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My tire tube repairs never work. What am I doing wrong?

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My tire tube repairs never work. What am I doing wrong?

Old 02-22-16, 12:31 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
My problem is that I have to use a patch so seldom that the rubber cement ends up drying out. I just bought a large bottle of Elmer's rubber cement the other day to use for patching at home.
I stock up on a few inexpensive tubes of vulcanizing fluid which stay fresh indefinitely so long as they are not punctured. Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think "rubber cement" is the same thing. So far as that goes, "rubber cement" does not seem to be the same now as it was in my youth (kind of like model airplane glue). Less volatile organic compounds I suppose.

At the risk of being pedantic, "glueless patches" are misnamed as they actually do have glue on them. "Glueless patches" work well for me when they are new but get brittle and wrinkly with age and can't be removed to be replaced. Regular rubber patches using tubes of "glue" don't use glue at all but use vulcanizing fluid which actually merges the two layers of rubber together so it is stronger than the original and lasts forever.

Re the OP, where does the patched tube leak? Are you sure you covered all the snakebite points and that there is a good amount of patch between the hole and the edge of the patch? Does a new hole appear near the old hole?

*** I see there was some simultaneous typing going on and I was beat to the punch.

Last edited by asmac; 02-22-16 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 02-22-16, 12:37 PM
  #27  
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well crap, the stuff smells the same to me! Guy at the LBS actually suggested just getting rubber cement when I asked if they sold the cement separate from the Park Tool patch kit. Oh well, I haven't used any of it yet.
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Old 02-22-16, 12:47 PM
  #28  
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Thanks for reminding me! I just ordered five of these:

Bike Glue Cement Rubber Inner Tube Repair Puncture Cold Patch Solution Kit Best | eBay

Won't get here for a few weeks, which is fine.
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Old 02-22-16, 01:49 PM
  #29  
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If glueless patches didn't work, companies like Park and Bell wouldn't bother. I do not recognize the brand pictured, and I don't know... I'm wondering if it isn't a problem with a spoke or glass chip in the tire carcass that is causing the repeated flatting. Even if I accept that glueless patches might be inferior to conventional ones (I don't) they aren't that bad! Come on. We're either being trolled or there is something else afoot or atire.
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Old 02-22-16, 01:55 PM
  #30  
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I had some Park Tool glueless patches that worked really well when I first got them, but got worse and worse and the months went on with them unused. Been using Rema patches lately and have had great success, even with 23c wide tubes (which I had never successfully patched before). If you are getting snakebites, try to add some air before riding and that should alleviate just about all of those types of flats.
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Old 02-22-16, 02:00 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Going to ask a naive (I guess) question. I can see carrying a patch kit to get you home, or a spare tube to replace the one holed. But I guess I don't understand why you would insert a new tube and take the old one home to repair it.. presumably to reuse it?? Why would you put your fate in a repaired tube? They are not that expensive, particularly in light of the investment in your ride (bike and perhaps distance from home), unless you get lots of flats. Help educate me.
A patch kit costs about two bucks and has eight? patches. Eight tubes is like forty to seventy bucks depending where you shop and what you buy. Most of the holes I've ever patched have been due to thorns or wires and are barely visible, they don't present a safety hazard, only an annoyance, if the patch lets go. A better argument for replacement tubes would be based on opportunity cost of time saved by not patching. I tend to save up all my holed tubes for a while and then do one massive patch session when I've finally run out of spares.

I have used the glueless patches in the past. My troubles with them have always stemmed from putting them across a mold line in the tube.

I'm finally about ready to try tubeless in my MTB. I've had enough thorns in my "supple" tires this season.
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Old 02-22-16, 02:04 PM
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I wonder why the glueless ones aren't individually packaged like MRE's or Ghirardelli squares or something. That would save them from drying out when you open the whole package to get one patch.
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Old 02-22-16, 02:34 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
well crap, the stuff smells the same to me! Guy at the LBS actually suggested just getting rubber cement when I asked if they sold the cement separate from the Park Tool patch kit. Oh well, I haven't used any of it yet.
There is such a thing as "vulcanizing rubber cement," which is probably what the guy meant, but there are some kinds of rubber cement that you do not want. Therefore buying something with "vulcanizing" written on it is a safer bet.
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Old 02-22-16, 02:39 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
A patch kit costs about two bucks and has eight? patches. Eight tubes is like forty to seventy bucks depending where you shop and what you buy. Most of the holes I've ever patched have been due to thorns or wires and are barely visible, they don't present a safety hazard, only an annoyance, if the patch lets go. A better argument for replacement tubes would be based on opportunity cost of time saved by not patching. I tend to save up all my holed tubes for a while and then do one massive patch session when I've finally run out of spares.

I have used the glueless patches in the past. My troubles with them have always stemmed from putting them across a mold line in the tube.

