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New DIY Rubber Rim Bumpers: inexpensive but superior protection for your rims

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by artsci, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    #1 artsci, Jul 11, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014
    With not-so-good experiences with the Alloy Gator Rim protection (see this thread) and disappointment with the other commercial alternatives available (cheap plastic devices that provide almost no protection) I came up with my own method of protecting my rim edges from curb rash and other sources of scrapes and scratches.

    I call it Rubber Rim Bumpers (RRB). Rubber Rim Bumpers consists of rubber cord glued (with high quality superglue) to the concave area on the tire where it grips the rim.

    Rubber Rim Bumpers provide several times the protection of the Alloy Gators and other commercial products and cost 1/5 the amount. They're also easier to apply and remove, blend in with the tires, won't show dirt or abrasions, and work with 21" and 19" wheels of any kind. The rubber cords are readily available online and and only need to be applied whenever the tires are replaced or removed. They can also be applied to tires and wheels that have been in use.


    On my Michelin Super Sport 21" tires 3/8' rubber cord fits the concave space perfectly, providing bumper-like protection for the rim.
    The rubber cords are Buna rubber, an artificial variety with very good abrasion resistance, compression rebound, chemical resistance, and other specs.

    The rubber cord is available from Grainger and is sold in number of sizes. The cord is also available from Ace Rubber. The cord is available in colors (made of silicone). As each brand of tire is different, other sizes may provide more effective protection. For example, on the 21" Continental tires a 7/16" or 1/2" rubber cord will work better.


    I started installation tonight and will finish it tomorrow. The first step was to thoroughly clean the edge of the rim and touch up any superficial scratches with Tesla's rim touch-up paint. I then careful used duct tape to tape the 3/8' rubber cord around the trim to measure the exact length needed then cut it to that length. I used that piece to measure and cut the pieces for the other three rims. As the rubber stretches and compresses a bit, perfection here is not necessary as the final perfect fit can be made on the wheel with a little stretching or compression.

    The two photos below show the concave area on the tire next to the rim edge that the rubber cord fits into.

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    These next photos show the rubber cord taped into place so that I could determine accurately the proper length.

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    It's not clear in the photos but the rubber cord in this position provides at least a 3/16 barrier outside the rim edge plane.

    When I glue the Rubber Rim Bumpers into place on the tires tomorrow I'll clean and dress the tires then post more pictures. I'll also deliberately scrape a curb to test them. I'm that confident.
     
  2. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Won't the superglue become hard and crack? (I don't know that is will happen, just speculating.)
     
  3. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    Not a problem with the Maxi-Cure stuff I use. Very little is used. I've used it on many applications with very few problems.
     
  4. redi

    redi 2013 P85+ with HumanPilot Technology

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    I am not familiar with Maxi-Cure but I thought I would pass along that I have used Loctite 414 on similar materials in a different project with good results.
     
  5. MoeMistry

    MoeMistry Local Vendor - SoCal

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    What happens when you replace tire? Does tire shop remove the RRB and then you re-glue the piece? When you re-glue, can you scrape the glue off to re-apply RRB to a clean substrate?
     
  6. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    :-o You're a brave man, well certainly braver than me! Fingers crossed.
     
  7. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    #7 artsci, Jul 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014
    You remove the RRB and put new ones on the new tires. They're so inexpensive why try to save them?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Finished the installation this am. It was very easy -- took about 20 minutes total. Working a 15" section at a time, I placed a dab of superglue every 1.5" along the concave part of the tire, and pressed the RRB in place. Evidently superglue loves rubber: it adheres immediately and the bond is very strong. Took the car out for a quick spin to be sure of the adhesion at speed (went up to 90mph) and there was no problem.

    As soon as I wash the car and dress the tires I'll post more photos and do my curb test.

    But a here are two photos to give a quick look at the amount of protection (the RRB outer edge is about at least 1/4" from the edge of the rim) and a quick peek at the general appearance of the RRB on the full rim. I couldn't be more pleased, especially since this solution is far superior to the expensive commercial products, most of which are cheap, ineffective plastic junk.

