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Old 04-12-2002, 06:46 PM   #15
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John. Would be so kind to tell me who you talked with at Airstream? Andy
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Old 04-12-2002, 07:02 PM   #16
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Sorry Andy, I didn't get his name.
John
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Old 04-13-2002, 06:53 AM   #17
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Andy-- Could you please share how much .3/.4 hrs converts into dollars?
Tks,
John
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Old 04-13-2002, 12:55 PM   #18
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John. Shop labor rates are different all over the country. If a shop has a rate of $70.00 per hour and the flat rate is .5 hours, then they would charge $35.00. Quoting dollars is very misleading. Quoting hours is used by all insurance companies. It is the only way a comparison can be made. Andy
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Old 04-13-2002, 02:15 PM   #19
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Andy- You made another excellent point! Many times when going to a dealer for service, we truly don't know if the price we're paying is actually fair. Know the flat rate prior and knowing your dealer's shop rate, one is now informed whether or not it's a fair price.
Tks Again,
John
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Old 05-04-2002, 08:57 AM   #20
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Snap-On no longer makes the static wheel balancing equipment that Inland RV has in their shop.

I've checked with numerous other suppliers of tools and wheel balancing equipment and apparently no other vendor has any such new equipment available. I've also looked into the "on chassis" spin balance equipment that we had in our Goodyear stores in the early to mid 70s and found none, except for a couple of tire/alignment shops that were unwilling to part with the old "on chassis" spin balance units they own.

My family is no longer in the tire business, but I have tapped a friend of mine who is a service manager for Bridgestone/Firestone and so far he has been unable to find any wheel balancing equipment that can balance the 15" tire/wheel/hub/drum assemblies for AS trailers.

So it appears to me that the only options are to go to a shop which has static tire balancing equipment for balancing complete assemblies such as Inland RV, locate a tire/alignment shop with the old "on chassis" spin balance equipment, or acquire new drums you can be confident about the balance of and have the tire/wheel assemblies balanced conventionally.
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Old 05-05-2002, 03:12 PM   #21
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John and Sojourner.
I finally found the person that John talked with at Airstream. What he said that he told you was, "Airstream has not been involved with wheel balancing since at least 1979, nor does it install balanced hub and drums." He did not have any knowledge prior to that.
Therefore, the fact remains that Airstream has not balanced anything, nor have they installed any "balanced" running gear.
Again, there is not a single manufacturer of hub and drums that balance them. If there was, Airstream would buy them.
The bottom line of this is that proper balancing of the running gear, which is the tire, wheel hub and drum assembly, is the responsibility of the owner. Just because Airstream does not do it, or your dealer does not do it, does not change the fact that if you wish to protect your trailer or motorhome from the damage that vibration causes, then you must get it done, yourself. Proper maintenance of anything is the owners responsibilty, as well as his choice.
Blaming others is not the answer.
Shops will not balance drums, by adding or subtracting weight, such as grinding or welding, because of liabilty factors.

Andy
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Old 05-09-2002, 10:06 AM   #22
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If Inland is the only dealer doing this and if it is that important to have done then I would think Airstream, Henschen, and the other RV manufacturers would require owners have it done as regular preventive maintenance and it would be in writing in the owners and service manuals.

John
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Old 05-09-2002, 12:34 PM   #23
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John. I agree. However, the RV business avoids controversy.
Quite well they avoid the balancing issue in their owners manuals for the same reasons that they avoid tell owners that have purchased a travel trailer, that they must tow it with a "load equalizing" hitch.
There are certain things in life that are understood, such as I have never seen a shoe manufacturer tell it's buying public, "that you must tie the shoe laces." I have never seen a sign in a bowling alley, that says you should tie the laces on your bowling shoes, either.
Perhaps if the buying public that purchases travel trailers, got together as a massive group, and petitioned the RV manufacturers to have a factory balance job, then we could all benefit.
We are not the only RV service company that can balance running gear properly. There are many, but they are, admittedly, hard to find.
Perhaps someone could ask the service companies, if they balance running gear, and then post a list of them on some net.
It would seem to me that a list of places to go to have travel trailer running gear balanced, would have tremendous value to those owners.
Perhaps someone that has the time could do it and post the information on this site.
Sharing information helps everyone, at least those that want to be helped. This site has by far more members that are more than willing to work together and help each other as well.
When I visited many of the Airstream dealers years ago, probably every other dealer bought the wheel balancer as shown on our web site. Some of those dealers are still around.
Who wants to contact all the delears to obtain that info??
Andy
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Old 08-19-2003, 10:18 AM   #24
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Arrow Snap-on Balancer

