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Opinions on bubble balancers. #4583870
11/24/17 05:41 PM
11/24/17 05:41 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,334
southern mo
ram_man Offline OP
ram_man  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,334
southern mo
My thread about tires got me thinking. How accurate are bubble balancers for modern day applications? I hate dealing with tire shop techs as most of them aren't very knowledgeable on their job. How accurate could one be with a bubble balancer?


2014 dodge dart GT
1995 Dodge ram 1500


Re: Opinions on bubble balancers. [Re: ram_man] #4583883
11/24/17 05:58 PM
11/24/17 05:58 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,940
Champlain/Hudson Valley
Kira Offline
Kira  Offline
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,940
Champlain/Hudson Valley
My understanding is that you can be very accurate with a bubble balancer but you can only balance "on a 2 dimensional plane" with one.

A spinning tire (remember, they spin when you use them) has weighted spots resulting in thrusts moving side-to-side throughout the width of a wheel.

In practical terms you can get close but never perfect. That's why every tire shop has a spin balancer.

Road force balancing is even better (they say) but many tire places get by just fine without 'em.

NOTE: I was in a family run tire shop (Nyack, NY) that other day and mentioned road force balancing. They acted like I was asking them to change their religion.
"We don't need no stinking road force balancer" was my interpretation.

Re: Opinions on bubble balancers. [Re: Kira] #4583893
11/24/17 06:06 PM
11/24/17 06:06 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,334
southern mo
ram_man Offline OP
ram_man  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,334
southern mo
Originally Posted By: Kira
My understanding is that you can be very accurate with a bubble balancer but you can only balance "on a 2 dimensional plane" with one.

A spinning tire (remember, they spin when you use them) has weighted spots resulting in thrusts moving side-to-side throughout the width of a wheel.

In practical terms you can get close but never perfect. That's why every tire shop has a spin balancer.

Road force balancing is even better (they say) but many tire places get by just fine without 'em.

NOTE: I was in a family run tire shop (Nyack, NY) that other day and mentioned road force balancing. They acted like I was asking them to change their religion.
"We don't need no stinking road force balancer" was my interpretation.



Thats hilarious. Our darts have stick on weights and it seems like they constantly throw weights and most shops have stupid Tech's. I'm contemplating doing it myself with a bubble balancer and seeing how close I can get it the wife just had her balanced a month ago and it's shaking again. The shops will do it for free but the time and trouble is annoying.


2014 dodge dart GT
1995 Dodge ram 1500


Re: Opinions on bubble balancers. [Re: Kira] #4583894
11/24/17 06:06 PM
11/24/17 06:06 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,334
southern mo
ram_man Offline OP
ram_man  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,334
southern mo
Originally Posted By: Kira
My understanding is that you can be very accurate with a bubble balancer but you can only balance "on a 2 dimensional plane" with one.

A spinning tire (remember, they spin when you use them) has weighted spots resulting in thrusts moving side-to-side throughout the width of a wheel.

In practical terms you can get close but never perfect. That's why every tire shop has a spin balancer.

Road force balancing is even better (they say) but many tire places get by just fine without 'em.

NOTE: I was in a family run tire shop (Nyack, NY) that other day and mentioned road force balancing. They acted like I was asking them to change their religion.
"We don't need no stinking road force balancer" was my interpretation.



Thats hilarious. Our darts have stick on weights and it seems like they constantly throw weights and most shops have stupid Tech's. I'm contemplating doing it myself with a bubble balancer and seeing how close I can get it the wife just had her balanced a month ago and it's shaking again. The shops will do it for free but the time and trouble is annoying.


2014 dodge dart GT
1995 Dodge ram 1500


Re: Opinions on bubble balancers. [Re: ram_man] #4583959
11/24/17 07:28 PM
11/24/17 07:28 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,300
New Jersey
JHZR2 Offline
JHZR2  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,300
New Jersey
Darts are far from the only vehicles with stick on weights.

Prep is key.

Re: Opinions on bubble balancers. [Re: ram_man] #4583960
11/24/17 07:30 PM
11/24/17 07:30 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 33,564
ME
eljefino Offline
eljefino  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 33,564
ME
The less aspect you have the less good a static balance will do you.

What are you running, 40-series?

Take the brake pads off your rear hub and you have your own static balancer, just put weights up top until "up top" changes every time.

Re: Opinions on bubble balancers. [Re: ram_man] #4583972
11/24/17 07:43 PM
11/24/17 07:43 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 16,183
OH
fdcg27 Offline
fdcg27  Offline
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 16,183
OH
Back in the day, bubble balancers were what we had.
They worked just fine and I drove many smooth miles on static balanced tires.


18 Accord Hybrid FF
17 Forester 18K VME 0W-20
12 Accord LX 96K SSO 0W-20
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96 Accord LX 104K T5 10W-30
95 318i
Re: Opinions on bubble balancers. [Re: JHZR2] #4583974
11/24/17 07:45 PM
11/24/17 07:45 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 234
NorCal
Seventh Offline
Seventh  Offline
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 234
NorCal
Originally Posted By: ram_man
How accurate could one be with a bubble balancer?



Nowhere even remotely close to as good as a 20 year old motorized wheel balancer.

Originally Posted By: JHZR2
Prep is key.


