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Old 04-08-2009, 08:46 PM   #1
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Centrifugal Tire/Wheel Balancers

I'm shopping around right now for tires and am planning to add balancers to the installation, either Balance Masters or Centramatics. One of the tire centers I called said to only add them to the front axle, that they are a waste for the rear duallies. Any thoughts?

Just a note...

I've been a big fan of Redlands Truck Service here in SoCal, especially since they sponsor irv2.com. Keith seems very nice and a complete expert on everything Alpine (Peak Chassis-wise). He answered all of my questions quickly and honestly both when we spoke on the phone and conversed via email. He has been highly recommended by several ACA members. However, I cannot understand why they are $1237 more than others (like Pete's, Sudduth, Central) for 6 tires and a front alignment. Yikes!!! (I compared apples for apples, too) I'm willing to pay some extra for his expertise and the fact I probably trust him more, but.......

The same happened when I asked for a bid last Fall. Am I missing something? Does he include anything I'm not aware of? Are tires and an alignment subject to various levels of completeness? Any ideas?

I'll ask him directly as soon as I know the right questions to ask. Thanks guys and gals. I'll sure appreciate any input you might have.
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Old 04-09-2009, 09:19 AM   #2
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I just purchased Bridgestone R250 ED in 11R22.5 size and am very pleased with them so far. I had them balanced. The tire shop that I used here in Johnson City, TX said that balance rings on the rear axle could sometines accumulate mud since the rings are between the wheels. They put weights on the inside steel wheels but stick on weights on the outside wheels would not be pretty as they would have to be on the outside.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:54 PM   #3
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Dont understand the reason for spending $$$ for the balance rings. Just get a good balance job the conventional way. Should work well for the life of the tires. The balance rings kinda remind me of when people put toilet paper in their oil filters instead of using a regular filter made for the vehicle....It did not do a better job, probably did a worse job.........
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Old 04-22-2009, 12:23 AM   #4
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I had the six GY tires installed today. I found a nasty split on the inside of the RF tire, about 6" long. Talk about fortunate timing! Pete's Road Service did a great job and saved me over $1200 on tires and alignment. They also installed my Koni's for $95 and my Smart Tire sensors at no charge. Now I have to install the antennas and receiver. (Thanks Dale for your advice!)

Actually the alignment turned out to be un-needed as it was perfect. I was only charged $49 for the laser verification.

Just a note... Centramatic balancers don't work with disc brakes, they touch the rotor. They are also very noisy. They use sand and oil in a ring and you can clearly hear the sloshing. I've ordered Balance Masters for the front only. They use mercury inside a smaller ring. The mechanics and some forum members mention that they help to eliminate any mis-balance or changing balance and can smooth out the ride. Some say it's noticeable. I'll take it with a grain of salt and call it insurance.
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Old 04-22-2009, 05:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takepride View Post
I had the six GY tires installed today. I found a nasty split on the inside of the RF tire, about 6" long. Talk about fortunate timing! Pete's Road Service did a great job and saved me over $1200 on tires and alignment. They also installed my Koni's for $95 and my Smart Tire sensors at no charge. Now I have to install the antennas and receiver. (Thanks Dale for your advice!)

Actually the alignment turned out to be un-needed as it was perfect. I was only charged $49 for the laser verification.

Just a note... Centramatic balancers don't work with disc brakes, they touch the rotor. They are also very noisy. They use sand and oil in a ring and you can clearly hear the sloshing. I've ordered Balance Masters for the front only. They use mercury inside a smaller ring. The mechanics and some forum members mention that they help to eliminate any mis-balance or changing balance and can smooth out the ride. Some say it's noticeable. I'll take it with a grain of salt and call it insurance.
i had centramatic balancers on my chevy chassis and put 70k miles on them and never had a problem one, and they had disc brakes all the way around, tires always ran smoooooth
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:58 AM   #6
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Glad to hear they do make a difference!

I probably should have been clearer and stated the Centrimatics will not work on Alpine Coaches because of the disk brakes. I notice on their website they have different configurations. However, the ones they selected and sent do not fit. The mechanic said they would not work even before seeing the Centramatics, saying, "they'll hit the calipers".

P.S. - he also mentioned a time another mechanic had cut into a Balance Master disk, spilled the mercury and had the local Haz-Mat team go Ape Poop on how to handle it.
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Old 04-22-2009, 12:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takepride View Post
I had the six GY tires installed today. I found a nasty split on the inside of the RF tire, about 6" long. Talk about fortunate timing! Pete's Road Service did a great job and saved me over $1200 on tires and alignment. They also installed my Koni's for $95 and my Smart Tire sensors at no charge. Now I have to install the antennas and receiver. (Thanks Dale for your advice!)

Actually the alignment turned out to be un-needed as it was perfect. I was only charged $49 for the laser verification.

