Slow Leaking Tires
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Suspension, Brakes and Tires Discussion, Slow Leaking Tires in Item Specific Cadillac Discussion; It's not a big deal, but when the temp is colder, they lose more air. I'm getting tired of checking ...
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    Slow Leaking Tires

    It's not a big deal, but when the temp is colder, they lose more air. I'm getting tired of checking them all the time, but truth be told we're talking about 3-5 pounds per month or so on a couple of them.

    What I'd like to do is get some new "valve-stem plungers" put in, but my question is can they do this while the tires are still on the car??

    Don't they have a special tool so it can be installed quickly?

    Also, aren't there little rubber gaskets on the needle stem that could deteriorate and cause slow leaking, or could the leaking have something to do with the aluminium rims warping slightly in colder climate? I quite certain I have no nails, punctures, etc. in the tires because this has been going on for a couple years now and I did have a tire checked out then for damage.

    Should I bother.....

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    Re: Slow Leaking Tires

    For one thing, air becomes more compressed when it gets colder so that would drop the pressure down a couple of pounds, in other words you might not have a leak at all.

    To change the valve stem you have to first pop the bead of the tire then cut off the inside portion, then pull it out of the hole, then the new one has to be lubed then pulled from the inside of the hole out. There is a special tool to pull it into place. I would definatly not want to even try doing this with the wheel still attached to the car. The core of the valve stem does sometimes go bad and leak. The core can be replaced no problem with it still on the car but not the whole valve stem.

    Simple water tests can help you find leaks if there are any. Put a drop of water in the end of the valve stem to see if there are any bubbles coming out. Run a garden hose (without the spray nozzle) over where the valve stem goes into the rim and bend the valve stem different directions to see if it is leaking bubbles. Sometimes they leak around the rim. A lot of times its a nail. The best way to check for leaks in any tire is by submerging it in a tub of water. If you don't have a tub of water that big though you can search by using the garden hose all over it.

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    Re: Slow Leaking Tires

    Quote Originally Posted by Krashed989
    For one thing, air becomes more compressed when it gets colder so that would drop the pressure down a couple of pounds, in other words you might not have a leak at all.

    To change the valve stem you have to first pop the bead of the tire then cut off the inside portion, then pull it out of the hole, then the new one has to be lubed then pulled from the inside of the hole out. There is a special tool to pull it into place. I would definatly not want to even try doing this with the wheel still attached to the car. The core of the valve stem does sometimes go bad and leak. The core can be replaced no problem with it still on the car but not the whole valve stem.

    Simple water tests can help you find leaks if there are any. Put a drop of water in the end of the valve stem to see if there are any bubbles coming out. Run a garden hose (without the spray nozzle) over where the valve stem goes into the rim and bend the valve stem different directions to see if it is leaking bubbles. Sometimes they leak around the rim. A lot of times its a nail. The best way to check for leaks in any tire is by submerging it in a tub of water. If you don't have a tub of water that big though you can search by using the garden hose all over it.
    Thanks. 2 of the tires hold air for months and never seem to drop, but 2 don't. The tires themselves are perfect physically (despite being almost 15 years old) with hardly any wear, no cuts, etc. so I think the stems are the only weak spot. I've used a little bit of "spit" to check for a leak (who hasn't done this) on the stem, but nothing indicated.

    I'll check into it. I was sure I saw a mechanic a long time ago just pull out a stem and screw a new one in while the air hissed out of a tire, while on the car......

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    Re: Slow Leaking Tires

    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph
    Thanks. 2 of the tires hold air for months and never seem to drop, but 2 don't. The tires themselves are perfect physically (despite being almost 15 years old) with hardly any wear, no cuts, etc. so I think the stems are the only weak spot. I've used a little bit of "spit" to check for a leak (who hasn't done this) on the stem, but nothing indicated.

    I'll check into it. I was sure I saw a mechanic a long time ago just pull out a stem and screw a new one in while the air hissed out of a tire, while on the car......
    You can buy a new valve core, and a removal tool, at just about any auto store. You can replace the core, while still on the car, and air still in the tire. Just unscrew the old one with the tool, insert the new one, and screw it in with the tool. My only suggestion would be, to jack up the car, so you don't stand the chance of popping the bead.

    Don

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    Re: Slow Leaking Tires

    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph
    I'll check into it. I was sure I saw a mechanic a long time ago just pull out a stem and screw a new one in while the air hissed out of a tire, while on the car......

    Ohhh Yeah, I remeber seeing those ones. Some, only some, on rare occasions have screw on type valve stems. These are identifyable by a hex-head located at the base of the valve stem. These are usually only on custom rims, and the valve stem costs more, being completely made of metal.

    Three of my tires have ongoing slow leaks and I know they are all around the base of the valve stem. The thing is that the aluminum has rusted there and so no matter how many times I change the valve stem, it will still leak. I know that I have to get a new valve stem put in but this time with some "tire and tube compound" in there also to seal it. I just don't have time right now.

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    Re: Slow Leaking Tires

    Thanks. Well, I'm not sure what type of valve stem "plungers" (?) Cadillac used in 1991, but I think I'll wait until fall to get them changed because I'm going to the GM dealership to have the cooling system reverse flushed, and I'll get them to do it at the same time. I have a lack of heat due to apparent silicates gelling up in the Heater Core because it was never used all those winters in storage.

