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Discussion Starter #1
I am at my wits end with this and so is the tire shop. I need someone who can help me think critically about this out of the ordinary problem.

I have a 50 hour drive ahead of me, so I went and bought some new tires. The dealer talked me into General Grabbers. I've been running Firestone Transforce HT tires with no problem until now. My rims are aftermarket aluminum. The old tires were very evenly worn, as good as you could ever ask for. The tire place sent me off with one wheel loose... the lug nuts were only started by hand, never tightened up. They sent a truck and got them tightened up and I went on my way. The truck shook and vibrated. I took it back and they re-balanced them, same results. Repeat this a few times, then they tell me it must be my rims, that my center hub doesn't match the hub on my truck and how my rims are hard to deal with because of how they were made, etc...

So, I took it to another shop that specializes in rims. They said my rims were fine and they are lug centering wheels, not hub centering wheels, so the hub size doesn't matter (which I already knew), and the one was damaged some by running loose, but not out of round. They balanced the tires and sent me on my way... still shaking. I jacked it up in the back yard and put it in drive and checked the rim runout with a makeshift scribe. Nothing. I put my hand on the tire tread and could feel a good bit of hop... probably 3/16" or so. I took the tires back to the place I bought them and told him to take them off and put some Michelins on. He ordered them and I went today to have them put on.

At first they felt pretty smooth with some vibration around 58mph. As the day went on, it got worse to the point of the back of my passenger seat bouncing. Brought it home and jacked it up again and checked side-to-side runout and found nothing alarming. Checked eccentric runout, nothing there either. The wheels are tight, the bearings are brand new a few weeks ago (preventively, done while I had the rotors off for a brake job). Very little play in the front end. I'm at a loss. Now I can drive it and feel it a tiny bit and it seems like it will be tolerable, but then after a while it gets bad and doesn't go away after it starts. It seems to change in frequency and intensity in relation to vehicle speed but not consistently. Sometimes when I brake I feel it in the front even harder but not all the time. I'm usually pretty good at solving these kinds of things but this one is kicking my butt. I'd be glad for any suggestions.
 

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When you checked runout after the Michelins went on, did you check all four wheels or just the original position of the one originally left loose? Maybe that wheel is off enough to be a problem (regardless of shop #2's assurances) and if it's in a different position now after the new tires and various rebalances and you only rechecked the previous position... I imagine you checked all four, so I'm just throwing that out there to make sure that possibility was covered.

I'd still be wondering about the one damaged from being left loose. Can you post some pics of that, so we can see the damaged areas?

Can you try swapping tires front-to-back and see if the feeling changes?

You mentioned jacking up the rear and checking runout - I guess the loose wheel was on the rear when you left the first shop?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, the loose wheel was the right front. They've moved it around to different places but the shake persisted. I checked runout on all 4. I'll try to get a pic of the damaged rim. The only damage I could see is the holes for the lug studs got opened up some from the studs chewing them up. Heading back to the tire shop again in a few minutes.
 

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I should have thought of this earlier... Do you have decent spare? If you're still shaking after the tire shop trip, put the spare on in place of the damaged rim. See what happens. If no improvement, try it in the other positions and see if anything changes.

Recheck bearings and suspension/steering components on the right front, just in case. May as well check on the LF, too - maybe a big coincidence occurred and something on the LF went into distress at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I went to the tire shop again and had them balanced one more time. This time I told him to make sure the machine says OK instead of pulling the wheel off after putting the weights on. Then I told him to loosen the wheel and clock it 180 degrees and check them again. He wouldn't. He said it won't read right because the wheel position changed. I said, if it's balanced, then it's balanced and it doesn't matter what position it's in. He tried with one and it read off balance again. He wouldn't do it to the others. The 4th tire would never read OK. It asked for 5 oz in one place and he put the weights on, spun it, and then it asked for 3.75 oz in another spot and 1 oz in another. He said the machine just does that sometimes.

I have to cut my ties with them and have an appointment at another shop for Monday morning. These guys left my wheel loose, inflated 10 ply tires on an 8k truck to 32 psi (should be 72), bent my center cap bolt on one wheel, ordered the wrong size replacement tires, let me show up for the appointment and then informed me I had to come back another day because they were out of wheel weights, and told me the hub size was my problem when they aren't hub centering rims. I'm losing more time from work than it's worth and it looks like the are incapable. Strange, because they are the ones who do the city equipment and lots of other commercial stuff and have for probably 50 years. Sign of the times I guess, nobody has knowledge or work ethic anymore.

