Front tire not holding air? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 24 Old 01-18-2013, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Front tire not holding air?

Got a quick question for the more experience wrenches on the forum...

I installed brand new Shinko 705s front and rear last summer. Around mid-autumn, I got about a quarter mile down the road from my house and noticed that the front tire was flat. Long story short, I re-inflated the tire, sprayed it down with Windex and looked for bubbles, but found nothing. The bike did great for another week or so, when I noticed the front was flat again. Repeat troubleshooting above, and nada again. Next, I released all pressure from the tire, then inflated it with high pressure really quickly, like I was trying to seat the bead (which, in fact, is pretty much what I was trying to do, just in case the bead had broken), but that didn't make any difference. After a few days, there was a noticeable loss of pressure in the tire again.

The first time I noticed the flat was two or three weeks after a trip I took up along Petersville Road -- a thirty-some-odd mile (one way) rough, gravel road (think fire road, and you'll be close). I was definitely pushing the bike on the road, and I did drop the front tire into a good sized pothole at one point. It was a pretty solid hit, and I think I might have bottomed out the (stock) front suspension at about 35MPH.

Based on the problem and circumstances, I'm concerned that I may have either damaged the tire or damaged the wheel, although I am still hoping I only broke the bead. So...how do I go about troubleshooting? Here are my thoughts:

1) Remove and reinstall the tire. If the problem goes away, I only broke the bead. Simple, and best of all, cheap, lol.

2) Replace the tire. If the problem persists, I munged up the wheel on Petersville Road. If the problem goes away, I only munged up the tire. However, it's almost a brand new tire. I hate to buy a new one when I don't know that there's anything wrong with the old one.

3) Take it to a mechanic to troubleshoot. I'd rather not, since I would like to learn to maintain and troubleshoot the bike myself. If I take it to a mechanic, then I have to trust that he actually did a decent job of troubleshooting and that he put everything back together correctly (not a given, in my experience with cars). Besides, I don't learn anything that way. :beatnik:

4) Install a tube and call it good. I really don't like this option, since, if I damaged the wheel (say, a crack somewhere), it could come apart on me at a Most Inconvenient Time (tm)

Any other troubleshooting options? If this was your bike, how would you proceed?

DL650 K9:[LIST][*]SW-Motech crash bars, skidplate, side carriers, 12V power outlet,[*]Pelican 1430 cases,[*]Tech-Mount PDA holder,[*]Oxfords Sport heated grips,[*]Axio tail bag[*]Shinko 705 front and rear (Conti Trail Attacks currently fitted for a long road trip)[*]Richland Rick fork brace[*]Loobman chain oiler[*]Aftermarket DRZ400 footpegs[/LIST]
[URL="http://ak-vstrom.blogspot.com/search/label/XS750%20project"]1977 Yamaha XS750 -- project bike[/URL]
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post #2 of 24 Old 01-18-2013, 03:46 PM
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It sounds like a really slow leak.

Mine turned out to be the valve stem. I had replaced the tire but not the stem.

I found it by parking the Vee with the front wheel in a toddler's swimming pool with a 10" lip.
Turned it a bit at a time, about 60psi. Had the " Found it! " moment when the stem was
immersed.

If it is the tire, I'd get a new one. Tube in a radial tire is for emergency repair only, IMHO.

Austin

2002 DL1000 - 70K of joy, so far...
1978 GS1000 - One owner, still putt'n
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post #3 of 24 Old 01-18-2013, 08:06 PM
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Valve stems have bit me before as well. I think you need to figure out how to get the wheel, or parts of it at a time, under water. I like the idea above. If it if fact a cracked wheel, that will show up with that method also.

On a separate note, do you need a shop manual for your XS750 project? I've got a couple taking up space.

Rob

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07 650A | KLR250(x2) | KLR650 | DRZ400 | FJR
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post #4 of 24 Old 01-18-2013, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enumclaw View Post
Valve stems have bit me before as well. I think you need to figure out how to get the wheel, or parts of it at a time, under water. I like the idea above. If it if fact a cracked wheel, that will show up with that method also.
The idea of submerging the wheel had occurred to me, but I couldn't figure out how to do it. The kiddie pool is a great idea; I think I'll give it a try.

Quote:
Originally Posted by enumclaw View Post
On a separate note, do you need a shop manual for your XS750 project? I've got a couple taking up space.
Thanks! I have the Haynes repair manual for the bike, which is...helpful, I guess, although it's not *great*. If you've got a different manual that you would like to get rid of, however, let me know what you want for it. A second point of view or a photo from a different angle can often make the difference between banging your head against the wall for several hours and that "Aha!" moment when it all suddenly makes sense

DL650 K9:[LIST][*]SW-Motech crash bars, skidplate, side carriers, 12V power outlet,[*]Pelican 1430 cases,[*]Tech-Mount PDA holder,[*]Oxfords Sport heated grips,[*]Axio tail bag[*]Shinko 705 front and rear (Conti Trail Attacks currently fitted for a long road trip)[*]Richland Rick fork brace[*]Loobman chain oiler[*]Aftermarket DRZ400 footpegs[/LIST]
[URL="http://ak-vstrom.blogspot.com/search/label/XS750%20project"]1977 Yamaha XS750 -- project bike[/URL]
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post #5 of 24 Old 01-18-2013, 11:04 PM
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Both of the ones I have are Clymer's, which may or may not be any better, but you are welcome to one if you want it. PM me your info and I'll find out what it will cost to send it your way.