    DSC_5208.JPG

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    - - - Updated - - -

    Having worked with superglues of all kinds over the years, any good quality product will do the trick. Maxi-Cure (available on Amazon) is a thick slower setting kind, and it makes in installation much easier. The Loctite products are quality too but if they make a thicker version that's what I'd use.
     
  8. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    This is a very cool idea. I'm impressed. One question occurred to me: is there any way that the added rubber could interfere with removing the tire for the rim when it comes time to change tires? Then I realized that the wheel could be mounted on the tire removal machine so that it removed the tire from the rim starting on the inside of the wheel. So no issue there.

    I look forward to the results of the "scrape test"!
     
  9. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    #9 artsci, Jul 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014
    Thanks ecarfan. I don't think tire changes will be an issue. While the RRB's are held in place very well by the superglue, when it's time to change the tire some rigorous pulling where the ends meet will yank it loose, then the whole strip can be pulled off.
     
  10. MoeMistry

    MoeMistry Local Vendor - SoCal

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    Looks very good Rick!
     
  11. hbombdaddy

    hbombdaddy Member

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    Rick:

    Great idea!!!

    Just curious ............ would this work any better?

    It is an "o" ring already fused at the end? for a 21inch rim or available in different sizes?

    Buy Online | Phoenix Associates

    www.phoenixassociates.com/buy


    or maybe they could special manufacture something "special" for us .......

    howard in cincinnati
     
  12. gfountain1

    gfountain1 Member

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    Rim guards are for bad drivers and the elderly. With that said, I'll likely scrape a curb this week.
     
  13. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    I don't think a single unit "o-ring" would make installation any easier and might make it more difficult. The thickness/diameter of the ring itself needs to be at 3/8" and that spec wasn't provided on the Phoenix site.

    The pieces I ended up attaching were 72.325" long but the fit for each was a bit different and several had to be trimmed. Easy to do with a sharp heavy duty scissors.

    Here are a few more photos of the end results after the tires were dressed and wheels cleaned. I chickened out for the curb test (the curbs in my neighborhood are so high that the side of the front diffuser/fascia might have been damaged, even with the car at the highest level). But I did get the driver's side front wheel close enough to the curb to take a few photos that demonstrate the amount of protection from a typical curb. Bottom line is that these look like they're stock on the tires and not that noticeable from any distance.

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    At the curb. This photo shows how dangerously close the fascia was to the curb and why I didn't dare get any closer.

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  14. redi

    redi 2013 P85+ with HumanPilot Technology

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    I understand why the test was aborted.

    I have to wonder how compressible the rubber cord is with the the mass/weight of the ms behind it. I am not that familiar with the material. I am still interested in seeing how your solution works out in trials.

    I don't particularly like Alloy Gators much either, but I have them and they've saved me a couple times even though I am very, very careful around curbs. But they are indeed not compressible in the slightest.
     
  15. hbombdaddy

    hbombdaddy Member

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    It's not curbs I am worried about.

    What did 2 of my wheels in, was the metal rail at my favorite drive thru touchless car wash.

    My fault................

    I wonder how they would work for that.....


    howard in Cincinnati
     
  16. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    The compression rating is good to excellent whatever that means. I looked but can't find good definition.
     
  17. Zroiron

    Zroiron Poodle Pack Leader

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    I REEEALLY like this idea!
     
  18. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    #18 scaesare, Jul 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014
    The question I have is how they will perform when striking a curb (or the above-mentioned car-wash rail) at a very shallow angle, such as parallel parking, etc...

    In that scenario much of the force is going to be attempting to shear the rubber off "vertically", as opposed to trying to compress it "horizontally". It would be interesting to see how the glue holds... but tricky to test.

    Something like a 2x4 on edge against a curb with somebody spotting you might do it. Or get a sacrificial rim that's already chewed up.
     
  19. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    I like the 2x4 idea although it won't have the roughness of concrete. I'll try to give that a try.
     
  20. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    Yeah true... it might be sufficient to grab the rubber and see how much tendency there is to "roll" to off the glued position, however.

    Nice experiment, by the way... I'm watching to see how it works out before I buy a replacement Alloy Gator :)
     

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