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DIY: Wheel Balancing Scratch Free

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Old 05-28-2010, 01:43 AM   #1
haole kama'a-ina
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DIY: Wheel Balancing Scratch Free

This is a follow up to DIY Tire Changing Scratch Free.

Start with a No Mar Cone Pack #6. This comes with a 1/2" Acme threaded rod and 3 balancing cones. The two large cones will be used for car wheels. The small one is for ATV wheels, etc. The Cone Pack is about $84.00 and these precision parts are well worth it.

From the hardware store, get two 1/2" bronze sleeves about 1" long ($4.00). The sleeves slip over the Acme rod for smoother turning.



From Harbor Freight get the Motorcycle Wheel Balancing Stand (item 98488 about $60.00) and one pack each of Wheel Weights: 1/2 oz (item 67226 $5.00) and 1/4 oz (item 67225 $4.00).

Remove the bearings and brackets from the balancer. Cut a small vee-notch in both of the brackets on the straight side:



This will allow the No Mar threaded rod to ride freely on the bearings without binding. Cutting on the straight side allows you to install the brackets pointed side up for use with the HF balancer rod and notch side up for use with the No Mar balancer rod.

Here you can see the clearance created for the No Mar rod by the notch. I cut these deeper than needed because it was an easier angle to cut at:



Reassemble the balancer and set the No Mar rod onto the bearings using the bronze sleeves to cover the threads. With the wheel weights and some Scotch tape we are open for business:



With one cone on the rod, place the flat side against the back hub of the wheel. Set the cone so that the wheel will ride near the end of the rod.



Screw the tapered end of the other cone into the face of the wheel. The cones will automatically center. Don't overtighten and gouge the cones -- they are precision plastic. Turn to snug and stop:



Setting the wheel near the end of the rod keeps it close to one balancer support arm, preventing the rod from bending much, (although a slight bend is likely and will not affect balancing).

Clean all previous weights, stickers and dirt from the wheel and tire. (This tire has a sticker because it's not actually being balanced.) Slip the bronze sleeves over the rod ends and set the wheel on the balancer with the sleeves riding on the bearings:



Now give the wheel a slight spin (gently, one turn). It should turn freely and rock to a stop with the heaviest part down. Temporarily Scotch tape a 1/4 oz weight to the top center (lightest part) of the rim and spin again. If it continues to stop in the same spot, gradually add weight until the wheel stops ramdomly.

When satisfied that the wheel is balanced, clean the attachment spots with alcohol and peel and stick the weights. If several 1/4 oz weights were required, switch to the 1/2 oz as needed. This is not dynamic balancing so the weights can be stuck to either towards the inside or outside of the rim, but be sure to place them so that a weight will not strike the caliper if it starts to peel and fly away.

The stick-on wheel weights do not go on the lip or vertical edge of the rim, where one would expect to find clamp-on weights. The red zone is where they could strike the caliper if they peel up. They go on the wide inside surface in the green weight zone.



Do a little internet research on using balancers (check the motorcycle forums) and with some practice this goes very well. This balancer set-up will do wheel tire combos up to 11" wide (275 mm section width) and 29.5" tall. For added height just screw small pieces of 2x4 between the balancer base and the arms.

This is simple balancing without dynamic or road force capability, but also without the slam, bang of tire shops or the expense. Use a quality wheel and a quality tire. Observe the yellow dot, red dot instructions from the manufacturer and the wheel should run very smoothly. Quality products balance very easily.


Shops typically charge about $15.00 per wheel for balancing. Total cost of this set-up is about $160.00 and of course, scratch free.
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Old 08-27-2010, 10:21 AM   #2
haole kama'a-ina
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Update.

The bronze sleeves on the threaded rod have proved to be too soft. The balancer bearings cut into them.

I replaced them with 1/2" steel sleeves from a local machine shop (about $2.00) and all is well.
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 737 Jock View Post
... This is simple balancing without dynamic or road force capability, but also without the slam, bang of tire shops or the expense. Use a quality wheel and a quality tire. Observe the yellow dot, red dot instructions from the manufacturer and the wheel should run very smoothly. Quality products balance very easily. ...
This is an old thread, but I do have a curiosity question. My new OEM type Michelins do have a RED dot, but I do not find any kind of marking on the RDX OEM wheels from 2009. My 1980 Datsun steel wheels had a silver paint dot on the wheel.

And the Michelins do not have a YELLOW dot. Perhaps the OP will comment some day, on the use of the RED and YELLOW dots. Yes, I have read online articles discussing their use, but Michelin does not comment, so far as I can find, on their use. And again, there does not seem to be any marking on the OEM wheels.
==========

I replaced four OEM style RDX Michelin tires last month, and had them force-balanced. Based on what I have read, the objective is less than a reading of 0.025 (inches). My four readings were: 0.007, 0.012, 0.016, and unknown. That was without any adjustment, after mounting and weight-balancing the tires.

