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Oil causes tube disintegration?(7 posts)

Oil causes tube disintegration?winstonc
Jul 15, 2003 8:58 AM
I recently built a wheel for my bike -- I've ridden the wheel maybe 130 miles, and I've already had two flats.

The funny thing is that the flats have both happened after a tube had been mounted for a week each, and they've both occurred when the bike was just sitting around. The holes in both tubes were in exactly the same place relative to the wheel, and on the rim side of the tube. I checked and there's definitely nothing sharp or hard on the rim strip.

Both tubes actually look like they unbonded at the (lengthwise) seams because the holes were more like slits, right on the seam. I did notice that there was a lot of oil on the rim strip at that point -- I used chain lube (Finish Line Cross Country) to lube the spoke nipples and I probably put to much on at that nipple.

It seems like the oil is causing the tube to separate. Is this normal? Should oil cause the tube to break down, or is this due to some additive in the lube?
re: Oil causes tube disintegration?took
Jul 15, 2003 10:01 AM
Never heard of this happening, but I normally use wheelsmith spoke prep for builds. Lubing the spoke threads w/ oil makes for an easier build, but the lube dissipates over time and the spokes tend to sieze.

what rim strip are you using? maybe try on of those cheap plastic rim strips so it wont soak up the oil and transfer it to the tube. or go around the rim a couple times w/ electrical tape, then add the plastic rim strip.
re: Oil causes tube disintegration?winstonc
Jul 15, 2003 11:54 AM
I'm using Velox strips... I could probably just replace them and wipe down the rim -- it was a lot of oil but it wasn't a ridiculous amount. For now I'm using electrical tape as a barrier between the tube and the rim strip. If it gets another hole maybe I'll try a plastic rim strip.

I'm still curious about the tube seam separation though -- why does it happen and such....
re: Oil causes tube disintegration?took
Jul 15, 2003 3:14 PM
if it's split along the seam both times, could be the oil weakening the seam, i guess. stranger things have happened on a bike. could be a cheap or defective tube. you using super lightweight tubes? they are of the devil. the weight savings on those things seems to always bight you in the arse...
YesKerry Irons
Jul 15, 2003 5:03 PM
Oil will rot tubes. However, it will not happen very fast. I'm thinking that you got a couple of bad tubes (from the same batch). This phenomenon has been reported on several brands of tubes where seam splitting was a problem. Try a different brand and model of tube - bet your problem is solved.
Jul 16, 2003 8:18 AM
I actually had used two different brands of tubes -- and they were normal tubes, not lightweights. Maybe the oil I used was particularly nasty.

Anyway, thanks for the info -- this is something I'll have to watch out for in the future.
Chemistry Lessonpitt83
Jul 16, 2003 9:43 AM
Like dissolves like. Oil and rubber are "likes"; orgaincs. The oil will dissolve the rubber cpds, especially the elastomers in the rubber. Ever notice how crude oil stinks? Those are sulfur cpds. dissolved in the oil; the same sulfur cpds which are used to make your rubber tubes strechable.

Surprised it happens so quickly, but not surprised that it happens.