I am seeking the snap-on balancer Andy uses.
I see it as a WBK-2C model Snap-on.
Has anyone else attemped to buy one? What seems to be the going prices of these?

Andy is there much or anything on that model that wears out?
On your website the pictures look like a new machine. Have youall repainted the base of the unit?

I have an old Snap-on catalog #CA circa 1971. This model does not show any attachment nor does the write-up mention hub. I thought the hub was part of the axle and could not be removed for off unit balancing. Where am I off on that?
It only shows 4 cones as accessories( 2 lg. for tire and wheel and 2 small for drums) and the protractor. Have you customized something or do you just use the stock Snap-on kit?

After you finish the job do you use an electric motor wheel spinner after replacing the wheel & tire?

Your webpage write up is excellent, many thanks. I'm on the other coast so must figure out how to do this myself.

jaco
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Old 08-19-2003, 06:45 PM   #25
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Andy,
In my opinion, when someone like myself buys a brand new Airstream, it comes with the assumption that they will take care of structural and safety issues for me, especially ones I would not be aware of until too late to deal with. If they don't put it in the manual, how can I, or anyone else be expected to take responsibility. The examples you site about shoelaces are ridiculous in comparison to something technical and obscure like this issue. Are you telling me Airstream, in business for all these years can't find or afford a machine, or are they interested in Quality and Safety only up to a certain point beyond the sale. I hope this is'nt the case. Al
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Old 09-25-2003, 03:06 PM   #26
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I have spent some time looking for tire shops that had the equipment and expertise to balance both the hub, wheel, and tire combination as outlined the Airstream Manuals and by Andy at Inland RV Central. So far no luck. One of the problems with the recommended way to balance the combination of hub and wheel was that each time you rotated your tires, you are forced to rebalance the new combination. This problem makes one reluctant to rotate tires which, in my experience shortens the life of the tires.

Being an old four wheeler, 1966 Toyota FJ45 Land Cruiser, and having some good friends at the Freightliner Plant in Portland, I am aware of another way to balance the assembly. Many manufactures of over the road tractors, fleet operators, and four wheelers use Centramatic Balancers. These balancers are mounted between the wheel and hub. They do not involve placing anything inside the tire. Do a search on the web to find the problems associated with putting floating material inside the tire, i.e. moisture, etc. Once purchased, the Centramatic Balancers can be moved to any vehicle or trailer with matching wheel and lug diameters and number of lugs. So if you change axles or complete Airstreams, you generally can reuse your exiting Centramatic Balancers. If not reused, they can be sold.

The Centramatic Balancers for my dual axle 1995 Excella 1000 with 15 inch wheels, six lugs on 5.5 inch diameter are Part # 300-556. They cost $199 for a set of four. My 2002 2500HD Duramax Diesel truck uses Part # 300-308. There are other models for larger and dual wheels. I am ordering mine through Les Swab Tires, which is a big left coast tire retailer based in Oregon.

Centramaticís web site can be reached by adding a dot com to their name. Their toll free telephone number is 800 523-8473. I talk to Mr. Lee Quick. You will find that he can answer any of your questions and can give you the name of a local dealer. Even though they sell the 300 Series Centramatic Balancers in sets of four, they can prorate the price if you require balancers for single or triple axles.

I am not a dealer. I just want a solution to my combination balancing problem that I can live with.
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Old 07-08-2004, 04:14 PM   #27
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Does the horizontal balancer type devices work this way too? I have a friend who works on a Formula 1 team who says they balance wheels and hubs that way.

John
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