Sunday, October 09, 2011

Inner Tube

Several months ago I picked up a nail in the right rear tire on my tandem axle trailer. The nail entered through the tread and made two exit holes in the sidewall. I needed the trailer to haul water so plugged the holes knowing the sidewall plugs weren't good permanent fixes. Each time I went for water I had to put air in the tire.

The tire has good tread and it seems wasteful to replace it rather than repair it. The problem is that we live in a culture that no longer makes repairs. I checked with a local tire shop about putting a tube in the tire. They refused as I expected. It appears bias ply tubeless tires with tubes installed generate heat which leads to tire failure.

I use the trailer on average once per week to haul water. The round trip distance is 4 miles -- 1 mile of dirt road, 1 mile of blacktop, wait will the tank fills, 1 mile of blacktop, 1 mile of dirt road, wait while the tank drains. I doubt the tire can generate much heat under these circumstances. The trailer has tandem axles. If the tire fails then the other tire on that side is capable of handling the weight.

I decided to put a tube in the tire. I checked at a auto parts store in town to buy an inner tube but the clerk told me they can't get them. No problem. I bought a tube on the web and installed it myself. I used the weight of the trailer to break the bead, got the value stem out without damaging it, found the right tools to get one side of he tire off the wheel and installed the tube. It was an enjoyable task, really enjoyable.

Not only was the task enjoyable but I got satisfaction out of repairing something rather than buying a new one.


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