Lotus Elan

Are inner tubes required with 5.5J steel rims and 155R80 13

PostPost by: sabbot » Sat May 30, 2020 7:18 pm

As subject, I’m just about to order tires for standard knock on steel rims For an S4 and thought I should check.
Thanks
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Sat May 30, 2020 9:56 pm

You don't need inner tubes with standard rims unless your tyre specifically requires one - it will say so on the wall.
Indeed fitting tubes into tubeless tyres can result in failure quite quickly if the tyre inner is heavily contoured. There was thread here a couple of weeks ago with two flat tyres within minutes of each other.
So don't unless you have to.

Turning to the rims - standard rim is 4.5" not 5.5"
If you have 5.5" (+2 width) the they are a bit wide for 155 section tyres. They might not even go into the wheel arch properly or risk fouling the rear spring seat.
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PostPost by: Esprit2 » Mon Jun 01, 2020 4:25 pm

The steel wheels are riveted, not welded, and the rivets can develop air leaks. Back in the day, it wasn't uncommon to use a rubber seal, like a large, 2-3" wide rubber band stretched over the rim and into the center of the wheel, covering the rivet heads. If your wheels are leaking, then an inner tube would be an option to solve the leak, not a requirement for any modern tire you might be using. Early vintage tires were permeable and could leak air through their wall, and 'tubeless' tires added a 'seal' layer to their construction. I think you would be hard pressed to find a modern tire that can't hold air.

Another alternative for sealing leaky rivets is to wick a little Loctite 290 under them. It's very thin, and meant to wick into tight fits after assembly. Apply a few drops as long as it keeps wicking in and disappearing. When the next drop just makes a puddle, stop and wipe off any excess. Give it 24 hours for a full seal. Paint could block the 290, but any cracks that can leak air should also allow 290 to wick in.

Good luck,
Tim Engel
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:31 pm

I'd say any wheel with loose rivets should be discarded.
However powder coat will certainly ensure an air tight rim as probably would any decent paint system.
If the rims are leaking and you'd rather use tubes than fix the rims then fit tubed tyres. Probably the only tyres you'll be able to get will be Michelin XAS which are H ratedwith tubes fitting and balancing will run out about £900 for 4.
The handling quality will be incomparable by all account - it would seem that those who go down this route wouldn't go back to tubeless S rated tyres.

I repeat that tubes in tubeless tyres present a significant risk of sudden deflation - both dangerous and more hassle than regular topping up of a slow leak.

If an early concern is the stability of a tyre on a 'non safety' rim then the fact that much heavier and just as fast cars were using these sort of rims with tubeless tyres in period and for many years after.
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