Rob

Ride every day, it's good for you.
07 650A | KLR250(x2) | KLR650 | DRZ400 | FJR
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post #6 of 24 Old 01-18-2013, 11:43 PM
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Easiest way to find leaks in tyres [or tubes if not running tubeless] is to dunk it in a tank or tub of water- love the toddlers pool idea though

Ock. in Oz

I ride naked and unafraid.

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post #7 of 24 Old 01-19-2013, 09:39 AM
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Really sounds like the valve stem, probably the core. Go buy a cap that has the tool built in and tighten it up a schosh.

Rich Desmond
'07 DL650, '01 DR-Z400S, '99 SV650 (race bike), '80 GS1000S, '85 RZ350, '08 Ducati 848
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post #8 of 24 Old 01-19-2013, 11:39 AM
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Is Windex bubbly enough to spot very small leaks, and do the bubbles have enough viscosity to stick together to be easy to spot? Try your own mix of liquid dish wash detergent and water. And give it time to bubble. If you're really stuck, find some bubble leak detector in the plumbing department of a hardware store. This is made to find very small leaks in piping running natural gas, oxygen, refrigerant gas, etc. Also, the leak could be from something that has punctured the tire but the rubber seals around the item so it doesn't leak when stationary. Rolling makes the hole open up. Take a very close look all around the tread and rim after you've closely checked the stem & core.

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Last edited by PTRider; 01-19-2013 at 11:41 AM.
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post #9 of 24 Old 01-19-2013, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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PTRider -- very good points. I didn't think of that. Thanks!

DL650 K9:[LIST][*]SW-Motech crash bars, skidplate, side carriers, 12V power outlet,[*]Pelican 1430 cases,[*]Tech-Mount PDA holder,[*]Oxfords Sport heated grips,[*]Axio tail bag[*]Shinko 705 front and rear (Conti Trail Attacks currently fitted for a long road trip)[*]Richland Rick fork brace[*]Loobman chain oiler[*]Aftermarket DRZ400 footpegs[/LIST]
[URL="http://ak-vstrom.blogspot.com/search/label/XS750%20project"]1977 Yamaha XS750 -- project bike[/URL]
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post #10 of 24 Old 04-11-2013, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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OK, it took me a while, but about two or three weeks ago, I pulled the wheel, and dunked it in the bath tub to find the leak (thanks, Austin44 for the idea of submerging the tire! ). It's not the valve stem, there's not a puncture in the tire, and the wheel seems to be fine (other than a few nicks here and there from my first tire change with crappy tire levers, long since replaced with better levers -- which *MIGHT* be a factor, but I'm getting ahead of myself).

The leak is a slow leak between the rim and the tire, one more or less quarter-inch sized bubble every 10 seconds or so. I removed the tire, took some sandpaper to the inside of the rim to smooth it out a little, cleaned up both the tire sidewall and the inside of the wheel with Windex, reinstalled the tire, attempted to seat the bead, burned out my compressor (it was old, and honestly, undersized), took the tire to a motorcycle shop to have them seat the bead...

...and last night, I noticed the tire was flat again

So, I know where it's leaking, but I'm still not sure if it's the wheel or the tire. I'm confident the wheel isn't cracked, so I'm no longer worried about the wheel coming apart on the road, but I still have a couple of options:
  1. Ignore it, topping it off with air every couple of days;
  2. Replace the tire and see if that fixes the problem;
  3. Deflate the tire and insert a tube.

All of these options have downsides, though:
Option 1: What if the problem continues to get worse, until it catastrophically deflates at 70MPH in the mountains? I'm not too keen on this option, honestly.

Option 2: if the problem is the wheel, I've wasted $100, and possibly damaged a brand new tire. Like I mentioned earlier, there were some rough spots on the inside of the wheel from the first tire change. I tried to sand them out, and I didn't feel any rough/sharp edges afterward, but I'll be the first to admit, I'm not an experienced wrench, and I don't know if this is an acceptable way to resolve the problem. Thoughts?

Option 3: I've heard vague warnings about running a tube in a tubeless tire. How bad of an idea is this? Why? Does it build up too much heat, and if so, is that much of a concern in an area where a really hot day is 78F?

Once again, thanks in advance for all of the help.

DL650 K9:[LIST][*]SW-Motech crash bars, skidplate, side carriers, 12V power outlet,[*]Pelican 1430 cases,[*]Tech-Mount PDA holder,[*]Oxfords Sport heated grips,[*]Axio tail bag[*]Shinko 705 front and rear (Conti Trail Attacks currently fitted for a long road trip)[*]Richland Rick fork brace[*]Loobman chain oiler[*]Aftermarket DRZ400 footpegs[/LIST]
[URL="http://ak-vstrom.blogspot.com/search/label/XS750%20project"]1977 Yamaha XS750 -- project bike[/URL]
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