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Source for Wire Wheel Balancing

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I need to get a set of tires balanced that are mounted on wire wheels. The mounting instructions from the manufacturer (Truespoke) are explicit in stating that the wheels must be balanced using an adapter that mounts through the lug holes, NOT the hub center hole. I have called many tire stores in my area (York, PA) and everyone says they used to have equipment with that capability but their current balancing machines do not.  Does anyone know of a tire shop that is familiar with wire wheel balancing in the York, PA area?  I should note that I recently purchased the car that these wheels are mounted on and noticed it seemed "jittery" when driving . I took off the wheels and found that they had NEVER been balanced when the wheels and tires were installed by the previous owner, probably because he couldn't find a shop to do it.  I'm almost at the point where I want to have the tires switched over to the original rims but I hate to give up on a beautiful set of $2000 wire wheels just because no one knows how to balance them.

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In your travels, watch out of the corner of your eye for one of the old Snap-On wheel balancers that you crank by hand. A shop I worked in years ago had one. It was a brand new machine at the time. In addition to the normally used cones and cups, it came with an adapter to center on wheel lugs just as you want to do. It wasn't specifically for wire wheels, as there are also other wheels that require it. Some French wheels have no large hole in the center, etc....

 

The machine looked like this looked like this:

 

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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Hummmmm. . .perhaps an old style bubble balancer would meet your needs?  

There is no spinning forces involved, all it needs to do is sit there. 

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I believe that the issue is not spinning forces but rather that the center hole of the wheel may not be the true center of the wheel. The lug holes determine the true running center of bolt on wheels be they wire or not.

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Do it yourself.  Loosen the front bearings so the wheel will revolve by itself.  If it stops twice or three times at the same spot the spot at the bottom is the heavy spot.  Put weights opposite and try again.  Probably better if you use two weights and put them three or four inches left and right of directly opposite.  If more than 1 ounce or so perhaps divide the weight between the front and back of the wheel.

To do the other wheels they would have to be moved to the front.  Slow job but worth it IF your wheels are out of balance.

I have balanced several friends wheels this way.

I have artillery wheels on my Pontiac and have only had to balance one set of tires in 60 years (400,000 miles).  I always mount my tires with the serial number opposite the valve stem.  I would think wire spoke wheels would be the same principle.

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I have used my bubble balancer to make usable some rather non-standard wheels.  

My 66 Ford 1 ton (dually) tow truck with split rims (tubes and flaps) came home from tire installation with a hell of a bounce. Huge center hole, too big for the cone on the balancer so I lined it up visually on the bubble balancer flange and put weights on the rim until the bubble was in the middle. Heavy assembly I think it used 4-5 ounces(?) but it was enough to smooth it out. 

 

Friend had a 35 Pierce Arrow very original car with new tires on original wires. Again an obvious out of balance tire.  I centered it visually on the bubble machine and because the wheel had no lip to hammer the weights to, I ended up putting them against the rim and securing them under the trim ring They stayed in place for the next 2-3 years that he had the car. 

 

Bubble machines may not be the absolute best, but I have found they get the job done. 

Edited by m-mman (see edit history)

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3 hours ago, m-mman said:

My 66 Ford 1 ton (dually) tow truck with split rims (tubes and flaps)

On a google search 90% of the images of split rims by common usage are not labeled properly.  Proper nomenclature eliminates most communication difficulties.

:Splitrims" are one piece rims with a split crosswise so the rim can be shrunk in diameter in order to mount/dismount a tire/tube/flap.

A two piece rim (without a lock ring) or three piece rim (with lock ring) as used on large vintage automobiles and on trucks without tubeless tires are properly called two piece or three piece rims, more commonly known as "Widow Makers.  These are the dangerous rims.  A split rim is a safe as anything mechanical can be.

split rim.jpg

widowmaker_05.jpg

Edited by Tinindian (see edit history)

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