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Balancing wire wheels

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parkerg1 Avatar
parkerg1 Gary Parker
Grand Island, Ne., USA   USA
1951 MG TD
1961 Triumph TR3A
1998 BMW Z3
Just curious, has anybody had any experience with the Harbor Freight bubble balancer? I am ordering a new set of 60 spoke chrome wheels for my TR3, and have thought about buying the HB tire mounting machine, and bubble balancer. I hate to think about letting a tire dealer mess with the new wheels, and have not found a local source for balancing wire wheels. Maybe this is another way to go.
Gary

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Pat.L Avatar
Pat.L Silver Member Patrick Ledford
New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, USA   USA
I do not have a comment on the bubble machine but I did purchase the HF tire mounting machine and while working ok for lug attached tires it did not work well on removal of tires from two wire wheels that had knock offs. The manual tire mounting machine has a pin which goes into the lug hole to keep the wheel form moving. The tires I removed were very old and were hard as a rock, newer softer tires may be easier.

Find a tire dealer with the newer mounting machines. The newer machines grab the rim from the bottom inside allowing the wheel to rotate and the mounting arm does not ride on the wheels rim.

From what I have read wire wheels should be balanced on the car, but finding a garage that still does that is rare. I run the beads in my TR8 and seem to work well but not sure how they will work on a wire wheel. If you are going tubeless the beads may work.

In reply to # 1478493 by parkerg1 Just curious, has anybody had any experience with the Harbor Freight bubble balancer? I am ordering a new set of 60 spoke chrome wheels for my TR3, and have thought about buying the HB tire mounting machine, and bubble balancer. I hate to think about letting a tire dealer mess with the new wheels, and have not found a local source for balancing wire wheels. Maybe this is another way to go.
Gary



Patrick
1980 TR8 DHC TPVDV8AT209637
1957 TR-3 Under restoration TS20462LO
Western Pennsylvania Triumph Association
North Coast Triumph Association
TWOA

ArtL Avatar
ArtL Art Liefke
Kings Park, New York, USA   USA
As I answered in the British Car Forum and put here for the info to those who might not go there...

"Back in the sixties, I used to go to Bridgehampton race track to watch the road races. A lot of big races there, and pit access was pretty lax. I used to watch the pit crews mount and balance tires. They all used bubble balancers. I had one myself and it worked just fine. Don't know what happened to it, which is a good thing, as I might have been tempted to do what you want to do.

As it was, I was faced with the same problem as you when I wanted to get new, and wider wire wheels for my TR3. I called Hendrix Wire Wheel and had the wires I wanted dropped shipped from Moss (Hendrix didn't have what I wanted in stock at the time). I bought the tires from Hendrix, he mounted them, redid the runout on the new wires...he likes to keep the tolerances tighter than the manufacturer, balanced and then shaved the new tires to run true. All for what seemed like a lot of money, but after putting them on the car and driving at speeds that could've got me locked up, I realized that it was worth every penny I paid. These things are as smooth as glass at any speed."



Art


Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. - Benjamin Franklin

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Born Loser Avatar
Born Loser Silver Member Matthew Taylor
Land O Lake, Florida, USA   USA
Of course this issue comes up - its a common problem these days. No experience with the bubble balancer, but, for what its worth (and its worth what you paid for it!), here is what I do. I correct the true and run out of the wheel - mounted on the car. I set up a heavy floor jack, and use the magnet on my dial caliper. That, and some chalk (or masking tape), and adjust the rims to as true as possible, The spokes are in groups of 3 - in the picture, you see that 1 and 2 are inboard, and 3 is out board. Always loosen as much as you tighten. So, if the numbered spoke area was coming out too far (as measured by the dial caliper, while rotating the tire), I would loosen number 3 spoke 1/2 turn, and tighten number 1 and 2 spokes 1/4 turn. If it was out of round, with the area marked 1,2 and 3 being too tall, I would loosen the group of 3 opposite 1/4 turn, and then tighten these 3, 1/4 turn. That takes care of MOST of the balancing needed.

Then, once the new rubber is on, I take them to an English car specialist (Glens MG) - he has an old MGA hub adapter - he just cut it off, so it could mount in a regular tire balancing machine. The wheels just go on the splines, the knock off is tightened, and they are spun as normal. Works just fine.



Matthew
1960 Triumph TR3a
1970 Triumph Spitfire MK 3
2012 Mini Cooper SS Convertible


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kirks-auto Platinum Member Robert Kirk
Davenport, Iowa, USA   USA
Your best bet is to have your wheel balanced on the vehicle using a rotational machine. HF may be affordable but they are not known for quality. In the case of a bubble balancer I doubt even they can screw that up and it is a good OLD way of tire/wheel balancing. Modern equipment however does a far better job. Do a search and learn about lead weights that attach to spokes which won't potentially damage the chrome on the wheel rim. They are like the old split shot fishing line weights but made not to fly off under centrifugal forces. Any wheel can be balanced on a spin balancer that serves mounted wheels.

