When the time comes to change out the tire and/or tube in a stock tail wheel, the small diameter opening in the tire presents a real problem. First of all, in order to get the hub out of the tire, the valve stem on the tube, after it is deflated, has to be pushed back into the tire. That works pretty good.

However, after you get the new tube back into the tire and try to replace the hub, you find that you again have to push the valve stem back into the tire.

Now after you fight the hub back through the tire and tube, the valve stem is pretty much lost. And there isn’t enough room to get your fingers, past the hub and inside the tire to guide the valve stem through the hole in the hub.

A neat trick is to find an old valve cap with a flat top, without the protrusion used to screw out a valve.

Drill about a 3/32 hole in the center of the cap. Thread a length of nylon cord through the hole and tie a knot that will slide up into the threaded portion of the cap, but not go through the hole.

Now, after the tube is in the tire, screw the cap onto the valve stem and thread the cord up through the valve stem hole in the hub. Then work the hub through the tire and tube. While pulling on the cord, rotate the hub until it is in line with the stem, and then pull the cap and the stem up through the hole. Now you are ready to finish assembly of the hub with the other end of the hub and the snap ring.

Put the cap and the cord away in the “Special Stearman Tools” drawer until the next time.

Fig.1 - Replacing the tail wheel tube.

Fig.1 – Replacing the tail wheel tube.