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Roadfly Magazine
Issue Eleven
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Aston Martin at Detroit Auto Show
Issue Eleven
March 30, 2004
Live, From Detroit, It's the 2004 NAIAS!
Detroit Auto Show Awards
Keeping things in Balance
60 Seconds with Henrik Fisker
Windshield Dyno: The Beltronics GX2
Nissan Altima Facelift
WORK Wheels Introduction
Cadillac Merchandise
Not The Record To Be Proud Of
Open Wheel Racing in the USA: Big Changes
Bear Market in the Auto Business?
Coming Next Issue
NYC Auto Show

Keeping things in Balance, continued.

Hunter Alignment Rack

Hunter Wheel and Tire Balancer

"Most people don't realize that both the wheel and tire have high and low spots," began Dave Scribner, Product Manager of Hunter's wheel balancers, tire changers and brake lathes. "The general notion is that a tire might have a high spot, so people pound weights on a rim to counterbalance that high spot."

Denny Bowen, Hunter's Director of Product Management chimes in, "Static balancing has long been a standard for balancing, but a true two-planed, dynamic balance will really make a difference to any vehicle." We're standing in one of Hunter Engineering's shop facilities, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of dollars of world-class automotive equipment.

Scribner leads us to one of Hunter's finest pieces of equipment, the Hunter GSP9700. As he places a wheel and tire assembly on the machine, he talks about the additional factors that play a key role in proper tire and wheel balance. "You can have a wheel that reads completely balanced and still have a vibration. That drives customers and technicians nuts," he says with a bit of a knowing smile and as he places the wheel on the machine, we get the impression that he's done this a time or two before. "Wheel force variation can cause a vibration that most balancers won't detect, and it's one of the main reasons drivers feel a vibration in their vehicles."

Jim Huhn, Director of Marketing and Communications for Hunter Engineering adds, "With today's extremely modern and well engineered suspensions, drivers can detect vibrations that they were never able to detect before. It's something that can be both a blessing and a curse."

We watch as Scribner attaches Hunter's exclusive "Inflation Station" device to the tire's valve stem. The Hunter GSP9700 is capable of determining the proper tire pressure for a particular wheel and tire combination, provided the operator supplies data about the vehicle from which the wheel came from. The machine detects that this particular tire is under-inflated by almost 7-PSI. It automatically corrects the tire pressure.

With the tire properly inflated, the machine starts itself up and attempts to determine the wheel's state of balance. Within a matter of seconds, it's determined that the wheel is severely out of balance and that it's suffering from excessive wheel force variation. Scribner makes a few marks on both the rim and tire with a grease pen, then removes the assembly from the machine.

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