The Extreme Outback Tire Repair Kit
Tire puncture, 2006 Outback Challenge. Photo: Nathan Hindman
Tire Repair in the Field
Without exception, the most common vehicle failure concerns the tires. They are constantly (or nearly so) in contact with the road or a trail surface, which includes rocks, sticks, and numerous other sharp objects that can compromise the carcass of a tire. While some tires may be less prone to puncture (like to BFGoodrich Baja T/A I ran in Northern Africa with zero flats), none are immune, and eventually the sound of rapidly escaping air will fill the cab.
I have found that 70-80% of all trail flats can be fixed with a good quality plug or two. This leaves the spare tire in the vehicle, and saves a considerable amount of time and energy. In a competition, the time saved is even more critical.
The right tools: Tire flats can be caused by more than just punctures. Valve cores can fail, valve stems can be damaged on rocks and the bead can come unseated from the rim. A good kit should include spare valves and cores, and the valve tool to replace them. Equipment should also be provided to address larger punctures with patches.
Other Tools to Consider
Ratchet Strap: A ratchet strap can be used around the circumference of a tire to help press the bead against the rim and reseat the tire with a burst of compressed air.
Good Compressor with Tank: A high volume compressor with a small storage tank will help reseat the bead and allow for easy pressure changes on the tires. I use the ExtremeAir compressor (4cfm. 100% duty cycle).
Tire Pliers: Tire pliers allow for complete servicing of a tire while on the trail. Required for performing most patch repairs on one piece rims.
Note: Tires should always be inspected and properly repaired after a trail fix.
The Tire Flat Repair Kit Contents
The kit is delivered in either a handled plastic split case, or a roll-up. Both have their uses, though the soft sided roll-up will fair better in vehicles with larger storage compartments. The hard case is easy to locate and fold out flat, to provide quick access to contents.
Most punctures require cleaning and prepping the hole. This extreme duty probe will easily clear the most stubborn stick puncture.
The inserts are the good quality, fibrous style, with a highly irregular surface structure that makes for a good seal. These plugs are longer and thicker than most, and seem to set up very quickly with the adhesive. Four packages in two baggies are provided, more than enough for the life of most vehicles, or to supply a large expedition.
Lots of rubber cement is included in the kit, and did a great job of vulcanizing the inserts to the carcass in my testing.
A thick handled insertion tool is provided, and the shaft steps up to a larger diameter to prevent over-inserting the plugs. I was even able to insert two plugs at one time with this unit. Stout!
After a plug is inserted and mostly cured, it is a good idea to trim the long ends. This tool helps prevent the plugs from being smeared out of the tire by a rock. The knife can also be used to trim patches, etc.
Prep and Press Tool: This kit includes a nice quality preparation and press tool for applying patches. The serrated end is used to scuff the rubber in preparation for vulcanization. The wheel end is used to press the patch to the tube or carcass after it has been applied.
If the damage to a carcass is too large for a plug/plugs, then a patch is required. This usually involves removing the tire from the wheel.
The supplied tube repair patches are used for fixing damage to tire or other inflatable tubes, the air mattress included.
Known as the “Baja Boot,” this large patch is intended for short-term repairs of major carcass failures. Low pressure and low speeds should be employed after fitting the Baja Boot.
Other Service Items
Replacement Valve Cores and Valve Caps: Both high temp and standard cores are included, as well as a set of knurled valve caps with o-ring seal. The valve caps also have the core tool integrated.
Spares: Extra set of screws and allen tool for the plug tool set, and a piece of chalk for marking repairs, or tire/wheel indexing.
Two standard stems are included, as well as one high pressure/temperature temp. High pressure stems are typically used on semis and other large trucks.
Valve Core and Stem Tool: These are great little tools, and are used to repair and clean threads, insert stems and cores and to remove damaged stems/cores.
Tire Pressure Gauge: A good back-up to your trail gauge, and also shows pressures from 10-70 psi.
Hand Cleaners: For after the repair job to clean hands and tools of adhesive, etc.
A good quality and comprehensive kit. Tire repairs on piste, or in the rocks are common, and with the right tools and equipment are easy to address. A wise investment.
Extreme Outback Products
PO Box 3075
Vacaville, CA 95696
Toll Free: 1-866-447-7711
Direct Line: 1-707-447-7711
Deluxe Tire Repair and Service Kit
(Costs are subject to change, verify pricing with vendor)
2 kg (4 lbs) with plastic case
Expeditions West 2004 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab TRD
Outback Imports: PZJ173 Competition Vehicle