Longer lasting trailer tires

Discussion in 'Functional Gear & Equipment' started by oil pan 4, May 24, 2017.

  1. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    If you have a trailer or some piece of equipment that sits a lot, accumulating enough inactivity to dry rot the tires off I have tried a little experiment.
    I was looking for something to fill tires other than air that might help them last longer.
    Supposedly the oxygen in air will permiate the rubber at a slow rate. Eating away at anything that will react with oxygen.
    I was able to identify 4 gases pretty early on that wouldn't cause immediate catastrophic failure.

    Nitrogen. People selling it claim that it violates ideal gas law. It makes up about 80% of the air. It's air with out the oxygen. Nothing special about it besides hype.

    Argon. An inert noble gas normally used as a welding shielding gas. Rumor is lexus would factory fill the tires with this substance to provide up to a 1db quieter ride. It's insulating properties make it less than ideal for a hard working wheel.

    CO2. jeep guys deflate their tires for better grip off road, then would fill their big oversized tires back up with CO2 after trail riding before they get on the highway. CO2 also has good heat conduction and inferred absorbing properties.

    Something called "stayfill". All I know is its not CO2, it's nonflameable, its held in liquid state at room temperature at a relatively low pressure. Given that plus the Montreal protocol it's very likely this product is R-125 (halon fire suppressant) or R-143 ("canned air" or computer duster).

    Helium. It conducts heat something like 6 times faster than air. Rumor is it leaks out a lot faster than air. Fact is its expensive and I have to send my helium tank off to get filled which takes weeks.
    Main use for helium is welding and balloons.

    Since I do a lot of welding I don't have to try and find helium, argon or CO2. I already have them.

    I also have the universal refrigeration license so I can buy refrigerants and work on pretty much everything but ammonia systems.

    I did some more reading and digging around to find out if maybe other refrigerants like the stayfill have desirable properties.

    R-125 fire suppressant conducts heat so well that even in gasous state it pulls heat out of burning materials almost like putting water on it.
    R-143 gas absorbs inferred radiation almost like a solid or liquid.

    Around that time I found a lawsuit involving McClarin motor sports and ferrari if I remember correctly. One of them had spent years and hundreds of thousands of dollars on finding the ultimate gas mixture to fill tires with to help the tires used in F1 racing run cooler and last longer.
    Then supposedly the other racing team just happened to invent this gas mixture over night. So they were being sued.
    After this tiff the finer points kind of the complaint spilled over into public domain. Oops.
    That super secret mix is a blend of R-404a and CO2. So you wouldn't just get the idea to suddenly start putting this exact gas mixture in a tire.
    R-404a is a blend made up almost entirely of R-125 and R-143 both are non flammable and stable to at least 400°F.
    So that's what I have been using for the last 3 or 4 years in trailer tires.
    I figure anything that doesn't contain oxygen is good for tires that won't be sitting and anything that doesn't insulate is good for hard working trailer tires.

    I don't figure there is any point putting this in daily driver tires because at least on my vehicles about the time the tires start weather cracking they're getting pretty low on tread and need to be replaced anyways.

    For a garage queen or maybe your hiden BOV just something oxygen free besides argon or helium (because remember the argon insulates and helium leaks out fast)

    The way I fill them is vacuum out the air with one of my HVAC vacuum pumps. Fill with CO2 and purge. If you don't have a vacuum pump just filling with CO2 and letting it out a few times will do the trick.
    I use the vacuum pump because I'm cheap and I have it, so might as well use it.
    Then use absolute pressure to obtain the desired mixture at the desired pressure.
    To fill something with R-404a you have to charge as a liquid since it's a blend. If you charge as a gas you get mostly R-125 or 143 which ever one has the lower boiling point. I do this by turning the tank up side down and just barely cracking the outlet valve open bumping the tire pressure up by 5psi or so at a time. The pressure goes up really fast dispensing liquid so be careful.
    Last time I filled the tires on my big trailer was 3 years ago and they are just now getting to where they need to be topped off again.
  2. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grampa Monkey

    I have always used Nitrogen for all my tires, and it works very well, especially on the over sized Military tires I use on the fire trucks, my pickup and jeep as well as the trailers. One key point is that Nitrogen remains at the same pressures regardless of temperature and altitude, something I have a abundance of here. I find I don't need to check my tire pressures but once a season, and other then the adjustable pressure system on the one truck, I have zero issues!
  3. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Yeah that's one of the issues I have with the people trying to sell nitrogen. Their sales pitch encourages people to not check their tires which is dangerous.

