Of all the cars and trucks I’ve worked on so far, Adrian’s 4Runner is easily in the top-2 in terms of difficulty. The processes were all the same, but everything was… well… heavier. WAY Heavier. And that led to a bit of a boo-boo.
Adrian purchased a beautiful set of 6-lug Volk Racing TE37s for his truck. With such a nice-looking wheel, I decided to give the lips a bit of extra protection for the tire-mounting portion of this project. Yes, the tire machine’s head is made of nylon (or plastic) to reduce the chance of scuffing, but I wanted to do a little extra for this one.
With the big Yokohama Geolander tire mounted to it, the complete assembly looked like this. Now that’s a big lad! It probably weighed about 60 pounds. And this is when the challenge really started to kick in.
I don’t have a photo of this next part of the story because of this difficulty. Lifting and centering the assembly on the balancer was tough. In fact, the metal centering-cone eventually led to some scratches on the inner bore of one of the wheels.
However, I didn’t know there were any scratches until a few days later when Adrian notified me. “Oh shit, I didn’t see it happen, but yeah, I probably DID cause it, and I’ll pay for the repair” is what I told him over the phone. Because I already knew a great repair place (Sensei 6), I recommended them. But Adrian had a different repair shop in mind, called Wheel Flip. Coincidentally, I had already been friends with Andrew from Wheel Flip for almost 20 years now, so picking them would be a confident choice. Alas, Adrian didn’t go with Sensei6 or Wheel flip. Instead, he decided to choose Son from Onsite Wheels, whom I don’t know personally. But he seems to have a good reputation, and I stand by my word on covering the cost of repair.
On the plus side, the job itself was able to be finished, and although the center bore of one of the wheels got a bit of rash, the rest of the wheels remained in upstanding condition.
The big question to myself is this: “How do I prevent something like this from happening again?” After some poking around the Internet, I’ve decided to purchase a small hydraulic cart. It would lift a heavy wheel/tire up to the balancing machine and hold it in position while I attach the centering cone easily with both hands. That should mean no sliding around and no scratching/scuffing. On car wheels, this isn’t a necessity, but on big heavy setups like this, a little help will make a big difference.
I never claim to be perfect, and I don’t lie about the experience I have with mounting and balancing tires. But I do my best, show that I care, own up to my mistakes, and put in the effort to improve. That’s the reputation I try to maintain, and I hope Adrian will come back again for help in the future.