Dolly tires don't hold air

I have a dolly for my kayak to make it easy to drag it down to the water. The tires don’t hold air for extended periods. They’ll hold it long enough, but when Summer rolls around again they’re flat. I went to two hardware stores to look for solid tires. None had the proper size axle holes. See, someone at Ocean Kayak (when it was here) fabricated this custom dolly. It looks like they took the bearings out of the hubs so that they would fit on the 1" aluminum tube they used as an axle. So I’m stuck with these wheels. (I’d hate to spend tens of dollars on new wheels, take the bearings out, and then find that they are unusable.)

‘Well, just pump up the tires, dummy!’ Sadly, it’s not that simple. A hand pump doesn’t work. The air at the gas station doesn’t work. Even my diving tank doesn’t have enough pressure. So the drill is this: Tie a rope or ratchet strap around the circumference of the tire and cinch it down. This pushes the rubber edges agains the rim of the plastic hub. Then I can fill the tire with my tank. It’s a PITA, I tells ya!

I’m going to try the cinch method, and this time use ‘fix-a-flat’. I’m hoping that will solve the problem. But here’s another idea: You know that expanding foam sealer you use to seal cracks in cabinets and whatnot? Suppose I remove the valve stem from the hub, and fill the tire with that? It should expand to make a solid tire.

Would that actually work? How much of this foam would I use?

I’m not sure if the expanding foam insulation would work, but I do know that tire companies that provide tires for industrial uses, such as fork lift tires and tractor tires, utilize a two part compound that they inject into tires to make them ‘flat proof’.
You might call around and see if you can find a tire company that does this.
I had some wheelbarrow tires done about ten years ago, and so far they’ve outlasted two wheelbarrows. When the old barrows got holes in them and the handles finally broke, I bought new wheelbarrows and put the old tires on them. :smiley:

Looks like you can just get a whole new dolly for about the price of replacing the tires.
In any case, even if you don’t go with the cheapest one, it would be certainly be worth not dealing with the aggravation.

I’d try putting an inter-tube in. A quick easy fix that lasts a long time.
You can find those hard to find small tubes here:

I had the same trouble with a lawn tractor. A bottle of Slime brand tire sealant fixed it. Just lube up the tire beads with it before you fill them up with air. It’s held for three years now on my tractor.

The one I have is similar in concept to this one. The uprights go through the scupper holes.

I looked for inner tubes, but the smallest ones available locally are for 8" hubs. Mine are 4" or 5". Looks like they have what I need on the link.

The SO would strangle me if I bought a new dolly. I should try the inner tubes. I assume I just have to take the stem out of the hub. Tubes sound like a lot less trouble than cinching and attempting to seal with the fix-a-flat, and there’s no guesswork trying to fill the tires with expanding foam.

I’ve measured the hubs. OD (to outside of rims) is about 5", and the ID (the middle bit) seems to be about 4". Am I correct that I would need the 4" tubes?

Try Harbor Freight also. They have a selection of small tubes. However, they tend to mark the sizes incorrectly on the boxes! :smack: They aren’t listed by tire size (like motorcycle tires) but hub or something. Its been a while, I just remember it was all jacked-up and didn’t work for my application.

I would try the expanding foam option, but only as a last resort, cause if it don’t work, I think you’ll be done. No cleaning that mess up!

I just had the tires on my finish mower foam filled. They are a 4.5 inch something. Cost was $100 for four tires. Local tire shop sent them out for me and it took about four days to get them back. They are heavier of course. :smiley:

I’d suggest checking with tractor or lawn equipment dealers in your area to find someone who can get it done.

Is there a tire size molded into the sidewall of the tire?
Also the Green Slime tire sealant is good stuff and cam be squirted into the tube for extra resiliency.

Way back when, Yamaha used to make a tire mounting spray for ATV tires that reeked of linseed oil. With that in mind, I’ve successfully used linseed oil to seal the “beads” on hand dolly tires. I still had to use a ratchet strap to start inflating the tire.

If the rim actually has a bead, then it may help to remove the valve core and inflate from an air tank or compressor with tank (Then again, if a dolly wheel had a bead then the tires would never come off the rims!)

Green Slime is the way to go for all your small-tire needs. Hand truck, pressure washer, mowers, etc.

If you foam your kayak dolly tire, they’re going to float as you roll it into the water. Might make it harder to mount/demount the boat if they’re both bobbing around in the waves!

:smack: I should have thought of that!

Not really a factor. The 'yak only weighs about 50 pounds, so the wheels are just used to get it to the water. Remove the dolly on shore, and then just slide the 'yak into the water.

Dolly tires don’t hold air

…doo-dah, doo-day…

C’mon, you’ve owned enough British cars, surely you have a can of Lucas bottom air lying around.

(you only need the bottom air, there’s plenty of top air left- that’s why the bottom goes flat)

I have plenty of bottom air when I wear my windbreaker.

Do you think the foam weighs less than the air that’s supposed to be in the tires?


I bet the foam doesn’t weigh as much as the water that it displaces, therefore the wheels, (without any extra weight) would indeed, still float. :stuck_out_tongue:

The expanding foam trick won’t work. Or rather, it will work briefly, then the foam will compress and break down. We tried this on a hand truck once, it failed miserably. The inner tube is a good call, and I’ve had good luck with Slime as well. Second Harbor Freight for your small tire needs.

Another vote for Slime. My vintage wheel barrow tire has stayed fully inflated going on 10 years now.