Balancing Act – Don’t overlook this important step and find out how right here

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One item that a lot of people overlook is balancing your wheels. Now, you might be thinking that you are only running 1/10th scale and that a wheel being out of balance doesn’t amount to much. I beg to differ and here is why. As your vehicle is going around the track, whether it is 1/12th, 1/10th,   or 1/8th scale you are most likely on the throttle and the car is moving.  When that happens, if your wheels are not balanced, they are vibrating and that vibration is making its way back into the bearings, suspension, driveline, and chassis causing premature wear and possibly failure.

So let’s carefully do a little test. The next time your car is on the stand and everything is ready to run, slowly pull back the throttle and watch what happens to the suspension. If you have a wheel that is out of balance and is under power, you may or may not notice the camber link vibrating back and forth, or the suspension arm moving back and forth, or worse yet the vehicle falling off of the stand it was placed on.

Now in a balanced world it would look like your car is just sitting there and only if you looked at the wheels and the drive-train you wouldn’t know it was actually under power. If this condition does not exist then maybe what I am about to talk about will help you get close to that balanced world.Hand_Held_Balancer

Let me introduce to you the AKA 2 in 1 handheld wheel balancer, part number 44006. This hand held device is small, lightweight, and fits nicely in toolbox.  is perfect for those situations where you are at the track and you just mounted up a new set of tires for one reason or another.  You have the ability to balance wheels that have a 10, 12 or 17mm hex wheels. But you need something for weight to offset the improper balance condition. So AKA has included a block of balancing clay so you can get started right away.

So why do you need this tool? Well, when you look at what makes up the components of a tire, the tire itself, the wheel, and the insert, each one of those items are not going to be 100% perfectly balanced. While we won’t be able to balance something 100% in the field we want to get as close as we can with the 2 in 1 handheld wheel balancer and the included balancing clay.

Clay used for balancing

The balancing clay itself is available separately from AKA and its part number is 44001C. It is soft and pliable so it will hold its shape and it sticks well to clean surfaces.  You can break off what you need and squeeze it into those hard to reach spots on the wheel.

Now let’s start going through the steps to balance a wheel. I am going to assume that you have already put together the three components and it is now ready to run on the car and from here on out I will refer it as a wheel.  Nothing is going to stop you from bolting the wheel to the car and having fun or at least getting it ready to run and pulling the throttle to see how far out of balance the wheel is. Before you do that though, let’s check the balance of the wheel using the 2 in 1 handheld wheel balancer.

Hand_Held_Balancer_Pieces

The 2 in 1 handheld wheel balancer breaks down into two pieces. You have the handle end, which is the bigger of the two pieces and then you have the other end which is shorter than the other. You will take the short end piece and align that into the hex side of the wheel.  Then you will take the larger piece with two red ends on it and place it on the other side of the wheel with the shaft from the small end sliding into the larger piece. The large mounting surface area is for the face of 1/8th scale tires. The small end is for the 1/10th scale tires.

Small end inserted through the hex side of the wheel.

Small end inserted through the hex side of the wheel.

Short end inserted through the hex side of the wheel.

Short end inserted through the hex side of the wheel.

 

 

 

 

 

With the short end inserted into the wheel insert the male part into the handle assembly. The wheel should now spin freely as long as you are not touching the red part of the handle. The heavy end of the wheel will eventually make its way to the bottom. Once it starts moving, cut a chunk of the balancing clay off and insert it into the opposite of the heavy end. Give the wheel a spin so it makes at least 1 revolution. Continue until the wheel doesn’t stop with the same spot at the bottom.

Don't touch the red part of the handle when balancing.

Don’t touch the red part of the handle when balancing.

You can spend a lot of time balancing a tire to get it perfect but it will take you some time and it might not never happen. What I try to do is get it close as possible. I try not to place the balancing clay in more than two places. If you ever wonder if you are close to having a decent balance really give the wheel a spin and see how it feels in your hand. If it the handle wants to walk its way out of your hand then you still have some work to do.

This wheel has been balanced.

This wheel has been balanced.

Here is an example of a wheel that has been balanced. I was fortunate to only have to add one piece of balancing clay to get it to feel the way I wanted it to. When I spun wheel on the truck and on the balancer I definitely noticed the difference. Is it perfect? Probably not but it is better than it was and should reduce the wear and tear it will have on the truck.

So to summarize, you get everything you need to start balancing your tires. There is plenty of balancing clay to keep you busy for a while. It will take some practice to get things done quickly. But this isn’t a task that you should rush to get done because if you do you have the chance to make things worse. So take your time and the more you balance the more efficient you will become.

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About Author

I have been involved in R/C since the early 90’s. I have participated in dirt oval, carpet and paved oval, on-road and off-road racing.

I have found ideas that work and ideas that seem to be good on paper but fail for one reason or another.

I have been involved in the rules decision process and tech inspection for one of the largest indoor on-road only events held in the U.S.

1 Comment

  1. Great post and very timely, -i’ve been looking at all of my tires and noticing that some are out of balance. I race my cars so this is extra important to me. I’ve been using the vehicle’s axles to freely spin my wheels and gauge if they are balanced or not, but it isn’t a reliable system as my suspension could be off as well …
    I like this AKA device, super simple and easy. Going to go check it out now!

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