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Keeping air in wire wheels?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by vert1940, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. Really - Cuz every car I ever owned had the valve stem in the wheel - not the tire. And I have yet to see a tire that help air without being on the wheel ....:eek:
  2. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,492


    Neither the wheels or the tires hold air by themselves, so your point is moot.

    They still flex. Even a solid steel wheel flexes. Otherwise wheel covers would never squeak.
  3. About $10 per tube :rolleyes:
  4. I have Reproduction T-Bird wires from Roadster Wheels Co. They are about 15 years old. They were sealed with silicone when I got them. In a short time, maybe a year, one of them developed a leak. I was at the Lead Sled Nats in Branson and had a tube installed at a local tire shop. That winter I peeled off the silicone from the leaker, cleaned it real well and resealed with silicone. I used a tube of silicone in a caulking gun and applied while rotating the wheel, smoothing the 'cone with my rubber gloved hand which I continually dipped in water to prevent sticking. Scraped away extra silicone while still soft, after it was set-48 hours for good measure, I trimmed any stray stuff away with a new razor blade. Reinstalled tire. All four hold air.[​IMG]
  5. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,598

    Atwater Mike

    Correct! I threw my '50 Merc "ashcans" off my reversed steelies a few times on 'easy' corners...and that was on my 3,000 lb. '55 F100!
  6. The biggest single reason silicone RTV- aeroebic or aneroebic gasket compounds, epoxy's, or LocTite doesn't hold/work/adhere is SURFACE PREPERATION, or lack of it. Am I saying this is the cure all for the O/P's question, no, but more often than not, little or no time is spent preparing the surface for the chemical compound to adhere, prevent contamination, and cure properly.
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  7. Jim P
    Joined: Apr 27, 2005
    Posts: 239

    Jim P
    from Tyler, TX

    I have never owned any of the early wire wheels or any wire wheels. I have thought of getting some repop 15"-5's and '8s ford. Does this problem exsist on them as well or is this just an early wheel problem?
  8. AdeQ8Styl
    Joined: Mar 3, 2009
    Posts: 89

    from TEXAS!

    Agreed. I spent a gross amount of time stripping off old sealant and rust from a set of Tru-Spokes a few weeks ago. After thoughly wire wheel preping them and wiping them down with acetone, I used 2 tubes of 100% silicone from Lowes for all 4 wheels, smoothed it with a putty knife, then let it dry for a week. I am happy to say that out of the 4 wheels and 180 spokes, ONE single spoke leaked. I think its leaking from either me cutting into the silicone to far while triming the bead line or when they were mounted because its the nipple right next to the valve stem that leaks.
    Tires were just mounted today, but I held them under water for 5 minutes each in my pool looking for bubbles. That one nipple is all I saw bubble off. If any of the others lose air Ill repost, but it seems entirely possible to seal wire wheels up, despite the constant nay sayers Ive ran into during this process.
  9. U-235
    Joined: Dec 18, 2010
    Posts: 452


    <HR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #e5e5e5; COLOR: #e5e5e5" SIZE=1> <!-- / icon and title --><!-- message -->
    Good afternoon all,
    I have a '63 T-Bird with wire spoked wheels. I'm running radials with tubes. The problem I have is the ribs on the inside of the radial tires. The movement of the tires and the tubes causes these coarse ribs to rub against the tubes and wear a hole in the tubes. When I took the car in for the second tube, the guy showed me my tire ribs, as well as all others he had. He said I wouldn't be able to get away from this problem and just count on a blowout every 6 months. Now, I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I've been to many a show and seen cars that are running wires, radials and are driven a bunch. I seek advice on how I can keep my wires and drive the car without fear of this wear and a flat.
    I did use the duct tape to cover the nubs where the wires enter the rim and that has served me well.

