Plugging a tire - BMW R1200GS Forum : R1200 GS Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-Sep-2019, 12:22 PM (724) Thread Starter
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Plugging a tire

I'm sure there are folks on here that are experienced, nay expert at plugging a tire but I've never done it and I'm posting this up here for critiquing and advice.

I've been for years carrying a tire repair kit with me on my trips but never had to use it and I've never plugged a tire. Probably shouldn't have said that... I've often thought I'd practice on a worn out tire before I swapped it out but I never got around to it.

I noticed over the past few weeks that the left rear tire on my truck was leaking down about 1 psi a day. I finally had some time today to fuss with it and rather than taking the tire up to a shop to fix it, I broke out those several year old kits I've been hauling around on my bike.

This was the offending object:

The nail went in at an angle and I'm thinking, maybe that should make a difference on what kind of plug I use?

Don't know, so I first tried to plug it with a mushroom plug:

And while I'm at it, let's test out the hot snot battery/jump starter/ air pump to see how well it works - trying to use only the tools that I'd have with me on the road to do all of this:

Clearly my Plug-Fu with the mushroom plug was found wanting:

So I pulled that plug out (not an easy task without breaking the tire off the rim and doing it from the inside) and went with a Safety Seal rope style plug:

This one seemed to work without leaking air so I cleaned it up and put it back on the truck:

The hardest part of this whole process was getting the nail out of the tire. It was also difficult reaming out the hole through the steel belts and I worked at that for a while hoping to get a clean hole. It would have been pretty handy to just drill it out to get a good hole but I'm not going to have a drill on the side of the road.

Let the critiquing begin. What did I do right or wrong? I know I'm going to ditch the mushroom plugs and just carry those mushy, tacky ropes and seal. The Safety Seal kit auger also worked way better than the Plug N Go kit stuff.

I'm just hoping I have have to do this on the side of the road (or deep in the woods). Probably shouldn't have said that either...
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-Sep-2019, 12:48 PM (742)
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I'm no expert, but I have read that you should stick the raspy thingy in and spin it around to get the belt threads all running in the same direction before sticking the sticky rope in. Now you know all that I know about fixing flats... It does appear that a mostly-slick road tire on a MC would take a mushroom plug better than an automobile/truck/off-road tire.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-Sep-2019, 02:10 PM (798)
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Safety seal is the way to go. I've never had one fail and you don't need glue. Looks like you did a fine job.. I use a pair of diagonal cutters to get a nail out of a tire.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-Sep-2019, 02:27 PM (810)
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Only tip I will add is when I did both my motorcycle tire repairs, i pumped the tire up and then let all the air out and pumped it up again to kind of set the plug. It worked well both times and I was at home with a compressor. May not be the easy thing to do on the dark busy road in a forest while it rains on you.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-Sep-2019, 05:46 PM (949)
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Originally Posted by Rick92040 View Post
Safety seal is the way to go. I've never had one fail and you don't need glue. Looks like you did a fine job.. I use a pair of diagonal cutters to get a nail out of a tire.
+1 on Safety Seal. My last TKC80 had 7 or 8, one hole had two in it. Replaced at 3500 miles. It was losing a few psi per month. Used them on trucks, tractor, atv, jeep, and etc. I carry a razor blade to trim excess and needle nose to pull out nails, needles, and so forth. No local dealer, so Googled and called direct. RL Lemke on K1600 Forum put me on to them. They were great to work with and sent a variety of plugs.


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-Sep-2019, 01:05 AM (253)
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Tried them all

With over 500K miles on bikes Nealey is the one that's worked best for me!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-Sep-2019, 10:29 AM (645)
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I live in the World Headquarters for flats. The frequency of hurricanes has deposited millions of screws and nails in the bush. When they cut the rapidly growing vegetation beside the roads they scatter clippings and screws onto the roadway and many of the dirt tracks we use everyday have screws/nails embedded in the dirt.

Your fix with the sticky rope looks good. I use a Kmart quality kit with rope and the last flat I couldn't find the reamer so I just blasted a proper diameter Phillips head screw driver into the hole to open it a bit, inserted rope, trim and down the road. With max tire life 20k or less due to horrendous roads, I usually have three or four patches in each tire by the time I replace them and never had a rope sealant fail including a half inch long gash in the tread that required side by side ropes.

My two wheel travel down here is an E-bike, the GSA is garaged in Norfolk, Virginia. Not much point riding that beast on an 84 square mile island.......
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-Sep-2019, 11:39 AM (694)
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There is always the "Ride -On" product.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-Sep-2019, 12:23 PM (724)
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Originally Posted by Southpaw View Post
There is always the "Ride -On" product.

I can see how that would be a worthy option in some circumstances. I've heard it's great to use in an emergency when you can't find a small troubling loss of pressure on the road. Those holes rarely have hair around it

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-Sep-2019, 12:47 PM (741)
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tire plugging

The use of the mushroom type of plug works best when the offending hole is perpendicular to the surface of the tire. Any angle may prevent the mushroom from even contact with the inner surface
of the tire. On the contrary, the rope type plug works at any angle. The fact that you are putting a significant length of rope into the tire allows that extra rope in the tire to lay down on the inner
surface of the tire. This is helped by the centrifugal force on the rope as the tire spins and the "glue" on the rope that cements it to the inner surface of the tire. Not likely to come back out! Prudence and legal liability would suggest that you replace the damaged/plugged tire as soon as possible but that rope plug isn't likely to come back out.

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