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Old 04-10-2007, 12:39 AM
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RFT Repair

Picked up a nail last week in a 255/35 18 directional Bridgestone RFT on the Z4. This is a three year old tire with 14,000 km. Lots of questions on the board about RFT repairs, so that I would pass along what I learned today.

I went to the neighbourhood Bridgestone/Michelin/Firestone dealer, one that I know and have used before. They are trained and certified to repair RFTs. I pointed out where the nail was visible in the tread, 1" from the sidewall. First question - was the tire driven on, and at what pressure. They were concerned because the tire was at zero psi (I took it off at home, and took it in loose). Their cut-off point was if it was driven at under 22 psi, at which time damage can start to occur to the sidewall. I had driven home on it when the tire pressure monitor light came on, but had filled it up on the way. It went down again at home overnight. Incidentally, with zero psi in it I would never have noticed it was low on the car, even examing it compared to the other rear tire which was at 36 psi.

They were comfortable repairing it, no visible damage to the sidewall, and they commented that they could usually tell by looking at it. The only approved repair is a parachute plug, the one that looks like a mushroom, a combination inside radial patch and thin plug. There is no reduction in the speed rating as a result of the repair. Also, they couldn't remount it in exactly the same location as it was too tight to turn on the rim once mounted. They balanced it, didn't mark the rim at all, and had it ready in a couple of hours. $40 with balancing, called a performance tire repair on the work order.

I am happy, in comparison with the cost of a replacement tire. The lesson is not to drive at very low pressure, and repairs should be straightforward.
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  #2  
Old 04-10-2007, 03:14 AM
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This is good information. I don't have these tires but this should prove useful to those that do. Thanks very much.
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Old 04-10-2007, 04:37 AM
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First time I have heard of a RFT being plugged.
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Old 04-10-2007, 04:43 AM
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Thanks Jeff! That's good to hear since I'm running on RFT's on the E90. It makes total sense that driving with excessively low pressure could damage the sidewall so to be prepared for that I have been driving around with a 12V air compressor in the trunk of the E90. That storage spot where a spare tire should be is where the compressor lives.

Wagner: I've read a bunch of discussions about RFT's and most of it supports the conclusion that they can be patched. In fact, our BMWCCA chapter newsletter discussed it over a year ago and it was the same story as JCL experienced. (Another reason to join BMWCCA. )
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:48 AM
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JCL,
Good story and fortuitous scenario!

The only chink is in the "normal situ" of Buffy/Biff getting a
nail, noticing it several miles/days later and the tire is shot.
Or, in many parts of non-urban US/CDA, not being near a shop,
let alone a tire shop that can or will or knows how to deal
with RFTs and, esp. in-wheel sensors.

Blathering on, I'm in the hunt for a replacment set of non-RFTs for
my Vette, and realize I'm playing with fire or, I need to stow a
plug kit and mini-compressor in the trunk, as the accomodation
of getting down the road 50-100 miles, sacrificing that tire,
to get a non-existent replacement.

Roundel's Tech Section had a good rant on RFTs this month
and I suspect the technology is "good", if expensive, for
minivanMoms to get home on, but problematic for anyone
not in an urban area with a leading edge tire joint on their
corner.

I've enjoyed the security blanket of RFTs on our Vette for
5 years and 28K miles, but that generation of tire has become
seriously loud and even less feel, as time and miles increased.

They, RFTs, will become ubiquitous as the car mfg'ers do the
monkey-see, monkey-do deal, but it will be an expensive saftey
net for JoeSixPack when he can't cop a new tire at the local
Sears, et al.

Glad you got it patched, (very patchable), and had your handy
situ to get it done.
BR,mD
get home on, but
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  #6  
Old 04-11-2007, 02:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WagnerX5
First time I have heard of a RFT being plugged.
This is specifically not a plug that is installed from the outside. This link shows the type of plug used, although I am not sure if it was this brand.

http://www.patchrubber.com/training/pilot_wire.pdf
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