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Old 06-26-2008, 05:37 PM   #1
cjc
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Does anyone have first hand experience with Centramatic wheel balancers? I've read some independent tests and they seem to be a good product, but I'd like to hear from anyone who has actually used them. Also, can anyone recommend a quality shock absorber for a Freightliner Columbia? I have to go for a new set of steer tires and would like to get as much out of them as possible. The originals have gotten chunks of tread removed from them over the years which appear to be due to poor quality shock absorbers. I'm sure that the Freightliner factory only puts shocks that are just good enough on their chassis. I'd like to upgrade when I go for the new tires. Since day one, I've experienced a nasty vibration in the front end when in the speed range of 25-30 mph. After that, it smooths out. Any ideas? Thanks.
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Old 06-26-2008, 08:52 PM   #2
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One of my bus conversion buddies is running Centramatic's & swears by them.
Can't tell you much about upgrade shocks.
The vib you're describing sounds more like tire carcass problems & unlikely from weak shocks.
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Old 06-26-2008, 10:46 PM   #3
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....to make a list of what needs to be checked/repaired in order of expense....air pressure-tire balance w/o centermatics-add Equal/CounterAct or one of the balance products and take an hour's ride to open the bags and warm things up-remove tire and wheel and check rim for wobble/roundness-check tire for run out...if more than .060 have it trued without the balance materials and then add the balance materials again-more than .060 wobble in rim replace rim/.....tie-rods and ball joints/king pins checked and replaced with alignment if out of spec. -also look at bushings in springs and steering box to axle bar and spring perches for a broken center bolt and shifted front axle....replace as necessary....have frame measured for rack and discard truck if more than .060 out of square.........I sent my centermatics back as they don't correct the problem just cover the symptoms up for a while......geofkaye
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Old 06-27-2008, 12:25 AM   #4
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We run a fleet of heavy equipment haulers in So Cal, worse freeways around. We've mounted centermatics on everything, and will continue to do so. As Geofkay stated to inspect truck for worn componets first, but these things are the bomb! Work excellent and have reduced premature tire swaps from cupping and chatter wear patterns.
You might take you rig to a frame and axle shop and have the springs checked? We have our springs built and balanced to each trucks weight. A good shop can weigh each corner of the truck and build the springs accordingly, as well customize the ride if your a fixed application as a toter/motor-coach.
I wouldnt get to crazy with shocks on a large truck with leaf suspension, NAPA sells and decent pair of Gaberials that work fine in the application, but let the frame shop match ya up with the correct configuration. Good Luck!
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Old 06-28-2008, 04:45 PM   #5
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Thanks to all of you for this information. I'll get a set of centramatics before I replace the tires and will also replace shocks and then take it from there. I'll see what happens.
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Old 06-28-2008, 11:21 PM   #6
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......I'D SPEND $25.00 and get 2 bags of wheel balancing Counteract or Equal and then start my looking for problems.....cheaper than CenterMatics .....it does the same thing for $190.00 less!.....geofkaye
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Old 06-29-2008, 10:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by geofkaye:
......I'D SPEND $25.00 and get 2 bags of wheel balancing Counteract or Equal and then start my looking for problems.....cheaper than CenterMatics .....it does the same thing for $190.00 less!.....geofkaye
I've used the Equal bags before and they can do much for a old or new tire. Unlike traditional balancing they are road reactive and can smooth out a less than perfect ride for very little time and money. My two cents = cheap fixes are always tried first.

Good Luck,
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