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Old 03-09-2009, 04:00 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Torii View Post
Thanks for sharing the knowledge Andy. I have a few follow-up questions.

How does one know if they have "Unicast" drums? Was there a particular year in which manufacturing changed over?

Are "Unicast" drums manufactured to tighter specs? maybe these drums the ones that Jeftec speaks of that rarely need balancing?
A unicast hub and drum is evident when you remove a wheel.

They are once piece instead of the old 2 piece, or the realy old 3 pieces.

The unicast drums have been around maybe 10 years or more.

They are cast to closer tolerances, and then machined.

They are not in balance but within an ounce or two, normally.

Rarely, very rarely, is a hub drum tire wheel assembly, even today, totally in balance.

Many people who thought their tires were ok, then added centramatics.

Without exception, everyone of those owners could tell a dfference. Many have so stated here in this Forums.

Amazingly, no one would "EVER" think or dream of riding in their car, truck or tow vehicle, unless things were balanced.

But when it comes to the trailer, opinions jump out of the walls.

The fact is, unbalanced running gear on an Airstream or Argosy trailer, causes unnecessary repair bills. Always has, always will.

Andy
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:01 PM   #16
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I called my Airstream dealer and talked with a guy I have worked with before and he said they don't balance the tires/wheels themselves but that it should be done. He also said that it most likely wouldn't be necessary to balance the drums and wouldn't even know who would do that.

Does anyone know who would also be able to balance the drums? If I were in CA, I would love to take the trailer down to Andy and have Inland do this but here in Utah... I don't know who is going to understand the need for this and provide the service, too bad all Airstream dealerships do not provide the same services, unfortunately, our Airstream dealer does not specialize "only" in Airstreams.
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:08 PM   #17
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jeftec,

That confirms that the tire/wheel assembly gets balanced at the Airstream factory as I would certainly expect but I was really wondering about this running gear idea that gets kicked around here on the Airstream Forum. (brake drum balancing)... What you say about this makes sense because I can hardly imagine brake drums being manufactured today that are very much out of balance... That being said, there are some others here that suggest it IS the case. Did you see this? whaddya think?

-T
Travel trailer brake drums, are not made to the same tolerances as autombile drums.

I have never seen a wheel balancer in Airstreams production facilities, and I visit the plant every couple of years or so. I can roam the plant as I wish, without any escort. I can also use camera's, still and moving, as much as I wish, without any restrictions.

I have seen one in the service department., many years ago.

We have not seen any "as delivered" Airstream trailers, with any lead weights on any wheels. They simply do not do it.

However, a selling dealer might balance, or the owner may have it done.

If not, then they have us do it for them, and sometimes even watch us do the balancing.

Andy
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:12 PM   #18
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Andy,

Everywhere I have asked in the Denver area says they don't have the equipment balance the drums and hubs and they generally argue with me about the need to have it done.

Any idea where we go in this part of the country?

Thanks!
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:16 PM   #19
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I called my Airstream dealer and talked with a guy I have worked with before and he said they don't balance the tires/wheels themselves but that it should be done. He also said that it most likely wouldn't be necessary to balance the drums and wouldn't even know who would do that.

Does anyone know who would also be able to balance the drums? If I were in CA, I would love to take the trailer down to Andy and have Inland do this but here in Utah... I don't know who is going to understand the need for this and provide the service, too bad all Airstream dealerships do not provide the same services, unfortunately, our Airstream dealer does not specialize "only" in Airstreams.
From early 1970 to late 1973, I visited over 90 percent of the Airstream dealers in the USA.

I encouraged many of them to do balancing, and with the Snap-on system that we use today,sinc it so safe to use.

Probably 30 or 40 of them did make that investment. Of course many of those original dealers are not around anymore, so who knows what happened to their balancing equipment.

Sadly, Snap-on discontiuned that balancer many years ago.

Unfortuantely, regardless of the brand of travel trailer or 5th wheel, running gear should "always" be balanced.

All to many tire failures are related to unbalance.

