Automatic Wheel Balancers for Hummers.

H1, Automatically Balance your Tires as you drive

Big tires don't stay balanced. Especially on off-road vehicles like Hummers. Out of balance tires, don't last as long, are prone to cupping, uneven wear and the excessive side wall flexing builds up heat. Truckers with their large 24.5 inch tires learned a few decades ago, that a balanced tire has less side wall heat and less heat means longer tire life. Centramatic has manufactured automatic wheel balancers since 1985, with millions of miles of use producing thousands of satisfied customers. Yes I said automatic tire balancers. As you drive they balance your tires each time you drive.

 
 

One of my Insider Club members from www.MrTruck.com,  told me about Centramatic balancers. Of course being an automotive journalist, I could see an interesting story here. Centramatic was glad to send me a set to evaluate. On 3/4 ton trucks and horse trailers, most have 10 ply tires and they don't stay balanced and a lot of folks don't bother balancing their trailer tires. The automatic balancers did the trick, with less cupping, smoother ride, longer tire life and what I thought was cool, is Centramatic balancers will balance the snow and mud that sticks to your wheels and then rebalance them when it flies off.  With Centramatic balancers, you notice the difference in vibration that transfers to the steering wheel.

The Centramatic automatic wheel balancer just slides over the the wheel studs. It's got to be one of the easiest aftermarket products to install.  Look threw the wheel spokes to see the Centramatic automatic wheel balancer ring, (right).

With an ideal off-road vehicle such as Hummer, having mud and snow stuck in your wheels often and such large tires being hard to keep balanced, this is an important issue. Especially since they don't make cheap tires (inexpensive) for Hummers yet, getting 25 to 50% longer tire life is important. Out of balance tires create more side wall flexing and vibration which in turn creates more heat and softer rubber wears faster. Centramatic balancers reduce tire heat by 8 to 10% according to the manufacture.

The balancers uses centrifugal force and deflection from rotation to automatically distribute free moving weights (Durametal in synthetic dampening fluid) sealed in the balancer. These free moving weights or balancing media, precisely balance the entire assembly. This includes the tire, wheel, hub, drum/rotor even rocks in the tread or mud, snow and ice stuck to the wheels. Critical to balancers of this type is the amount of balancing media used. Simply stated if 8 oz. if imbalance exists, 8oz. or more of balancing media must be available to counter its effect. The remainder will space out evenly in the tube. This is why the balancer depending on size, have from 16-32 oz. of balancing media, available if needed.

Our first volunteer for the project was Keith Rodenberger of Denver. His 2000 black H1 Hummer received Centramatic balancers part #370-800. We used ATS TripleLok Torque Converters shop in Wheat Ridge CO with Mike Meinecke, the shop foreman running the impact wrench. With the air inflator valve in the hub of the H1, a lot of tire shops won't work on them. It's not really hard, just takes a little more time. It's work lifting the big tires off the H1, so the air gun was nice, (right). I was lucky my camera was lighter.

Mike unscrewed the air hose at the hub to leave the stub hose on the wheel and out of our way. If I were changing tires, I'd do the opposite to take the air hose off the wheel. With the air hose disconnected, air from both tires on the same axle went down. With the independent suspension all the way around on the H1, we had to jack up one axle at a time.

With no brake rotor or calipers in the way on the H1 hub, clearance is not an issue, the automatic balancers only go on one way with the ring facing inward.

What you get, (left). A full set of four balancers. They are flat aluminum plate (1/8" thick) with a ring welded on the outside where the synthetic fluid dampens the Durametal balls.

 

When you take the air out of one tire, the other side sympathizes and goes flat too. Keith had his tires set at 32 psi with the dash mounted automatic air control system, complete with a gauge. Though the onboard air compressor would pump the tires back up, for speed we added air to the wheel valve from an outside source.

A couple of weeks after we installed the Centramatic balancers on Keith Rodenberger's H1, I called Keith to see if he could tell a difference in the drive. "Awesome difference, it was night and day, smooth as can be," was Keith's answer. It won't take long to pay for a set of Centramatic automatic balancers with longer tires life, but you'll notice the smoother ride first.

  • Time: Installing the H1 balancers can easily be done in 15 minutes with an air jack and air ratchet. With manual jacks and wrenches, it can take 30 minutes to install Centramatic balancers. With a reporter and camera hanging around, it could take all day.

  • Difficulty: This is about the easiest accessory you can add, no oil, no wiring, no paint, no skills required. Just take the wheels off, slide the balancer on the wheel studs and mount the wheel.

  • Tools: 15 mm and 16 mm  open end wrenches for the hub air hose on the H1. 7/8's socket for the wheels. Torque wrench  used on the lug nuts was set at 135 pounds.

Centramatic Balancers can:

  • Extend tire life 25-50%
  • Solve vibration problems
  • Help prevent tire cupping
  • Tires runs 8-10% cooler
  • Automatically balance while you drive.
  • The Centramatic balancers built especially for the H1, are a breeze to install and only go on one way front and rear axle. We are working with Centramatic to develope a more specific H2 application. The instructions say to take the old lead weights off unless you just had your tires balanced. We left the lead weights on the H1 wheels.  You know those glue on weights will be coming off anyway after the first mountain or river you tackle with your Hummer.

    Centramatic has been in business in Ft. Worth Texas since 1985 and holds over 10 patents in "ON-BOARD" balancers. They have produced over 500,000 balancers and build products that last. At their facility is a balancer with an amazing 1,439,716 miles on it, and still in good working condition!

    Check us out at www.MrTruck.com  and www.BigTireBalancers.com

    Copyright 2004 H. Kent Sundling and MrTruck.net/com All rights reserved including digital rights.

    Special thanks to ATS TripleLok torque converter at www.ATSdiesel.com  for the use of their shop and to Centramatic Balancers at www.Centramatic.com .

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