Tire/wheel balancing at home

I am a tool freak lol. Also, I live in the country with the nearest
town about 12 miles away and that one is a small one with only 1-2
shops other than wal mart that can change tires or repair flats.
Is it economically feasable to mount and balance car tires at home? Is
a used balancer on craigslist easy to come by? Is a professional tire
mounter necessary or would one of those TSC manual tire changers
suffice? I also have seen those bubble balancers but have heard they
dont work well for balancing automotive tires. Is this true? My wife
is needing some tires on her escape and it got me thinking. You can
actually order tires online but not sure if it is a huge cost savings
compared to wal mart or not. Part of the reasoning is my time.
Everything around here closes at noon on Saturday and Saturday seems
to be my only day available anymore.
Reply to
stryped
Loading thread data ...
I got an old Coates tire machine at an old service station auction. Very handy addition to my tool list. Smaller tires on today's big rims are actually harder to do, might be tuff on a hand machine.
I use the bubble balancer. they work great, the trouble with them is they are slow and putsy. Business went to dyanimic balancing mostly because of speed to do one tire and little training to get it right.
The biggest problem I've had with my own tire changing system is getting rid of the old tires, they build up.
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend
I made a truck tire balancer on my lathe consisting of a plug that fits the center hole in the rim, with a bolt through the middle center-drilled for the female balance pivot, and an upright hardened and pointed pin as the male pivot. The bolt raises or lowers the tire to adjust sensitivity.
I hadn't noticed that a concealed shock mount had rusted out and balanced the tires to better than ~1/2 ounce to cure the vibration.
jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Are you looking for a dynamic spin balancer? Most I have seen are pretty pricey.
If you order tires online I would recommend getting pricing from multiple places for mounting and balancing. At work (a tire manufacturing plant) we get an employee discount but we have to buy our tires online through tirerack.com. The plant checked several local places for tire installation, the lowest price they found was $10 per tire for mounting and balancing, this was from a car dealer. I was surprised that a car dealer was lower than Wal-Mart but I think Wal-Marts service may include lifetime rotation and balance.
Around 35 or so years ago my brother worked at a filling station, they did tire changing and balancing, I went there and helped some. All they had at first was a tire changer similar to TSC's manual changer, it worked fine but the soap seemed to be the key ingredient. Soap up the bead and it worked, try without the soap and it was very difficult if not impossible.
We have automatic machines at work that check tire balance, they have a spindle with load cells and an encoder. For calibrating it spins the spindle without a tire and records the load cell readings at encoder spindle positions. Then we place a calibration weight on one side of the stepped chuck (wheel) and it "learns" the difference. Then the weight is placed on the other side and it "learns" that difference. In operation it uses the calibration data and magic math to determine the tires out of balance amount and angle.
If you're looking for a project you could come up with an encoded spindle that runs in bearings mounted to load cells. Then a couple of load cell amps, and encoder interfaced to a controller to take readings of each load cell at various angles, figure out the math and indicate a balance weight and position for the light side. Our older style auto-balancer uses an airplane tire to contact the spindle and spin it up to speed, then the airplane tire retracts so the spindle if free wheeling, keeps motors, belts, pulleys, from messing with the balance reading. The newer style balancers seem to have a direct drive servo motor.
RogerN
Reply to
RogerN
Roger, Can you order online and specify a different shipping address?
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend
Yes, a co-worker ordered a few sets of tires and had them shipped to his brothers store since there is someone there all day. The biggest danger would be if you were to get a bad tire and have to ship it back, the savings would probably be lost.
RogerN
Reply to
RogerN
Armstrong tire changer is fine - and a bubble balancer will do a great job of "static" balancing a wheel. What it cannot do is a "dynamic" ballance - which ballances the tire from inside to outside as well. Great for rear tires, but sometimes you need dynamic on the front to eliminate shimmy.
Reply to
clare
. You can
I will not buy a new tire sight unseen from anybody. Some years ago I was part of an electrical crew that wired a new tire dealership. It took a couple of truck loads of new tires to fill his racks. The tires were unloaded and put in the racks by a temporarily hired crew of laborers. He found out later that the distributor had sent him all of his inventory of returned new tires. They looked new but were almost impossible to balance. The correct way to receive a shipment tires is to examine every one for take off marks and refuse delivery.
Reply to
Usual suspect
While I have no independent proof, I think my pinpoint balancer that supports the wheel barely above its three-dimensional center of gravity detects dynamic unbalance when the wheel is rotated. IIRC it wobbled when spun by hand, after arranging the weights for static balance.
While I was adjusting the balance I noticed the rusted-out shock mount. I replaced the spring hanger and probably made the truck much less sensitive to imbalance.
jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Yup. I got a bum tire from them a few years ago and had to fork over the price difference.
Ouch.
--Winston
Reply to
Winston
(...)
"take off marks" ?
Sidewall or bead scrapes indicating the tire had been mounted previously?
--Winston
Reply to
Winston
I can not believe you can do a good job without a $$$$ spin-balancer.
Mart-of-Walls has a "lifetime balancing" warranty on new tires they mount. Bring in the tirerack tires.
Be prepared for their tactics, however. They will be too busy; leave the car. The tires are too old, they are dry rotting. They are too bald, you must buy new ones. I stood them down on each.