Now it seems to be fairly smooth for the first 20 minutes or so, but as the tires warm up, the problem gets worse. So how do you balance a hot tire? I wouldn't think the balance would change with temp but it does. Maybe it's a flaw with the tires?

I may try the spare tire thing, been thinking about that but short on time.
 

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I'm shaking my head in disbelief at the balancing episode you just described. This was shop #1 in the original post? I'm certainly no expert on tire balancing (certifiable non-expert), but it sounds to me like there is something wrong there. Perhaps the balancing machine is screwed up, maybe bad inputs like erroneous rim width, offset... who knows... It definitely sounds like the guy doing the balancing is a question mark... Calling for almost 9.75oz of weight on one tire seems like an awful lot, given your tire size as listed. Was that on the damaged wheel? If your tires are as described in your sig line, then your tires are a little bigger than mine (I have stock 245/75-R16), but not that much bigger - and I don't have anywhere near 9.75oz on any of them. I don't know what your rims are like - maybe they aren't very consistent in weight distribution (but evidently you had satisfactory balance on the old tires). If it was going to take that much weight, I'd have had him break the tire loose and rotate it on the rim and see how much weight the balancer called for after that.

I doubt it's a flaw with the tires - you're experiencing this with two sets from different manufacturers. Not impossible, but I'd put it further down the list.

Are they using clip-on weights or adhesive weights?

Here's an interesting article on the subject of adding weight more than once. It addresses several things that relate to your situation, especially since you have a damaged wheel. To me, that's really an unknown as to how it balances vs on-vehicle behavior.

I hope someone else has some additional thoughts on this!
 

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10 oz is crazy. My wheels are welded up by hand with 2" inserts with big, heavy 295s, and of the seven I had mounted with tires, the most weight used is 5 oz. And they're glassy smooth with no perceptible runout.

All right. Let's assume it's not the wheels or tires, but rather a result of running for a bit with the loose rim. Maybe a new set of bearings was damaged by the wobble? Maybe they're cheap, or they were installed wrong, and the wobble kicked 'em over into a failure mode. You drive for a little bit, everything gets hot, and that one bearing vibrates more?

Check for an oil leak at the hub seals.

Check for any discoloration or visible wear at the hub seals.

Check for one hub being noticeably warmer when the vibration gets bad.

Other possibility... maybe that bad wobble with the loose wheel killed a shock. Or weakened it. If anything gets looser with heat, it might be the seals in a shock. It gets hot, it stops being a shock, your axle vibration caused by road input gets worse. I have experienced shocks stop working when they get hot when they have bad valves/bad working fluid control.

Pull one end of each shock while they're still hot and check for looseness.

Still thinking. This is a real stinker of a problem.
 

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Do you have a friend who would swap tire and rim assemblies with you?
(And yes, I sound like an ignorant parts changer right now)...

If the problem follows the tires and rims the argument is over.
 

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Maybe that rim that was loose is damaged. Try changing it with your spare, if you can.
Since its lug centered, if the lug holes were deformed how can the rim run true ?
A balance machine uses the wheel centers, see what I mean?
You bolt it on truck, and now its centering on lugs but it was balanced on the center hole.
 

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Who takes a 7 year old truck to buy tires at Dodge dealer and get dealer reamed?

Get them Road Force balanced by the most highly recommended shop in your area. Lots of dodos don't know how to run the machine, set the weights or even set up the machine.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Who takes a 7 year old truck to buy tires at Dodge dealer and get dealer reamed?

Get them Road Force balanced by the most highly recommended shop in your area. Lots of dodos don't know how to run the machine, set the weights or even set up the machine.

It's a 23 year old truck and I took it to a tire dealer, not the Dodge dealership. This is the 5 star tire shop, rated online and recommended by many. Independently owned and been here for decades. Something has changed with them apparently. There are other tire places but two of them have proven to be equally bad in the past. There is a Mavis here but when I took the wife's ride there, they couldn't get the tires balanced on it for anything but took my money anyway. I may have to go to a nearby big city and find someone more competent if the shop I'm taking it to Monday can't figure it out (they're a very busy, clean, professional up and coming shop looking to make new customers). I went in and talked with the owner and he rode with me to feel the shake and he says it's definitely a balance issue. I plan to call Michelin and ask for some direction from a tech there if this next shop can't figure it out.

