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Old 04-29-2016, 05:15 PM   #1
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Why does Airstream do this?

I owned a German car repair shop for 40 years and nearly every time someone called with a recurring wheel balance problem, it was caused by the same thing. Aftermarket wheels! All car manufacturers that I am aware of use hub centric wheels What I mean by that is that the hole in the center of the wheel is a pretty snug fit on the hub. Most aftermarket wheels are somewhat generic and they may or may not be hub centric. The 4 or 5 lugs will not hold the wheel centered. First pothole and the wheel is knocked a wee bit off center and it vibrates. 6 lugs won't do much better.

To solve this problem, there are several companies that make hub rings to fit between the wheel and the hub, thus eliminating the sloppy fit.

The hubs on my '16 Flying Cloud are 102mm and the wheel center is 104mm (with the hub cap installed). Doesn't sound like much, but the next time you have the lug nuts off, move the wheel up and down. You will be amazed at the amount of movement. The wheel has to be all the way against the brake drum because the hub mating surface is only about 1/4".

I have spent an hour or so looking for hub rings of the proper size and have not found any. Has anyone addressed this issue, or even thought about it?

I know this is a trivial issue, but many have commented that there is an earthquake going on in the trailer when driving. Wheels that are not concentric with the hub will contribute small tremors to the quake.
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Old 04-29-2016, 05:32 PM   #2
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Never noticed or heard of this being a valid problem. Airstream uses the same off the shelf parts and pieces as every other trailer and rv maker out there.
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Old 04-29-2016, 06:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bgibbs View Post
I owned a German car repair shop for 40 years and nearly every time someone called with a recurring wheel balance problem, it was caused by the same thing. Aftermarket wheels! All car manufacturers that I am aware of use hub centric wheels What I mean by that is that the hole in the center of the wheel is a pretty snug fit on the hub. Most aftermarket wheels are somewhat generic and they may or may not be hub centric. The 4 or 5 lugs will not hold the wheel centered. First pothole and the wheel is knocked a wee bit off center and it vibrates. 6 lugs won't do much better.

To solve this problem, there are several companies that make hub rings to fit between the wheel and the hub, thus eliminating the sloppy fit.

The hubs on my '16 Flying Cloud are 102mm and the wheel center is 104mm (with the hub cap installed). Doesn't sound like much, but the next time you have the lug nuts off, move the wheel up and down. You will be amazed at the amount of movement. The wheel has to be all the way against the brake drum because the hub mating surface is only about 1/4".

I have spent an hour or so looking for hub rings of the proper size and have not found any. Has anyone addressed this issue, or even thought about it?

I know this is a trivial issue, but many have commented that there is an earthquake going on in the trailer when driving. Wheels that are not concentric with the hub will contribute small tremors to the quake.
I ran a euro auto repair shop for years too!
I'm not sure that the issue is so much that the wheels are not centered but rather that those drums are not balanced! I spun a set of them up on my Hunter Road Force balancer and what I found sickened me!

I balanced that set of drums and then spun the wheel/drum combo on the balancer and it was round enough and balanced when I was finished.
Next time I'll simply purchase centramatics as I no longer own the Hunter machine.

It was amazing how out of balance those drums were...
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Old 04-29-2016, 07:31 PM   #4
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All my wheels are centered with the studs, they are not hub piloted, my dodge is the same as the airstream.....
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Old 04-29-2016, 07:44 PM   #5
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I have ran aftermarket wheels on my vehicles for decades and never had a bearing issue...never heard of them causing problems.
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Old 04-29-2016, 09:38 PM   #6
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I have ran aftermarket wheels on my vehicles for decades and never had a bearing issue...never heard of them causing problems.
Doesn't the shoulder on the lug nuts align the wheel, how could it be off?
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Old 04-29-2016, 09:56 PM   #7
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I stand by my earlier comments. From looking at some of the Dodge forums, it appears that Dodge trucks have a high incidence of studs breaking due to the lack of hub centric wheels. I don't care how well balanced a tire/wheel is, if it is not round as it rotates it will vibrate.

I found a place that will custom make a set of rings that will fit the AS and I have ordered a set.

