, I'm prepared, and I'll be patching on the roadside.

Finding a leak isn't usually hard. I inflate the tube and pass it by my face. I might hear the leak, and I might feel it on my cheek, and I might do both. I only occasionally have to use a bucket of water. If I'm not near water, I can spit on the tube and spread it.
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Old 03-23-10, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by lukasz
I am wary of using Stan's as I believe it has ammonia in it, which can mess up aluminum rims.
O_o

The vast majority of aluminium rims don't have an aluminium surface.
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Old 03-23-10, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo
O_o

The vast majority of aluminium rims don't have an aluminium surface.
This is news to me. What do they have?
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Old 03-23-10, 09:35 AM
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anodizing

Can you call water hydrogen? : p

...I wouldn't be surprised to find ammonia reacts with raw aluminium, but an anodised surface is inert, innit?
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