The last force-value was unknown, because when there are two or more people working on my car, I have to be fast on my feet to check that each is performing the task to my requested requirements - which in this case was a Force Reading < 0.019 inches. The tech did claim the value was under 0.019, I just did not observe the value myself.

Two of the wheels required only a small weight on the inside rim-edge, none at all on the rim-flat. The tire tech doing the balancing said that is not unusual for Michelin tires. That is why they are my preferred brand.
==============

Yes, I often drive the tire techs to distraction (crazy?) - this time the service manager used his very new tire changer. And the manager himself changed all four tires. I did not catch the name of the tire-machine, but was told it was procured for the Mercedes and Bentleys that visit the shop. The machine was purchased because it is less likely to damage the rims of very wide wheels.

There was a V12 turbo Merc that came in during my tire change.

The tire machine held the wheel/tire horizontally during the entire tire removal and change, and the vertical hold with shovels to "break" the tire bead typical of other machines I have seen, was replaced on this machine with another type of device - rotating wheels run against the tire bead, next to the rim edge.

Sorry, wish I could report the name or post a pic - quite an interesting machine for those like myself who like tech.

==========
The method described in this thread is how I used to balance my bike wheels, both the motorcycle kind and the pedal kind
---eof
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcmodels
This is an old thread, but I do have a curiosity question. My new OEM type Michelins do have a RED dot, but I do not find any kind of marking on the RDX OEM wheels from 2009. My 1980 Datsun steel wheels had a silver paint dot on the wheel.

And the Michelins do not have a YELLOW dot. Perhaps the OP will comment some day, on the use of the RED and YELLOW dots.
Most new wheels no longer have a mark or stamp to indicate weight and runout locations. However, the hole drilled for the valve stem obviously becomes the lightest section of the wheel -- this has held true for every wheel I have balanced. Then, the addition of the valve stem, typically makes that the heaviest section of the wheel -- this has also been consistent.

My research shows that most manufacturers now drill the valve hole at the lowest radial runout section of the wheel -- making the valve location both the lowest weight and the lowest radial runout.

Most tire manufacturers still employ the color-coded dots, but there is no standard for their meaning.

In general:

The yellow dot is usually referencing the lightest weight section of the tire. It is placed next to the valve stem to offset the weight of the valve stem.

The red dot is usually referencing the radial force high point (radial runout) of the tire. The red dot would then be placed at the wheel's lowest radial runout. The red dot then also goes next to the valve stem.

What if there are both red and yellow dots? Then "red rules". Place the red dot at the valve stem as radial force causes more vibration than weight variances, and weight variances can be balanced out more easily than runout.

When I buy a new tire, I will research, call or email the tire manufacturer, and have had mixed success getting the information on their color dot codes. It depends on the company and the person one gets to talk to. (Alan Turing may have had an easier time with the Enigma code.)

My (very knowledgeable) tire guy has had the best success placing the dots at the valve stem (red rules) and then smoothing the rest out on a Hunter road-force balancer.

Last edited by 737 Jock; 06-25-2013 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 737 Jock View Post
Most new wheels no longer have a mark or stamp to indicate weight and runout locations. ...
Thanks for the reply - have you read the article in the Jan 2008 Acura ServiceNews Article, which is part 4 of a 5-part article? part 4 concentrates on wheel/ tire balance. I will not comment on the article, other than to mention that part 4 describes 'matching' the wheel/ tire combo to the heavy-spot of the disk-rotor/ hub combo, for improved driving 'smoothness'. For others reading this, remember that all of the ServiceNews bulletins are somewhere on this AcuraZine gen-1 RDX forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 737 Jock View Post
... However, the hole drilled for the valve stem obviously becomes the lightest section of the wheel -- this has held true for every wheel I have balanced. Then, the addition of the valve stem, typically makes that the heaviest section of the wheel -- this has also been consistent.

My research shows that most manufacturers now drill the valve hole at the lowest radial runout section of the wheel -- making the valve location both the lowest weight and the lowest radial runout. ...
This seems to be saying the opposite? Anyway, I find this so confusioning that I do not think any definitive conclusion can be reached, simply because on the RDX OEM wheel, the tire stem is actually the TPMS sensor, and then the OEM wheel has a weight cast into the opposing wheel spoke (opposite the tire stem/ TPMS sensor).

I think it depends upon how carefully the wheel manuf chooses the balancing weight cast into the wheel spoke, that is opposite the tire TPMS - I hope I got the acronym correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 737 Jock View Post
... Most tire manufacturers still employ the color-coded dots, but there is no standard for their meaning. ... My (very knowledgeable) tire guy has had the best success placing the dots at the valve stem (red rules) and then smoothing the rest out on a Hunter road-force balancer.
Your comments on the color dots are consistent with what I have read - thanks anyway. Your comment on the RED dot/ valve stem, makes me want to check how my own tires were mounted last time. I know that the dots were actually ignored during mounting, so what I mean, is that I will check the mounting position of the RED dots against the Road Force measurement achieved for each tire. That is, was the lowest Road Force measurement on a specific tire, relative to how close the RED dot was to the tire stem?

