John Deere Maintenance Monday: Fixing a tire tube leak
Radio interview source: Jeremey Massey, John Deere Ag Tech Instructor, Northwest Mississippi Community College
Laura in Washington has a tractor tire with a slow leak and suspects the tube might have a hole in it. Is it possible to take the tube out and repair it or will she have to take it to the dealer?
Jeremey Massey is a John Deere Ag Tech instructor at Northwest Mississippi Community College. He says it is indeed possible to patch the tube. Take the tube out of the tire, and inflate it to the original size. Then, make a 50-50 solution of dishwashing soap and water.
"If the leak is hard to find, you can simply spray the mixture through a spray bottle, or just pour some in your hand and wipe it around the tube," says Massey. "Wherever it starts bubbling is going to be the origin of your leak."
Patches range in size from 1"-5". If the tube is split, you'll have to get a new tube, because patches won't hold a split. If the leak is from a round puncture wound, patches work very well. Massey says to leave some air in the tube as you make the repair, and clean the area well before applying the patch.
"Usually what I use is an alcohol mixture. Get your scouring pad and scour that tube. We're trying to rough it up, so-to-speak. Of course when you rough it up, you give more surface area for the glue to adhere to that tube," says Massey. " A lot of your tire repair kits will have a little scouring tool. You scour that area up to where the rubber is real black and sort of roughed-up looking, and then wipe it off with an alcohol solution."
Once the area is clean, brush the patch glue on and let it dry for a minute or so. Then, take the backing off of the patch, roll it on, and let it set for a few minutes. Check to be sure it's sealed, deflate the tube, and re-install it in the tire.
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