    The whole thing with nitrogen is is non oxidizing and moisture free.
    The nitrogen pressure does change with temperature or it would be in violation of ideal gas law.
    Low pressure membrane separation is what most tire shops use to make nitrogen on site. I have worked on these kinds of systems since about 2004. The best they can do is about 95% or 96% nitrogen. Which is good enough for air craft tires.
    3cyl, sec_monkey and Ura-Ki like this.
  4. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Last edited: May 24, 2017
  5. Tempstar

    Tempstar Old and crochety Site Supporter+

    CO2 here. I get a 20# Liquid with the dip tube and transfill to non-dip tube tanks. 20# of liquid CO2 will run an airgun a long time, fill a ton of tires, you name it. I keep a 5# cylinder in my truck for emergency tire fills and as a fire extinguisher. It's amazing how fast liquid CO2 will put out a fire. I have used a lot of refrigerants over the years in a pinch to fill tires but I haven't given any thought to them increasing the longevity. I do know Helium has a very small molecule size and will leak out a lot faster.
    sec_monkey and Ura-Ki like this.
  6. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    The bigger the Molecule, the slower it will leak out of any container..... Basic Physics & Chemistry....
    VisuTrac, Cruisin Sloth and Ura-Ki like this.
  7. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Watch TPMS & Green slime crap doing this . I don't know if Slime sealers will affect the gases . OP4 get gas bottles with wet & dry legs As I have also .
    Ura-Ki likes this.
  8. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    I have a 50lb CO2 bottle in the shop waiting on a new valve stem.
    I should install a dip tube and use it as a fill station.
    The 50lb bottle costs $55 to fill.
    My smallest bottle a 2lb costs $20.
  9. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    The best storage is removal, lighten the pressure, and put in a cool dark place. If your not into removing the tires, I recommend putting on jack stands.
    I cover my tires on vehicles I'm not using often .
    Plywood doesn't deteriorate like cloth , and the better you cover them the better all the way around.
    On stuff you use occasionally, cloth covers work just fine .
    I might recommend using a color material that closely matches the vehicle, not for looks but like camo it would not attract a lot of attention .
    I have made nylon bags to cover my motorcycles and put a thin cable in the hem and loupes for a paddle lock .
    chelloveck and Ura-Ki like this.
  10. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    After spending $350 on tractor tires today I'm putting my special mix in them too.
    How many tractor tires does $350 get you?
    Not much. A number less than 2 but greater than 0.
    That's one new tubeless rear tire and a new tube on the other one that had a leak.
    That's after military discount, and he knocked an additional 50 off. They told me around 310, but that didn't' include a new tube for the other tire, if I needed one.
    SB21 and Gator 45/70 like this.
  11. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Back in the 1950's we used nitrogen in all the aircraft tires as if a brake sticks and overheats, retract the gear, close the doors, fire starts, you don't really want 200 lbs # air feeding the fire, same if on deck after landing. All my problems have been with weather checking from outside as tires on tractor are usually loaded, new citrus mixture is a big improvement over calcium, and I use a tire protective coat to make them "look" better that seems to help. I have been told that transmission fluid works, but haven't tried it. On my old 41 9N ford tractor, I can buy another tractor to rebuild cheaper then getting 4 new tires, tubes, and loading them, and even in the shed, they dry rot and check on the out side in 10 to 15 years.
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  12. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    The front tires are worn down and holding air pretty good. They're only $55 each.
    If that new back tire lasts around 10 years I'm good with that.

    If my special mix leaks out I'm just going to refill with CO2.
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  13. Navyair

    Navyair Monkey+

    Best storage for tires is to jack the vehicle/trailer up, put jack stands under the axles. Cover the tires with either regular canvas tire covers, or black plastic trash bags if you don't have tire covers. Sunlight and gravity are not your friends...gravity causes flat spots and you then can break belts in the tire as it slaps before it warms up. Sunlight leaches the oils out of your sidewalls, which is why you get cracking.
    Ganado and 3cyl like this.
  14. Blue

    Blue Monkey

    Every dry rotted tire I ever saw had the rot going from the outside in. The outside could be all cracked and nasty and the inside could look brand new. Unless these gasses are on the outside of the tire I don't see how they would make a difference in longevity of tires that sit for long periods of time. Best to just store them with no load and protected from the weather.
    SB21 likes this.
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