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Tire Rack's Tires, Wheels, Brakes & Suspension
Discuss everything about wheels, tires, suspension and brakes for your BMW.

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  #1  
Old 06-06-2003, 07:10 AM
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Ack Ack is offline
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Tire Balancing - Need Help

I've been noticing that I was feeling a shimmy thru the steering wheel at highway speeds so I decided to take my car in for an oil change and balancing.

If you recall, I purchased my SSR GT3's thru Tirerack and received them in the beginning of April. I really didn't notice the shimmy until the last few weeks. My dealership has been pretty backed up on services otherwise I would have brought the car in earlier.

When I got the bill it was $80 for balancing. They force balanced the wheels and said that my right front wheel still exhibited "excessive road force". They told me I should contact Tirerack and ask for a refund for the balancing.

My question is, have others sent the balancing bill to Tirerack? Also, since it seems like they couldn't get my R/F tire to balance, there might be either a problem with the tire or rim. Should I also talk to Tirerack about this?

Alan, I know you have someone you have dealt directly with at Tirerack. Could you give me their info?
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2003, 07:22 AM
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Sean Sean is offline
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If they were Roadforced than the wheel and tire were 16lbs or more. If the service dept would how taken the time to move the tire on the rim they might be able to get it within spec. The Hunter machine even tells them where to move it to.

I watched my new Yoko ES100's being installed yesterday. I had all of them roadforced. I wanted to make sure they were all true so if I had any issues they could be taken care of a/s/a/p. The lowest was 4 and the highest was 12. I also used my own weights. I had ordered the BMW factory wheel weights some time ago.
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  #3  
Old 06-06-2003, 07:43 AM
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pmb1010 pmb1010 is offline
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Ack: where'd you go that had the hunter 9700? (Does Towne have one???) My 330 has a 60mph vibe, I contacted Dave about scheduling an appt, since I got the recall notice on this window pinch issue... figured I'd have them check the vibration I'm experincing.

Check to see if they used tape on, or hammer on wheel weights. Sometimes, the tape on weights will get spun off the wheels... this will result in what you experienced. Balanced good at one time, then vibes later after the weights disappear.

And yes, tire rack did refund my expensive rebalancing job, I faxed them a receipt, they credited my CC. Great folks. I've been dealing with Jim = jim at tirerack dot com

Last edited by pmb1010; 06-06-2003 at 07:52 AM.
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  #4  
Old 06-06-2003, 08:10 AM
AF AF is offline
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Ack it was good talking to you
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  #5  
Old 06-06-2003, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by pmb1010
Ack: where'd you go that had the hunter 9700? (Does Towne have one???) My 330 has a 60mph vibe, I contacted Dave about scheduling an appt, since I got the recall notice on this window pinch issue... figured I'd have them check the vibration I'm experincing.

Check to see if they used tape on, or hammer on wheel weights. Sometimes, the tape on weights will get spun off the wheels... this will result in what you experienced. Balanced good at one time, then vibes later after the weights disappear.

And yes, tire rack did refund my expensive rebalancing job, I faxed them a receipt, they credited my CC. Great folks. I've been dealing with Jim = jim at tirerack dot com
Towne has a road force machine but I'm not sure if its a Hunter. Its a pretty damn cool machine though. I'm assuming the weights are stick on since my rim has no where to small lip to clip weights to.

Art and Adam are also great at Towne. Talk to them if you have any specific questions; they are extremely knowledgable.

When I called Tirerack, they said they don't typically refund all four wheels and that its not typical for them to leave the shop balanced improperly. They said they would see what they could do about refunding me the full balancing amount. I think they will though (I've bought two sets of rims/tires from them in a 9 month span).

They also said they would send me out a new rim and credit me $20 to get the old tire mounted. I have to get them the roadforce readings for this tire before they'll do anything. Adam @ Towne is working on getting me the printout. If they can't find it, I'll have to have it put on the machine again.

I'll let you know what Tirerack ends up doing.
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  #6  
Old 06-06-2003, 08:33 AM
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Originally posted by AF330i
Ack it was good talking to you
Same here bud, as always.
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  #7  
Old 06-06-2003, 09:40 AM
joema joema is offline
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Re: Tire Balancing - Need Help

Quote:
Originally posted by Ack
When I got the bill it was $80 for balancing. They force balanced the wheels and said that my right front wheel still exhibited "excessive road force". They told me I should contact Tirerack and ask for a refund for the balancing....

