Cast Wheel Requires a Tube??? - Harley Davidson Forums: Harley Davidson Motorcycle Forum
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Old 06-09-2010, 04:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Cast Wheel Requires a Tube???

Got a question for those in the know about cast wheels on the early softail customs.

I bought my 87 FXSTC brand new. When I replaced my back tire the first time, they put a tube in the tubeless tire. The guy said that the original tire also had a tube installed from the factory, and the cast aluminum wheels on this model were made of porous aluminum. If you don't install a tube, the air will leak out through the pours. He said some of the wheels were like this and some weren't.

Has anyone ever heard of this? All these years Ive been running a tube in the rear tire, but today a guy that runs an indie shop, and seems knowledgeable, laughed at this and said it wasn't true. Talked to the parts guy at the stealership today, and he agreed that no tube is needed (but the guy looked like he was probably in diapers when this bike was built).

Anyone ever heard of a Harley solid cast aluminum wheel that required a tube? This is the original wheel from the factory, not an aftermarket wheel.
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Old 06-09-2010, 05:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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new one by me
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Old 06-09-2010, 06:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The only time I've heard of running a tube in a tubeless tire is when the tire has been plugged and the tube is just a safety measure. But I've never had it done to any of my tires.
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Old 06-10-2010, 05:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Some cast wheels have enough porosity in them requiring tubes . If the bike was new the wheel should have been warrantied . Porous cast wheels usually leak air slowly , not like a punture leak , and may have gotten out of the factory unnoticed but should have been replaced by the dealer . A porous rim can be detected in a dip tank .
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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If the rim is for tubeless it should say so on it. My Suzuki (82) is not so marked, but I run a tubeless tire with Ultraseal in there and it doesn't lose pressure. Protects against most punctures, too.
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Old 06-13-2010, 09:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks all for the info.

Apparently I was duped into paying for a tube by the first shop that put a new tire on the wheel back in the 80's. They are the ones that told me about the purous wheels, and said that the factory original tire (the one I was replacing) had a tube in it when they removed it. So, if the factory knew about some of the wheels being defective, this means they would have had to have known this particular one was a bad one and put a tube in it rather than reject it. Somehow I just can't see the factory doing this! I guess every shop since then probably assumed that since a tube came out of it, I wanted a tube put back in.

Several days ago my new tire was mounted without a tube, and it has been holding air just fine!
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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There are tire copanys that require them!
Got a new Michilen Commander tire for my friends rear cast wheel and the tire said to run a tube right on the sidewall great tire & better them a Dunlop but I was surprized to see the Tube thing on the tire! He is happy and the bike rides better and coners better too go Michelin wish they made a White Wall
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panhead1959 View Post
There are tire copanys that require them!
Got a new Michilen Commander tire for my friends rear cast wheel and the tire said to run a tube right on the sidewall great tire & better them a Dunlop but I was surprized to see the Tube thing on the tire!
Tubeless tires have a different interior construction then tube tires. They're sealed better and don't allow air to leak through/between the plies, like tube tires will, if a tube wasn't used and the tire is mounted on a sealed, tubeless rim.

If a tire is marked "Tube Type", then it's not recommended that it be used in a "Tubeless" application. If it's marked "Tubeless", it still can be used safely in a tube application.

Tubless rims also have a larger rim lip that's designed to hold the tire bead on harder to both seal the tire, and prevent bead dismounting in the event of a low pressure situation.
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Old 06-13-2010, 06:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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when you use a tube in a tubeless tire it will lower the tire "speed rating" one letter... and lower the tire "load rating" one number... this is due to the added heat from the additional friction created by the tube.
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Old 07-04-2010, 06:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It's true that some early motorcycle cast wheels did require tubes , back in the 70s. Porous aluminum is a viable theory , but I've also heard it was due to bead sealing issues.
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