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Discussion Starter #1
I'm interested in experiences of others who have mounted and balanced their own tires. I pay $50 to get a set mounted and balanced, but I think I waste more time with two trips to the dealer than it would take to do the mounting myself. I was wondering what equipment I'd need and anyone's recommended sources. I run 1-2 sets of tires per year. My son runs about the same on his GS. Between the two of us, I thought this might make sense to tackle ourselves.
 

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Mount/balance

The first couple you change you will second guess your state of sanity. Chuck it up to experience/education.

Take time to make a mount and bead breaker... you can make it out of wood and all thread. I put mine on a 5 gallon bucket filled with concrete... I need to make another one with a pipe down the center so I can mount "all thread" down the center. I might make a pic one day.

I use the "Marc Parnes" balanacer.. great product. Rides better now than when new. Marc also sells the weights... I spent over 30 minutes balancing...much longer than the dealer can spend.. and to within 1/8 oz...
 

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I decided to change my own tires last year after I found out what my dealer was charging. I purchased a motorcycle tire changer from Harbor Freight. (If you search the old site, you should be able to find the link) and I purchased the tire balancer...

My experience was not a good one... The tire changer had VERY POOR instructions and I had a hard time working with it. I scratched the hell out of my rims and had to re paint them and cut my hand pretty bad..

I am do for a 2nd set of tires pretty soon, and I think I will try it again..

Some advise:
Buy tire irons
Use lots of soapy water
Find a way to compress the tire into the base of the rim when trying to reinstall so that the bead sits in the center of the rim. ( I saw a pic of a guy using straps, like a belt, to hold the tire. You need to do this to get the tire on the rim..

Bolt the tire changer to the ground...

The tire balancer worked perfectly...

http://www.bmwlt.net/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=K1200LT&Number=173374&page=&view=&sb=&o=&vc=1

Good luck..
 

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Paul,

As others have said, experience is the key. I use the Harbor Freight tire changer, and the Marc Parnes balancer. First tire change was a bit of a buger as the instructions are terrible. The Tire machine came partially assembled, and it was assembled wrong. It took me a bit to figure it out, as I was grossly over complicating the machine. It's a very simple device.

You absolutely need to bolt it to the floor, or some very strong mounting surface.

Breaking the bead with the tire changer was a snap.

Lube up the tire with soapy water, then... and this is where the experience comes in... leverage the tire off the wheel. It's about 1 part knowledge and 2 parts muscle. Make no mistake... you will have to manhandle it a bit to get the tire off, but it's very doable.

The tire changing bar (the pry bar) that comes with the Harbor Freight tool, will leave a little red paint on your rims. I was able to clean this off with a little polish. You can spend about another $100 and get a tire iron that has nylon ends that will not scratch or mar the rim.

The Balancer works great. I'm really impressed with how precise this tool is. Marc has balancing instructions on his website. Have to do a search and find it.

Good Luck,

Bill B.
 

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Get a machine :)

I bought the Harbor Freight tire changer, and the Marc Parnes balancer. The first two times were hard but I just did both the front and back in about three hours total. Saved myself at least 150-200 dollars. I used the harbor freight tire changer the first time and it is very difficult to use. I screwed up a back rim in the process. I found an old tire changing machine and the second time it was better but again a learning curve. This time it was a snap. If you can find an old tire machine go for it. It will save a lot of headache and energy.
 

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Mounting Tires

A friend of mine has a Harbor Freight tire changing machine, and a Marc Parnes balancer. We didn't want to leave red paint on our wheels, so we decided not to use the demounting/mounting bar that came with the HF machine. A member of the RT Discussion Board made some demounting/mounting bars with nylon ends that work really well. I bought one earlier this year, and we've changed several sets of tires with it. Its very smooth, and doesn't mark up your wheels. You can actually take the old tire off, and get the new one on with one hand it works so well.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Do you have a source for the pry bar(s) with the nylon ends? Harbor Freight did not list such an item.
 

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Do you have a source for the pry bar(s) with the nylon ends? Harbor Freight did not list such an item.
I havn't tried one of these but it looks like it would do the trick.

http://www.nomartirechanger.com/

They'll sell the Mount/Demount bar separately for $79.

BB
 

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cfell said:
Hey, who in the Austin area would like to share in the purchase of the tire changing tool? I already own a Marc Parnes' balancer, so, whatcha say guys?
I'm coming up to Austin in about an hour. If you want to experiment with my Harbor Freight setup give me a call. two eight one dash four five five hyphen six seven three five period. [smile]
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Could you get a bit more specific about the mounting/demounting bars? I'd like to get one. It sounds really good.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Can you tell me who on the RT discussion board had the mounting bars available.
 

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Mounting

I have the HF changer. All that was said is true...
>.it will scratch your rims if you are not VERY careful.
> instructions are POOR at best
> rim clamps can scratch rim
> you will still need at least one tire iron to hold the rim off/on till the bar can work its thing.

I glued parts of old inner tube into the rim clamps to stop that scratching.
I glued/taped part of milk jug onto pry bar to keep it from scratching.

The guy on the RT site has been promising a better bar for at least a year. He has been overwhelmed with interest.

The http://www.nomartirechanger.com system seems to be the best deal, but is still expensive for me....$600+ I really like what he's done and the engineering. Might buy his bar to use on HF unit.

I friend bought a hydraulic unit and life is easy except on the pocket book....$1300+ and 550 lbs. Too big for my garage and too much $$$.

The Mark Parnes balancer works great!!! It knows if you valve cap is on.
http://www.marcparnes.com/

Be sure to clean the rim when tire is off. Old residue can cause a leak. Some people check the balance the rim w/o the tire to find the heavy spot. Heavy spot is supposed to be the valve stem...not on my rear. It's off about 6".

http://www.clarity.net/~adam/tire-changing-doc.html

Good luck.
 
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