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Old 07-11-2019, 07:10 AM   #1
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leaky tire valve

Yesterday we go to pull out of our site at a campground after a 3 day stay and one of the tires on our 2018 Rockwood 2306 is flat. Borrowed a tire inflator, filled it back up and jacked up the trailer to rotate it and look it over better, no cracking, dry rot or other visible stress. Traced the issue to a leaky valve stem. Got out my pliers and carefully tightened the core until the slow leak stopped and slowly went down the road to the second campground on our trip just down the road (stopping at Tractor Supply on the way to get some new valve cores, which I will replace once I can find a small 120v tire inflator locally).

My question is: Because it may have sat partially deflated for a few days at the campground, could the integrity of the tire be compromised internally? The tires don't have a ton of miles on them, we only take about 4 camping trips a year, 3 of them being under an hour from the house, one being about 3 hours away (this is the 3 hour trip we are on). The tires are Castle Rock, so I know what a bunch of the replies are going to be (and we will be replacing them before our next outing). The trailer is a dual axle, and the stabilizers were good and down so the entire weight of the camper was not on the tire. We also don't overload it, and there is no slideouts, so we are pretty light going down the highway.
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Old 07-11-2019, 07:15 AM   #2
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My opinion is NO as long as you didn't drive on it sitting a couple days low should have no effect. YMMV
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Old 07-11-2019, 07:23 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by bitz View Post
Yesterday we go to pull out of our site at a campground after a 3 day stay and one of the tires on our 2018 Rockwood 2306 is flat. Borrowed a tire inflator, filled it back up and jacked up the trailer to rotate it and look it over better, no cracking, dry rot or other visible stress. Traced the issue to a leaky valve stem. Got out my pliers and carefully tightened the core until the slow leak stopped and slowly went down the road to the second campground on our trip just down the road (stopping at Tractor Supply on the way to get some new valve cores, which I will replace once I can find a small 120v tire inflator locally).

My question is: Because it may have sat partially deflated for a few days at the campground, could the integrity of the tire be compromised internally? The tires don't have a ton of miles on them, we only take about 4 camping trips a year, 3 of them being under an hour from the house, one being about 3 hours away (this is the 3 hour trip we are on). The tires are Castle Rock, so I know what a bunch of the replies are going to be (and we will be replacing them before our next outing). The trailer is a dual axle, and the stabilizers were good and down so the entire weight of the camper was not on the tire. We also don't overload it, and there is no slideouts, so we are pretty light going down the highway.

I wouldn't really worry about it being damaged if you didn't roll on it while being flat...which you stated you did not.


I'm interested in the valve core somewhat though. Usually a valve core itself does not just really loosen, if it was tightened enough to begin with. Have you recently had a reason for the core to be removed/replaced. I'm also curious as to how you tightened a core with pliers, as they would have to have a very fine tip to accomplish such.


What I have seen (and do still) is valve cores that are damaged by pressure gauges, whereas the core gets bent from the application of the pressure gauge...thus causes a leak.



You may want to pick up a true valve core tool for this. Tractor Supply does carry the silver 4-way tool like in the pic below. These are good to have, as one end is an easy out, should the core break. You can screw the easy out end into it and remove the broken core.


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Old 07-11-2019, 09:40 AM   #4
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I wouldn't really worry about it being damaged if you didn't roll on it while being flat...which you stated you did not.


I'm interested in the valve core somewhat though. Usually a valve core itself does not just really loosen, if it was tightened enough to begin with. Have you recently had a reason for the core to be removed/replaced. I'm also curious as to how you tightened a core with pliers, as they would have to have a very fine tip to accomplish such.


What I have seen (and do still) is valve cores that are damaged by pressure gauges, whereas the core gets bent from the application of the pressure gauge...thus causes a leak.



You may want to pick up a true valve core tool for this. Tractor Supply does carry the silver 4-way tool like in the pic below. These are good to have, as one end is an easy out, should the core break. You can screw the easy out end into it and remove the broken core.


