Balancing Act

Balancing Act

Every year or so, someone posts about “balancing beads” on the H.A.M.B. Typically, this post is followed by guys that swear by their magic and others who say there is no possible way that they could work. A couple of weeks ago, this scenario played itself out again… and I decided to test the theory for myself.

I have Kelsey-Hayes bent spokes on the a-coupe and never had a problem with them until I had tube go bad last year. I replaced the tube and then had the local tire joint balance the assembly. The tech doing the work didn’t have an appropriate adaptor to put the spoke wheel on the balancing machine, so he improvised as best he could. The result was a pretty gnarly vibration at around 60 mph. I’ve lived with it.

My “Dyna Beads” showed up last week, so I used my Father’s Day leave to get them in my coupe’s front tubes. The process isn’t so far removed from putting tooth paste back in the tube. Put more succinctly, it was a bit of a pain in the ass. You remove your valve core, place the beads in a small plastic bottle, thread a tube over your valve stem, and then pour. No matter how careful you are, the beads jam and you end up tapping your valve stem like a mad man in an effort to dislodge the jam. This goes on for about 20 to 30 minutes per wheel. I only did my front end – 4.50/75-16 stones took 4oz of beads each.

Once done, I warmed the old flathead up and went for a ride. I still don’t understand how in the hell these beads work, but they do… at least they did for me. The vibration is completely gone at 60 and I was unable to find another at any speed. It must be some kind of voodoo… As if I sold my soul to some wicked devil and will have to pay for it at some point later. In fact, the next time I find myself cleaning kid poo off the toilet… or maybe the crib… or maybe some other random place in the house, I’ll smile and realize that that is the price you pay for a smooth riding coupe with Kelsey-Hayes.

Anyway, I got my beads here. I don’t know these folks at all and there might be other sources… Your mileage may vary and you may find yourself cleaning up poo at some point.

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