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 Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer

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SCTLVR
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PostSubject: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:28 pm

Yes, I searched this first.
Has anyone tried HF's motorcycle tire changers and balancers?
Given that I'm purchasing new S'wing tires and will be buying two for another scoot' soon and the $30.00 per tire I'm being quoted to change them, I'd rather purchase my own changer if it makes sense.
Thanks,
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Dimond
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:59 pm

Hello SCTLVR, I bought all the stuff to change tires. Did it once - no more as it was like wresting with an alligator. I balanced the front with stuff I had in my garage - but balancing the back is more difficult and I had to go to the shop - cost me $5. Around my way I can get tires changed and balanced for $20 - so lately I have not done this myself - for me it is easier to take it to the shop and pay the $20. I don't think that the HF balancer will work with the rear - just the front. If you need contacts to do this in the East Bay (Concord and Livermore) - then PM me. Best Wishes!
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honda_silver
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:26 pm

SCTLVR wrote:
Has anyone tried HF's motorcycle tire changers and balancers?

My first front tire change was done on a Harbor Freight tire changer at a Two-Wheel Texan tire changing class.

I believe Harbor Freight discontinued their original motorcycle tire changer.

The newer version appears to be a cheaper (and breakable based on the reviews). If you read any older Harbor Freight tire changing posts ... it would not apply to the newer model.

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Dimond
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:52 am

I bought my tire irons at HF and used them to change my tires by following youtube posts - it worked, but it was hard work.
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SCTLVR
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:27 am

I'm allergic to hard work!
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honda_silver
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:06 am

I use the No-Mar Cycle Hill tire changer for my tire changing ( http://www.nomartirechanger.com/products/4 ). I waited till they had a good sale. I have the Roll-On base ( http://www.nomartirechanger.com/products/6113 ), which makes it very portable.

Most tires removal/installation is as easy as the this video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOlFE_JHCqQ&feature=player_embedded )
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SCTLVR
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:31 am

I have a few tire irons and may give it a try at home.
Thanks!
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toolboxjesse
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:23 pm

I have the HF changer. After i finally got it bolted down to the concrete in my garage and i got to work (it was in storage for a year or so), I figured it was easier & safer to just take it to the mechanic next time. I was sore for 2 days after! $30 isn't a bad price, maybe you can negotiate if you're doing 2 at once.

If I had the money I would invest in a hydraulic changer (just as a matter of pride, since I am able to do every other maintenance job on the bike otherwise.

Jesse in Atlanta
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SCTLVR
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:10 pm

Agreed, Jesse!
When I was a kid, my dad owned a mechanical car tire changer. My brothers and I changed all the family tires. At the time, it was handy but, looking back, we worked very hard on that thing!
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smorkle
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:52 pm

I purchased some new tires for my Silverwing and they came in last week. I called around to a few of the places around town that do bike tires and the going price to put the tire on the rim if *I* take the rims off the bike and bring them in is $35 EACH. I decided that was too high when the tires only cost $50 each. I decided there must be a better way so I found this tire changer tool at Harbor Freight:

http://www.harborfreight.com/portable-tire-changer-69686.html

I bought that tire changer and as a I feared it is NOT designed for motorcycle tires. That having been said, the "bead breaker" on it works fine for my tires. I happened to have a steel rod that fit nicely through the hubs and I drove that into the ground and used that and another rod as a stake to keep the tire from spinning along with the separation tool that came with the tire changer to get the old tire off and the new tire on. I figured out how I was gonna do it all, removed the front tire, rim and all, replaced the tire and put all it back on the bike in about an hour. I left some red marks on the rim where the tool rubbed it, but I think I can buff those out fairly easily.

I had never changed a tire on anything other than a bicycle before and so I'm thinking when I get around to the back tire the process (for the tire itself anyway) will be shorter. If it needs balancing (which it didn't seem to on the first ride afterwards) I'll get some Dynabeads and put in it.

If you decide to do this make sure to get some bead breaker lube available at any auto parts store. I bought a gallon from Advanced Auto Parts for $9. Don't use water based soap without some sort of rust inhibitor in it or your rims may rust. Also don't use petroleum oil as it can break down the tire.

There's no better feeling than discovering that you can do something yourself that other people charge you through the nose to do. And the tool cost me $39 plus the $9 for the lube and that is STILL cheaper than having the tires changed at a dealer.
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SCTLVR
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:59 pm

Thank you Smorkle.
That was well written and insightful review of your adventure. I've decided to put off replacing the Swing tires until my other scoot' needs tires in 4-6 weeks. The plan it to either take the plunge or find the best bargain and do them all at once.
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ailixhomes
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:13 am

Tires are some of the essential part of any types of vehicle. There are many well-known tires brands available for bikes in the market. You should always choose reliable tires brand for your bike and your safety.
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SCTLVR
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:34 pm

Hi ailixhomes.
No question of using high quality tires here. We're talking about changing tires ourselves or having someone else do it. I have a set of Michelins to decide whether to do change myself or have them changed.
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toolboxjesse
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:12 am

I have that tire changer, with the MC tire attachment that they no longer sell. Even with tire irons I still find it kinda a b1+ch to mount and dismount tires with it.
Last time I used windex, but maybe I should try the tire lube next time. i didn't know Advanced Auto parts sold it. I couldn't find it locally a few years ago at auto zone.

