Underused Tools and Techniques May Be Hiding in Your Tire Shop
There are only so many hours in your shift, so making the most of your time in the bay is critical. Here are some tools and techniques for making mounting and balancing high performance and ultra-high performance tires faster and easier.
We asked manufacturers to name the most underused tools and techniques in the shop, so chances are something here will be new to you. Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, Hunter Engineering Co., Hennessy Industries Inc., and RavAmerica, the U.S. division of Ravaglioli SpA of Italy, responded.
Bosch, Joe Atteo, product manager for service equipment: 1. Lug-centric centering plates. They help reduce comebacks and increase accuracy when balancing wheels. 2. Weight placement measurements taken by machines. Bosch has a weight placement feature on its wheel balancers that ensures pinpoint weight placement of aluminum wheel weights for accuracy and to reduce comebacks when balancing high performance wheels. 3. Wheel service machine software. Bosch wheel balancers use advanced software for accuracy in measurement and weight placement that all technicians should be using. It reduces the risk of error during wheel measuring and weight placement, helping eliminate comebacks and customer issues. When used by a trained technician, newer software will make balancing tires a faster, more efficient process.
Hunter, Greg Meyer, product manager for wheel balancers: When mounting and balancing high performance and ultra-high performance tires and wheels it is extremely important to use adaptors such as flange plates and collets to ensure proper centering and protection of the high-end finish of these expensive wheels.
The low-taper of Hunter’s BullsEye collets provides a direct fit and the dual-taper design provides better hub bore contact to improve centering.
The next step is to verify that the wheel is centered. All of Hunter’s balancers feature CenteringCheck, including the Road Force Touch balancer. CenteringCheck can be used to verify proper mounting and identify possible centering errors. If the assembly is not properly centered, the wheel cannot be balanced accurately and improper measurements will occur.
Technicians should also use a balancer that can measure road force, such as the Road Force Touch wheel balancer. A road force measurement solves vibration issues, identifies vehicle pulls and provides customers that “new car ride.” High performance and ultra-high performance tires and wheels require a road force measurement because the chassis of high-end vehicles are more sensitive to vehicle vibrations and the vehicle owners are more discerning when experiencing an unpleasant vehicle vibration.
Hennessy, Don Vanderheyden, director of marketing: Up to 60% of vibration-related comebacks are directly related to mounting errors. Coats Adjustable Pin Plates combine 15 plates into one solution and provide the precision to achieve the ideal performance balance. The low angle of the Coats 8-Piece Collet Set aids in replicating the vehicle mounting by more closely matching the center bore of the wheel. When back coning, the shallow depth and low angle ensures the collet engages the mounting surface and ends prior to engaging the cosmetic front hubcap on plastic faced wheels.
Virtually every motor vehicle wheel suffers from dynamic unbalance, a combination of static and couple unbalance. A weight-saving balancer assesses both static and couple unbalances. The machine calculates corrective weight amounts and weight placement location(s) that eliminate or reduce static unbalance, but leaves a residual (“leftover”) couple unbalance that is theorized not to cause a vibration complaint. In addition, under certain conditions, conventional dynamic balancers can leave excessive residual static unbalance.
The Coats Vero Series V200 Wheel Balancer with ProBalance Technology uses a unique balancing algorithm and unbalance correction methodology that solves residual unbalance.
RavAmerica, Nick McCullough, managing director: Improper lubing of the bead can make the task much more difficult and can even result in damage to the tire or rim. It is important to lube the outside of each tire bead and the inside of the upper bead.
Another practice commonly not adhered to is to keep the bead of the tire within the drop center area of the wheel. If your tire changer is equipped with one helper arm it is common to see the operator push the bead too far downward to compensate for the lack of a second and third helper arm.
The most common source of balancing error is improper mounting. Mount the wheel using proper adaptors that simulate how the wheel is mounted on the vehicle. Be sure to determine which surface on the wheel is truly the centering surface and mate the right adaptor to that reference surface. The new RAV GP7340RS greatly simplifies the mounting process with its unique pneumatically driven locking of the wheel which provides better centering than a conventional wingnut.
Another source of balancing issues is improper programming of the balancing machine. Most balancers require operator input for programming. Many balancers use data arms for programming and these devices require calibration. The new RAV GP7.340 SCAN bypasses the possibility of both operator error and data arm inaccuracy.
A third common mistake is improper placement of wheel weights on the rim. If a balancing machine depends on the human eye for weight placement, it is fairly easy to be off target enough to cause a vibration issue. Machines like the RAV GP7.340 utilize a laser pointer that indicates the spot where the weight must be located. ■