I'm finally about ready to try tubeless in my MTB. I've had enough thorns in my "supple" tires this season.
That right there! I was working on bikes with a friend in his garage, had a flat (amongst some other things), pulled out the tube and he pointed to the trashcan. I was like, hell no! He asked what was I going to do with a busted tube, well patch it of course! He asked why - I said because I would rather take a few minutes than waste 8 bucks on a new tube. I got a bit of an eye roll...though I should mention that he was working at a bike shop and was used to paying 2 bucks for a new tube - actually that's the part I miss most out of working there part time as well!
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Old 02-22-16, 02:49 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
A patch kit costs about two bucks and has eight? patches. Eight tubes is like forty to seventy bucks depending where you shop and what you buy. Most of the holes I've ever patched have been due to thorns or wires and are barely visible, they don't present a safety hazard, only an annoyance, if the patch lets go. A better argument for replacement tubes would be based on opportunity cost of time saved by not patching. I tend to save up all my holed tubes for a while and then do one massive patch session when I've finally run out of spares.

I have used the glueless patches in the past. My troubles with them have always stemmed from putting them across a mold line in the tube.

I'm finally about ready to try tubeless in my MTB. I've had enough thorns in my "supple" tires this season.
Thanks, nice tip about the mold line, had't even considered that.
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Old 02-22-16, 03:08 PM
  #36  
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Tube Patching Table

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Old 02-22-16, 05:54 PM
  #37  
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Thanks for these good tips. I'll also try the rema patches too instead.
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Old 02-22-16, 05:55 PM
  #38  
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You're using glueless patches. IMO those are complete crap, I guess some people may get them to work, but IMO you might as well use scotch tape.

I use this cement:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003V9UU66

and these patches:
Amazon.com : PATCH KIT SUNLT PATCHES ONLY 25mm BXof100 : Bicycle Tire Patch Kit : Sports & Outdoors

and a bit of 50 grit sandpaper. I just sand it to rough it up and clean it, put on the cement, let it dry 15 minutes, slap on the patch and pinch it as hard as I can for 30 seconds or so, kneeding it down.

I've never had a patch fail. They can't really be removed without ripping the tube.
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Old 02-22-16, 07:11 PM
  #39  
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Wow I've never let the cement dry more than about 5 minutes or so, just until tacky.
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Old 02-22-16, 10:06 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
Wow I've never let the cement dry more than about 5 minutes or so, just until tacky.
Same here, spread it really thin, when it's dry to the touch its ready. No pinching or squeezing the patch down, just firmly pressed in place.
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Old 02-22-16, 11:23 PM
  #41  
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Sometimes I have trouble with the cover plastic pulling up the orange feather edge of the patch as I'm trying to peel it off, after applying the patch, so I'll run my thumbnail all around the edge to try to get it pressed down really well. But I don't really do any other sort of "squeezing" the patch down.
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Old 02-23-16, 12:34 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
Sometimes I have trouble with the cover plastic pulling up the orange feather edge of the patch as I'm trying to peel it off, after applying the patch, so I'll run my thumbnail all around the edge to try to get it pressed down really well. But I don't really do any other sort of "squeezing" the patch down.
Huh. I've just been leaving that plastic on. Couldn't think of any really great reason to take it off.
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Old 02-23-16, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Huh. I've just been leaving that plastic on. Couldn't think of any really great reason to take it off.
Earlier in this thread someone mentioned that before applying the patch you should inflate the tube to the approximate diameter it will take when inflated inside the tire. If you do that, you can probably get away with leaving the plastic on. If inflating the tube in the tire causes the patch to stretch, even a little bit, the plastic will split, and the split may spread to the patch, effectively cracking the patch in half. I've only seen that happen a couple times, but it was an eye opener. You have to throw the whole thing away.

So now I always take that plastic off. Sometime I have to cut it at the edge and tear the plastic in half, which usually lets me get the whole thing off.

Incidentally, while I usually try to carry a piece of a coarse sanding disk or emery cloth a couple times I successfully used a rock. Recently I learned to wrap the tube under my shoe, with the part to be buffed right under the toe; scrape my foot across the pavement a few times, and the job is done. Incredibly easy and fast.
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Old 02-23-16, 09:20 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Incidentally, while I usually try to carry a piece of a coarse sanding disk or emery cloth a couple times I successfully used a rock. Recently I learned to wrap the tube under my shoe, with the part to be buffed right under the toe; scrape my foot across the pavement a few times, and the job is done. Incredibly easy and fast.
Neat tip! However I'm going to do everything possible to not have to apply a patch on the side of the road. I always do it in my living room (heh heh heh ).
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Old 02-23-16, 10:40 AM
  #45  
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I spread the glue generously. I find it's better to err on the side of too much glue. Drying for 5 minutes is probably OK, but I have forgotten and let it go for 15 or 20 minutes, and it didn't cause a problem at all, so it's better to err on the side of waiting for too long.

Nice tip about buffing with a rock or the road surface.