I haven't had anything on the tires serviced, though after a trip, that tire and the one across and diagonal from it will have lost a few pounds by the time we arrive home. It is possible I damaged the valve core checking it or filling it up. I lost about 5lbs of pressure on all 4 tires over the winter, and the air tool I used to fill them up was damaged, which I didn't realize until after I had used it. To tighten them I found the tips of my leatherman pliers could just reach the sides of the core to turn it a few times past when the leaking stopped. Double checked with soapy water to be sure. I did grab the 4 way tool when at tractor supply just to have it.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:50 AM   #5
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I haven't had anything on the tires serviced, though after a trip, that tire and the one across and diagonal from it will have lost a few pounds by the time we arrive home. It is possible I damaged the valve core checking it or filling it up. I lost about 5lbs of pressure on all 4 tires over the winter, and the air tool I used to fill them up was damaged, which I didn't realize until after I had used it. To tighten them I found the tips of my leatherman pliers could just reach the sides of the core to turn it a few times past when the leaking stopped. Double checked with soapy water to be sure. I did grab the 4 way tool when at tractor supply just to have it.
When tightening a valve core be careful to not over-tighten it. Doing so can damage the core and lead to a leak just the same as if it was loose.

Some years ago a major manufacturer of valve stems had to this issue and many lot #'s were recalled. Installers were advised to replace cores with new. In this case it was a machine issue but being over zealous when tightening by hand (using tools not designed for the job) can do the same.

I'm a huge fan of metal caps that have a rubber seal in them. Unlike the plastic caps that merely keep dirt, dust, and water, out of the stem, they provide a secondary seal should the valve core leak.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:55 AM   #6
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It is possible I damaged the valve core checking it or filling it up. I lost about 5lbs of pressure on all 4 tires over the winter, and the air tool I used to fill them up was damaged, which I didn't realize until after I had used it. To tighten them I found the tips of my leatherman pliers could just reach the sides of the core to turn it a few times past when the leaking stopped. Double checked with soapy water to be sure. I did grab the 4 way tool when at tractor supply just to have it.
Yes, it is possible to damage the cores with an air chuck or air gauge. It does happen.

I do think you need to take that 4 way tool and make sure ALL the cores are snug/tight. You should not have had a core loose enough to turn a few turns.

This concerns me. It could be a valve stem manufacturing flaw, a tire installer fault, or even some kids vandalizing for fun by loosening valve cores (seen that happen too).
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:05 AM   #7
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My valve caps are similar to this one. Metal cap, rubber inside seal, and the cap itself is a tool for the valve stem.



And these, while they lack the tool function, seem useful. Available for PSI 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, 110, 115, 120, and 130.



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Old 07-11-2019, 10:22 AM   #8
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@TitanMike: Thanks, I plan to replace the core with new before moving again as soon as I can borrow or buy a portable compressor.

@wmtire: I will check all 4 tires. Any idea how tight they should be?

@Chuck_S: I grabbed some of those valve caps as well not really knowing what they were, so these thread into the valve after the core?
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:31 AM   #9
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@wmtire: I will check all 4 tires. Any idea how tight they should be?

@Chuck_S: I grabbed some of those valve caps as well not really knowing what they were, so these thread into the valve after the core?
Just turn slowly till they stop, then snug it a hair more...and you're good to go.

Chuck was just showing you valve caps that have a core remover on the opposite side. You can just take off the cap and flip it over to use the core remover/installer part to install/remove the cores.

You see these more common on bicycles and motorcycles with inner tubes.



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Old 07-11-2019, 11:24 AM   #10
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Just turn slowly till they stop, then snug it a hair more...and you're good to go.

Chuck was just showing you valve caps that have a core remover on the opposite side. You can just take off the cap and flip it over to use the core remover/installer part to install/remove the cores.

You see these more common on bicycles and motorcycles with inner tubes.



I quit using those on my vehicles years ago. Had too many stolen, probably by people needing to tighten cores. Also makes it too easy for mischief makers to just loosen core and leave cap loose so you end up with a flat down the road.

As you indicated, pretty much for tube type tires and a holdover from the days when people carried a Spare TIRE, not a spare tire and wheel.

Back then "Changing a tire" meant exactly that. People carried "Tire Irons and Hand Tire Pumps"
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:41 AM   #11
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Get a couple of these valve caps and scrap valve stems from the tire shop. Cap the loose valve stem and you now have a handy tool with a handle to tighten the valve cores as needed.

I have a set of AirLevelers bags that go on the ground under the low wheels. A few pumps will level the trailer. I just remove the valve cores to deflate them.

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Old 07-14-2019, 07:11 AM   #12
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@Chuck_S those bags look really cool!

We made it home safely. I didn't end up replacing the valve cores, they did all tighten a little bit, and held pressure just fine. I have those little gasketed valve caps on them as well. Stopped a few times at the beginning of our trip to check them, also stopped at some outlet stores we went by and got a nice little portable air pump so I'm ready for the next trip.
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