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Patching Butyl Tubes - Problems

Old 02-16-24, 11:27 PM
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I'm so glad this post was made, I thought it was me getting worse at patching tubes. Thanks for all the great advice!
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Old 02-17-24, 07:17 AM
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Yes, very encouraging posts. With my advancing age, I'm seeing more failures. Not so frugal as in prior years, now toss tubes after only 5 OR 6 patches. Size of my herd means consumables are ageing out despite light use
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Old 02-17-24, 07:19 AM
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I always pump up a newly patched butyl tube and if all seems well, I leave it pumped up and don’t fold it and place it back in a baby-powdered ziplock unless it is still plump the following day.
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Old 02-17-24, 08:37 AM
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Real sandpaper!
That cheap square of sandpaper that comes in a patch kit is not very fast or effective.
I always substitute a cut strip of hardware store sandpaper -- it's much longer for better grip, and the grit works fast. I probably use 100 or 120 grit.

I use a silver sharpie pen to draw a very large cross hair "X" at the puncture, so it's edges are far past the sanded area. Otherwise I can lose track of the tiny puncture location.
The crimped end of the tube of glue makes a great glue spreader for an even coat on the tube.
After carefully pressing the patch (using plastic patch kit box, or screwdriver end) I've clamped the new patch between two scraps of wood, held with a carpenter clamp. No idea if it's helpful, but it's easy to do anyway.

It's been a couple of years since I patched a batch of punctures with a fresh patch kit's tube of glue. (the goal is to use up the opened tube of glue.) There's a lot less debris now on country roads.
Some years ago, a jar of rubber cement from Staples office supply didn't work at all for me.

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Old 02-17-24, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Classtime
I always pump up a newly patched butyl tube and if all seems well, I leave it pumped up and don’t fold it and place it back in a baby-powdered ziplock unless it is still plump the following day.
That is often the reason patches fail. While the patch will adhere to the tube instantly if the vulcanizing fluid is dry, it takes some time for the bond between the tube/patch/vulcanizing fluid to form. Stressing it just after application can cause the bond to fail. Leaving the tube flat for at least a few days will reduce the chances of pulling the patch off the tube.
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Old 02-17-24, 10:11 AM
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Go to your local NAPA store ask for, tire repair valcanizing crment for comercial use. Comes in a 4 oz can, works great. Store the can upside down after opening.
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Old 02-17-24, 10:41 AM
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I noticed that none of us has mentioned that the surface of the tube needs to be cleaned of any lubricants or silicone products. Often soap, tire foam, or butyl rubber preservative is on the surface of the tube.

What ever you use to clean the tube it should not have any lubricant left over after evaporation. I have used Simple Green with water, Denatured alcohol, Acohol pads, Gasoline and others.

If on the road I will put a thin layer of vulcanizing cement in the area of the patch then wipe it off using the cement as its own cleaner. I then apply the patch normally.

Further note that I put vulcanizing cement on both the tube and the patch. Many of my patches are pretty much died out and need to be revitalized by the cement.

It might seem like a waste of cement that I carry in my little kit but I consider the little tubes one ride use cause when once opened they are usually done for.



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Old 02-17-24, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by zandoval
I noticed that none of us has mentioned that the surface of the tube needs to be cleaned of any lubricants or silicone products. Often soap, tire foam, or butyl rubber preservative is on the surface of the tube.

What ever you use to clean the tube it should not have any lubricant left over after evaporation. I have used Simple Green with water, Denatured alcohol, Acohol pads, Gasoline and others.

If on the road I will put a thin layer of vulcanizing cement in the area of the patch then wipe it off using the cement as its own cleaner. I then apply the patch normally.

Further note that I put vulcanizing cement on both the tube and the patch. Many of my patches are pretty much died out and need to be revitalized by the cement.

It might seem like a waste of cement that I carry in my little kit but I consider the little tubes one ride use cause when once opened they are usually done for.

