Aluminum Wheel Air Leaks
Slow air leaks may occur in cast-aluminum wheels because of porous wheel castings. Perform the following procedure to repair the air leak.
1. Remove the wheel and tire assembly and inspect the wheel for structural damage. If the wheel is damaged, replace it.
2. If the wheel is not damaged, check for air leaks (with the tire mounted on the wheel) using a water bath or an equivalent method. Mark the air leak location.
3. Demount the tire.
4. Remove the valve stem if it is near the repair area.
5. Thoroughly clean the leaking area (on the tire side of the wheel) using 80 grit sandpaper. Be sure to scrub the wheel surface to improve sealant adhesion.
Prepare an adequate area around the leak to ensure complete leak coverage.
6. Use a clean rag to remove all sanding dust.
The repair is most effective when heat is applied to the brake side of the wheel, and the sealant is melted by the heated aluminum on the tire side of the wheel.
Do not use an oxyacetylene torch to perform the next step.
Apply only enough heat to melt the sealant.
7. Using either a propane torch or Rotunda Master Heat Gun 107-00301 or equivalent, heat the prepared wheel area until the sealant stick (HOT MELT Sealant E7AZ-19554-A) begins to melt.
8. Apply a liberal amount of sealant over the prepared area using a wiping motion to ensure complete leak coverage.
9. Allow the wheel to cool until it can be handled safely.
10. Mount the tire and inflate it to the recommended pressure.
11. Check that the leak is repaired using the water bath or equivalent method. If the leak is still present, replace the wheel.
12. Balance the wheel and tire assembly, then install it on the vehicle.
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*except data and images courtesy of Ford