Pros and Cons - Tire Plug Installers

NatersXJ6

Explorer
Last night I found myself in an interesting situation. I scored a 1-1/2” Self Tapper straight through my Kenda RTs tread block. Since I noticed the head after hearing it tick on the highway, I thought I would simply plug it still on the Jeep and save some time in the 105 degree heat… insert your wild laughter here.

I have a fairly extensive plug and patch kit, and I’ve used it 4-5 times in the past, but always on lighter duty tires.

I lost 3 plugs inside the tire and invented 11 new curse words before I gave in and changed the tire.

My plug tool is the “eye of the needle” style, very stout, but completely closed. I’ve also seen “hook” and “fork” styles (my own descriptions).

I’m wondering if I might have better luck with the plug insertion with one of the other styles? The “fork” seems like you might be better off not having to push to full depth and then hope the plug doesn’t get pulled out of the tool like mine was.

Opinions on style of plug installation tool?
 

Hummelator

Adventurer
The one I have is the eye of the needle style but with a split end so the plug can pass threw it went removing the tool from the hole.
I find the trick is to use the contact cement or what ever glue it is as it seems to act as a lubricant. I tried one dry a couple months ago and I lost my mind. Same thing. Ended uo putting on my spare.
As always, YMMV
 

Peter_n_Margaret

Adventurer
Split end needle. Push the plug in doubled. Not too far, but the doubled end fully inside the tyre. Then ROTATE the needle by half or 3/4 of a turn. This creates a lump of plug that resists it coming out again as you retract the needle.
ps... that 1 1/2" self tapper would make a pretty good plug. I would have left it there until I got home. :)
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
 

ITTOG

Well-known member
I use the split end style and have never had any issues. I do not use the cement.

I will add I only do this to get me to a tire store safely so they can remove it and apply a patch.
 

NatersXJ6

Explorer
Yep, good points here. I think the split end needle is what I called the “fork” in my OP. It just seems to make more sense, although honestly I’ve never thought I would lose plugs out of the eye style either. They sure looked like they were going in evenly, but wouldn’t come out that way!

To some of the other points. Yes, the rubber cement was used liberally, it really does make a difference. And I did wait until I was in my driveway… this was done for “fun” and “practice”… I’m going to re-define fun as must be lower than 85 degrees outside. The last time I saw one of these screws in my tire I drove it until the head wore off and I’m pretty sure it is still sealing its own hole. It never leaked.

There’s a top tip for you! Maybe punctures should be sealed by #12 x 1-1/2” Self Tapping screws! Way easier to install than a tire plug, they have a hex head!

In any event, it will become the tire shop’s problem at lunch break today or tomorrow.
 

plh

Explorer
Split eye of the needle. I've been using this style since high school in the late 1970's when I worked in a service station.
 

BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
Yep, good points here. I think the split end needle is what I called the “fork” in my OP. It just seems to make more sense, although honestly I’ve never thought I would lose plugs out of the eye style either. They sure looked like they were going in evenly, but wouldn’t come out that way!

To some of the other points. Yes, the rubber cement was used liberally, it really does make a difference. And I did wait until I was in my driveway… this was done for “fun” and “practice”… I’m going to re-define fun as must be lower than 85 degrees outside. The last time I saw one of these screws in my tire I drove it until the head wore off and I’m pretty sure it is still sealing its own hole. It never leaked.

There’s a top tip for you! Maybe punctures should be sealed by #12 x 1-1/2” Self Tapping screws! Way easier to install than a tire plug, they have a hex head!

In any event, it will become the tire shop’s problem at lunch break today or tomorrow.

Fun and informative thread. I've also used my fair share of all types plugs/tools but this thread made me wonder.

1) Could the heat of the day and subsequent heat of the tire structure contribute to the failure of the plugs?

2) How old were the plugs? I've had really, really old plugs that seemed to be "dried" out and have had those tear/fail......any info on how old the plugs were?

Cheers.
 

NatersXJ6

Explorer
I also wondered about the plug quality. I replace the stock every 3-4 years. These are probably about 4 years old. They were slightly stiff but still flexible and sticky, so I considered them to be good.

I didn’t consider that they might have been tearing or failing as I pushed them into the tire, that would explain why they were simply “gone” on the pull out, instead of forming the loop. I’ll ask the tire shop to save them for me when they patch it. Failure analysis is fun after all!

As far as heat, I also didn’t really think about that, but I’ve also never had the privilege of patching a tire under 90 - 100 degrees…. It’s just statistics combined with Murphy’s Law. If you live here you work in the heat and try to actually perform tasks in the shade! I did wait until after dark.

To your point about tearing, the reamer was feeling like it was hanging up on something… maybe one of the steel belts was tearing the plugs?

In any event, not being able to plug a puncture in the relative comfort of my driveway with nothing at risk doesn’t bode well for trailside work, so I need to figure out what can be improved.

I guess I’m going to go buy a box of those self-tappers to use as a backup!
 
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67cj5

Man On a Mission
The ARB Kit seems to have about the best setup,

In the heat we've had lately it's easy to get stressed doing a simple task, But even on a good day using a plug kit can be a challenge,
 

Superduty

Adventurer
I agree with @67cj5 ARB kit works well. It is also not overly priced. I have never replaced the plugs in my ARB kit....it is at least 10 yrs old. They seem to work fine. I used one about 6 months ago, still holding well in the tire.

And I agree it is stressful and not always easy. I like the little slide down thing on the ARB that helps keep the plug from coming back out with the fork.

There are a few companies that have copied the ARB kit now a days.
 

Metcalf

Expedition Leader
Fun and informative thread. I've also used my fair share of all types plugs/tools but this thread made me wonder.

1) Could the heat of the day and subsequent heat of the tire structure contribute to the failure of the plugs?

2) How old were the plugs? I've had really, really old plugs that seemed to be "dried" out and have had those tear/fail......any info on how old the plugs were?

Cheers.
I have had good luck using fire ( small butane torch or lighter ) to melt the plugs to themselves and into the hole. This seems to drastically help when more than one or two plugs are needed to plug a larger hole. The orange color plugs seem to work better than the black for some reason.
 

Superduty

Adventurer
I have had good luck using fire ( small butane torch or lighter ) to melt the plugs to themselves and into the hole. This seems to drastically help when more than one or two plugs are needed to plug a larger hole. The orange color plugs seem to work better than the black for some reason.

Can you elaborate on this process?
 

Metcalf

Expedition Leader
Can you elaborate on this process?
Install as many plugs in the hole as you can. Trim off to about 1/2-3/4" long. Light on fire. Poke with a stick to get them all worked together. Blow out when they have all congealed into a lump of molted plastic. Seems to help bond them to themselves and the tire. Works well on sidewall issues.
 

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