Yeah, I know, it's got to be that the tire is no good, as it couldn't possibly be a lack of "PM".

Andy
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:20 PM   #20
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Andy,

Everywhere I have asked in the Denver area says they don't have the equipment balance the drums and hubs and they generally argue with me about the need to have it done.

Any idea where we go in this part of the country?

Thanks!
I have no idea where you could get the balancing done in your area.

But, everyone who has the same problem, could always add the Centramatics.

And no, we don't sell them, but maybe we should.

Andy
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:38 PM   #21
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We have not seen any "as delivered" Airstream trailers, with any lead weights on any wheels. They simply do not do it.
Andy,
When I purchased my Airstream (new), there were stick-on weights on the inside of the Alcoa wheels. I could be mistaken, but the dealer that I bought it from would never have taken it upon themselves to do balancing before delivery.
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:09 PM   #22
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You can check the balance of your drums at home, if you're clever.

The next time you repack your bearings (we do that once a year, right?) just put some light oil in the clean bearings, reassemble (loosely) and give it a few spins.

If the drum always stops in the same position, you have a problem. Tape a few washers to the light side until it comes to rest at a random location.

The number and size of the washers will give you an estimate of how much the drum is out of balance. Then you decide if it's worthwhile to have it fixed or replace it.

Don't forget to regrease the bearings with your regular wheel grease before you put it back on the road.
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:10 PM   #23
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Andy,
When I purchased my Airstream (new), there were stick-on weights on the inside of the Alcoa wheels. I could be mistaken, but the dealer that I bought it from would never have taken it upon themselves to do balancing before delivery.
Who knows, that was 5 years ago.

Andy
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Old 03-09-2009, 07:03 PM   #24
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Thanks for the info on the Centramatics, Do you happen to know the limits as to what they can balance out in terms of weight? I assume they take the place of any weights that would normally be used to balance the tire/wheel assembly. If the brake drum is off balance by a few pounds as suggested by Andy, I wonder if the Centramatics are sufficient to counteract it.
Probably...we run them on 75,000# gravel trucks

Aaron
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Old 03-09-2009, 08:10 PM   #25
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Probably...we run them on 75,000# gravel trucks

Aaron
Well, now, if they work on 75,000 pound trucks, they certainly should work very well on a trailer that weighs 10 percent of that, even if it's an Airstream.

Thanks for the endorsement Aaron.

Andy
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Old 03-09-2009, 08:27 PM   #26
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Well, now, if they work on 75,000 pound trucks, they certainly should work very well on a trailer that weighs 10 percent of that, even if it's an Airstream.

Thanks for the endorsement Aaron.

Andy

Centramatics were originally developed for the OTR trucks, a well balanced tire runs cooler, lasts longer and give better mileage. Then they branched out into the smaller sized units. I run them on my F350 duallys and quite often get 65,000 miles out of a set of 50,000 mile steering axle tires.

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Old 03-09-2009, 08:54 PM   #27
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I ordered my Centramatics last Friday & am anxiously awaiting the UPS man. I'm glad Aaron has first-hand reports! I've asked a number of tire shops out here if they do the balancing of the wheels & hubs and they all looked at me (and Andy's pictorial guide) like I was crazy. Before I ordered them, I did a search on the forums & there are a number of members who use them, so that's encouraging. They seem to be easy to install. They have a video of how they work on their website--- Centramatics.com
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:22 PM   #28
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hi
if you can change a tire you can install the centramatic balancers. i installed a set on my 28 classic last week. and next month im going to get a set for the chevrolet 2500.. also i had to replace another tire good year marathon treed seperation. that makes four since i bought the tt. and i had a good year dealer tell me that marathons are made in gadsden alabama ,wrong has made in china on the side wall. i switched to coopers. made in the usa.
i had a set on my classic 310 , they will effectively put 12 ounces of weight on your tire if needed. and that is a lot of weight. if a tire needs more than 12 ounces i dont want it on any of my vehicles. i endorse centramatic balancers if you got a new airstream you can affor a set. $214.00 and that includes shipping.
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