....My question is, have others sent the balancing bill to Tirerack? Also, since it seems like they couldn't get my R/F tire to balance, there might be either a problem with the tire or rim. Should I also talk to Tirerack about this?....
To my knowledge the Hunter 9700 or improved 9712 is the only available road force balancer designed for shop use. There are vastly more expensive tire analyzers that Goodyear, etc use but they're for research.

If balanced on a 9700 by a competent tech, there should be no question about whether it's a wheel or tire problem. The machine separately analyzes the wheel and tire for radial and lateral runout, and the entire assembly for road force variation. If it's a wheel problem the display clearly calls this out, and explains the type of problem. There's no ambiguity.

If you have time and the shop agrees, it's often good to watch the tech do the job. They're usually friendly and explain each little step. You learn a lot that way.

When the 9700 first came out, the tire and car companies were all for it -- they figured it would improve customer satisfaction, solve more balance problems, etc. Then 9700-equipped shops started rejecting new tires based on excessive road force readings. Suddenly the car and tire companies weren't so happy.

If Tire Rack refunds your balancing fee and/or exchanges your wheel/tire based on high road force variation, that's more than many places will do.

If Tire Rack road force balanced their wheel/tire assemblies before shipping, that would solve some problems. But it's a lot more time consuming and usually not necessary, so maybe that's overkill. If they only used installers with 9700 machines this would help, but would greatly restrict the available installers.

The bottom line is if you have a difficult balancing problem, use a shop with a Hunter 9700 or 9712 machine. See www.gsp9700.com for details. I have no connection with Hunter, just learned about it on PBS Motorweek and read up on it.

Last edited by joema; 06-06-2003 at 09:44 AM.
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  #8  
Old 06-06-2003, 10:14 AM
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Artslinger Artslinger is offline
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Good link (Hunter locator) joema.
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  #9  
Old 06-06-2003, 10:32 AM
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Thanks for the link. Great site and info. I will have to find out if its the tire or the rim that is defective.
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  #10  
Old 06-06-2003, 10:54 AM
AF AF is offline
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joema . . . nice explanation

I couldn't agree with you more that tirerack SHOULD use a 9700 Hunter so avoid this problem.

I have purchased 2 sets of wheels (actually 3 but only mounted 2 of them) from tirerack and both sets of have been incorrectly balanced and both sets had at least one wheel that was not perfectly round and needed to be exchanged . . .

They are an excellent company to do business with and they are VERY customer service oriented but I have to say this problem could very easily be solved before they wheel & tire are even shipped . . .
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  #11  
Old 06-06-2003, 11:49 AM
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I just finished getting the information from my dealership for the force balancing.

Before it read 47 lbs and after trying to fix the tire, it read 39 lbs. I guess a "normal" reading is around 10 lbs or so. The machine also stated to replace the tire.

I gave this information to Tirerack and they are sending out a new S03 and will be getting back to me about the $80 credit for balancing. They will also be giving me a $20 credit to get the new tire mounted. I should have the tire by next week.

If Tirerack did have the Hunter, this would make these problems go away. I'm guessing this process takes much longer than your standard wheel balancing does and they must ship hundreds of tires/rims out a day.

I'm sure they're covered for all of these replacements and shipping costs. It seems like they are doing pretty well for themselves.
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  #12  
Old 06-06-2003, 01:56 PM
joema joema is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ack
Before it read 47 lbs and after trying to fix the tire, it read 39 lbs. I guess a "normal" reading is around 10 lbs or so.....
If Tirerack did have the Hunter, this would make these problems go away. I'm guessing this process takes much longer than your standard wheel balancing does and they must ship hundreds of tires/rims out a day....
47 or even 39 lbs radial force variation is vastly too high. Around 18 lbs is often the upper limit for cars (trucks can accept more). However every car is different. Some cars require lower road force variation to ride smoothly. If all your tires are at 10 lbs or less, that's very good.

Hunter did a test to find how much road force variation equates to how much weight imbalance. It turns out 30 lbs road force variation at 50mph produces the same imbalance as a 1.5 ounce weight imbalance. 1.5 oz is considered 5 times the maximum allowable imbalance of 1/4 oz, so it's no wonder you could feel a problem at 39 lbs. See http://128.242.141.111/pub/technical/4514T.cfm

Yes it takes much longer to road force balance a tire than a regular dynamic balance. Pure throughput is probably why Tire Rack doesn't do it, plus much of the time it's not needed. Usually a regular dynamic balance is good enough, except for problem cases. If Tire Rack bought enough $10,000 Hunter 9700 machines to road force balance all the wheel/tire assemblies they ship (and hired techs to use them) their prices would go up significnatly to cover this, and it would only help a small % of cases.

