Homemade Wheel Balancerby John Walker
Tire technicians will speak of two types of wheel balancing; static and dynamic. Static balance measures imperfections in the vertical balance of a wheel. Dynamic balance measures the wheel's placement along both the vertical and horizontal which is far more accurate. Modern spin balancers are ideal for performing a dynamic balance. You can build your own static balance machine which will allow you to achieve a near proper balance of your tires. Most drivers cannot feel the difference between a static and dynamic balance to the wheels while operating the vehicle.
Set the two jack stands on a flat, level surface and raise them to the highest notch. Stretch the level across the top of the two stands to make sure it is level.
Insert the 1" threaded pipe through the center of the wheel.
Attach the bowl to one side of the wheel and the wedge to the other, so that the wedge fits in the center of the wheel. You will have to purchase these from an auto parts retailer or salvage yard. You can manufacture them yourself but the wedge needs to be a perfectly round cone with a one-inch hole through the center and about four inches long. You can readily construct one with a wood lathe. The bowl can made out of an old bowl with a one-inch hole drilled through the center. The total cost of materials to make the tools is about the same as purchasing them from a retailer.
Press the wedge into the wheel on one side of the rim with the bowl on the opposite side. Tighten 1" nuts onto the threaded pipe until the wedge is pressed firmly into the center hole of the rim and the bowl is pressed firmly against the rim on the opposite side. The purpose is to get the wheel centered on the threaded pipe. The wedge centers the wheel by pressing against the sides of the center hole while the bowl applies pressure to the rim from the opposite direction.
Rest the pipe on the jack stands. Spray both jack stands where the pipe sits with spray lubricant.
Spin a quarter-turn in one direction, hold it steady, and let go. The heaviest point will spin the tire so that the heavy point ends up at the bottom. Mark the top of the tire with a crayon. Repeat this several times to make sure you achieved the correct point. Add a .5 ounces of a sticky weight, available from any auto parts retailer, to the rim in the same position as the marks you made on the tire.
Repeat Step 6 while adding and removing weight until the tire does not spin when you release it.
- To obtain a true balance, the threaded rod must be at the precise center of the wheel. The wedge, which is a simple cone with a hole drilled through the center, must fit securely into the center hole on the rim. The bowl should be deep enough to allow the wedge to protrude through the rim while the bowl presses against the rim on the opposite side. The combination of the two hold the wheel steady and centered on the threaded pipe. The nuts hold the two in place. The whole setup must be perfectly centered or you will not get a true balance for your tires. Purchasing the wedge and bowl will ensure that you are able to accomplish perfect centering.
Items you will need
- 2 jack stands
- 2-foot long 1" threaded bolt
- 2 1" nuts
- Wedge and bowl
- Sticky weights
- Spray lubricant
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