I get what you're saying about the loose rim Eric, but with the wheel jacked up and a scribe on the rim, I show no runout. Not in eccentric or laterally. The axle seals were just replaced a few weeks ago on the rear. The front just has a hub/rotor and there is no play in any of the bearings, front or rear. I don't think the loose wheel could have touched a shock (independent front suspension, not 4wd), so it's pretty doubtful that a shock suddenly went bad and is allowing this kind of behavior. I wish I knew someone I could just swap wheels with for a test but I don't.

Texas, they are using stick on weights. Clip on won't work with these aftermarket rims. That link is interesting, I didn't know about match mating and I doubt they paid any attention to that.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I took it to the other shop today and they re-balanced and said it was good. I paid them and left, and it was shaking just as before. The shop owner said it was torque converter shudder, then that it was my shocks. I put some new shocks on, no change. I got my hands on another wheel to test with. The first place I put it is where the damaged rim is. Problem gone. They ruined my rim, they are no longer available, and I bet I'm going to have a hard time getting them to pay for a new set.
 

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Sounds like that shop owner was out there with the first one. Torque converter shudder? Then shocks? Would have been interesting to hear his rationale for switching suspects like that. Sorry you had to go the the extra expense of shocks and umpteen rounds of balancing (hope you didn't have to pay for all.of them). Glad you got it isolated to the damaged wheel. That's what I was hoping for when I suggested swapping the spare on for the damaged wheel.
 

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They ruined my rim, they are no longer available, and I bet I'm going to have a hard time getting them to pay for a new set.
Small claims court. Work up a paper trail with all your receipts and write dates and actions while it is still fresh in you mind. Not only do they owe you for the wheel, they should also reimburse you for the other expenses you incurred.
 

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I took it to the other shop today and they re-balanced and said it was good. I paid them and left, and it was shaking just as before. The shop owner said it was torque converter shudder, then that it was my shocks. I put some new shocks on, no change. I got my hands on another wheel to test with. The first place I put it is where the damaged rim is. Problem gone. They ruined my rim, they are no longer available, and I bet I'm going to have a hard time getting them to pay for a new set.
I don't think you'll have any problem getting a new set of wheels. Just ask nicely
Just think if your wheel they hand tightened and then let out of their shop coming off at 70mph and causing a fatal wreck?

They are getting out of the deal easy if it only costs them a set of wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well they are paying for a set of rims. They know they owe me and I have tons of proof and video. The owner said I need to take them somewhere else to have them mounted and balanced though, as if this was my fault. Whatever, I don't want them touching my truck again anyway. I can't find rims like mine anymore, not even close. I had to go with a set of moto-metal 970s.
 

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I did not read everybody, But. Start with making them replace the damaged wheel, becasue of any damage whatsoever could be the issue. Also check the studs for damage and if any replace them all. Even 295's should not take more than about 5 oz. Out of round tires could be the problem but you checked that and I would not expect that in your brands Tires 10 oz out can not be balanced, but it could be the wheel rather than the tire.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
SO today I got the rims and they are wrong. Everything they've done was wrong. They left the wheel loose, left them flat, ruined my rim, ruined 2 center caps, ordered the wrong size replacement tires, ran out of wheel weights, gave me the wrong rims, and then asked me to take them somewhere else and pay them to mount them like all this was my fault. I even sent him a text message as he was ordering them, with all the specs for the rims (16" x 8", 8 x 6.5 lug pattern, -6mm offset) and asked if that was what he ordered and he said yes. This ordeal has gone on for about a month now and I think I've made 14 trips there, taking time from my work to do so. I've reached the end of my patience with them and he's about to know it. I think they will work without the offset but that's beyond the point.
 

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Nothing works better in advertising than word of mouth. The name of the place needs to be spread far and wide.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Still ongoing. The rim wasn't the only problem, the tires have dips or flat spots. I saw the dips when testing the roundness with the scribe but thought it was acceptable. I had michelin replace them and the new ones do too. I took it to another tire dealer and bought some coopers and they are even worse and they were still working on the truck when the store closed, so I had to keep them on it. I tried to refuse one or two of them because of the excessive out of round runout but they had no more in stock and were closing, so I had to pay for them and deal with it later. I can't believe how hard it is to get a set of tires that doesn't have 3/16" of axial runout. My truck has very stiff suspension and it translates into the cab easily. They might get away with that on newer plusher trucks but mine won't take it. I took it to the guy who does my front end alignments and he is the area expert for front end and driveline issues. He jacked it up and said it's definitely the tires causing my issues. Ugh. 3 new sets and still no joy. It's better, but not right.
 
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