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Old 02-11-2012, 12:36 PM   #1
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Tire Balancing on Essex and King Aire DP

I have read some previous posts on tire balancing and have just heard of technologies I was not previously aware of since I have never owned a large truck or bus. So here are my questions:

1). I assume that the Spartan chassis both K2 and K3 have traditional lead weights installed from the factory.
2) has anyone installed a "centramatic balancing ring"? Saw this on a previous thread. looks like it might fall off rim ?
3) Then there is a product called equal which I understand is a powder, but complaints are made that it requires special valve stems, and clumps if it gets wet inside tire ( from say excessive tire mount goop and condensation).
4) DynaBeads. this seems to the system to use instead of traditional weights.
5) I assume that you obviously balance all 8 tires on the chassis with whatever method is used.
6) on a previous thread I initiated I learned that you do not rotate tires on a bus presumably because of differing wheel size or offset, etc.
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Old 02-11-2012, 01:04 PM   #2
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Our tires were balanced when we got the coach. Since we have not had to change or otherwise remove a tire since, there's been no need to even consider tire balancing issues. Unless you're planning on screwing around with your tires on a regular basis, there's really no need to consider anything special to do.

OTR trucks do hundreds of thousands of miles a year, and they wear out their tires, so it is an issue for them. Not for RVs.

joe
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Old 02-11-2012, 01:07 PM   #3
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I have used centramatics on my Essex since 2003 (all wheels) and have been well pleased w wright
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Old 02-11-2012, 01:14 PM   #4
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I didn't add that I have 109,000 miles I had a full all wheel alignment when the ball joints and shocks were replaced. The drive axles where out of alignment. Also did ride height adjustment. W wright
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Old 02-11-2012, 01:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwright View Post
I didn't add that I have 109,000 miles I had a full all wheel alignment when the ball joints and shocks were replaced. The drive axles where out of alignment. Also did ride height adjustment. W wright
That makes sense, when you get that many miles. How many sets of tires before you got to that point?

Spartan aligned the front end on our KGDB after they replaced the front tie rods under warranty. We hadn't had any problems, they just noticed some wear while doing the annual service.

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Old 02-11-2012, 01:20 PM   #6
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I changed my tires last spring, early summer. I did it in Lewiston Idaho. I wanted a dynamic balancing, where they spin each wheel. But, they only offered Dynabead (Or however it is spelled) So i got the bead thing. Wasn't sure I would be happy, but they ran smooth from mile one. I have driven speeds up to 75 and absolutely no problem. I will go with them in the future too.

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Old 02-11-2012, 01:24 PM   #7
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Hi BucketList,
1. Your are correct.
2. I have the Centramatics product installed on all wheels. Go to Centramatic, watch the video and read about the product. I'm not sure why you feel the product might fall off. This is impossible. The product is installed between the wheel and the brake. It goes through the lug bolts that hold the wheel on the axle.
3 & 4. Personal preference, I don't care for these products.
5. Nope, I have my tires balanced on the machine. Then installed on the coach. The Centramatics does the rest.
6. Unless there is abnormal wear, leave the tires alone.
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:57 AM   #8
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Thanks to all who replied. Before I had posted this thread I had tried to view a video clip on the Centramatic system but apparently I did not see the clip in it's entirety. Gary I read your post and was able to watch the video link your post and you are right about the Centramtic device being fully secured! I completely missed this. I thought it was some type of clip on device. So as usual, there are differing opinions from leaving the tires alone if they are in balance to using alternate balancing systems. This is what love about this site! People that are passionate and knowledgeable about their equipment and this lifestyle. And I have been amazed at all of you that really want to share and help others with your knwoledges and experiences! Thanks again. Bruce
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Old 02-12-2012, 01:44 PM   #9
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bucket - No concern with any of the above information, though I might add more details....????

Products like Centramatic, Equal, Dynabeads are used INSTEAD of "traditional" spin balancing. (BTW - All of these methods are called "dynamic balancing" as opposed to "static balancing" the old bubble level balance method.) Those products actually do the entire job of initial and "maintaining" balance. I think I read GaryKD as saying they do a traditional spin balance and also use Centramatics. No problem with doing that, though it is redundant - except for "maintaining" balance which may/may-not be necessary.

Only the larger truck tire shops actually have spin balancing (off chassis not on the vehicle like some specialized shops can do with automobiles). Spartan delivers a chassis with all tires spin balanced. Spartan also spin balances if you buy tires at Charlotte - using the actual chassis production line to mount/spin those service bought tires. (Note that Spartan is NOT a Michelin warranty service center, they will simply sell tires because production has piles of them).

Given the number of smaller tire shops you'll likely encounter on the road, these guys typically will not have a spin machine large enough. Often these shops won't do any form of balancing. If they offer "balancing," Equal (the powder stuff) is commonly used by these shops as its been around a long while. I'm not a fan of Equal as moisture (common in the air hose at any truck stop) causes it to clump (it's a powder) and therefore not work properly - BTDT. It also should have special valve stems screens - which are often not installed. Note: Dynabeads does not have either of these problems. Obviously, Centramtics does NOT have these problems by it's external mounting.

If you go Dynabeads it would be good to have a couple extra bags on board in case you need tire service on the road - the shop likely won't have it and will spill them when remounting the tire. Of course, Centramtics are always in place regardless of what tire/wheel is mounted.

I'll echo the posts above - unless you have a tire wear problem (a chassis issue) - once balanced and mounted you won't have to mess with tires until they age (~7yrs) or wear-out (~120,000+ miles) - those numbers being what seem to be common averages. Rotation is also not typical.

Unlike a car where minor imbalances are perceptible, on these chassis it'll take a whopping imbalance to actually feel it - hence the varied opinions of balancing and the need to "maintain" balance via aforementioned products or re-spin-balancing.

There are plenty of folks who a) never balance any of their RV tires, b) balance only the fronts, c) balance all using one or more of the above techniques. YMMV

My choice is to do what Spartan does and balance all, spin being preferable. Because I have a couple donuts with Equal (dang small shops), I rigged up this water separator to use if I ever have to use an unknown air line.

Now - shall we open the nitrogen debate? Please, NO!
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:35 PM   #10
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Ottffss"..."...Thanks for the additional information! I love learning about the technical aspects of the many subjects on this site. I appreciate the help. Bruce
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