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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    best process to redo a tubeless setup?

    I had my tires configured with a tubeless setup several months ago. The front tire has held air well but the back tire has tended to lose air and has needed to be pumped up about once/week to avoid losing too much air. But the back tire has now gotten to a point where it loses 10 pounds over the course of a ride so I need to get the tubeless setup redone on the back tire.

    What is the best process to redo a tubeless setup? Is it fairly easy to spray off or peel the old sealant from the inside of the tire? Then I guess it's best to wipe down the inside of the tire with rubbing alcohol to get a nice clean surface before reapplying fresh sealant? I'm really not sure about the typical process for this so I'm looking for insight into how this is done.

    I think I may have read a post one time where the poster said that he had his tubeless setup redone once/year. How common is this? Do people generally wait to redo their tubeless setups until they're losing annoying amounts of air? Also, how effective/reliable are tubeless setup redos? For example, do some people simply buy a new tire for tubeless setup as opposed to trying to fix or update an existing tubeless setup that is over a year old?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    If there is sealant in the tire, pour it out cautiously. It will make your floor, workbench, driveway, or kitchen table tacky if you spill it all over the place. Good luck cleaning it up. Once the main fluid is dumped, tire will air dry while you prep the rim. Note, once the sealant has dried, the interior wall will be sticky like contact cement. Meaning when you squeeze the tire together, the inside will stick to itself.

    Wipe down the inside of the rim.
    Remove the tape/rimstrip, whatever is in your tire.
    Wipe down again and remove any glue residue or pretty much anything from the rim surface. An alcohol clean as your final step will be best.
    Apply your tape of choice. Without full instruction, make sure to lay it down flat to not have air bubbles trapped beneath the tape. Make sure the valve hole is overlapped a couple inches both sides. Use a rag or towel to press the tape down (works better than a bare finger).

    The tire, if it has sealant visible on the inside, so what. If you see any clumps or large dried areas, cautiously scrape it off. Take your time so as not to gouge the tire with your favorite scraping device. Be patient, if there is a large area to remove.

    An old towel or something is good to use to clean (wipe) the bead of the tire. You want to make sure there aren't any buggers stuck to the bead surfaces (obviously it will make a void against the rim surface). It won't be super fun as the rag/towel will like to hang up on the sticky interior. Use your fingers to pick off any clumps.

    It won't take too much time. An hour or 2 at most? When you're dealing with the wet sealant you will be working more slowly just for the spill factor.

    Make sure your valve stem is functioning properly. Insert to rim.

    Reinstall tire, tool-free if you can.

    Inflate and check for major leaks.

    Once you're satisfied with the sealing of the tire, add your favorite sealant through the valve stem.

    Tip: having a dedicated valve core removal tool is helpful to remove and install the core.

  3. #3
    Combat Wombat
    Reputation: BrianU's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    If you had the tires configured just a couple months ago, there is no need to redo everything. With the current tubeless tire setups, latex type sealants will dry up and require replenishment on a regular basis. This is a normal required process if you are going to run tubeless and what you are experiencing is typical if left unattended. Find out what sealant was used when you had your tires set up, buy enough for both tires, remove the valve cores and squeeze the sealant into the tires.

    How often you will have to do this is based on several factors such brand/type of sealant and temperature. Sealants tend to last longer in cooler months and dry up quicker during the hotter times of the year. I have seen sealant last anywhere from 2 to 6 months. The process Forest Rider explained is generally something I will only perform maybe once a year, although unless I see something wrong, will leave the rim tape and stem in place.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Removing old sealant, dried that is, is never an easy process and really depends on the sealant type, inside tire porosity and how much sealant you really want to remove. I find Stan's sealant is easiest to remove and Orange Sealant a "snakeskin of a mess. I use a garden hose to flush "wet" sealant from the rim & tire. Dried sealant just a whole lota rubbing w/ a coarse towel. If the sealant has dried i will clean the rim spotless but trying to completely clean a tire is pointless imo.

    I get roughly 6mo. from sealant before I need a full replenishment any longer and the tires are going flat overnight.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Sealant drying out is a real thing. I top off mine every couple months. I often do this until the tire needs replacing, though that can have wads of dried laytex.

    I think a new tire sucks up sealant, so a top off soon after a new tire is helpful.

    Also, be careful about tearing the rim tape w/ a tire lever.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Lone Rager's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Many good points above. What I've found is that if it's leaking down too fast, it's most often the sealant is dried up, there's a leak in the tape, the valve is loose, or there's a sizeable hole in the tire. A hole you should be able to find by the leaking sealant, and a loose valve just needs the nut tightened a bit. If the sealant is dried up, you need to add some and splash it around. You can pop a bead and look into the tire to see what's there. The tape can get punctured or more commonly become unstuck to the rim. You can sometimes patch a puncture with another piece of tape after thoroughly cleaning the tape around the puncture. If the tape is unstuck, it needs to be replaced. This means removing the old tape, thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly) cleaning the rim bed and reapplying tape. In any of these cases, you do not need to clean old sealant out of the tire, though you may want to remove any big globs or accumulations of it.
    Do the math.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: MikeDee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Find out where the leak is by dunking the tire in water.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    OP, was it you that started a thread recently about the leaking tires?

    I suggested in that thread about confirming the valve core is sealing.
    Have you confirmed the valve core is sealing? There are o-rings in he valve core that may be damaged or covered in sealant.

    I usually check my tires about ever 2 months in the summer and add accordingly. I only add 2oz at a time. If there seems to be 'some' sealant I'll wait until there is less, then add the 2oz.

    If you remove the tire you can shake the wheel and hear sloshing if there is sealant. If you don't hear it, add more and see how it goes.

    Losing tire during a ride suggests a big leak, as you are experiencing. Start simple.

    Is there enough sealant?
    Is the valve core sealing?
    Is there too large a hole in the tire?


    Time to tear into it.

    I went 2 years without breaking down a tire. So maintenance can be quite minimal. Just needed to add sealant repeatedly over all those months. I only add sealant through the valve stem.

    I only broke it down and redid the work after my tire gashed open.

  9. #9
    Oaktown Honkey on Strava
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeDee View Post
    Find out where the leak is by dunking the tire in water.
    This! I hope you did this before anything, unless starting from scratch.

    ...and let rim dry if re taping. Because sealant can weep out of spoke nipple holes and wet the tape as you are trying to apply it, preventing adhesion to rim.

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