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    Re: Slow Leaking Tires

    GM is notorious (according to the shop that put on some tires for me) for corroision on the rims that leaks. My 91 Cad started leaking 3-5 psi a month, then it got to 10 psi a week, and then finally I called it quits at 10-15 psi per day. The guy had to work with a grinder for about 10-15 min per rim to clean off the corrioision. And I still had to come back and touch up one side. He said all GM does it.

    So it might be as simple as pull the tires off, clean up the bead area and put back on and balance.

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    Re: Slow Leaking Tires

    Quote Originally Posted by N0DIH
    GM is notorious (according to the shop that put on some tires for me) for corroision on the rims that leaks. My 91 Cad started leaking 3-5 psi a month, then it got to 10 psi a week, and then finally I called it quits at 10-15 psi per day. The guy had to work with a grinder for about 10-15 min per rim to clean off the corrioision. And I still had to come back and touch up one side. He said all GM does it.

    So it might be as simple as pull the tires off, clean up the bead area and put back on and balance.

    Maybe, but this car was only driven a few times in the last 2 winters, and before that NEVER winter driven. Dad stored it during winters and hardly ever drove it in summer. The only form of "corrosion" I see is on the actual little "plunger" of the valve stems, and I have no idea how they got that way. Well, it's not really "corrosion" but it just looks like the brass is darker like it's been wet over a long period of time, etc. Last year when I had one new stem put on, and the guy had the tire off, he said it was like new inside.

    Back when I had my 1991 Grand Marquis LS with delux aluminium rims, the salesman told me to watch the tire pressure more in the winter because the aluminium tends to expand and contract with temperature, therefore if the rim "shrinks" ever so slightly, the pressure might go down a bit. Have you ever heard of that with aluminium rims??

    I never liked the idea of checking my tire pressure in the winter with any of my older cars because the stem is more likely to stick when it's cold or icy out and you can wake up to a flat tire the next morning when you least expect it.....

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    Re: Slow Leaking Tires

    Had new inner cores installed into the valve stems a couple weeks ago with my coolant flush and one of the tires still leaks! So I don't know what it could be, I'll just have to keep an eye over it during winter the few times I drive it then. I might get the tire taken off, inspected and re-installed, but I know there is no corrosion because I had one thoroughly inspected and there was no corrosion, etc.

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    Re: Slow Leaking Tires

    I would go to wall mart and buy a big rubbermaid tub, then fill it with water. After that I would take the tire off the car and dip it in the water to see where the bubbles are coming from. Also have a crayon ready just in case its on the tire itself (so you can mark the location of the leak). Just replacing the core of the valve stem only works about 50% of the time, most times you have to replace the whole thing.

    The tub of water is the most effective and least time consuming way of finding small leaks. A hose will usually do the job but only about 80% of the time, and it takes more time. Soap is thicker than water so it is also only about 80% effective (sometimes there is not enough coming out to make the bubbles in soap).

    Ohh yeah, and hurry up, winters on its way.

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    Re: Slow Leaking Tires

    Quote Originally Posted by Krashed989
    I would go to wall mart and buy a big rubbermaid tub, then fill it with water. After that I would take the tire off the car and dip it in the water to see where the bubbles are coming from. Also have a crayon ready just in case its on the tire itself (so you can mark the location of the leak). Just replacing the core of the valve stem only works about 50% of the time, most times you have to replace the whole thing.

    The tub of water is the most effective and least time consuming way of finding small leaks. A hose will usually do the job but only about 80% of the time, and it takes more time. Soap is thicker than water so it is also only about 80% effective (sometimes there is not enough coming out to make the bubbles in soap).

    Ohh yeah, and hurry up, winters on its way.
    Thanks! I think I will just take it in during the next couple weeks and have them take it off the rim and new stem also. It would be a shame to give up and buy all new tires because these 15 year old ones are still like new! I had a thread once about safety issues with old tires but since there are no cuts or cracks I figure they are good.

    Winter!!! What happened to summer!?

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    Re: Slow Leaking Tires

    I got so fed up with the slow leaking on one that I took it to a garage and they found a nail in the tread that must have been at least 10 years old! He said it was there a long time because it was very rusty and the head broke as soon as he tried to pull it. He said the nail pretty much sealed the hole pretty good, and that I likely noticed a loss of pressure recently because of vibration or it just started to work itself free a bit.

    He also recommended against self-sealing tires. The reason, when you get a nail it them, you still have to have it fixed, and they take 3 to 4 times LONGER to fix, plus they have to clean out about an inch or two of the sealer from onside the tire. Not really worth it he said.......

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    Re: Slow Leaking Tires

    all aluminun rims leak at the beads after several years,has nothing to do with weather,they oxidize and they slowly rot away on the inside of the rim that contacts the tire bead...to fix u seperate the wheels and get chassis grease and apply it to the rim and tire at the bead and that takes up the little space that corroded away...grinding is a no-no...it makes the bead on the rim smaller and puts stress on the rim bead and will likely split....
    all al

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