This isn't the best pic but it gives you the idea. A machine is run up under the tire with the car in the air to spin the mounted tire. Truck tire service shops would use this.



Regards,
Robert Kirk

kirkbrit@yahoo.com

Business phone 563 323 1017
Orders only please 800 547 5747
cell, if you must, and I know where it is 563 940 1864

http://kirks-auto.com

Moss distributor UK importer
Beat or match any retail/delivered quote



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-08-22 05:17 PM by kirks-auto.


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ArtL Avatar
ArtL Art Liefke
Kings Park, New York, USA   USA
Here's another cheap way to add weights for balancing wire wheels...solder. Use the solid core stuff.





Art


Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. - Benjamin Franklin

6TTR3A Frank Conklin
San Diego,CA, USA   USA
Here's what I did.
Every tire place has a spin balance r but they don't "chuck' it up properly
I took a junk spindle and nut. I found out later I should have used a junk knock-off
instead of a nut.
Put the spindle with the nut attached on a lathe, cut a hole in the nut almost the size of the
internal threads, then cut a taper on the hole. Mount it on a wheel and now I have a set-up
that will chuck properly on anyone's spin balance r.
I should have used a knock-off since that nut tends to tighten up on the
spindle and I needed a giant pipe wrench to loosen it. If I had a knock-off I could have
whacked away with a hammer!

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Tr34250stag Michael S
San Antonio, Florida, USA   USA
Then there is this:


Wheel balancing beads

kirks-auto Platinum Member Robert Kirk
Davenport, Iowa, USA   USA
In reply to # 1479391 by Tr34250stag Then there is this:


Wheel balancing beads

While a few sellers will make the claim beads work on cars they most likely will not. If they did my bet is every owner of wire wheels would have bought into the scheme. I got in touch with the OEM manufacturer in Canada who specifically created them for Semi trailers who simply said car radials flex too much and the molded chevrons on the inside of the tire prevent beads from working properly. Because motorcycle tires are made to run on their side walls they may work in that application. The initial purpose however is/was for 16 tires trailing the steer axle.



Regards,
Robert Kirk

kirkbrit@yahoo.com

Business phone 563 323 1017
Orders only please 800 547 5747
cell, if you must, and I know where it is 563 940 1864

http://kirks-auto.com

Moss distributor UK importer
Beat or match any retail/delivered quote

. Hide banner ads & support this website by becoming a > Gold Supporting Member <
parkerg1 Avatar
parkerg1 Gary Parker
Grand Island, Ne., USA   USA
1951 MG TD
1961 Triumph TR3A
1998 BMW Z3
Well the new wires are on the way. I have decided that I am going to try dismounting, and remounting with a couple of tire irons. If that doesn't work, will try the HF machine. I am also going to try the bubble balancer. If that doesn't work, may try Franks method of making a balancer fixture. Any way, I have way more time than money, so will let you know how it goes.

Gary

CJD john durant
Southlake, Texas, USA   USA
Installing the tires with the irons is not a bad job at all. Removing tires that have been on the rim for a few years can be a real bear. It is very difficult to break the bead loose.



John
Southlake, TX

'55 TR2

parkerg1 Avatar
parkerg1 Gary Parker
Grand Island, Ne., USA   USA
1951 MG TD
1961 Triumph TR3A
1998 BMW Z3
In reply to # 1479880 by CJD Installing the tires with the irons is not a bad job at all. Removing tires that have been on the rim for a few years can be a real bear. It is very difficult to break the bead loose.

Shouldn't be a problem, new radials have only been on for about 2 months.

Gary

parkerg1 Avatar
parkerg1 Gary Parker
Grand Island, Ne., USA   USA
1951 MG TD
1961 Triumph TR3A
1998 BMW Z3
Well the new wheels arrived, and I put them on today. I got lucky, and a friend had a bubble balancer left from 30 years ago when he had a gas station. Took a little cleaning up, but it worked great. I did buy the mounting machine from HF, and it did a reasonable job. Better than doing it on the floor with tire irons, which I also bought 2 of from HF. Probable could not mount or dismount with out them anyway. Even with the machine. I bolted the machine down to my lift, which also worked good. Took a picture, but forgot to take it before I put the lift up. Oh well. Any way, I took the car for a ride, and took it up to about 70 mph, and smooth as glass. One more question. At about 3850 rpm, my speedometer is reading 65 mph. Is that about right? Seems a little slow, but I don't have a smart phone with GPS, so I cant check it.
By the way, the balancer is about 60 years old, and looks exactly like the one from HF.


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CJD john durant
Southlake, Texas, USA   USA
The new wheels look great!



John
Southlake, TX

'55 TR2

DEW Avatar
DEW Silver Member Dennis White
Brandon, Manitoba, Canada   CAN
My car without overdrive runs about 3500 rpm at 70 mph and I have checked the speedo with gps. By my guess you would be in excess of 80 mph at 3850 rpm.

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