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Rehydrating/reconditioning natural rubber tires


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#1 Shruska55

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Posted 03 January 2022 - 12:31 AM

Hi All,

 

With COVID and other issues causing significant down time between races for me, I've run into the issue of tires drying out. I've searched the blog for solutions and there are a ton of options from home-made to commercial products. A member of our club has recommended Mary Kay Silky Hands because it has lanolin in it which is a moisture absorber, but I know not a MK reseller. One thing I have discovered while looking around is that lanolin is a common denominator for many of the home-made products using things like sun tan lotion or hand creams.

 

I did have some limited luck doing the following: Apply Goo Gone, then using my Food Saver, put them under vacuum for 24-48 hours. Repeat up the 3 times maximum. I say 3 times under vacuum because more than that, tire and hub separate from the combo of moisture and pull of the vacuum. My preferred solution is to use a jar of 100% lanolin that I have for dry hands and badly chapped skin. By itself it is far too tacky to massage into a natural rubber slot tire.

 

My question for the forum is this: What, if anything, could I use to dilute the lanolin sufficiently to allow it re-hydrate dry tires all the way to the hub so that I can then true them up?  A small jar of lanolin runs between $10-18 and diluted would probably last beyond what's left of my racing days.

 

Thanks in advance!

Scott H

Frankston, TX

 

 

 

 


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#2 John Luongo

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Posted 03 January 2022 - 03:33 AM

i am not sure what would be the best chemical to dilute lanolin with. i have used a bit of ethanol to cut it. however, the ethanol will evaporate out of the mix over a period of time. your right about different tire re-constitution remedies. i use a combination of hand lotion (with lanolin) and sunscreen to "pickle" used tires in the frig in between races. i think it helps some, atleast they are cleaned. as their usable track time increases, so does the wear rate and i end up truing tires that end up on the front axel of indy/f1 cars. best regards


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#3 Bags

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Posted 03 January 2022 - 07:48 AM

I have made body lotions for my wife using lanolin,coconut oil and vitamin e oil……..the coconut cuts the thickness of the lanolin and makes it so it’s spreadable.

I had to heat the ingredients on the stove at low heat to mix them. I never used it on slot tires though.The stuff would go back to a creamy form a when it was cooled to room temp.


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Tom Bagley

#4 John Streisguth

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Posted 03 January 2022 - 09:07 AM

I was going to say ethanol as well, that's a common practice for lubricating cartridge cases when reloading.

 

You may also want to look at some of the rubber rejuvinating products used on old typewriter rollers


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"Whatever..."

#5 mreibman

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Posted 03 January 2022 - 09:24 AM

ethanol will dry out rubber. that's why cars that use flex fuel replace the rubber hoses with something else.

 

Are you sure the common ingredient is lanolin? How do you know it's not glycerin or mineral oil? I suggest getting a cheap bottle of baby oil, which basically is glycerin and mineral oil - plus your tires will smell nice.

 

But beware..... all this stuff to make the rubber nicer will make the glue become not so nice.

 

- clean your tires of all the chemicals on them with naphtha.

- allow them to air dry

- Remove from car.

- treat with whatever you want to try

- seal tires in airtight package (tire tube, film cannister, ziploc bag, etc).

Let sit for a length of time, and check them out.

 

If they develop a "crust" then a light sanding should remove that crust.


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#6 gc4895

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Posted 03 January 2022 - 11:03 AM

This formula has been repeated here numerous times with the final composition only varying slightly from user to user. #1 - High SPF suntan lotion, about 80-85% of the total.( Why high SPF? No idea.) #2- Gasket/transmission sealant, 5-10% - this causes the rubber to swell (causes gaskets to swell). I like the Blue Devil brand. Too much will ruin the tires so use wisely. #3 - Wintergreen, 5-10%. Get it on the internet or over the counter from a pharmacy. Smells like slot car racing. I used to use this in the old days with STP to goo the track. Don't do that anymore with the advent of modern spray glue. Be sure and wipe off excess before hitting the track as initially it can make the tires quite slippery. As always, YMMV...
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#7 Mike Patterson

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Posted 03 January 2022 - 11:07 AM

How many pairs are we talking about, 3 or 4? Just pitch 'em. Once they dry out, they're pretty much toast.

 

FWIW, I keep my tires in their tubes, which are placed in a sealed container in the freezer. They'll keep for years in there.


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#8 Shruska55

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Posted 03 January 2022 - 11:23 AM

This formula has been repeated here numerous times with the final composition only varying slightly from user to user. #1 - High SPF suntan lotion, about 80-85% of the total.( Why high SPF? No idea.) #2- Gasket/transmission sealant, 5-10% - this causes the rubber to swell (causes gaskets to swell). I like the Blue Devil brand. Too much will ruin the tires so use wisely. #3 - Wintergreen, 5-10%. Get it on the internet or over the counter from a pharmacy. Smells like slot car racing. I used to use this in the old days with STP to goo the track. Don't do that anymore with the advent of modern spray glue. Be sure and wipe off excess before hitting the track as initially it can make the tires quite slippery. As always, YMMV...

