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Way to find out if a wheel is bent w/o installing?


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#1 White95Max

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 05:52 PM

As many of you know, I have a "new" set of wheels coming on Friday (Feb 11). They were bought off of Ebay, so I have to have some concern about the actual condition of the wheels. The seller said that they are in "good condition except for a few minor scratches". I really hope that's their true condition, but I'm just worried about something major like a bent rim.

Is there any way to check for a bent wheel without putting the wheels on the car? I don't have tires yet, so I can't drive on the new wheels yet.
Maybe I'm getting more worried than I need to be, but I'm so anxious to detail the hell out of them and get them on the car...and hopefully not have any issues with them.
Paul...
'99 Mazda Protege LX 5spd, highlight silver - AIO/UPPx2/#16
'03 Mazda Protege5 5spd, sunlight silver - AIO/UPP/Nattys

#2 Setec Astronomy

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 06:47 PM

Well, if it's really bad, you should be able to see it. You could always take them to your tire shop and let them spin the wheels on the tire balancer and see how they do.
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#3 dschribs

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 06:55 PM

Setec Astronomy's got it. It's not a perfect method, but it works.

#4 White95Max

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 06:59 PM

So they can tell by using the balancer without a tire on the wheel? Yeah I guess I don't see why not.
Cool I can probably get my mechanic to do that for a few bucks.
Paul...
'99 Mazda Protege LX 5spd, highlight silver - AIO/UPPx2/#16
'03 Mazda Protege5 5spd, sunlight silver - AIO/UPP/Nattys

#5 Slackmeister

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 07:05 PM

From my experience in balancing wheels, if they are bent (assuming these are alloy), they are usually bad enough to see it w/o the balancer. But the tire shop should be happy to spin the wheels sans tires before mounting; good advice. :up

#6 White95Max

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 07:08 PM

Well I don't have tires yet, but the guys at the shop will do little things like this for me without any fuss. One of the techs has even lent me his tools before to do certain tasks on my car myself to save money.
Paul...
'99 Mazda Protege LX 5spd, highlight silver - AIO/UPPx2/#16
'03 Mazda Protege5 5spd, sunlight silver - AIO/UPP/Nattys

#7 detailedcars

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 07:19 PM

Placeing the wheel on a balancer alone might not detect if it is bent or not. You will need to spin the wheel on a balancer by hand, and have something that you can measure from a fixed point to the wheel. If the wheel is ok it will be the same all the way around, if not you see the difference with the measuring device. I have used a light stand (guitar, music, etc.) and a peice of wire. I placed the stand near the wheel, and then bent the wire so that it barely touches the wheel. I then spun the wheel, and watched for any gaps.

#8 Setec Astronomy

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 07:31 PM

Originally posted by detailedcars
Placeing the wheel on a balancer alone might not detect if it is bent or not. You will need to spin the wheel on a balancer by hand, and have something that you can measure from a fixed point to the wheel. If the wheel is ok it will be the same all the way around, if not you see the difference with the measuring device. I have used a light stand (guitar, music, etc.) and a peice of wire. I placed the stand near the wheel, and then bent the wire so that it barely touches the wheel. I then spun the wheel, and watched for any gaps.



What you're describing is called a runout check, properly done with a dial indicator. There will be a runout limit for the wheel/tire/car. If Maxy is going to a good shop, they will know to do this.
New & Improved! "Truly filled with inconceivable hatred" --South Florida Review
What little I know about detailing I learned from David Fermani.

#9 BigChevMan

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 07:08 PM

Originally posted by detailedcars
Placeing the wheel on a balancer alone might not detect if it is bent or not. You will need to spin the wheel on a balancer by hand, and have something that you can measure from a fixed point to the wheel. If the wheel is ok it will be the same all the way around, if not you see the difference with the measuring device. I have used a light stand (guitar, music, etc.) and a peice of wire. I placed the stand near the wheel, and then bent the wire so that it barely touches the wheel. I then spun the wheel, and watched for any gaps.



what your describing only works for bends in the in and out direction. Most bends on aluminum wheels occur inward from potholes and such. As someone who spent a long time slinging tires for a living...the best way is to roll it on a concrete floor. you'll hear and see if it's bent real fast.

#10 Setec Astronomy

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 07:21 PM

Originally posted by BigChevMan
As someone who spent a long time slinging tires for a living...the best way is to roll it on a concrete floor. you'll hear and see if it's bent real fast.


I like that! Thanks for bringing your experience and a quick, accurate check.
New & Improved! "Truly filled with inconceivable hatred" --South Florida Review
What little I know about detailing I learned from David Fermani.

#11 White95Max

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 08:14 PM

I'm planning to replace the back wheel on my car with one of the new rims while it's jacked up, and put a piece of wire or something between the inner fender and the wheel. Then I'll spin the wheel and see if the gap between the wheel and the wire end ever gets bigger. I'll do the same test against the side of the wheel and the outer rim of the wheel, so I'll see whether any of them are bent in either direction.
Paul...
'99 Mazda Protege LX 5spd, highlight silver - AIO/UPPx2/#16
'03 Mazda Protege5 5spd, sunlight silver - AIO/UPP/Nattys




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