Harbor Freight Wheel Balancing Stand. Product Review/modification.

Jim

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One of the in-laws gave me a Harbor Freight gift card for Christmas. I'd actually forgot about it. I was in the process of making a wheel balance/trueing stand when I remembered it. HF is only a 5 min drive from here, so off I go.

It's advertised only as a balancing stand. 50 bucks out the door.



1682366816483.png




I'm really surprised at the quality... for Chinese stuff, it's actually quiet good.
What it won't do however, is work as a trueing stand.

So.... I made two end pieces to capture and hold the axle in position. Just two pieces of steel strap with a 10-32 hole drilled and tapped for a screw. Now the axle is captured in place.



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...and, there's no pointer for checking rim runout. Scrounged around and found a pole shoe magnet out of something... most likely a starter motor. :umm:
JB Welded a grounding bar out of a Square D fuse box onto it. Went to the hardware store and grabbed a knob for two and a half bucks.
In a scrounge bucket I found some 1/8" stainless rod from a Decathlon wing brace. Gave it a pointy end, bent that and polished it... and here we are...


1682367475589.png



The pole shoe magnet is bugger me strong... to borrow a phrase from our friends across the pond. I can stick it to any part of the stand, adjust it to just clear the rim and Bob's your uncle.
All in all a nice addition to the shop. And with it all in for two and a half bucks, it appeals to the cheapskate in me. I like it. :cheers:



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One of the in-laws gave me a Harbor Freight gift card for Christmas. I'd actually forgot about it. I was in the process of making a wheel balance/trueing stand when I remembered it. HF is only a 5 min drive from here, so off I go.

It's advertised only as a balancing stand. 50 bucks out the door.



View attachment 241281



I'm really surprised at the quality... for Chinese stuff, it's actually quiet good.
What it won't do however, is work as a trueing stand.

So.... I made two end pieces to capture and hold the axle in position. Just two pieces of steel strap with a 10-32 hole drilled and tapped for a screw. Now the axle is captured in place.



View attachment 241282

View attachment 241290



...and, there's no pointer for checking rim runout. Scrounged around and found a pole shoe magnet out of something... most likely a starter motor. :umm:
JB Welded a grounding bar out of a Square D fuse box onto it. Went to the hardware store and grabbed a knob for two and a half bucks.
In a scrounge bucket I found some 1/8" stainless rod from a Decathlon wing brace. Gave it a pointy end, bent that and polished it... and here we are...


View attachment 241283


The pole shoe magnet is bugger me strong... to borrow a phrase from our friends across the pond. I can stick it to any part of the stand, adjust it to just clear the rim and Bob's your uncle.
All in all a nice addition to the shop. And with it all in for two and a half bucks, it appeals to the cheapskate in me. I like it. :cheers:



View attachment 241284

View attachment 241285
Thats a neat improvement to a cheap tool.
You should build and sell 'em on this site; and make a killing...... :whistle:
 
:cheers:

Did you check the axle for true?
I had two issues;
The axle was not straight. Others have reported that also.
the cones are hard to get and keep tight while snugging the set screw.
My solution to both problems was a piece of all thread with two coupling nuts, with one end turned to a cone..
HF balance stand.jpgrod.JPG
You can just see in the first pic I had to turn off some additional hex to clear rubber seals in some wheels.
The front wheel on the FJ was the first wheel I've had that didn't work with the all thread I reverted to the factory axle (straightened) to balance that one.
I got mine years ago and like many inexpensive bearings, flushing out the mounting bearings, to remove grit was needed.
I'ma stealing your axle capture solution! to use it for straightening.

6 tires mounted and balanced in the last two weeks.
That "computerized" spin balancer has not been tested yet. The maker had no user manual for this "old" model.
 
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I did chuck it up in the Atlas... and yeah, it ain't perfect. I could always throw it in the Orange Beast but it's only about 5 thou out in the middle. I can live with that.
I saw your allthread and coupling nut solution the other day. Got some 1/2" waiting in the wings if need be.
Haven't put a hub in there yet, so I'll update this thread when I do.
Maybe times are a changin' in the Far East, but the bearings actually feel pretty good. That was one of the gigs it got on the HF reviews 'bout the crappy bearings. Got 4 better ones if need be... but I think these'll work.

I think them Chinese are comin' for us.... :cautious:
 
I like to use a dial gauge for true, much more accurate than a pointer. But I do use a pointer (or short length of flat bar in my case) for the up-down run out. The outside of the rim, or down inside where the tire mounts, is too rough for a dial gauge .....

Runout and True.jpg
 
Well OK, but for the lazy amongst us:
View attachment 241305
Balance and true true with pointer and level and upright adjustable to two widths and accurate to 10grams (IME) jest click away: Amazon $115
https://www.amazon.com/BikeMaster-Wheel-Balancer-Truing-Stand/dp/B0068FUWGI/ref=asc_df_B0068FUWGI
:smoke:

I have this same thing, although blue and I totally thought I got it at HF but looks more like Amazon on eBay haha.

I also use a dial indicator but I’ve found that most 40+ year old rims are out so bad a pointer works just fine.

The only thing it does need and I havnt gotten around to it yet, but it needs the sides risers/support arms extended about 3-4”. As is, works great for rims but if you wanna check em after a tire is mounted it will only do a rear wheel, barely.

I’ve seen some decent movement in a rim after a tire is mounted so I like to double check em.

Would give the option of balancing them too, if your into that sort of thing.
 
I made mine years ago with my little welder from materials I scrounged. Basically, cost was next to nothing, just a couple welding rods, lol. It works great for both truing and balancing .....

Wheel Stand.jpg


Wheel Stand2.jpg


One side adjusts up and down so I can level the axle .....

Leveling Axle.jpg
 
the cones are hard to get and keep tight while snugging the set screw.
My solution to both problems was a piece of all thread with two coupling nuts, with one end turned to a cone..
Here ya go @gggGary ... A half inch collar and a stiff spring. Lock one cone, slide the hub on (simulated in this case), slide the other cone on, slide the spring on and the new half inch collar. Compress the hell outta the spring and lock the collar.... and Bobs yer uncle.

More-n one way to skin a cat cone... :cheers:



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Set the BSA front wheel in the stand today. Rotates nice a free... balancing should be a breeze.


More importantly, the hub and rim lock into place nicely and the pointer is set and forget. Very easy to check runout.



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Just speaking for myself.... I think the dial indicator is overkill. If I was breakin' a ton every day... maybe. But for normal use, 1/16" read on a 6" machinists ruler is close enough.
 
Here ya go @gggGary ... A half inch collar and a stiff spring. Lock one cone, slide the hub on (simulated in this case), slide the other cone on, slide the spring on and the new half inch collar. Compress the hell outta the spring and lock the collar.... and Bobs yer uncle.

More-n one way to skin a cat cone... :cheers:



View attachment 241350

View attachment 241351
Damn! Jim how fast you running that welder that you need to balance the spool of wire!?
 
Just speaking for myself.... I think the dial indicator is overkill. If I was breakin' a ton every day... maybe. But for normal use, 1/16" read on a 6" machinists ruler is close enough.
No question. My dial indicator left a small scratch on the rim amd it pissed me off. Fortunately it is I'm the "shoulder" area and "Mother's " will hide it.
 
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