Unlike your car and TV you are not riding in your trailer and cannot tell if it is vibrating or not.
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Old 04-29-2016, 10:00 PM   #8
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Centramatic Wheel Balancers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bgibbs View Post
I owned a German car repair shop for 40 years and nearly every time someone called with a recurring wheel balance problem, it was caused by the same thing. Aftermarket wheels! All car manufacturers that I am aware of use hub centric wheels What I mean by that is that the hole in the center of the wheel is a pretty snug fit on the hub. Most aftermarket wheels are somewhat generic and they may or may not be hub centric. The 4 or 5 lugs will not hold the wheel centered. First pothole and the wheel is knocked a wee bit off center and it vibrates. 6 lugs won't do much better.

To solve this problem, there are several companies that make hub rings to fit between the wheel and the hub, thus eliminating the sloppy fit.

The hubs on my '16 Flying Cloud are 102mm and the wheel center is 104mm (with the hub cap installed). Doesn't sound like much, but the next time you have the lug nuts off, move the wheel up and down. You will be amazed at the amount of movement. The wheel has to be all the way against the brake drum because the hub mating surface is only about 1/4".

I have spent an hour or so looking for hub rings of the proper size and have not found any. Has anyone addressed this issue, or even thought about it?

I know this is a trivial issue, but many have commented that there is an earthquake going on in the trailer when driving. Wheels that are not concentric with the hub will contribute small tremors to the quake.
This is one of many reasons why I run Centramatic Wheel Balancers on all of my vehicles...

http://www.centramatic.com/

Given them a call. They are thoroughly familiar with all the Airstream models and know exactly what version of their product you will need.

Regards,

Jim
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Old 04-30-2016, 12:18 AM   #9
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Well, you can learn something every day. Here's a sample of the much info that is available about it.

http://tires.about.com/od/understand...ric-wheels.htm

Centramatics won't help if the wheel is pushed off center, need rings.
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Old 04-30-2016, 05:09 AM   #10
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Well, you can learn something every day. Here's a sample of the much info that is available about it.

http://tires.about.com/od/understand...ric-wheels.htm

Centramatics won't help if the wheel is pushed off center, need rings.
The problem with adding rings to "lug centric" wheels is that there is no guarantee that the center of the hole is actually the center of the wheel!

Each style, lug centric and wheel centric, is designed to be centered in a different way. I've spent a lot of time chasing wheel centric centering problems due to corrosion or mis shaped parts!

My own airstream wheels centered perfectly on the drums when I checked them on the RoadForce balancer...that's what a RoadForce balancer does...it looks for eccentricity. It has the ability to measure .001" deflections in a rim or in the case of the way I set it up in the rim/drum assy.

As I mentioned earlier though, the balance of the drums was abysmal. Somewhere here I have videos of traveling inside our Airstream both before and after balancing the drums... The difference is amazing.

I would never go through the exercise of balancing the drums again...it was a pain in the but! Next time I change drums I'll add centramatics.

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Old 04-30-2016, 05:19 AM   #11
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The best fix for the unbalanced wheel drums could be the conversion to disc brakes.... and then add Centramatic wheel balancers along with properly balanced tires and wheels on a spin balancer.

There is almost a certainty that the brake drums today are made way off shore with nary a thought of balancing them before shipment let alone at the factory installing them or the parts store selling them....
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Old 04-30-2016, 05:27 AM   #12
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The best fix for the unbalanced wheel drums could be the conversion to disc brakes.... and then add Centramatic wheel balancers along with properly balanced tires and wheels on a spin balancer.

There is almost a certainty that the brake drums today are made way off shore with nary a thought of balancing them before shipment let alone at the factory installing them or the parts store selling them....
Not only that but the stopping power of the drum brakes used in these Airstreams is terrible! Discs would at least be able to apply some brake force.

After reading somewhere here that the drums were unbalanced at the factory I called Dexter and asked if this was true. They confirmed that the drums were in fact not balanced. This is what prompted me to check mine.

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Old 04-30-2016, 07:58 AM   #13
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Different conditions being discussed now. Non-concentric wheel/hub assemblies, unbalanced hubs, disc brake conversions as a cure, stopping ability of drum brakes , and which of these conditions Centramatic wheel balancers will cure.

I know little about any of it. Our wheels seem be rolling smoothly evidenced by nothing bouncing around in the Airstream during many, many miles, our drum brakes will lock up the wheels (it's more a question of extreme fade on long downhills, which hasn't happened), and I'd rather not buy add-on balancers, disc brakes, and concentric rings if we don't need them.

But I want to learn something so am listening.
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Old 04-30-2016, 09:09 AM   #14
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If the wheels or tires were out of balance wouldn't there eventually be odd tire wear?
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