Jesse in Atlanta
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SCTLVR
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:14 am

Thanks Toolboxjesse for the most informed response yet! You have the full kit from HF and find it "challenging".
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toolboxjesse
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:24 am

You're welcome. All the changer really does, aside from the bead breaker which works great, is lock the rim in a comfortable position while you wrestle off and on the tires. I found the big tire iron that comes with the kit really isn't good for MC tires. I do recommend you either anchor the changer to your shop floor or otherwise bolt it to a large piece of plywood you can then stand on while you're working to weigh it down.

If I had the money I would buy a hydraulic tire changer. Maybe after a few dozen tire swaps it would pay for itself.

Jesse
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SCTLVR
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:52 am

Given that HF doesn't offer the entire tool for motorbikes, maybe it's a moot point anyway...
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Dimond
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:49 am

smorkle wrote:

If you decide to do this make sure to get some bead breaker lube available at any auto parts store. I bought a gallon from Advanced Auto Parts for $9. Don't use water based soap without some sort of rust inhibitor in it or your rims may rust. Also don't use petroleum oil as it can break down the tire.

+1 on the tire lube. I got a gallon of RU-GLYDE 'Tire Mounting & Rubber Lubricant' at my local auto store for about $10. Worked fine for my first (and last!) tire change. It seems much better than just soap and water - but I can't really say for sure. I put some in a spray bottle and I squirt it on body parts that are a tight fit (e.g., tupperware going into rubber grommets, getting handlebar grips on or off, removing/replacing floor mats). The ingredients are (approximately) 85% water, 10% Potassium Vegetable Oil Soap, and 5% Etylene Glycol. It seems to evaporate much faster than soapy water - not sure why. One reason I like it is that it is safe on paint finish, plastic, rubber. Plus the container says you can use it to spruce of your tires, mats, upholstery - but I have not tried it on any of those. Here is their website: http://www.agscompany.com/lubricants/canadian/213
The one gallon is likely several lifetimes supply - so if you are in the SF Bay area and need only a lifetime supply - come on by!
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smorkle
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:52 pm

I have had an idea on how to make the tire changer motorcycle tire friendly. My plan is to get a piece of 5/8" all thread and put it down through the middle of the tire changer and drill a hole at the bottom to anchor it in place. Then I'll put a piece of 2x8 with a hole drilled in the center on top of it with the all thread sticking out the top. I'll take a washer and a nut and use it to tighten down the little X shaped thing that is supposed to secure the tire in place. There will be all thread sticking up around 18" to use as the center post to rotate the tire removal tool around. Perhaps I'll place a piece of 1/2" plastic plumbing pipe around the threads to keep from damaging them when I rotate the tool.

I plan to replace the rear tire sometime next week so I'll try to post some pics of what I come up with.
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SCTLVR
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:48 am

Interesting approach...
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Dimond
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:55 am

smorkle wrote:
I
I plan to replace the rear tire sometime next week so I'll try to post some pics of what I come up with.

Good luck with this innovative project - hope it works!
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rjdoles
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:16 pm

I bought the HarborFreight tire balancer today. I brought it home and assembled it. When I placed the balancer axle on the roller bearings, I discovered that the axle was bent. It runs out about 1/16" in the center.

I drove back over to HF and showed the clerk. He told me to get another balancer. I asked him if I could open the box and see that this one was OK. He said yes. When I opened it up the first thing that I noticed was that this one was packaged better than the first one. I suspect the first one may have been returned to the store and they put it back on the shelf.

I placed the second axle on my already assembled balancer and discovered that it was bent worse than the first. I asked for my money back. There is no way to balance a tire if the axle that you are going to rotate the rim and tire on is not straight and true.

I still need a balancer and hindsight being 20/20 maybe I should have kept the balancer. It seemed like a nice balancer except for the bent axle. I could have bought a piece of 1/2" bar stock from Lowes or Home Depot for a few bucks, cut it to length and had the tires balanced by now.

I am wondering if HF is going to put the axle back in the second box, tape the box back up and put it back on the shelf.

Ride safe!
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model28a
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PostSubject: Re: Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer   Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:55 pm

I have the HarborFreight tire balancer and I guess I got lucky in getting a rod that was not bent. That said, I wish I would checked my Honda dealer first. Saturday I was at my Honda dealer and they had what looked like the same kind tire balancer only it had 3 or 4 sets of arbors. At a cost of $59. And I get 20% off that from my Honda dealer. The HarborFreight tire balancer I got only came with one set of arbors and cost me $59 also. Oh well live and learn. So you may want to check your Honda dealer.
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Harbor Freight Tire Changer and Balancer

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