Reply to
David Lesher
I have used a manual tire changer (looks just like the one HF sells but in green). Never had a problem with any of the normal tires from lawn tractor up to 21" Had done them before that with a bead breaker and a pair of irons. I do use regular tire lube (basically it's the same stuff as KY just more liquid) For balancing I use a bubble balancer. The thing with them is that you HAVE to pay attention to what you're doing. Clean the seat on the rim very well and make sure the center hole is OK. I actually liked the one I had for a while that didn't seat on the center hole, it had cones that seated in the lug nut holes instead. With either one start out with them on a level surface. The instructions tell you that level isn't really needed because they run on a point but it does make it easier. Do invest in a set of weight pliers they make it much easier to remove and add weight. When you do balance the tire put it on the balancer, set the weight in place (not clipped on though) then pick the tire straight up and rotate the balancer then set the tire back down and check it. if it is still OK then clip the weights (split the weight front and back on the rim, not all on one side.
My usual procedure is to remove the tire/rim from the vehicle. strip the weights, clean the seat area and lug seats. Then remove the tire and clean the entire rim. Now set the bare rim on the balancer. With a stem in it should be just a bit heavy on the stem side. Now remove the old stem, clean that hole and install the new stem. (unless it has TPMS) Set the tire in place and apply some lube. Install the tire and wipe any excess lube/dirt off. Check the treads for dirt/stickers/crud. Then balance the tire. Install the weights and install the tire/rim back on the vehicle.
Ordering tires online works BUT you can also hit Wal~Marts site and have them do a site to store sale and get a LOT of different tires they don't stock normally. Saves a LOT of shipping money. They will install/balance them as well. Just be sure the tires match the tires on the vehicles door tag. They have a policy of not installing tires if the tag doesn't match for liability reasons.
Reply to
Steve W.
Those as well as any indication of odd tags since there are a lot of ID marks on the tags that need to match the tire.
Reply to
Steve W.
OIC. Thanks.
--Winston
Reply to
Winston
I've also found that on 4WD, they will only install two tires of the same size as what's already on.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus
formatting link
.
They will install/balance them as well. Just be sure the tires match the tires on the vehicles door tag. They have a policy of not installing tires if the tag doesn't match for liability reasons.
Reply to
Stormin Mormon
I've done it. JC Whitney used to have a tire balancer, which had a bubble in the center. One friend of mine had one, so I ordered one. The one they shipped was junk, and broke instantly under use. Farm and Garden place may have a reasonable one. Sometimes you may be able to find one sale, used.
Mounting and dismounting can be done with a bumper jack, heavy vehicle for break down. Couple of tire spoons, or big screw drivers.
Farmer Bob, friend of mine, since retired. Used to mount his own tires cause he could have it done in the same ammount of time as going to town.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus
formatting link
.
I am a tool freak lol. Also, I live in the country with the nearest town about 12 miles away and that one is a small one with only 1-2 shops other than wal mart that can change tires or repair flats.
Is it economically feasable to mount and balance car tires at home? Is a used balancer on craigslist easy to come by? Is a professional tire mounter necessary or would one of those TSC manual tire changers suffice? I also have seen those bubble balancers but have heard they dont work well for balancing automotive tires. Is this true? My wife is needing some tires on her escape and it got me thinking. You can actually order tires online but not sure if it is a huge cost savings compared to wal mart or not. Part of the reasoning is my time. Everything around here closes at noon on Saturday and Saturday seems to be my only day available anymore.
Reply to
Stormin Mormon
Can't
Reply to
clare
Jim, do you already split the weight (using half inside and half outside the rim) when you balance? That can fix quite a few of the dynamic imbalances by itself. Another trick is to split large weights (3+ ounces, more often found on older truck tires) into two different lots set about 25 degrees apart, centered on either side of the imbalance (or 4, 2in/2out.) Man, I haven't thought about doing that for 30 years... Luckily, new tires seldom have very large imbalances. But if someone stands on the brakes and doesn't have anti-skid, flat spots really screw the balance...and roundness of the tire. =:0
Yeah, most likely.
-- With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice. -- Oprah Winfrey
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Methinks this guy was pushing a Little Too Hard for a really deep discount on that big order, and the warehouse decided to teach him a lesson. Big question being was this the only warehouse in the region? If they literally were the only game in town you have to do it their way, or don't deal with them at all...
That trick would NOT work here in Los Angeles, there are several big tire warehouses in the region competing with each other for price and delivery, and if one won't deal with you the others certainly will.
And it also proves that you really need to get a decent dynamic balancer, because you might be able to get the bubble balanced on a static balancer but a dynamic balance issue (one side heavier) like all those Return To Vendor tires had would drive you nuts.
Even an old Dynamic balance machine like a buddy has with the markings almost totally worn off the faceplate would be plenty. When it tells you to put 10 ounces on the outside and another 10 ounces 180-degrees off on the inside edge, there's a problem with the tire...
But if all you are mounting the tires on is plain steel car and truck rims, you really don't need the fancy and expensive"Touchless" tire changers - an old Coats 20-20 would be fine.
-->--
Reply to
Bruce L. Bergman (munged human readable)

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.