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Tire Balancing With A Ball

As I’ve stated before I’m retired & enjoy fiddling around with things . That being said , add a round bullseye bubble level to this setup & tell me why you don’t think a good static balance could be achieved this way .

Well, you’d have to recalibrate the location of the bubble every time, right? There’s no ‘natural’ place to put the bubble, so you’d also have to temporarily glue it in place. I’d just buy a commercial one.

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This would be a simple way to DIY check which wheel is out of balance (e.g. a weight has fallen off) on a vehicle with the shakes.
Then take the problem child to a shop for spin balancing.
All you need is a big enough ball :wink:

There are ball bearings on ebay that large but they’re expensive . I was wondering about a non-ribbed croquet ball which if regulation size is 3 5/8 " . The problem of positioning the bubble level could be easily overcome .

How would you do that?

Get a large round bubble level. Cut a big disc out of a cardboard box (big enough to span the center hole of any wheel you might run across) and glue the bubble level to the middle of the disc. Put the wheel on the ball bearing, then put the disc dead center on the wheel.

Good idea. I was trying to think of how to attach the level to the ball. Not needed.

I might use something more permanent than cardboard - say a piece of plywood.

Me too, if it was gonna be a frequent-use thing (but then, if it were going to be a frequent use thing, I’d probably be a mechanic in Havana. :wink: )

As noted in another thread, the video should show the two weights divided between the inner and outer rims.

My spin balance has always lasted the life of the tire, price of tire install includes it. Why bother?

Very viable but he really should have waited until all rocking of the wheel ceased before pounding down a weight.

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Even a commercial bubble balancer cannot do as good a job as a spin balancer.
I too am retired and like to fool with things, and I applaud your experiment, but I wouldn’t want to take a car on the highway with wheels that had been balanced this way.

I recall many years ago when bias ply tires and bubble balancers were the norm how thrilled we all were when spin balancing came into play and we could run the cars smoothly up to 80 mph. This was a big deal back then.

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Having never run a spin balancer, here’s a question for those who have: How specifically does it tell you where to put the weights? Does it say put, say, 30% on the inside rim, 70% on the outside?

@Barkydog, see my edited post above.

There’s a computer screen with a picture of the tire. After it spins, it shows you where on the wheel to put the weights, and which weights to use.

If you’re really bored, there’s a training video for the Hunter 9700

Something I’m a little confused about . I got my drivers license when I was 16 . That was a few years before radial tires & spin balancers . A friends parents owned a local service station & several of us local boys hung out there quite a bit .
Most of us had muscle cars of the time & we ran wide wheels & tires on the back & a couple size narrower wheels & tires on the front . All of these wheels & tires were balanced on a bubble balancer & ran smooth to speeds well over 100 mph .
I’m fully aware that things have progressed & technology gets better all the time . I suppose if a tire has an inherent problem that a spin balancer might detect that problem when a bubble balancer couldn’t & I also think it’s possible that a person might get better tread life if balanced on a modern spin balancer .
Unless there is something inherent to radial tires that makes balancing much more critical than it was with bias ply tires I don’t see why so many people think a tire can’t be acceptably balanced on a bubble balancer .
Someone I know recently bought a 2006 Subaru Legacy . This car has aftermarket wheels . They had a lot of shaking going on related to tire balance . I suggested they have the tires road force balanced & they did & now everything’s smooth .
This car also has a slight noise that’s similar to a possible wheel bearing noise . We put all 4 corners of the car up on jack stands , started the car & had all 4 wheels spinning . We wasn’t able to isolate the noise at that time but did notice 3 of the 4 wheels was very visibly out of round . The drivers side rear is badly out of round .
The owner had just had new tires installed & like I said , road force balanced & the car drives smooth . I highly recommended new wheels before the next new set of tires .
Sorry for rambling on but to get back to my original bit of confusion , Our cars ran smooth back in the day with the tires balanced on a bubble balancer .

I agree, my bubble balance jobs rarely came back. If one uses the four-weight approach (two inside, two outside) the difference between bubble and spin is limited to significant inside vs. outside imbalance. I’m sure it happens, but most times not. And cars in the '60s were driven on 70 mph freeways. The biggest difference is how narrow most tires were.

I remember at times 2 or 3 trips for wheel balance with bubble balancers to get it right, spin balance never failed for me.

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Regarding my post about the Subaru with the out of round wheels . I’ll bet that one wheel is 1/2 " out of round . The shop that road force balanced those tires didn’t tell the owner anything about out of round wheels . The more I think about it , the more amazed I am that those wheels could be balanced , period .
Also the more I think about it , the more I wonder if it is a good thing that a wheel that out of round can be made to run smooth . I suppose if it runs smooth & doesn’t shake , it’s alright .

No, Texases, it does not. Standard protocol used to be to, by setting weights on the rim, determine how much was necessary and, if a small amount put half on the inside of the rim and half on the outside. If more, standard was to use two weights and, once finding the “sweet spot”, split them each about 20 degrees or so to each side of the “sweet spot” and THEN put half on the inside and half on the outside. A lot of guys just split all weights about 20 degrees to each side of the “sweet spot” and banged them on, all on the outside.