1. The first
step in ultimate wheel bonding is to remove the "mold
release" compound from the tires and wheels. To do this, take
a clean shop rag, spray some contact cleaner on the rag, then wipe
the surface areas that will be glued (the tire bead and wheel lip.)
tires from the factory will have flashing left from the mold that
needs to be removed. This can be accomplished by using your body
scissors to cut the inside lip of the bead area. Cutting the bead
area is also used to pull the sidewalls in on the rim. This helps
prevent the tire sidewall from hanging over the rim and also helps
keep the tire from ripping away from it. I've been told that you
can use this technique to alter the sidewall performance which
will in turn help it to roll more or give the tire better
compression characteristics... but that's another story.
further increase the bonding of your tires, rough up the tire bead
and rim lip with your Dremel. Use a medium grit sanding barrel.
This helps the CA glue to penetrate the surface better and adheres
to the pores of the material where it likes to be.
4. Now that
we have all of the prep out of the way, insert your tire foams and
mount your tires to the rim. While the tire is off the rim, I
suggest you punch two 3mm holes in the tires so that they can
breathe. This also allows dirt and water to escape through the
holes, since the centrifugal force pulls this stuff to the outside
of the wheel. This is a race tip and you can use it or not. Let's
move on to the strapping games.
STAGE TWO: CAN
WE BAND TOGETHER?
This section is about banding or strapping the tire to the rim.
The point here is to compress the tire to the rim so that the CA
glue can get a good bind. You want the bead of the tire to be
flush with the rim with no gaps, and it's best to have some
compression on the tire to get it to seat well. Of course, this is
done by strapping the tire to the rim. There are many ideas and
products to help with this procedure. Losi has a glue kit that
includes the Losi glue and wide rubber bands to band your tires.
Panther Products probably has the best thing on the market with
their Panther Glue Bands, and then there are assorted items like
electrical tape, adjustable rubber lid straps, Velcro, and, of
course, your hands. My favorite two methods are the Panther bands
and electrical tape.
Only one step! This part is easy. Take your preferred banding and
strap it to the outside edge of the tire as the photo suggests.
Check to see that the entire bead is set flush to the rim, then
start the gluing process. Here are a couple of tips: Before you
glue the tire, peel back the bead and let go to see if the bead
goes back to the rim lip. If not, you'll need to apply more
tension to the band. Next, make sure the tire bead is pressed all
the way into the lip area of the rim. This ensures that the bead
is seated and will help keep the bead from hanging out past the
rim. This reduces unnecessary pressure on the bead during use and
it also looks cleaner.
This is the
electrical tape method. I currently use this method as it allows
me to easily adjust the tension to set the bead. It's also
convenient when you're on the road at events.
The old rubber band trick. This is probably the most-used method
for gluing tires, and it works great. You can buy bulk rubber
bands at any office supply store, or buy the Losi tire glue kit
that comes with rubber bands.This is simple, yet effective.
My Inspector Gadget
method is with this rubber adjust strap. I use these at home since
they are bulky and hard to take on the road, but they're a lot of
fun to use in the shop.
STAGE THREE ALERT:
This is where the rubber meets the plastic, and once you start
gluing you're committed.. By now you should have everything
prepped and ready for gluing. There are two ways to go about thisówell,
three, if you count how the factory girls do it in China. The most
efficient and common method is a glue bottle with a wick. The
application wick allows for deeper penetration and acts like a
brush to wipe the CA into the bead area. This is the technique we
1. At this point I should mention that you'll need four to eight
glue bands to do this efficiently. I like to do my wheels in sets
of four, so get four wheels mounted and ready for gluing. Now set
them up with the back sides facing up and install the glue bands
on all four wheels. If you're wondering why you should start on
the back of the wheels, this is to let you warm up and get in the
groove of gluing. By the time you get to the front of the wheels,
you'll be laying down the good beads and your face side of the
wheel will look nice and clean. How else do you think we get those
perfect-looking wheels in our test reviews?
