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Old 02-04-2004, 08:57 AM   #57
Rivet Master
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Corona , California
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Dexter Specs

Dexter "WILL NOT" provide any specs as to runnout limits on the wheels they make, or on their hub and drums.

All they will say when you send them the specs, is that they are within limits.

They claim that their specs are "proprietary" and therefore they won't release them.

We had a shipment of wheels that were made by them that were out almost 1/4 inch. They still said "within specs."


We scrapped the wheels.


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Old 02-04-2004, 12:19 PM   #58
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Running gear balance

I am incredulous, to say the least. I would think Dexter would have paid you big bucks to send them back and never mention it in public.
Were the hubs you ordered from Dexter for a carnival ride, or one of those cars the clowns drive in the circus, with the square wheels?
BTW, what specs does Henchen adhere to?

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Old 02-04-2004, 01:16 PM   #59
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The wheel in question is the one we sell to Airstream owners, since it has a 2600 pound rating.

We have learned at this point, to inspect every new wheel we purchase for resale, on our balancer and check them for runout.

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Old 02-07-2004, 02:50 PM   #60
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Centramatic balancers

John hd asked me a few days ago to post a photo of a Centramatic balancer. I finally got around to taking a picture this afternoon.

They are one-piece spun aluminum. There is one place on the inside of the rim that is a cover for the orifice where they insert the weights and oil. You can hear the balls rolling arond when you rotate the balancer. Earlier units were assembled from several parts rather than being spun in one piece.
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John W. Irwin
2014.5 Touring Coach, "Sabre-Dog IV"
WBCCI #9632
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Old 02-07-2004, 03:58 PM   #61
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balance master


thanxs for the photo! it confirmed what i thought!

a few years ago i was helping a friend build a stroked out sportster. it vibrated horribly but was very fast!

in order to try to make this particular harley more rideable we tried a similar product attached to the clutch basket. although a bit smaller in diameter.

it smoothed out much but not all of the vibration on the bike, you could at least see out of the mirrors after installation. as i recall it used mercury instead of ballbearings.

balance masters was the name of the company that made the unit we used. oddly enough, they also offered a service to machine grooves in your flywheels and install the same system inside the motor itself!

you call them ferrets, i call them weasels.
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Old 02-07-2004, 10:03 PM   #62
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A friend of ours owns a trucking outfit and uses those on some of his older (500K+mi) tractors, steering axle only. They work good but not much below 45 mph. They are on 22.5" tires, not sure if that is why they don't work below that.
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Old 02-11-2004, 07:47 PM   #63
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1976 28' Argosy 28
Dripping Springs , Texas
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Centramatic Balancers

Y'all have made my day. My '76 Argosy is going to Alaska next spring and I have searched in vain for someone near Austin, Texas to balance my 'running gear'. I was preparing to go to my local gas station and get them to balance the tires and, while still up on the jacks, give'em Andy's hankerchief check. The tires are balanced if they stay where you put them and a hankerchief gently placed just off TDC causes the tire to rotate. When that failed I was going to ask them to remount the tire until I got the best result with the test. No telling if that would be enough. I was hoping I could get them to do all four tires before I used my entire stock of good will!! Trying the Centramatics is better.
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Old 02-12-2004, 09:15 AM   #64
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could somebody explain to me what is different about the trailer's wheel assembly, as compared to say, my truck's rear axle/wheel assemblies, that requires this special kind of balancing?

why is it "ok" to balance an automobile's tire/wheel only, while the airstream's wheels need to be balanced on the axle?

It would be nice if we could come up w/ some sort of list of shops around the country that have this capability. We all know of 1 place One other poster mentioned that they were able to find someone that could do it, but they didn't say where. Anyone in NewEngland that can do this?

Seems that most A/S dealers say "nah, you don't need to"...but it does say in plain english in my '73 owner's manual that Andy's way is the correct way.
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Old 02-12-2004, 09:30 AM   #65
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I think it has a lot to do with marketing.

1. Since most people don't ride in their trailers, they won't notice if it is balanced or not.

2. The people that built your truck have a quality control system, a warranty system, and deeper pockets for lawyers to dig into if something goes dreadfully wrong.

3. Face it-most trailers are hauling around old stumps, firewood, snowmobiles, boats, bobcats and the like. They (utility trailers) usually don't see more than ten thousand miles in their lifetime. This is the market that the wheel and hub manufacturers are in. And that market just wants something cheap.
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Old 02-12-2004, 09:43 AM   #66
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So am I right that the assemblies aren't any different? that would mean that trailers just have crappy parts?

I don't know if I can buy the idea that they "just don't care"...balancing isn't just about a comfortable ride. seems to me that it would be a safety issue, as well as a long-term quality issue.
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Old 02-12-2004, 10:34 AM   #67
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It's deplorable. Don't know how big a safety issue it is. Certainly the wheels and hubs are safe when used for the intended purpose. Is this why most states prohibit people riding in trailers?

If I manufactured hubs, I probably wouldn't balance them either. If I did, it could imply suitability for some use above and beyond their intended application, and that carries added legal liability.

I don't think the manufacturers care one whit about longevity of the product.

On the other hand, I recently purchased a pair of hubs and they were pretty well balanced right out of the box. Not perfect, but pretty good for the price.
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Old 02-12-2004, 12:32 PM   #68
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Does anyone in the Dallas/Fort Worth area know where to have the running gear balanced?
Paul Mayeux
A&P Vintage Trailer Works, Inc.
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Old 02-12-2004, 01:08 PM   #69
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There is one issue that was touched on by markdoane. Parts is parts. The hub assemblies are designed to haul a bunch of weight around and do it for a reasonable price. If you look at most campground in your area, how many 1970's trailer are there in that campground. Ok, How many of them that are there were towed in in the last 90 days?

Most of the White box trailers need to be able to survive the warranty period. Once that happens the manufacturer has no liability and when the trailer falls apart due to the running gear not being balanced the owners scrap it, or trade it and buy a new one. Sometimes they buy a new one so they can get out before it falls apart.

Airstream's are different as we all know. They will last almost forever. But the industry as a whole is not willing to pressure the manufacturers to build to a tighter tolerance. It can screw up their selling patterns. Until that pressure is applied or someone decides to fill a void in the market we have to continue to search. I know the hub is forged steel, I wonder what it would cost to forge it over sized and turn or CNC cut the entire assembly, not just the bearing races and inner drum? In doing that type of machining you could build in balance ability?

Of course in doing this you would be driving the cost per drum up. Would you pay 2 or 3 times the dexter price for 100% perfectly balanced drums?

This may also be the reason that Airstream originally went to the disc brakes. Automotive style disc brakes will have a very low % of imbalance due to the shape and size of the disc itself.
Brett G
WBCCI #5501 AIR # 49
1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 02-12-2004, 11:42 PM   #70
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1977 31' Sovereign
Chase , British Columbia
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Hi all...

This thread is topical as I've been pondering the balance situation. My unit has disc brakes, as Brett mentioned in the last post, and I'm wondering if they need to be balanced with the wheel/tire ass'y as do the drums.

If the discs are not as prone to large imbalances, would the Centramatics be sufficient to do the job, along with standard wheel/tire balance?

I appreciate everyone's advice.

'77 31'
Prince George, BC

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