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High performance tires and wheels demand high-tech service equipment: Heavier, larger tire/wheel combinations necessitate added features

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High performance tires and wheels demand high-tech service equipment: Heavier, larger tire/wheel combinations necessitate added features

Virtual reality systems, optical imaging and sonar-driven functions are some of the high-tech features of today's premium tire changers and balancers.

A vast majority of tire dealers (82%) reported to us in our 2005 Custom Wheel Survey that they are using tire changing and balancing equipment capable of handling 20-inch and larger high performance tires. Another 9% said they didn't currently own such equipment, but they were planning to purchase it in the next 12 months.

So for those on the market to buy the latest equipment for the first time or to upgrade to be able to ease the handling of high performance, run-flat, PAX and other large diameter premium tires and custom wheels, here is some equipment to consider. More will be featured in next month's issue.

Accu Industries Inc. 626THP (pictured) and 526THP Tilt Tower Tire Changers

* The company's 626THP pneumatic tilt tower tire changer and 526THP manual tilt tower tire changer comes standard with the Accu-Pro Mounting Helper to clamp up to 26-inch rims.

* The heavy tower and cabinet offer maximum rigidity to save wheels from damage by eliminating tower flex.

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* The Accu-Pro's three-point positioning makes mounting low-profile, PAX and run-flat tires effortless, the company says.

* A high performance mount/demount head with tire iron slot provides an extra pressure point for added versatility.

* A telescoping tower allows for wide rims and provides added strength.

* Optional jaw protector covers lock into place to prevent rim damage.

* Non-opposing adjustable jaws have embossed dimensions for fast, accurate clamping.

* A safety inflation system secures the rim during inflation to prevent operator injury.

* An optional PAX adapter is available.

Bend-Pak Inc. Ranger Products Model R26EX High Performance Tire Changer

* With 26-inch external wheel clamping, this tire changer handles the largest custom tire and wheel assemblies without adapters or tabletop adjustments. Multiple power-assist features allow you to change tires with minimal effort and maximum efficiency, the company says.

* A traveling drop-center top mount helper reduces the effort required to change tough-sidewalled tires. It holds run-flat and low-profile sidewalls in the drop-center then follows the bead around as the tire mounts.

* A pneumatic wheel restraint device has an integrated pressure gauge, pressure limiter, clip-on air hose and air dump valve.

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* A power-assist upper bead roller saves time and allows for easy bead and rim lubrication, aids in tool bar placement plus assists when mounting run-flat and low-profile tires.

* Model R26EX also features a tilt-back tower, a dual-setting bead breaker, a powerful high-torque motor, an inflation restraint devise, large storage trays, a powerful "jet-blast" bead sealer and oversize lube bucket storage.

Hunter Engineering Co. GSP9700 Road Force Measurement System Tire Balancer

* The GSP9700 measures radial and lateral tire forces and provides instructions for solving ride and handling problems. It simulates a road test to identify radial force vibration and pull problems. The Road Force Measurement System applies up to 1,400 pounds against the tire. The loaded roller detects non-balance, radial force-related vibrations caused by eccentricity and constructional variation of the tire and wheel, the company says. The roller samples the entire footprint of the tire including the sidewall's contribution to ride quality.

* Rim runout can be measured without removing the tire or directly at the bead seat on a bare rim.

* Its Inflation Station provides proper inflation pressure and automatic prompting for the operator to ensure accurate testing.

* The balancer's ForceMatching feature cancels the high point of tire radial force variation with the low spot on the rim. This helps eliminate vibration by minimizing the effects of radial force variation and rim runout.

* StraightTrak Lateral Force Measurement eliminates tire-related drift complaints and pull problems.

* An optional integrated wheel lift system helps technicians safely service heavy tire/wheel combinations.

Hennessy Industries' Coats 9024E Tire Changer

* The Coats 9024E clamps wheels externally up to 24 inches (26 inches with optional upgrade).

* An improved bead looser ensures contact with wider wheels at the proper angles to minimize the risk of custom wheel damage.

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* Power taper rollers allow for easy bead and rim lubrication and assist in mounting run-flat and low-profile tires.

* A pneumatic drop center provides the power to hold run-flat and low-profile sidewalls in the drop center. It follows the bead as the tire mounts.

* Swing-in rollers handle approximately 90% of the effort required to change even the toughest tires, the company says.

* A total rim protection package includes bead loosener socks, clamp booties, a lift tool and controlled rotation to safeguard the most expensive wheels from scratching or marring.

* A pressure limiter offers inflation control and enhanced safety.

* The tilt-back head tilts farther than previous models for added clearance.

* A high-torque electric turntable works at a controlled speed for easy tire removal and installation. It gives low-profile and run-flat beads time to relax for less risk of tire damage.

* The X-shaped tabletop offers rigid perimeter support of the wheel.

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Snap-on's Virtual Plane Imaging Wheel Balancer

* Virtual Plane Imaging (VPI) technology positions the balancer sensing assembly on the same plane, keeping it in precise calibration. Using input data, the VPI system identifies where the planes of the tire and wheel assembly are located and electronically "images" the optimum location for measuring and recording wheel imbalance inputs. It provides precision single-spin measurement and imbalance correction.

* VPI takes the guesswork out of applying wheel weights to the inboard side of the wheel for the best cosmetic appearance possible, the company says. It automatically calculates weight amount and location based on exact rim data.

* An onboard selectable feature allows the technician to identify the number of spokes on a rim. Using the onboard gauge arm and built-in tape weight holder, the technician can precisely place the required tape weights behind the spokes of the wheel.

McCourt Industries' Corghi EM8570QL-RR Wheel Balancer

* The Corghi EM8570QL-RR wheel balancer has sonar-driven radial run-out capabilities.

* An automatic radial run-out option allows 100% of the assemblies to be checked, adding mere seconds to the cycle time, the company notes.

* It offers a split weight program, automatic data entry, a hidden weight program, ALU balancing programs, precision weight placement and customizing programs.

* The balancer offers multiple operator programs, and an automatic weight position search is quick and easy to do and minimizes weight use.

* The balancer offers Quick-Lock for pneumatic clamping.

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* It has automatic calibration and a full-function CRT.

* The balancer can handle tire diameters up to 36 inches and rim widths to 20 inches. It has a spin time of 5.5 seconds and a balance speed of 60 to 120 mph.

* It also features a shaft diameter of 38 mm and can handle a maximum tire weight of 160 pounds.

Note: This is part one of two. Look for the March issue for more information.

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