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#1118500 - 03/31/08 02:32 AM Bubble Balancer
byez Offline


Registered: 10/21/07
Posts: 434
Loc: Canada,North America,Western H...
How well do these work compared to computerized balancers? How easy are they to use? Weights are only placed on the outside of the rim and not the inner side?

I have worked at a tire shop in the past and I am competent with a dynamic balancer. Now that I no longer work in a shop I have been considering the purchase of a bubble balancer.

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#1118520 - 03/31/08 05:32 AM Re: Bubble Balancer [Re: byez]
CapriRacer Offline


Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 2491
Loc: Somewhere in the US
Bubble Balancers work pretty well. But they only work on the static portion of the balancing problem - which I'm guessing is about 50 to 60% of the problem.

Computerized Balancers take care of the dynamic portion and that's about 20 to 30% of the problem.

The remaining 10 to 30% is uniformity - think of it as roundness (That not quite it, but it's easier to visualize it this way!) For that you need a Hunter GSP9700 - and even that doesn't capture it all!

So there is a risk. Some vehicles are incredibly sensitive as are some people. Others are the opposite.

Perhaps if you told us what vehicles you are planning on using this on - and how fussy your wife, your kids, you, etc. are, I can give you a better feel about the cost vs benefit.
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#1118528 - 03/31/08 06:36 AM Re: Bubble Balancer [Re: CapriRacer]
alreadygone Offline


Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 3161
Loc: North Arkansas
In a home garage, if you didn't mind removing and replacing the tire/wheel assy to experiment, one would be relatively useable. The thing about where to place the weight (inside, outside, split,etc) is the problem. You have no way of knowing if it's inner or outer, so you may have to remove and replace assy several times between test drives before getting it close to right.

Kestas, how've you done with your old SnapOn (better than any laydown bubble machine by the way)?


Bob
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#1118536 - 03/31/08 06:57 AM Re: Bubble Balancer [Re: alreadygone]
gto78 Offline


Registered: 03/04/08
Posts: 129
Loc: PSL, FL
I have a snap on static balancer at my job... for small airplanes. It's made for cars though, very basic technology. You place the wheel onto a horizontal shaft that suspends the tire in the air. The tire is free to spin. Gravity pulls the heavy part of the tire down. When it quits turning your left with the heaviest part at the bottom position. Now all you do is add some weight to the opposite end (top) of the tire. To test it out, rotate it 1/4 turn and then hold it still- then let go of the tire. If the tire turns again then it needs more weight, if the end with the weight on it falls to the bottom then you put too much weight on it.

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#1118574 - 03/31/08 08:10 AM Re: Bubble Balancer [Re: gto78]
Kestas Offline



Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 10815
Loc: The Motor City
Bob, I'm using the SnapOn in a simpler sense than it was intended. I'm using it the way gto78 described. Rather than adding weights at the 120 positions, I just balance at the 180 position. The 120 balance uses lots of weights. Of course this depends on the vehicle and how demanding the driving is. Grandma's vehicle gets the 180 balance. My Mercedes will get the 120 balance.

I've replaced the bearings on the unit (which cost more than I paid for the whole unit!). The bearings have no lip seals, so there's no drag in the system. I verified the calibration of the system with no tire and it is still spot on. Not bad for something built before 1954! I can see and feel a lot of quality built into the unit, unlike the ChinaMart stuff we buy today.

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#1118621 - 03/31/08 09:18 AM Re: Bubble Balancer [Re: Kestas]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 23935
Loc: ME
I have both a harbor freight cone balancer and an old, brakeless hub/bearing that I hang my tire/wheel on and spin like GTO describes.

Both give me the same approximate results.

Both work great with mushy 70 series tires.

My saturn, however, has a real tight front end and with 60-series tires I get a slight wobble in the wheel.

Weights start on the outside perimeter, unless I need two, then I split 'em. But I feel free to move weights inside if I get an imperfect wobble. Have time on my hands for such things.