I will report back on this. And in any case, this is something for me to consider the next time I have my tires balanced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 737 Jock View Post
... When I buy a new tire, I will research, call or email the tire manufacturer, and have had mixed success getting the information on their color dot codes. It depends on the company and the person one gets to talk to. (Alan Turing may have had an easier time with the Enigma code.) ...
Yes, indeed. One email that I sent to Michelin, responded with info contradicting what was on their web site. In fairness, the other e-mail response was direct to my question, but was not actually useful.

Still, 30 years ago, no useful information could be obtained, before the internet and email, unless you actually knew a real engineer personally.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcmodels
have you read the article in the Jan 2008 Acura ServiceNews Article, which is part 4 of a 5-part article? part 4 concentrates on wheel/ tire balance.
I keep getting a "not authorized". What does it say about identifying weight/runout parts of the wheel? That would be good stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcmodels
This seems to be saying the opposite? Anyway, I find this so confusioning that I do not think any definitive conclusion can be reached, simply because on the RDX OEM wheel, the tire stem is actually the TPMS sensor, and then the OEM wheel has a weight cast into the opposing wheel spoke
To clarify:

When I put a wheel on the balancer without the valve stem (or TPMS sensor) the valve hole is the lightest part of the wheel. This is because of the removed metal where the hole is drilled.

When I insert the valve stem (or TPMS sensor) it then becomes the heaviest part of the wheel.

I acknowledge that the OEM wheel has a cast weight in the opposite spoke, but my experience has shown:
valve hole without valve = lightest
valve hole with valve = heaviest.

My research has shown that most manufacturers now locate the lowest radial runout and then drill the valve hole in that location. This places the lowest weight and the lowest runout in the same location on the wheel before the valve is installed.

I don't know what the opposing cast weight is meant to equal, but it seems to be less than the TPMS sensor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcmodels
I know that the dots were actually ignored during mounting, so what I mean, is that I will check the mounting position of the RED dots against the Road Force measurement achieved for each tire. That is, was the lowest Road Force measurement on a specific tire, relative to how close the RED dot was to the tire stem?
My tire guy will start with the red dot on the valve stem and then move it as needed to reduce road force. He does acknowedge that some shops just slap the tire on and check road force only if the customer complains about vibration, because many high quality tires are within road force limits regardless of dot position.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 737 Jock View Post
I keep getting a "not authorized". What does it say about identifying weight/runout parts of the wheel? That would be good stuff. ...

TO OPEN ANY OF THE FOLLOWING, first open here then (open any link – optional under some unknown conditions). This instruction is given on one or more of the 1-4 links just below.
http://estore.honda.com/acura/accessories/installation-instructions/list.asp?year=2011&model=TL&modelName=TL

1) https://acurazine.com/forums/showthread.php?t=771750 - TSBs and Service News from 2006 onward
2) https://acurazine.com/forums/showthread.php?t=821930 - TSBs released during 2010, 2011, 2012
3) https://acurazine.com/forums/showthread.php?t=588838 - Service News back to mid '90s, this has the link (just above) that allows access
4) https://acurazine.com/forums/showthread.php?t=728064 - TSBs for MDX


Quote:
Originally Posted by 737 Jock View Post
... My research has shown that most manufacturers now locate the lowest radial runout and then drill the valve hole in that location. This places the lowest weight and the lowest runout in the same location on the wheel before the valve is installed. ...

Without intending to argue, I will simply observe that the OEM RDX wheel tire stem hole has been drilled so that the counter-weight can be cast into an opposing wheel ‘spoke’. I will acknowledge, and actually hope, that the position of the valve stem has been chosen as ‘close’ as possible to the lowest runout position on the wheel.

I have not yet had a chance to check how my own RDX tires were positioned during mounting, the last time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 737 Jock View Post
... I don't know what the opposing cast weight is meant to equal, but it seems to be less than the TPMS sensor. ...

Quoting from the FSM. I would include the page number but every year FSM differs. Anyway, its in the TPMS section, of the 2007-2009 FSM which I have. (C) and (D) refer to the corresponding line drawing in the FSM.
“... and a counterweights (C) cast into the opposite side of the spoke to balance the weight of the tire pressure sensor (D).”

The “opposite side of the spoke” simply means the back-side of the wheel, the side towards the center of the car.
-----eof
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:29 AM   #8
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TO OPEN ANY OF THE FOLLOWING, first open here then (open any link
Thank you, that worked. I have never matched the wheel to the rotor disc, because vibration has never been that much of a problem -- the RDX has been very smooth with the tires I have used. Matching to the rotor disc requires leaving the wheel unbalanced by less than 5 grams; not so easy to do. Nonetheless, that is very good info, as is the followup article on radial force variation in Feb 2008.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcmodels
Without intending to argue, I will simply observe that the OEM RDX wheel tire stem hole has been drilled so that the counter-weight can be cast into an opposing wheel ‘spoke’
Yeah, I don't know how Honda specs their wheels. My observation is simply that the sensor has been the heaviest, on a clean wheel with no weight.
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