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Tire Balancer

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Getting the maximum life out of your tires is not only important on the track, but also for a racer’s wallet. One of the most commonly overlooked ways to achieve both goals is to balance your tires. Just like a real car, when you tires are properly balanced they will wear longer which means you will get more miles out of them for your money. And when tires are out of balance and spun up at high speeds it will cause your car to vibrate. This can make your car more unstable and harder to drive, and it can increase the chances of a screw working its way out which might end your run early. In this edition of the Garage we’ll take a look at a new product from JConcepts that will help you to bring balance to your RC tire program.

Photo credit: Radio Control Car Action Magazine May 1991

Balancing tires isn’t a new concept to the RC world since racers started to do this “back in the day”. But back then options were pretty limited and a lot of drivers used airplane prop balancers. 

Over time balancers specifically designed for RC tires did emerge, but many of them were not easily portable or only worked for one class of tire. So knowing this the JConcepts design team set out to develop a new product that was lightweight, compact, easy to transport, easy to use, aesthetically appealing, and compatible with many popular tires out on the market today.

The JConcepts tire balancer is forged from a mix of aluminum and steel, and is anodized in blue with silver chamfered edges. 

Throughout the balancer etching has been applied to display the JConcepts branding, and to aid you in properly setting it up for use which I’ll go over in a little bit.

To protect the tire balancer when stored a snap case is also included with custom fit foam. Two sturdy latches lock the case tight, and the foam is removable if so desired.

Again this product is very lightweight and only weighs 176g when stored in the case.

And when removed the balancer itself only weights 94g.

To help stabilize the balancer under a heavy load like a 1/8 buggy tire, the base uses an enlarged foot print, and it is supported by four copper colored stand-off legs.

One of the unique features of this tire balancer is the main shaft used to hold the tires in place while they are balanced. The far left piece shown above is the center hub assembly and it houses two metal shielded bearings.

The other two components are interchangeable thumb nuts that are used for either 1/8 or 1/10 tires. They incorporate knurling to help you with your grip, and the smaller end piece features a JC logo of authenticity. The tire balancer comes pre-assembled from the factory, but you do have to setup it up properly for the size of tire you want to balance so let’s walk through that process now.

As you can see the JConcepts tire balancer is very flat and compact when in its resting position.

The first thing you need to do is to remove the small thumbnut shown here.

This thumbnut will be needed again in a little bit so for now we’ll set it aside.

Now remove the main shaft from the balancer by unthreading it counter-clockwise.

Now swing the main upright 90 degrees and then use the copper colored thumbnut we removed earlier to secure it in place.

This thumbnut is used to lock the balancer in place when stored or in use, and it also features an authentic JC logo.

Now thread the main shaft into the main upright.

To balance 1/8 tires you want to remove the two smaller components and use them in conjunction to clamp down on your wheels.

Place the center hub assembly through the front of your wheel. 

Then use the smaler end piece to secure your wheel in place and then take it for a spin.

For 1/10 tires you will remove only the smaller end piece with the JC logo from the main shaft.

Again you will slip the center hub assembly through the front of your wheel, and then lock it down with the small end piece. The balancer synchs up with 2wd/4wd buggy, short course, and stadium truck wheels. The stadium truck wheels are a little snug so make sure to press the center hub assembly firmly inside the wheel when using it.

There are probably over a dozen different techniques to glue and balance your RC tires. So depending on your personal preference you might need some of the items shown in the image above.

But when it comes to balancing the tires, one thing that the JConcepts team definitely recommends is modeling clay. This clay is posable and contains oil so it doesn’t dry out quickly. It is not included with the tire balancer, but it can be found at many different craft and hobby retailers.

A common method to using a tire balancer is to spin it and then let the tire stop spinning on its own. Pay attention to how much the tire “rocks” back and forth on the balancer when it does stop, and then mark the top side of the tire. Then spin it again to see if it stops at the same spot the next time.

If the tire is already balanced then it will stop at different locations when it loses momentum without a lot of rocking motion. But if it does stop in the same spot each time, add some clay to the mark you made on the top side of the tire. The opposite side or bottom of the tire is the “heavy” spot, and by adding clay you are trying to balance it out. Then spin it again to see if the clay decreases the rocking motion and if the tire stops at different locations now. Repeat this process until the tire appears more balanced, but don’t get too carried away with the clay otherwise you can add unneeded weight to each wheel.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Garage, and a complete list of the items featured in this story is listed below:

JConcepts Products: 

2029 - JConcepts Racing Banner - MSRP $20.00
2043T - Advanced Formulated Tire Glue – Thin - MSRP $10.00
2133 - 4' Pit Mat – MSRP $20.00
2212-1 - Satellite tire gluing rubber bands - blue - fits 1/10th, SCT and 1/8th buggy – MSRP $13.00
2212-2 - Satellite tire gluing rubber bands - black - fits 1/10th, SCT and 1/8th buggy – MSRP $13.00
2538-1 - Tire Balancer With Case - MSRP $90.00
2539 - Microfiber Towel - Blue / Black - MSRP $5.00
3080-05 – Dirt Webs – SCT 3.0” x 2.2” – Gold - MSRP $26.00
3112-08 – Diamond Bars – 8th Scale Buggy – Red – MSRP $28.00
3130-05 - Smoothies 2.2" Truck Tire - MSRP $25.00
3176-05 - Space Bars - (Fits 2.2" Buggy Rear Wheel) - Gold – MSRP $26.00
3344B – Hazard – SC10|SC10 4x4|SC10B|SC5M Wheel – Black - MSRP $9.00
3348W - Mono - B4.1 | B44.1 | B5 | B6 | RB5 | RB6 - 12MM Hex Rear Wheel – White - MSRP $13.00
3354W – Mono – T4.1|T5M – 12mm Hex Wheel – White - MSRP $17.00
3357W – Bullet – 1/8th Buggy Wheel – 83mm – 4pc – White – MSRP $22.00

Dirt Racing Products: 

8000 - Dirt Racing Products - Cleaner - MSRP $14.00
8005 - Dirt Racing Products - Sprayer - MSRP $4.00
8116 - Dirt Racing Products – Permanent Dual Tip Pen Set - MSRP $5.00

Sources: http://www.jconcepts.net