But I think Tire Rack should note in their list of approved installers which ones have the 9700 (say an asterisk by those). That way if you just buy tires from Tire Rack (not pre-balanced wheels/tires) you could decide if you wanted to pay more for a road force balance or not.
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  #13  
Old 06-06-2003, 02:16 PM
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Orient330iNYC Orient330iNYC is offline
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really odd, but according to this http://www.tirerack.com/wheels/tech/ride_uniformity.htm

they GSP9700 all their wheel and tire combos
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  #14  
Old 06-06-2003, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Orient330iNYC
really odd, but according to this http://www.tirerack.com/wheels/tech/ride_uniformity.htm

they GSP9700 all their wheel and tire combos
Since this is the case, they must have some guys with little or no training on how to use this. They should have easily seen that my tire was bad before shipping it out. There seems to be tons of people who have had problems with Tirerack and having their wheel packages balanced properly.
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  #15  
Old 06-06-2003, 06:19 PM
joema joema is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Orient330iNYC
really odd, but according to this http://www.tirerack.com/wheels/tech/ride_uniformity.htm
they GSP9700 all their wheel and tire combos
You are correct and I am totally wrong about that. It's great Tire Rack has that machine.

However I don't see how they can possibly road force balance all the tire/wheel packages they sell. Admittedly I don't know their sales volume, but it takes at least 30-45 min to road force balance 4 tires, and that's if the tech works fast. If they worked the GSP9700 a 12 hr shift with no breaks, that would limit their sales volume to 6-8 tire/wheel assemblies per hour. A more realistic number considering an 8 hr work day, breaks, machine recalibration, training, etc would probably be 2-3 tire/wheel assemblies per hour. Maybe they have multiple machines?
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  #16  
Old 06-07-2003, 11:25 AM
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Tires wear and this wear causes an imbalance. Just because it's balanced when new doesn't guarantee it will stay this way. Sounds like this tire was defective and became unbalanced with wear more than usual.
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  #17  
Old 06-11-2003, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by joema
You are correct and I am totally wrong about that. It's great Tire Rack has that machine.

However I don't see how they can possibly road force balance all the tire/wheel packages they sell. Admittedly I don't know their sales volume, but it takes at least 30-45 min to road force balance 4 tires, and that's if the tech works fast. If they worked the GSP9700 a 12 hr shift with no breaks, that would limit their sales volume to 6-8 tire/wheel assemblies per hour. A more realistic number considering an 8 hr work day, breaks, machine recalibration, training, etc would probably be 2-3 tire/wheel assemblies per hour. Maybe they have multiple machines?
Complete noob question here: Is there any way that a tire/wheel could get out of balance (to this degree) due to mis-handling during shipping?
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  #18  
Old 06-12-2003, 05:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by mquetel
Complete noob question here: Is there any way that a tire/wheel could get out of balance (to this degree) due to mis-handling during shipping?

A wheel can get damaged in shipping which in effect it could screw up the balancing . . .
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  #19  
Old 06-12-2003, 05:34 AM
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Gary@Tirerack Gary@Tirerack is offline
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Hey guys! Just want to clarify a few things:

For any alloy package wheel package we do use the Hunter machines (we have several of them) to balance them. We do this at no extra charge while many others charge extra for this. It may seem difficult to do this to every package we ship out, but since the nature of our business is mail order, we have to have near 100% correct or else we'd lose our @sses on reshipping and rebalancing fees! It is in our best interests as well as our customers that its done.

The guys doing our mount and balance work on the Hunter machines are experienced, and it is all they do all day long, every day...so they are quite good at it. A newbie in the warehouse is not allowed to touch a Hunter machine, let alone a GT3 wheel for balancing.

Human error does happen once and awhile, but it is very rare. Occasionally a wheel can lose a weight during shipping, etc... things can and do happen, so you'll find our customer service department pretty understanding about it.

If you get a package that does not seem right, call us right away and let us know! I just want to be sure everyone here understands that when you order wheels and tires from us, we do our best on each package to give everyone a perfect balance with some of the best equipment in the industry.
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Last edited by Gary@Tirerack; 06-13-2003 at 06:09 AM.
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  #20  
Old 06-16-2003, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gary@Tirerack
If you get a package that does not seem right, call us right away and let us know! I just want to be sure everyone here understands that when you order wheels and tires from us, we do our best on each package to give everyone a perfect balance with some of the best equipment in the industry.
I'll back this up, as I have bought 3 sets of wheels/tires from tire rack and they do stand behind their products and service. As stated, things happen; you have no idea how those UPS weenies may be throwing around your tires in their warehouse. But I have been treated very fairly by tire rack when something went wrong.
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