Balancing Wire Wheels
I get a lot of technical enquiries, but one seems to come up time and again, that being how to balance wire wheels. In general terms the vast majority of tyre suppliers can’t do it. They say they can and indeed when you get there, they do them for you and say “they’re OK” or “these wheels are buckled, but we balanced them anyway” when in fact they are not OK and the wheels aren’t buckled. The problem is that the latest type of wheel balancing machines are not normally supplied with the right adaptors for centre lock wire wheels. They are excellent for normal bolt-ons, but wire wheels are a problem. The following diagrams illustrate the problem.
The above diagram (B) shows the centre shell (or hub) of a wire wheel attached to a typical balancing machine and is the incorrect method of locating the wheel. This method will give false readings and the appearance of an untrue wheel, or wheels where large amounts of weight would be required to balance them. The reason is that the back of the centre shell is in most wire wheels not a machined face and is not where the wheel is located when fitted to a splined hub. Now look how it should be done:
The above diagram (A) shows how the centre shell of a wire wheel should be mounted on the balancer and is the correct method of locating the wheel. Note that it is mounted exactly as it is on the car. When it is mounted in this way a true wheel will spin perfectly and you will get a good balance. The problem is, where to get this done? I know of no tyre supplier in the Midlands who can do this. Classic Motor Cars (CMC) of Bridgenorth can do it and Ian Nuttall Racing in Nottingham. Both these organisations have machined their own adaptors. The old method of balancing wheels on the car is another method that works well, but very few places do this now. Bannings in Erdington, Birmingham were the last place that I knew of that provided this service. What I need to know is if you find somewhere that can balance wire wheels properly, let me know, so that I can spread the word. We can also give them some publicity, which I’m sure they won’t turn down, so give me a call should you have any information.
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