Converted Tamiya F1 Wheel Balancer
Balancer with Wheel mounted
The day I passed my driving test at the young age of 17, the first thing I did was to drive over to my girlfriends house and take her out to a long straight stretch of road close by, where the boy racers would often congregate. No one was around that day, so the road was relatively quiet. I slowly went through the gears and we were soon up to 65 with no problems, but as we got closer to 70, my hands began to sense a small vibration on the steering wheel. By the time we hit 75, the steering wheel and the whole car was vibrating wildly. My girlfriend was hysterical, screaming for me to "slow down!" I did of course and tried to calm her down.
Back home I told my dad what had happened. He then reminded me that just the week before we had put on a new set of front tires and suggested the wheels were probably out of balance. Sure enough, after the wheels were re-balanced, at 85, 90, the car was steady as a rock and drove perfectly.
As I got deeper into RC, that memory returned and I realised to be more competitive I would have to balance all my wheels.
How I Balanced my Model Car Wheels
Wheel balancing equipment for RC cars is now available on line and from most RC model shops, but back then I had to make my own using the rear end of an old Tamiya F1 car.
With the insert fitted and the tire mounted and glued, the wheel was then bolted onto my home made balancer and while holding the balancer tightly, I spun the wheel vigorously. Invariably it would vibrate to some degree. To balance the wheel, I would next allow it to settle, then turn the wheel through 90 degrees and again allow it to settle. Obviously the heavy side of the wheel would drop to the bottom due to gravity. Once satisfied I made a mark on the rim with a felt tip pen at the top of the wheel where it came to rest. Removing the wheel, a small amount of plastic resin was then pressed into a recess on the inside of the wheel, on the side where I made the mark. The whole process was then repeated until I was totally satisfied. The final vigorous spin was always virtually vibration free.
I was amazed just how out of balance some of those wheels were and how much a small thing like that can make a difference on the track.
For More Setup Information check out my Hints and Tips page.