Here's another patching tip. I often lose sight of the puncture site after applying the glue. I used to take a ball point pen and circle it. But I would still sometimes lose it. Once, I was teaching my 11 year old neighbor how to patch, and he said, why not make a cross? Bingo. Now I make both a circle and a cross. The cross can be very large, because it's easy to see where the lines intersect even if I can't see the intersection, because the lines point to the site. One line goes along the length of the tube, and the other is perpendicular.
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Old 02-23-16, 10:52 AM
  #46  
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All great tips! I never thought about letting it dry a few minutes first. It does seem counter intuitive.
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Old 02-23-16, 11:00 AM
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I have never had success with glueless patches. I have tried them a few times but they always fail either immediately or soon after. I have had very few failures of glued patches over the years (like two or three over twenty five years, due to improper technique). I do not bother with glueless patches anymore. Others have used them successfully but not me.
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Old 02-23-16, 11:07 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by HBxRider View Post

I've even used a pair of plyers with cloth to protect the tube, to make sure enough pressure is used to make it stick.
Since you are putting the tube back in the tire, the pressure in the tube will press on the patch harder than just about anything you care to use to put pressure on the patch. For mountain bike tires, that pressure is about 50 pounds per square inch and for road bikes anywhere from 70 to 120 pounds per square inch. You really can't put more pressure on it that is more evenly distributed.

Your lack success is due to the patch you are using as others have said.

Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Make sure the tube is inflated to about the size it will be inside the tire before applying a glue patch. Follow directions as to drying time and apply a wide enough area of glue to more than accommodate the patch so the edges don't come up. Forget the stickers except for temporary repairs in bad weather.
I find that attempting to patch a partially inflated tube isn't a good practice. The rubber under the patch is stretched and, when the pressure is released, the tube will pucker under the patch. If the patch hasn't bonded, the puckers lead to leaks. If the leak is large enough, it may even form bubbles under the patch when you put the patch in place. I get better results by patching the tube without air in it.

I also resist the urge to inflate the tube after patching to check the leak. If the patch job is rushed and the glue isn't sufficiently dry, the patch can pull away from the tube as the tube is inflated.

Originally Posted by bhchdh View Post
Try these instead of the glue less that you are using. Amazon.com : Rema Patch Kit (24/Box), Large : Bike Tubes : Sports & Outdoors
Yup. Best one.

Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Forgot the OP mentioned snake bites. Those dual punctures are tougher to patch. Do you use two patches overlapping, one that just barely is big enough or the long patches crosswise that are too long for the job or cut down a long one to e better size? None of these options is perfect. You tend to have a lot of non-stretchy patch and little inner tube, so if you use a smallish tube, there is a lot of stress to the patch edge and tube there as you inflate it.

I don't like telling OPs answers to questions they did not ask, but this sounds like a case of either too small a tire or too little pressure if snake bites are happening a lot.

Ben
I don't find snake bites hard to patch at all. If they are on road tires, one patch will usually cover both snake bites. On mountain bikes, they can be a little further apart although all of my mountain bike wheels are as narrow or narrower than my road wheels. One patch usually works there too. If I need two patches, however, I have no problem using two patches.

Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
I haven't done this in a while, but I used to cut up old tubes and make my own patches from the rubber. They worked fine. I'm not sure why I stopped doing that!
Probably because it didn't work as well as you would like. Old tubes can be used with rubber cement (more on that topic further down) but you are stuck with a thick lump of material on the patched tube. Rema patches are thinner and make a better bond.

Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
You want vulcanizing fluid, not rubber cement. And yes, you can buy plenty of sealable larger quantities online.
Or you can buy extra 2 oz tubes of the Rema vulcanizing fluid on-line as well.

You are correct about the vulcanizing fluid vs rubber cement although the vulcanizing fluid for Rema patches may not be as effective on other patches. Rema uses a 2 component system where there is a compound in the fluid that promotes the formation of rubber polymers that are bound to the rubber in the tube and there is an accelerate on the patch that catalyzes the reaction. When separated, there is no reaction and the patches and cement can be stored for a long time without issue. Once in contact (and after the solvent carrier has evaporated), the patch accelerates the reaction and starts to make new rubber for a permanent bond. This only holds for Rema patches and Rema vulcanizing fluid, however. Other vulcanizing fluids may use different components which will result in poor bonding.

Rubber cement is just a contact adhesive which works but doesn't make new rubber bonds. It's weaker but may be sufficient when used under the pressure used in the tire.
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Old 02-23-16, 11:14 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by bmthom.gis View Post
All great tips! I never thought about letting it dry a few minutes first. It does seem counter intuitive.
Not if you know the chemistry. The solvent allows the accelerator and the bonding agent to mix and slow down the reaction. The accelerator starts the process by having high concentrations of the catalyst close to the bonding agent. The solvent carrier in the vulcanizing fluid just dilutes the accelerator too much.

Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I spread the glue generously. I find it's better to err on the side of too much glue. Drying for 5 minutes is probably OK, but I have forgotten and let it go for 15 or 20 minutes, and it didn't cause a problem at all, so it's better to err on the side of waiting for too long.
I tell people that you can't wait too long to apply a patch. I've forgotten patch jobs in my garage for about 2 weeks and have successfully completed the job even after that time.
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Old 02-23-16, 11:18 AM
  #50  
noglider 
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I tell people that you can't wait too long to apply a patch. I've forgotten patch jobs in my garage for about 2 weeks and have successfully completed the job even after that time.
I guess the upper limit is defined by the length of time it takes to contaminate the surface with dust or whatever.
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