Just a note... Centramatic balancers don't work with disc brakes, they touch the rotor. They are also very noisy. They use sand and oil in a ring and you can clearly hear the sloshing. I've ordered Balance Masters for the front only. They use mercury inside a smaller ring. The mechanics and some forum members mention that they help to eliminate any mis-balance or changing balance and can smooth out the ride. Some say it's noticeable. I'll take it with a grain of salt and call it insurance.
Were those your original tires?
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Old 04-22-2009, 05:35 PM   #8
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Balancers

In my last life I ran trucks 28 years. The thing we as alpine owners need to keep in mind is that we run truck tires not smaller lite truck tires. Balancers do not work or there is no need for them,a small weight on the wheel will have no change in the tire weight. Most tires will run fine, put them on and run then IF you can tell there needs to be a change, then go to a tire shop or a aligment shop that can cut the tire so that it is round, yes they cut part on the tread off and make the tire round. One thing to think about the front end can have 20,000 lbs on it or 10,000 per tire what differance will 10 to 20 oz. make. The thing that make alpine so good, its all class 8 truck on the bottom end not some light after market. Save you cash there are a lot of things that work this is not one of them.
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:08 PM   #9
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With 5000 hours helicopter time...many of those hours doing helicopter maintenance test...I saw what excessive low-medium frequency vibration can do to nearby electronic components and primary-secondary flight control (steering) assemblies...

All systematic reduction in road or chassis generated vibrations increases all Motorhome electronic component life. I proved this point many times by reducing helicopter airframe component vibrations. I have Centramatic balancers on all wheels--Front & Rear..and Koni Shocks.

I looked at many wheel balance systems for my 2006 Itasca Suncruiser. The Centramatics were the best.. in my opinion.. and I had no trouble fitting the first pair on the front (steer) tires with the disc brakes. The reduction in vibration and general noise in the driver's compartment was dramatic...we could actually hold a normal conversation at 65 mph.

I liked them so well...I added a set to the rear duallies. WOW!...the rear coach area was extremely smooth riding...and quieter ...again at 65 mph....through mud, sleet, slush and snow.

Centramatics dynamic balancers were one of the best addons I did to my coach and for ride overall comfort...I'm going on 41,000 miles with OE tires and they are wearing smooth as silk..They are worth every penny...especially in reducing collateral vibration damage to steering components...and the thousands of dollars in electronics within the coach. You be the judge!

http://www.centramatic.com/balancer.html
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:33 PM   #10
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Have to agree with the man with all of the trucking experience. Look folks; we are driving medium or in some cases heavy duty motor home chassis that will never get the wear of the big trucks on the highway. 70,000 miles is a huge amount of miles for us. Most big trucks get 1 million miles on them, easily.
In almost all cases if we just get a good initial balance job all will be well. So we need to worry about something else...
We really dont need more balls running around in a circle on our wheels
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:59 PM   #11
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When I replaced front tires 10k miles ago, I elected to install the bead balance system instead of the adhesive wheel weights again or the Centramatics. A lot cheaper, just as effective or more so than the other balancing methods, don't have to worry about throwing wheel weights off or interference with brakes.
http://www.innovativebalancing.com/

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Old 04-22-2009, 11:33 PM   #12
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Rick:

Yes those were the original tires, except the RRI, blown out prior to my purchase (causing loss of the jack and damage to the wheel well). They were manufactured week 49, 2001, mounted May 2002 and driven 52,128 miles. The tire wear was even with a little more wear on the both edges of both steer tires. There was some checking on two tires (RF and LRO) and a 6" split starting at the outer edge of the bead on the inside of the LF tire.

I will also have a chance to test the balancers vs no balancers, since I'll be heading to Las Vegas this weekend without them, then installing them before the next trip to Omaha. I'll let you know what I think.

As concerns the Koni's...

The porpoising has completely stopped! The bouncing over aprons has been reduced to almost nothing. The rough roads are smoother but not squishy. The control has improved and that includes feeling some of the road. The road seams are not jarring and the bumps are greatly attenuated. It rides like a good luxury sportscar, not hard like a Porsche, but not like steering a yacht, maybe like a Lexus or Acura.

A friend of mine has tried Monroe's, Bilsteins and Koni's. His comment was the Monroes gave a soft ride, but porpoised too much, the Bilsteins were jarring and the Koni's were a great compromise.

I was surprised by the report on the brakes. The mechanic said the pads looked almost new (52K) and that the rotors would fall apart long before the pads. Yeah!
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:00 AM   #13
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For all of those of you who have never had a problem with wheel balancing, I am happy for you. For all of the rest of us, I had no problems with the Toyos on my '02. I haven't been so lucky on my '07. At about 5k miles I started to get some shake in the steering wheel. When I was picking up the coach from the "closed" factory, I took the coach into Les Schwab there in Yakama for my shake problem. This was at about 8K miles, They rebalanced the tires. I asked why they would get out of balance so soon and was told that the tires just get out of balance with wear. After another 4k miles, I started to get some shake again and took the coach into Daniel's tire in Oxnard for alignment and balance. This is where I found the steering bracket problem and was again that I should have the tires balanced regularly. I still have a very slight shake and will probably look into the balancers.
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:55 PM   #14
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tires

Dale you have a tire that is not round you can take it and put weight on it, but the tire will get bad in 4-5 thousand miles . or you can get it cut and fix it one time. The tire will run out just fine. You will not see this on drives tires they will cut then self round in about 5,000 miles. we got this on trucks I would say about one in two hundred tires.
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