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I often pickup old cruisers and find they did the double sided glue patch just using cut patches from old tubes. A little lumpy but they seemed to work.
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Old 02-17-24, 12:40 PM
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Something I have noticed, is that matching the tube size to the tire helps reduce the number of failed patches. When the tube has to stretch to fill the inside of the tire, it puts more stress on the patch and they start to pull away. I use the skinny tubes in my 25 mm tires and wider ones in the 28 and 32 mm tires.

I always use a kitchen timer to make sure the glue in thoroughly dry. I have also made patches out of old tubes, as well as rejoining the ends of a rubber rim strip. When gluing two pieces of rubber (vs. a patch), I put glue on both surfaces and let it dry before joining them together.

Those old Camel heat vulcanizing patches were the best, although I don't think they made any small enough for bike tires. My parents owned a truck stop in the 1970s and I put a lot of them on truck inner tubes. The second-hand smoke from one patch was probably equivalent to a pack of cigarettes.
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Old 02-17-24, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime
I always pump up a newly patched butyl tube and if all seems well, I leave it pumped up and don’t fold it and place it back in a baby-powdered ziplock unless it is still plump the following day.
I do this, too, but only with enough air for the tube to resemble a slightly-limp donut. That way, it's not placing any shear stress on the patch. With how lazy I am, it might be a week or longer before I take the tube off the peg and deflate it for storage. If it still feels about the same after that time, I feel pretty good about the patch job.
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Old 02-17-24, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd
I abrade pretty deeply, until a consistent flat-black appears. A lot of work.
Not a lot of work if you cheat.

I use a sanding drum on a cordless dremel-type multi-tool for surface prep. Takes only a few seconds to get a nice clean area of virgin rubber. Using this, my patch success rate is 95+ % using Rema fluid & patches, even with the newer tubes.


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Old 02-17-24, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Perhaps most importantly, don’t “test” the patch by filling up the tube and stretching the patch just after application. Let the chemistry work for a good long time. Trust your patch job.
If it's not a roadside repair, I'll wait 15-30 minutes. I'll inflate them, run them through the bucket again for bubble-check, and leave them for 48-72 hours to check a) for patch integrity and b) to see if there are any other holes or slow leaks in the tube (which can often be the case, especially with salvaged bikes).


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Old 02-17-24, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval
I think is has to do with "toluene". The newer vulcanizing cement often does not even smell the same as it used to. Ha... Ask any Huffer. Other solvents and adhesives that use aromatic solvents for their bond are suffering too. Note that Testors styrene model cement and even plumbing PVC Cement is nothing like it was 8 years ago.
I think this is right. the stuff that comes in patch kits now is so de-natured / watered down that it won't vulcanize the tube.

What you can do is go on ebay and buy tire patch solvent FROM CHINA, wait 3 weeks, and then what you are getting is the "good old stuff"

guaranteed knock a buzzard off a S**T wagon at 50 meters.

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Old 02-17-24, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by RCMoeur
Not a lot of work if you cheat.

I use a sanding drum on a cordless dremel-type multi-tool for surface prep. Takes only a few seconds to get a nice clean area of virgin rubber. Using this, my patch success rate is 95+ % using Rema fluid & patches, even with the newer tubes.


I've used this sometimes, but found it's easy to go through the tube wall, unless you use very slow speed.
I've seen people rubbing tubes on a concrete curb or wall as abrasive too.
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Old 02-17-24, 06:03 PM
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After I patch, I put the tube inside a tire/wheel combination kept on hand for such purposes. I then air it up to typical-use psi, and if it holds overnite, then the tube is good to pack in my saddle bag.
I found that just airing up a patched tube outside a tire/wheel only lets you put in ~5psi, which is not enough for a real-world test.

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Old 02-17-24, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by SJX426
Don't forget there is mold release agent on the tube that must be removed prior to applying adhesives.
IMHO, this is the primary reason why many people have trouble patching tubes and many don't understand that this is the primary reason for sanding. You MUST get that compound off or your patch job WILL fail. I always aggressively sand the tube all the way to, and beyond, where the patch edge will be using sandpaper, not those worthless metal scratch thingies that come in some patch kits. The second reason that patches fail is that folks don't wait long enough until the vulcanizing fluid skins over. I have noticed zero difference in recent vs prior patch job experiences. They all work perfectly as long as you do it properly.
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Old 02-19-24, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Spadoni
Trigger clamps do the trick for me. Pressure can be applied right on the patch, and the clamp and tube can be hung out of the way the tube dries. Plus even the small clamps apply 100psi pressure.


