View Full Version : tubless vs. tube

tahoe healey
09-12-2015, 11:18 AM
I had a spoke break on a chrome wire wheel. To get the spoke out you must turn the nipple and break the "seal" (heard the air escape). I know you simply use silicon to seal the nipple again. I think that is a PIA and requires removing the entire tire. With tubes I could slide things over to access the spoke nipple. A ten minute fix. To repair the spoke, must I remove all the silicon from all the spokes and re do or just the bad one? If I go back to tubes, I guess I must remove all the silicone??? And is there a protective rubber band that goes in before the tube?
Yes, I seem to break a lot of spokes. One a year maybe.

Michael Oritt
09-12-2015, 12:31 PM
Using a tube and a protective band to cover the heads of the spoke nipples is easier than trying to achieve a perfect seal on--depending upon what wheel you are using--48, 60 or 72 potential places. Just be sure you are using the correct tube--I believe it is an FR 15. I don't know why you would need to remove all of the silicone so long as there are no sharps that might chew through the protective band and into a tube.

BTW I think Dunlop's chrome wheels are--or at least were--using chrome plated steel spokes and I believe the plating process makes them more likely to snap under stress. If you want shiny wheels it is best to get ones with stainless spokes.

John Turney
09-12-2015, 01:33 PM
I have Dayton 72-spoke chrome WW with stainless spokes, silicone, no tubes, no broken spokes and still true after 15 years.

To fix a broken spoke, only the silicone on that one spoke needs to be removed/replaced. If you have to remove the tire to replace the spoke on a tubeless tire, I expect you would have to remove the tire, tube and rubber band on a tubed tire.

09-12-2015, 02:13 PM
Any idea why the spokes are breaking? On drum brakes, sometimes the spokes come very close, depending on the wheel used.

09-12-2015, 02:56 PM
Any idea why the spokes are breaking? On drum brakes, sometimes the spokes come very close, depending on the wheel used.

Tahoe didn't mention the spoke count on his wheels. When I bought my BJ8 it had 60-spoke wheels; they were chrome so probably not original (or was chrome an option in '67?). Anyway, after I put sticky tires--185/70 Yokohoma A321s (best tire I've had on a Healey; wish they still made them)--I started breaking spokes right and left. Finally got chrome, 6", 72-spoke Daytons (with stainless spokes) and never broke another.

FWIW, I run tubeless.

Michael Oritt
09-13-2015, 08:37 AM
Before stainless spokes were introduced it was common for spokes to snap. I had a 1959 BN7 that came to me with chrome wires in about 1961. After four or five years of daily use I started getting flat tires that were caused by spokes snapping, causing the outer nipple to chafe the tube, etc.

See this article about "embrittlement" caused by plating carbon steel spokes by MGA Guru Barney Gaylord:


Otherwise known as "DSES"--or the "Dreaded Spoke Embrittlement Syndrome".

09-13-2015, 10:47 AM
Just put U some SS spokes in and you will stop breaking spokes.

09-13-2015, 05:59 PM
No one has made a chrome plated spoke wheel in over 25 years. Dayton was always stainless and Dunlop went to Stainless steel spokes in 1990. Wheelguy

09-13-2015, 08:30 PM
No one has made a chrome plated spoke wheel in over 25 years.

I bet them fellas over in India never got the word???----:highly_amused:

OH, a tubed tire puncture can be repaired very quickly, while a tubeless one that deflates because of a fault in the spoke seal does not offer a corresponding

Dave Nock said the silicon can take 12 hours to cure.
SEE what I mean---:glee:

09-14-2015, 08:11 AM
As one who had purchased Dayton 72 SS spoke WW back in the early '90s, I have often thought of making them tubeless every time I go to purchase new tires. Although I would prefer tubeless due to the difference in deflation rate (as I understand, when punctured, Tube tires will deflate almost instantaneously and tubeless will deflate much slower and, in many cases, can be repaired without dismounting). However, making a WW tubeless and well sealed, after use and road contamination, is not that simple or easy to achieve and I also have found much confusion in even identifying a suitable Silicone to apply.

As a result, I still have tubed WWs and have come to believe that if you prefer tubeless, buy then NEW.

Ray (BJ8P1)

Michael Oritt
09-14-2015, 05:02 PM
I have had one flat tire on my Healey since purchasing it in 1999 and driving it--always with tubes--about 55K miles.
I wonder what the experience of those folks who have chosen to go tubeless is regarding leaks?

BTW the flat--actually a blowout which destroyed the tube--occurred at the outset of the road rallye at Conclave in Akron and my navigator was Reid Trummel. We changed the tire and completed the rallye after which I tried to have the tire repaired. I searched everywhere in Akron--formerly the tire capital of the world--and when I finally managed to find a FR 15 tube it was at a foreign car warehouse. Can anyone guess where the tube came from?

09-14-2015, 08:37 PM
I've run tubeless for about 100K miles. I had several flats running tubes due to the tube failing; and IIRC I've had a couple due to nails/screws running tubeless which I fixed with plugs (I know they're controversial, but I've used them 6-8 times on several cars with no issues). I've only had one leak due to the tubeless seal failing (a small chunk broke off). When I first ran tubeless the shop used a silicone sealant, and the second time around John Blake of JB's Wire Wheels attempted to find out what Dayton used, but they wouldn't tell him (big surprise). He experimented with some silicones and ended up, I believe, using a urethane but don't recall what it was (if he told me).

Healey Nut
09-14-2015, 08:37 PM
I went tubeless when I bought my 72 spoke Chrome Daytons . Nitrogen filled only check my pressures a couple of times a year , no broken spokes no leaks .

tahoe healey
09-14-2015, 11:51 PM
They are 60 spoke stainless. Took the wheel to British Car Specialist and found I actually had 3 broken spokes in that wheel. We lined the wheel and put a tube in. Dave Nock said the silicon can take 12 hours to cure. I have always liked tubes as I can do spoke repairs without removing the tire and tube. So now I have 3 tubeless and two (spare) tubed. I have the ability to do a test as to the duration of each.

09-15-2015, 01:16 PM
They are 60 spoke stainless.

That suggests the wheel had not been properly set up, spoke tension varied.???

tahoe healey
09-15-2015, 02:18 PM
I really don't know. I cannot find anyone in the area (Lake Tahoe) who is good with wire wheels (in spite of their claims). The spokes all sound the same when tapped and they seem to rotate evenly with makeshift jig. (**** potholes?) I am trying to get all this sorted out before our 1000 mile trip La Quinta for the California Healey Week in November.

John Turney
09-15-2015, 03:49 PM
I can recommend Rite-Way in Walnut Creek. They seem to be the go-to guys in No. California. I used them to mount and balance my new tires.

tahoe healey
09-15-2015, 04:04 PM
Thanks, John. I will give them a try if this is not successful.