I have by no means any formal training, in fact most of what I do is a total hack job. :)

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#1119085 - 03/31/08 08:17 PM Re: Bubble Balancer [Re: eljefino]
bdcardinal Online   content


Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 6500
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
i will only let the wheels on my car get balanced on a computerized balancer. i also only let the tech use stick on weights. the wheels on my volvo are too expensive to have pound on weights, 18" pegasus wheels if you are into volvos. my mustang had konigs that were computer balanced with stick on weights that had tape covering them as per the rules of the group i tracked it with. Although with the 275/40/17 michelins i had on there i never needed more than 1oz total per wheel.
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#1119200 - 03/31/08 09:59 PM Re: Bubble Balancer [Re: bdcardinal]
alreadygone Offline


Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 3161
Loc: North Arkansas
 Originally Posted By: bdcardinal
i will only let the wheels on my car get balanced on a computerized balancer. i also only let the tech use stick on weights. the wheels on my volvo are too expensive to have pound on weights, 18" pegasus wheels if you are into volvos. my mustang had konigs that were computer balanced with stick on weights that had tape covering them as per the rules of the group i tracked it with. Although with the 275/40/17 michelins i had on there i never needed more than 1oz total per wheel.


bd, while I've found your posts generally spot-on, and very knowledgable, what does elitist, cutting edge, opinion have to do with some good ole boy's attempt to save a few bucks?

Bob
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#1119260 - 03/31/08 11:50 PM Re: Bubble Balancer [Re: alreadygone]
bdcardinal Online   content


Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 6500
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
guess things are done differently in arnold's kingdom. also ive always had access to road force or dynamic balancers at little to no charge as long as ive been working on cars.
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1995 Ford Mustang GT

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#1119265 - 03/31/08 11:59 PM Re: Bubble Balancer [Re: eljefino]
XS650 Offline



Registered: 12/21/03
Posts: 12385
Loc: Northern CA
 Quote:
Weights start on the outside perimeter, unless I need two, then I split 'em. But I feel free to move weights inside if I get an imperfect wobble. Have time on my hands for such things.


You would stand a better chance of acceptable balance on the first try if you started out with the weight split between inner and outer.
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#1119496 - 04/01/08 10:37 AM Re: Bubble Balancer [Re: XS650]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 23935
Loc: ME
 Originally Posted By: XS650
 Quote:
Weights start on the outside perimeter, unless I need two, then I split 'em. But I feel free to move weights inside if I get an imperfect wobble. Have time on my hands for such things.


You would stand a better chance of acceptable balance on the first try if you started out with the weight split between inner and outer.


Yup. But I'm lazy. I should have attached the caveat that it was a suboptimal procedure.

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#1119506 - 04/01/08 10:48 AM Re: Bubble Balancer [Re: eljefino]
XS650 Offline



Registered: 12/21/03
Posts: 12385
Loc: Northern CA
 Originally Posted By: eljefino
 Originally Posted By: XS650
 Quote:
Weights start on the outside perimeter, unless I need two, then I split 'em. But I feel free to move weights inside if I get an imperfect wobble. Have time on my hands for such things.


You would stand a better chance of acceptable balance on the first try if you started out with the weight split between inner and outer.


Yup. But I'm lazy. I should have attached the caveat that it was a suboptimal procedure.


Sorry El J, if you are changing your own tires, you don't qualify as lazy.
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Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

--Mark Twain

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#1119928 - 04/01/08 09:10 PM Re: Bubble Balancer [Re: XS650]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 23935
Loc: ME
 Originally Posted By: XS650

Sorry El J, if you are changing your own tires, you don't qualify as lazy.


Video of me workin' it

by the time I'm done wrasslin' those long-gas prybars it's a miracle I have any weight poundin' energy.

PS the youtube comments are getting funny. Seems like everyone's an expert on how others should go about wrenching.

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#1119942 - 04/01/08 09:28 PM Re: Bubble Balancer [Re: eljefino]
XS650 Offline



Registered: 12/21/03
Posts: 12385
Loc: Northern CA
 Originally Posted By: eljefino
 Originally Posted By: XS650

Sorry El J, if you are changing your own tires, you don't qualify as lazy.


Video of me workin' it

by the time I'm done wrasslin' those long-gas prybars it's a miracle I have any weight poundin' energy.

PS the youtube comments are getting funny. Seems like everyone's an expert on how others should go about wrenching.


You can put me in the bolt it to the floor camp but I'm not the one doing the work so my vote is as worthless as the others.

I think it's cool that you are changing your own tires however you do it.

Any wanker can pay to have something done...the credit card problems in the US reflect that approach to life.
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Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

--Mark Twain

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