Zinc Oxide Wikipedia Link. I believe Zinc Oxide is a major component in many sun screens and it appears to be a wonder element. Perhaps the higher SPFs have more of it.


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#9 Bill Seitz

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Posted 03 January 2022 - 01:28 PM

To the original question, I'd try any thin oil to thin the lanolin, like cooking or olive oil. These are less likely to evaporate than most solvents which includes oil of wintergreen, a plant-based solvent.

 

Like most everyone else, I used wintergreen eons ago when slot cars had either solid rubber tires or SBR synthetic foam rubber. I've been wary of using it on natural or wonder rubber, and it was despised long ago because it damages painted surfaces and plastics.

 

If zinc oxide is used in any sun screens, it's not a major component, and it's likely to clog the pores in the rubber and form a film on the surface not complimentary to good traction. Most sunscreens contain some oil or glycerin and 3 very nasty active ingredients that are bad for skin. I have no idea if these chemicals can do anything to rubber, but my suspicion is the oil or glycerin has the most effect on slot tires.

 

After learning the most of the commercial preparations used oil stop leak, I decided to try some of that. The one I bought is Bar's Oil Stop Leak Concentrate, and it does soften rubber slot car tires. it can make them at least one compound softer, but it makes the tire slippery until either all of the oily substance is absorbed or the excess is removed with a cloth or paper towel.

 

I'd have to concur with Mr.Patterson and not bother on any tires that are already hard and dry. While the tires may be brought back to soft again, I've yet to restore anything that was hard and dry to their original grip. After the effort and expending the rubber softener on them, they were still not good for anything but looking at.


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#10 Matt Sheldon

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Posted 03 January 2022 - 07:01 PM

This formula has been repeated here numerous times with the final composition only varying slightly from user to user. #1 - High SPF suntan lotion, about 80-85% of the total.( Why high SPF? No idea.) #2- Gasket/transmission sealant, 5-10% - this causes the rubber to swell (causes gaskets to swell). I like the Blue Devil brand. Too much will ruin the tires so use wisely. #3 - Wintergreen, 5-10%. Get it on the internet or over the counter from a pharmacy. Smells like slot car racing. I used to use this in the old days with STP to goo the track. Don't do that anymore with the advent of modern spray glue. Be sure and wipe off excess before hitting the track as initially it can make the tires quite slippery. As always, YMMV...

This is exactly what I have used with great success. However it typically only rejuvenates natural compounds. Most treated and wonder tires are hammered with MEK and when they dry out they no longer have the pour structure to absorb and soften.


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Matt Sheldon


#11 swodem

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 01:10 AM

Try WD40


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#12 crazyphysicsteacher

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 06:54 AM

Nutrogena spf50 suntan lotion I. The yellow/white bottle. Make sure it has moisturizer in it. Don't ask, just do.

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#13 Pablo

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 07:39 AM

Looks like lots of guys like to put stuff on tires to rejuvenate. Most will disagree with me. For what it's worth, I totally agree with Mike Patterson.

 

You can put any gook on them you want and you end up with old soft moisturized rubber. And if you run your cars at a commercial track, your gook gets on my tires and my car. 

 

I clean mine with lighter fluid and store them in a bottle. When they are worn and dry they go in the trash.


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Paul Wolcott


#14 Eddie Fleming

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 08:30 AM

IMO

 The only thing that works at all on dried out tires is putting them on a tire truer and cutting them down below the crust. That may or may not be possible.

 

If that leaves you a size you can use on something you run they may be practice tires or in some cases even race tires. If they are to small give them to someone that can use them or the rims.

 

Other than that trash them.


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Eddie Fleming

#15 Pablo

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 10:21 AM

Bingo


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#16 gotboostedvr6

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 01:49 PM

Eddie and Paul have the idea.


Many ignore the fact that drying is actually ozone and or uv degradation of the rubber. UV & Ozone resistance is very low with the rubber we use. You cant undo damage after its done. The performance reduction seen after storage cannot be undone.


Maybe someone cool has synthetic rubber coming to market soon that will solve this problem
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#17 Bucky

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 03:09 PM

I usually leave tires on a car after racing, and Ive noticed it typically takes a few laps to break them in again when I put the car back on the track. If I wipe the tire with sun tan lotion and clean that off with a rag before running the car again it doesnt need the same break in period. Is something else happening besides rehydrating of the very top layer of rubber?
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#18 Joe Mig

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 11:59 AM

Well I was thinking outside the box. This is something I just recently tried doing and I think it's going to work fine. Just take your car and wrap some of this clingy Saran wrap around them. Time will tell. But hey I'd say it's worth a try and it's totally different. Clean those tires and cut yourself some of that stuff and put it around the tire.

Let's hear some feedback on the thoughts.

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