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Old 12-06-2017   #1
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Wheel balancing in the U.S.?

Anyone had their wheels balanced in the U.S.? Just moved to North Carolina and the weather here should allow me year-round driving enjoyment. I know this sounds odd, but the little Fiat starts to vibrate at 60 MPH. It will do 70-75 here on the flat roads but the vibration is worrying.

I just replaced the upper control arms, bushings and shocks. One upper arm bolt was close to falling off, so it was good timing. Fixed the loose steering feel but now this vibration is apparent. I don't see any weights on the wheels so they're likely not balanced.

Is there an adapter plate to be purchased? Or plans for one if I have to have it machined up?

Mark
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Old 12-06-2017   #2
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Re: Wheel balancing in the U.S.?

No adapter plate needed by you, you just need to find a shop that can mount the wheel by the stud holes on their balancing machine. Usually, they'll have an adapter to do this.
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Old 12-06-2017   #3
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Re: Wheel balancing in the U.S.?

I forgot to add, if you can't find a tire shop that can balance them, and you're running tubeless tires, you can use balancing beads.

I've used these on aggressive off road tires that are a nightmare to balance, and they work as described.

Cheers, Steve
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Old 12-06-2017   #4
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Re: Wheel balancing in the U.S.?

I would also get a front end alignment. That may also be the cause of your vibration. I would think any tire shop should be able to balance your wheel/tire.
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Old 01-07-2017   #5
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Re: Wheel balancing in the U.S.?

OK, two tire shops in town could not balance these wheels. Their machine requires mounting through the middle of the wheel and my Fiat 500L wheels have a metal strap welded across this opening to mount the hub cap to. So...now what? Both said they've never seen a machine that could do it. One worked in a motorcycle shop as well and said their machine wouldn't work either.

Has anyone actually had their wheels balanced? Balancing by the studs doesn't sound reasonable (if I could find someone to do it.) The wheel is hub-centric, not bolt-centric. My VW-based Porsche replica uses wheel bolt-centric wheels and they have special conical bolts and socket-shaped indents in the wheels to center the wheel. The Fiat has no such thing. It centers on the cast wheel hub.
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Old 01-07-2017   #6
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Re: Wheel balancing in the U.S.?

I find this a bit disturbing in the the good old USofA in your part of the country that you can't find a suitable garage to do this. I'd be asking around senior mechanical/engineer background people if they can come up with any suggestions. I'm old school & remember those portable balancing stands, where you put the wheel on top with the level. These were very acurate by the way.

Best of luck.
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Old 01-07-2017   #7
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Re: Wheel balancing in the U.S.?

I had mine balanced and as suggested by Steve they used an adaptor plate that had studs on it that went through the wheel nut holes. They had issues at first because they couldn't find an adaptor plate with the correct PCD for the little wheels. But these guys were really determined to find a way to balance them. They managed eventually to secure the wheel centrally to their machine but it took a little engineering on their behalf to do it.
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Old 01-07-2017   #8
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Re: Wheel balancing in the U.S.?

Hi Marcus550,

The problem of not finding any places that can balance the 500's wheels is becoming an issue also in Italy unfortunately. There are always fewer places that have the correct adapter or an on-wheel balancer.

You need to find someone who has the adapter, or better yet, the on-wheel balancer (saddle style). This means that wheels stay on the car and the balancer rotates the wheel.


Here are some other car owners with a similar issue:

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/ar...-409914--.html

https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/...r-hole.375655/

I think this comment will be especially useful:

"take it to a walmart tire center and tell them to use the plate with the "fingers" I work at one myself and have used it many times before. If you know your bolt circle it will be helpful. "
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Old 11-07-2017   #9
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Re: Wheel balancing in the U.S.?

No need to balance them. Never seen 500s with wheel weights to to the tiny size of their wheels.
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Old 11-07-2017   #10
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Re: Wheel balancing in the U.S.?

Quote Originally Posted by marcus550 View Post
OK, two tire shops in town could not balance these wheels. Their machine requires mounting through the middle of the wheel and my Fiat 500L wheels have a metal strap welded across this opening to mount the hub cap to. So...now what? Both said they've never seen a machine that could do it. One worked in a motorcycle shop as well and said their machine wouldn't work either.

Has anyone actually had their wheels balanced? Balancing by the studs doesn't sound reasonable (if I could find someone to do it.) The wheel is hub-centric, not bolt-centric. My VW-based Porsche replica uses wheel bolt-centric wheels and they have special conical bolts and socket-shaped indents in the wheels to center the wheel. The Fiat has no such thing. It centers on the cast wheel hub.

So who balances the Porsche wheels? They can do the 500 wheels too. This is not just a problem for classics. My Croma (GM / Saab / Fiat design) has alloy wheels with centre holes but they are not machined or accurately located, just cast to clear the drive shaft nut cover. They fit on a centre mount balancer but it's hit or miss if they balance correctly, Use of centre hole balancers ids just because they are easier/cheaper to make.


Robert G8rPI.
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