    I ran Thunderbird (vintiques) wires for about 10,000 miles (from Coker already mounted)....then at speed (75 MPH) the right rear casing separated from the tire in heavy to the shoulder and put on spare (non wire wheel)....about 50 Miles later the left rear goes flat while getting gas....bought (2) new tires and mounted them on the wires (with tubes) and continued on to Santa Maria...on the way home I blew out (at speed again) one of the new tires..When I got home (another 500 miles) I found 7 (yes 7) broken spokes on the front wheel (but no tire problems)....Vintiques repaired the wheel with the broken spokes and Coker replaced all my tires...later that summer I had (2) more flats......The problem is when you slip the tire on the wheel the bead will catch the rubber band and roll it up or away, which in turn eventually pinches the tube puncturing it....and yes, I litteraly coated the inside of the tire with baby powder....these are the mot beautiful wires made, but I'm pretty well fed up with them...I'm afraid to venture out of town with them....maybe I'll go to steel wheels with Lancers...
  10. gotit
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 357


    First off, I think if youclean the wheel very well and make sure it is clean with a solvent after removing any loose debris I think a good thick layer of silicene will seal a wheel. I have no experience but I think that the theory os there. I also think that multiple coats would be better, so.if you apply two tubes of silicone to seal a wheel than do four coats to apply two tubes of silicone sealant. I would work the first application in very well as to make sure there is ample silicone pressed in around the stems of the spokes. Like I said, it is just my theory.

    I also do not understand the difference between a radial and bias tube. Sure, they may be bonded in a different direction but that has nothing to do with the failures. Is the rubber composition different? I doubt it. If the bonding or seams of the tube are the failure point than I would understand. Aren't tubes moleded the same way tires are? They have to be vulcanized.

    I don't see the difference in tubes. I think it has to be a bogus but I am not an engineer of any sort.

    I would like to hear the real reason why there is a difference
  11. mart3406
    Joined: May 31, 2009
    Posts: 3,055

    from Canada

    Your "wheels don't have anywhere
    to put air into them
    "????? Huh???
    Are you saying that your tires have
    built in Schrader valves and valve

    Last edited: May 28, 2011
  12. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,230

    Ned Ludd

    Crossply tubes in radials tend to rotate around the wheel relative to the tyre. I've had that happen a few times while trying to save holed radials for a few weeks until I could afford to replace them. Worst cases the valve stem would disappear into the hole - one'd have to puncture the tube to get the old tyre off!
  13. millersgarage
    Joined: Jun 23, 2009
    Posts: 2,086


    I mounted my tires on the rims, with the silicone still wet on the nipple ends, taking care to not smear it while installing the tires. Had to reach in on a few to put another blob on them. Then filled the wheel/tire combo with air and reseated the bead.

    My thinking was that the silicone would be forced into any area of the nipple that may have leaked. Seems to have worked fine.

    been driving without tube since '08
  14. whistlebritches
    Joined: Mar 8, 2010
    Posts: 90

    from texas

    i bought Daytons...they aint leaked yet
  15. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,595

    from Garner, NC

    The Jaguar wires I ran for so many years on my Buick are tubeless. All sealed with o-rings and sealer. Even had one that didn't leak even after a spoke broke. Just a pain to clean.

  16. Ken Carvalho
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,606

    Ken Carvalho

    I have a few rides with wires on them (later dayton/roadstar/Tru=Spoke type) and the spokes are sealed in the drop down portion where the niples are, with a thick layer of silicone/epoxy sealant. I remember in an old Low Rider mag. they did an article on making wire rims and it showed a person applying the sealant and then with a putty knife spreading it out smooth, so thats the way those are done. Putting the sealant on and then mounting the wheel and airing it up sounds like a very good idea as long as, "I" would think it would have to be at lower pressure than normal the 32PSI as I would thing that amount of pressure would push a fair amount out and onto the spokes?!? I haven't done it so it is just a thought?!!! But as far as putting some sort of "rubber protection" over the spokes before a tube...I suggest a motorcycle parts house like J&P Cycles. They have several sizes that may work if you can't find the correct one for your application. Just the thoughts and ramblings that head.
    Good luck, Ken

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