2. Next, let's
apply the glue. First, prime your CA bottle and get the tip of the
wick wet with a little CA. Next, grab your wheel and lightly open
a gap with your fingers ... just enough to let the applicator tip
fit in. Now slide the tip into the gap about halfway in and slide
the wick to the end of the open gap. You can normally do about
three quarters of an inch at a time. If necessary, squeeze a
little CA out as you move the wick along the open bead area. The
goal is to have a thin film of CA in the gap area. Take the tip
out and move your finger to the area adjacent to where you just
glued, then repeat the process all the way around. This should
take no more than a minute and you'll need to do it quickly before
the glue sets.
Another method is
to fill the gap you are gluing with CA and let it run down the
bead area. Just tilt the wheel so that gravity pulls the glue down
the bead, then use your hand to pull the tire slightly away from
the rim as it feeds down the bead. Be careful, though. It may
appear as though you're getting a good bond this way, but
sometimes the CA glues just the outside edge. I would use this
technique after you have some gluing experience. Better safe than
IT'S WICKY-WICKY TIME
Here's a tip for you ... figuratively and literally! A lot of the
CA bottles come with a little straw on the side, and we use it to
get the CA into the bead area, just like the photos show in the
gluing section. Cut a quarter inch section off the straw and make
sure the ends are open, then insert the straw halfway into the
applicator tip and you're ready for business. There are wick caps
sold separately at hobby shops that you can use on CA bottles that
don't come with the straw, and they are very useful. Another thing
to consider is that CA glue comes in three thicknesses: thin,
medium, and thick. It seems that most pros use medium and it works
the best for tire gluing. Thin CA is easy to use but sets quickly,
so you really need to be proficient in gluing tires to use it.
3. If there's excess glue after you're done, quickly take a used
rag and wipe it off neatly so that the tire looks good. This will
also help the glue dry faster and more evenly. Now put the wheel
aside, move on to the next wheel, and repeat this three more
times. Once you have finished gluing all of the backs, start on
the front side of the first wheel you glued and repeat the process.
4. With the tires
glued, let them dry for ten to fifteen minutes, then remove the
glue bands and let the tires relax for a few minutes. By now they
should be ready to use and a spot check is needed. This is like
quality control for your work, so be thorough. Visually look at
your beads and make sure they're bonded well. In areas that you
think might be bad, grab the edge of the tire with your hand and
tug on it to see how it holds, or press back on the sidewall to
see if the bead pops loose. If it comes loose, re-band the tire
and spot glue the area. If your tires pass QC, then mount them up
and go roost the track!
DOING IT CHINESE STYLE
I've been to China and have seen how the factories glue the RTR
tires, and it's amazing how fast the workers glue tires. I've
mostly seen girls working on the tire gluing line and that might
have something to do with the speed, but the technique is a little
different. If you have to glue a few sets of tires, this might be
the ticket to use. It's the same procedure we just went through,
but you don't need straps or a glue bottle. What you do need is a
cap with CA in it and a toothpick. Use thin CA, dip the toothpick
into the cap, and apply to the bead as we did above. This method
is fast, and the toothpick lays a nice even layer of glue. Since
the toothpick is ridged and pointed, you can stick it in the bead
area and slide it around rather quickly.
BANDITS AT SIX O'CLOCK
There are several ways you can use bands to strap the tires down,
but I prefer the Panther Bands or electrical tape when I'm on the
road. At home I like to use the adjustable band tool because I
have more time and it allows me to get a good squeeze on the
tires. The choice is yours, and is here for your consideration.
Having well-glued tires is essential for any RC car activity.
Nothing is more frustrating than your wheel coming unglued. By
perfecting these tips on preparation and gluing you will have
wheels that stay glued. But don't worry, even the seasoned veteran
has a bad day. Once I saw a major factory driver lose all four
tires at a world's event. It happens, and it seems to run in
spurts. I can go a whole season and not have trouble, and then two
or three times in a row, I can't seem to keep a tire on to save my
life! If Derek lets me, next month I'll show you how to take your
rims off and use them again. I'm sure the manufacturers don't want
you to know this little secret!