Sunday, March 20, 2016

Tubeless Spokes...Past the Point of No Return

People say it works.  Others say it is crazy and they would never do it.  Me, I'm a risk taker, and being able to plug and air a flat in some remote location sounds a lot better than worrying about a flatbed coming to get me.  So, I took the plunge!

First order of business was having the new 16" x 3.5"  rim respoked and trued. I opted to have the Wheel Shop do this because the cost didn't come close to the effort and chance of me not doing it correctly.  Picked it up Thursday morning, gathered the necessary supplies, and set up shop on my mobil workbench.
 Respoked rim and step 1 Seal All and a bottle to control the application.

 First step is to put Seal All into the spoke indentations.  I did 4 - 5 at a time and waited about 5 minutes to go to the next 4 - 5, just long enough for the Seal All to not run.  Being careful to not get big air bubbles because that is where leaks come from. 

I let coat one set up, about 45 minutes and proceeded to coat 2.  Same procedure as Step 1.  There are many small air bubbles in coat 2, but it is said that this isn't an issue.  I let this dry from Thursday early afternoon until noon Sunday.

Next coat is with 3M Marine 5200 Adhesive.  I found where some people have used only this and swear by it.  Because it is thicker than Seal All I choose to use the Seal All first with the hope it will seal better around the spoke nipples. 

Lesson I learned with the 5200 is it goes a lot further than I expected it to go.  I bought 2 tubes and used less than a quarter of 1 tube.  I cut down a plastic putty knife to fit the shape of the rim and it pushed a lot of the sealant up the rim edges.  I than put a bead just down the center and it worked a lot better.  There is no hurry with this sealant as it is slow drying.  My plan is to put another coat over this one in about 3 hours and then let it dry for 72 hours before mounting the tire.

So, now I am past the point of no return.  If it works I will be thrilled. If it doesn't work I guess I can still put a tube in it.  Balancing it has popped into my mind as I was sealing the spokes.  I plan on using Dyna Beads. To that end I also picked up a new rim strip to cover the adhesive because the Dyna Beads are free floating inside the tire.  I'm not sure how abrasive that is, so the rim strip is for an extra layer of protection.

Up Date;  The 3m 5200 didn't set up as quickly as I had hoped.  It was still to tacky to add the final coat until Monday evening.  I then put on what I hope is the final coat and it went pretty much just like the first.

I about drove myself crazy trying to make it perfect and finally said good enough.  So, it sits in the garage drying.  I will sit it outside in the sun for the next couple of days to speed up the drying process and hopefully will be able to mount the tire on Saturday.  


  1. I shall try again. I admire your bravery as I have been counselled against this sort of thing and I am anxious to see how it works. I really want to get rid of tubes too but $1800 for a pair of Alpina wheels seems a bit much. I thus hope this works.

  2. Conchscooter; The 3m 5200 Marine grade adhesive has a 7 day cure. Tomorrow, Monday, is day 7, but it is still tacky today. I'm thinking about waiting until Wednesday to try and mount the tire. In my case it isn't bravery it is being hard headed. When people tell me it can't be done I have to try it for myself to see.