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Thread: aluminum wheels leaking air

  1. #1
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    aluminum wheels leaking air

    There are all kinds of stories going around about aluminum rims leaking .I took my driver car to the garage to day with a slow leak ,which happens about every 6 months.
    The repair man says these damn aluminum rims so he proceeded to take the tire off & I noticed this white chalk like powder on the tire where it seals at the rim.Yep he says thats where its leaking .
    So he gets his air grinder with the abrasive pad on & proceeds to clean up the rim & for good measure cleans the white stuff off the tire with this same tool .Then puts this black crap around the rim & says this will seal her up ,put the tire back on the car & as I`m driving home I said to myself there is something wrong with this picture.
    This guy that is cursing the alumium rims is causing the problem .This abrasive air grinder is taking the protective coating off the rim & causing the aluminum to oxidize
    thats what that white powder is & over time it will build up between the tire & the rim causing the leak ,Then to top this off he uses the grinder on the tire to get rid of the white chalk there by removing a layer of the soft rubber that was put there to help it seal .
    So what is the answer to cure this problem # 1 take that grinder away from the repair man .and every tire repair shop has one .# 2 throw that black guk away & paint the sealing area of the aluminum rim with a epoxy primer .

    Comments are welcome !
    Jim Rombough 1960 190 SL
    Greely Ont. Canada

  2. #2
    Administrator JimVillers's Avatar
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    Re: aluminum wheels leaking air

    Jim .... Mostly correct. The white stuff is corrosion so the protective coating on the rim is already gone. I use sand paper to clean off the corrosion and then the black stuff, which is called bead sealer, to coat the raw aluminum so that water cannot seep in and corrode the aluminum again (the tire will seal on a clean rim without corrosion). Using a grinder is a little harsh (but it is quick and he is paid by the job) and I see no need to grind the rubber. I have probably done this job a half dozen times but never in the same place a second time.
    Jim Villers
    1961 190SL, 230SL 5-speed, MGB 5-speed, Boxster 'S'; Porsche 356C; 1967 Porsche 911

  3. #3
    Tom DerMachtigBenz's Avatar
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    Re: aluminum wheels leaking air

    Hi Jim:

    I have been thinking about your problem. Maybe a "lathe" type setup whereby you get the wheel spining exactly true, and examine how far off anything / everything is. b) Make a decision, if it's not too much material to remove, to bring the area where the tire meets to wheel into exact flat / exact round surfacing. My alloys on my 08 GMC had some slow leaks with ALL of the symptoms you have mentioned. (They still leak, but I never 'turned' them)

    Tom
    Last edited by DerMachtigBenz; 03-01-2012 at 09:12 AM.
    Tom & Joanne - Western New York

    '62 190SL
    '89 300E
    '94 SL600
    '95 E320 Cabriolet
    '01 320CLK
    '01 S600

  4. #4
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    Re: aluminum wheels leaking air

    Mostly correct !Jim the protective coating was already gone because of the previous 5 times they had ground down the whole surface where the tire seals . #2 aluminum does not require water to corrode the rim again .it is called oxidization main ingrediant is air .bead sealer is meant to seal the rubber side to a surface .I doubt bead sealer will seal aluminum as it drys out & shrinks .
    Just my thoughts on this subject.
    Jim Rombough 1960 190 SL
    Greely Ont. Canada

  5. #5
    Registered User tommd's Avatar
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    Re: aluminum wheels leaking air

    Why not use a tube?
    Tom D.
    1961 190SL

  6. #6
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    Re: aluminum wheels leaking air

    Tom D
    I am trying to keep it original !
    Jim Rombough 1960 190 SL
    Greely Ont. Canada

  7. #7
    1956 190sl + 1967 Sedan Andre Hudon's Avatar
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    Re: aluminum wheels leaking air

    Jim,
    I had a leak on my ML aluminum wheel, but it was not the lip, but a pinhole in the middle. Very difficult to believe, but a spray of soap with water revealed the fact.
    Do not accuse always the ring.
    A. Hudon => 1956 190sl + 1967 Fintail 200 & 230

  8. #8
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    Re: aluminum wheels leaking air

    Andre
    What was the fix for that one, a new rim?
    Jim Rombough 1960 190 SL
    Greely Ont. Canada

  9. #9
    1956 190sl + 1967 Sedan Andre Hudon's Avatar
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    Re: aluminum wheels leaking air

    No, I enlarged a bit the pinhole on the inside and I poured a bit of slow steel epoxy glue on the pinhole inside the rim. I reinstalled the tire and pressurized it to allow glue to enter into the pinhole. No leaks after that.
    A. Hudon

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