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Author Topic: Sealing spoked rims  (Read 319 times)

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Offline SlimmyJimmy

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Sealing spoked rims
« on: June 18, 2017, 10:26:39 PM »
Title supposed to say "Sealing"  but won't let me edit, anyways, here goes.

So I was going to post about this forever ago and didn't, but it let me test the results for the entire winter and spring. 

I sealed the spoked rims on my DR650 using a marine sealant and following instructions from various overland biker blogs and posts on ADVRider. 

The process is pretty straight forward.  Remove tire and that stupid tube.  Clean the rim thoroughly.  I used kerosene, which I use to clean just about everything on the bike.  A gallon goes a long way for cheap. 

After a good scrub of the surface area and all the creases, you will have to get those rusty spokes cleaned up and loose so you can true the rim (if it needs it).  Mine were nasty.

Using a wire wheel and drill, I got them all shiny and clean.

Prepped and trued, time to start sealing.  Before sealing, make sure you have let all kerosene or whatever cleaner evaporate.  I helped it along with a good flame and then let it sit for a few hours. 

Almost forgot, drill out your valve stem hole (unless you can find a stem that's small enough, I was too lazy to order one.). Bought valve stem at advanced auto.

Install valve stem and set wheel up somewhere to apply sealant.

Sealant from Home Depot.
(If you're patient, the quick cure sealant can be ordered, I was lazy and just bought what was at the store.  Many people opt for the 3M brand)

Most people seem to coat the entire rim in sealant.  That seems useless and wasteful to me, I focused on applying pressure and slowly filling all gaps with the sealant.  I went around the nipple and then into the middle.  Quarter sized patches should be what it looks like.
I also sealed around the valve stem just for reassurance.

So, the wheel is all sealed, now you must let it cure for 24 hours or more.  A lot of people use a second layer of sealant, I went for a thin layer of E6000 around the rim, I don't think this is really necessary, plus it adds more cute time.

Once all is cured, install the tire, takes about 3 seconds with no tube [emoji16] fill with air (tubeless guys will tell you that you'll need a large volume of air to get the tire to seat and pop over the bead.  Luckily I had an air storage tank that I had to fill up each time.

Testing was done in a nice clean bathtub.  This was essential to look at each spoke very closely.  I had to repair seals twice.  I saw air bubbles the first time, marked the spokes, pulled the tire, used the wire wheel to strip the sealant right off, then reapplied more carefully.  A day later I tested again, and I noticed the smallest air bubble ever in different spots.  The resealed spokes were fixed, but I missed the microscopic air bubbles the first time.  So marked 4 more spokes, resealed. 

After all this, finally no leaks.  Checked it again a day later.  Then a week later.  No leaks.  The seal was completed on Dec 23rd.  I have ridden a little over 2000 miles with no problems or leaks, and love it.  Changing the rear tire takes 5 minutes, blast air in, put it back on the bike.  If I ever get a puncture, I hope I can just plug it. 

Any questions please ask. 

My main reason for going this route was due to pinching $15 tubes and screaming!  But I enjoy the other advantages.  It makes changing from 80/20 tires to 60/40 tires something practical to do if a long ride calls for it.

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« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 10:31:23 PM by SlimmyJimmy »