Thanks DeWalt for photo

yup, I've done that too. Works well.
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Old 02-21-24, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Pompiere
...Those old Camel heat vulcanizing patches were the best, although I don't think they made any small enough for bike tires...
In case you are wondering....
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Old 02-21-24, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval
In case you are wondering.... https://youtu.be/r9hMSVQcDSA
Like.

​​​​​​​Do they make small ones for bicycle tubes??
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Old 02-21-24, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas
Like.

​​​​​​​Do they make small ones for bicycle tubes??
No... I can't even find the big ones. They still make Heat Vulcanizing devices that you plug in and electrically bond Raw Rubber patches to tires.

Think I'll try a few experiments and see if Heat can be used to bond one of our regular bicycle patches...
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Old 02-22-24, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by RCMoeur
If it's not a roadside repair, I'll wait 15-30 minutes. I'll inflate them, run them through the bucket again for bubble-check, and leave them for 48-72 hours to check a) for patch integrity and b) to see if there are any other holes or slow leaks in the tube (which can often be the case, especially with salvaged bikes).
You live in goat head (and numerous other pokey stuff) land and you stop bubble checking at the first bubble!? Every patch job I do I bubble check, mark the first one, and continue on. I check the entire tube…which had been inflated to quite a bit larger than it would be in the tire…sometimes twice.

I really do think that a lot of the problem that people have with a patch job is the “checking your work” step. I’ve seen lots and lots of people pull the new patch off by over inflating the tube right after the patch job. If they had left it to cure for that 48 hours and then checked the patch, they would be less likely to pull the patch off the tube.
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Old 02-22-24, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by mpetry912
I think this is right. the stuff that comes in patch kits now is so de-natured / watered down that it won't vulcanize the tube.

What you can do is go on ebay and buy tire patch solvent FROM CHINA, wait 3 weeks, and then what you are getting is the "good old stuff"

guaranteed knock a buzzard off a S**T wagon at 50 meters.

/markp
If you are ordering your patch kits from China, I guarantee that all you are getting is rubber cement. That is not vulcanizing fluid. Frankly, I don’t know of anyone who actually makes “vulcanizing” fluid outside of REMA. REMA’s fluid and patch use a chemical reaction to actually do cold vulcanizing. They use an accelerator chemical and a vulcanizing chemical that is a two part system…can’t recall which has which…but once they come together, the accelerator activates the vulcanizing chemical and they start making actual new rubber.

The vast majority of patch kits have rubber cement and a rubber patch which make an adhesive bond but they don’t do the same chemistry as REMA. The patch fails because it is just a contact adhesive.
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Old 02-22-24, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
You live in goat head (and numerous other pokey stuff) land and you stop bubble checking at the first bubble!?
You misunderstand.

I was describing the follow-up post-patching check, not the initial bubble check. On the first pass, yes, I go all the way around and clearly mark every discovered hole. If a tube has more than two holes, I usually discard it as the economics of patching goes way down (I consider Slime a hole for this evaluation, as it can temporarily mask holes and gum up valves). Exceptions can be made for uncommon or hard-to-find tubes.
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Old 02-22-24, 08:37 AM
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My experience has shown that all of @cyccommute's advice in this thread is dead on. Do everything he says. Rema glue is expensiver than the others but worth it. I experimented with other glues and came back. I keep a can with a lid with a built-in lid. I also keep the little tubes in my seat-bag toolkit. Once I open it, it starts drying out, so I check the tube periodically. Since I generally patch tubes in batches, opening a little tube might allow me to fix only one inner tube before it dries out. Hmm, maybe next time, I should use up the glue in the already-open little tubes before I open my can.
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Old 02-22-24, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I should use up the glue in the already-open little tubes before I open my can.
When a tube of vulcanizing fluid is opened and used on the road, I typically will replace it in the bike's patch kit with an unopened tube when I get home, and place the opened tube in the home patching supplies for use.
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