This

I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen stick on weights come off by themselves in over 20 years working on cars professionally. Either caused by lack of prep work on the wheel, or you have a vibration causing the weight to get tossed. Aside from the adhesive, centrifugal force helps hold them in place.

Is this the Dart from the forever vibration thread a while back that nobody can fix ? ...

Re: Opinions on bubble balancers. [Re: ram_man] #4583998
11/24/17 08:15 PM
11/24/17 08:15 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,817
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Chris142 Offline
Chris142  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,817
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
I used to work at a tire shop that had a bubble balancer and a hub on a pipe. With that you marked the low spot then added weights till the tire stoped in a different spot every time. Never had any complaints.

I dont know about road force balancing. I have never had a problem with a rwgular spin balancer. I dont drive real fast either.


02 Wrangler carlube 5w30
87 F250 traveler 15w40
07 fjcruiser Chevron 10w30
Z400 castrol T 10w40
Can am maveric edge 5w40
57 case tractor 15w40
Re: Opinions on bubble balancers. [Re: JHZR2] #4584024
11/24/17 08:59 PM
11/24/17 08:59 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,334
southern mo
ram_man Offline OP
ram_man  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,334
southern mo
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
Darts are far from the only vehicles with stick on weights.

Prep is key.


No I know but it does seem like they are very sensitive to a lazy balance or even a slightly warped rotor ect. They do seem picky.


2014 dodge dart GT
1995 Dodge ram 1500


Re: Opinions on bubble balancers. [Re: Seventh] #4584025
11/24/17 09:00 PM
11/24/17 09:00 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,334
southern mo
ram_man Offline OP
ram_man  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,334
southern mo
Originally Posted By: Seventh
Originally Posted By: ram_man
How accurate could one be with a bubble balancer?



Nowhere even remotely close to as good as a 20 year old motorized wheel balancer.

Originally Posted By: JHZR2
Prep is key.


This

I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen stick on weights come off by themselves in over 20 years working on cars professionally. Either caused by lack of prep work on the wheel, or you have a vibration causing the weight to get tossed. Aside from the adhesive, centrifugal force helps hold them in place.

Is this the Dart from the forever vibration thread a while back that nobody can fix ? ...


Nope it's not


2014 dodge dart GT
1995 Dodge ram 1500


Re: Opinions on bubble balancers. [Re: ram_man] #4584093
11/24/17 10:31 PM
11/24/17 10:31 PM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 4,970
MTL, CANADA
Rolla07 Offline
Rolla07  Offline
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 4,970
MTL, CANADA
Keep looking. Ive never had trouble with stick on weights.


2007 Corolla Red Pearl 155k miles
PP 0w20 & ST 4967

Re: Opinions on bubble balancers. [Re: fdcg27] #4584106
11/24/17 11:01 PM
11/24/17 11:01 PM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,643
Western S.C.
CR94 Offline
CR94  Offline
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,643
Western S.C.
Originally Posted By: fdcg27
Back in the day, bubble balancers were what we had.
They worked just fine and I drove many smooth miles on static balanced tires.
How far back was that? "Back in the day" of the early 1960's (and maybe a long time before that), well-equipped shops already had dynamic balancers. Bubble balancers, (if competently used) gave better results "back in the day" than they can now, because tires and wheels are generally wider now.

If a hypothetical tire is perfectly balanced except for one heavy spot on the left side, and another equally heavy spot on the right side 180 degrees around the circumference from the first one, it would show up as perfectly balanced on a bubble balancer, or any other static method. Yet, it would shake the car. The wider the tire (i.e., the farther apart the aforementioned hypothetical heavy spots are in the axial dimension), the worse the imbalance and consequent vibration.

Last edited by CR94; 11/24/17 11:02 PM.

2011 Toyota Prius now at 94K
1981 Mazda GLC (323) retired at 606K
1972 Subaru DL retired at 190K
1954 Chevrolet retired at 121K
Re: Opinions on bubble balancers. [Re: ram_man] #4584108
11/24/17 11:09 PM
11/24/17 11:09 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 904
NY
joegreen Offline
joegreen  Offline
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 904
NY
I picked up an old bishman air bubble balancer off Craigslist for a good price. I was going to go with a harbor freight bubble balancer but am glad I did not. Instead of the wheel and bubble top resting on a small pin like the harbor freight balancer the air balancer top rides on a cushion of air. Its basically like zero friction where it pivots. It's so sensitive I swear dust throws it off. I would look for an air bubble balancer if you want a bubble balancer.


1978 Chevrolet k20
Engine: Delo 10w30xle
Transmission: Castrol transmax dex/merc

1984 Mercedes-Benz 300 turbo diesel
Engine: Delo 400 15w40le
Re: Opinions on bubble balancers. [Re: ram_man] #4584195
11/25/17 06:48 AM
11/25/17 06:48 AM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,126
iowa
Traction Offline
Traction  Offline
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,126
iowa
I hope you do get a bubble balancer, so you can tell us how great it works, and all of the time and trouble it saves you. Placing stick-on weights with the wheel facing down would be interesting too, along with centering the wheel on the stepped hub bore so many alloy wheels use anymore. Bubble balancers worked great long ago with zero-offset wheels that were only 5 inches wide, but maybe you will get lucky, and it will keep you busy for quite a while.


Certified Tire Service Instructor since 2009
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