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Randall

Pittsburgh Portable Static Bubble Wheel Balancer

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Here lately been having no luck trying to get a good wheel/tire balance on my Jeep. Either the balance is not quite right, lug-nuts getting cross-threaded on lugs or lug-nuts being over-torqued by impacts possibly stretching lug threads. Last week I purchased the Pittsburgh Portable Wheel Balancer (old-school bubble view) and low and behold it balanced all 4 of my Jeep tires beautifully :thumbsupanim First time I've ever balanced my own tires...quite easy with good results. I like the satisfaction of "wrenching" on my own Jeep anyways and really love the idea of not having future lug issues. Ha!

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They work pretty decent. I did the tires on my last Jeep with one and they were acceptably  balanced.

I made the mistake of leaving mine outside for a while, which cracked the plastic of the bubble level...still need to fix that.

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While this balancer works well for some tires, it doesn't work for all, it's designed for hub centric rims, unfortunately wheels on my 4 runner are lug centric, meaning the lugs center the rim on the hub and not the center hole of the rim centering the wheel on the hub.

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2 hours ago, Au Seeker said:

While this balancer works well for some tires, it doesn't work for all, it's designed for hub centric rims, unfortunately wheels on my 4 runner are lug centric, meaning the lugs center the rim on the hub and not the center hole of the rim centering the wheel on the hub.

Weird. I thought the center arbor was still, well...centered. The local tire shops here, with new computer controlled dynamic spin balancers, all mount the wheel to be balanced by the center hole with cone shaped adapters.

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2 hours ago, ArcticDave said:

Weird. I thought the center arbor was still, well...centered. The local tire shops here, with new computer controlled dynamic spin balancers, all mount the wheel to be balanced by the center hole with cone shaped adapters.

Using the cone adapters may in some cases get a lug centric wheel balanced close but in most case it will not, here a video showing how it should be done.

 

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Here's another type of lug centirc adapter,

full-57046-18906-img_2950.jpg

full-57046-18907-img_2951.jpg

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Au Seeker, you're correct.  Any competent tire shop will have adapter plates, and will know how and when to use them rather than cones.  It used to be that most American vehicles were hub centered, while the more exotic imports tended to be centered around the lug hole radius.  Back then, the suspension systems on most U.S. vehicles were mostly too crude for a small fraction of an ounce to make much difference, anyway -- close was indeed good enough.  Nowadays, suspension systems are highly technical, and wheels that aren't precisely balanced can cause problems with ABS, steering and all kinds of computer systems. 

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I wonder if that is why they are hit or miss. Sometimes it comes out great, sometimes you have to go back a time or two. :89:

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5 minutes ago, ArcticDave said:

I wonder if that is why they are hit or miss. Sometimes it comes out great, sometimes you have to go back a time or two. :89:

I very seldom have to go back for a second balance, I've been doing friends, family and my own vehicle work for over 40 years, I always make sure they use the correct adapters to do the balancing, or I go somewhere else if they don't have the correct adapters.

It's very easy to tell which type wheels you have, just look at the center hole of the wheel if it's not fitted tightly to the center flange of the hub and there's any play at all, it's a lug centric wheel, even if the OEM wheels that came on a vehicle were hub centric and you replace them with after market wheels they will most likely be lug centric wheel because most aftermarket wheels come with a larger center hole so the wheels will fit a wider variety of vehicles.

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Posted (edited)

All I can say is I'm really happy with my results :thumbsupanim  I don't remember my tires ever feeling this good...maybe when they were new? Ha! I can say that when I was removing all the old weight from my tires it equaled to more weight than what my static balance required.? Think maybe instead of removing old weights they would just counter-balance existing old weights? 

Edited by Randall
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5 minutes ago, Randall said:

All I can say is I'm really happy with my results :thumbsupanim  I don't remember my tires ever feeling this good...maybe when they were new? Ha! I can say that when I was removing all the old weight from my tires it equaled to more weight than what my static balance required.? Think maybe instead of removing old weights they would just counter-balance existing old weights? 

When rebalancing a used tire or even a new tire it's best to remove the old weights and start over, used tires have worn away some of the rubber and maybe now heavier in a different area than when they were new, rebalancing a new tire is require because it was balanced improperly in the first place and thus the weights are in the wrong place.

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On 6/24/2018 at 11:39 AM, Au Seeker said:

Here's another type of lug centirc adapter

Thanks for the reminder! I learned this back in high school auto shop and have long since forgot about it. I read this thread a few weeks ago and luckily right before I had my Broncos 35's mounted to my aftermarket wheels. The first two shops I called did not have the adapter, third one did and they did a great job, smooth sailing around town and interstate speeds. :thumbsupanim

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