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Last Post 27 Feb 2013 02:15 PM by  cbramey
Opinions or reviews of tire changer machines
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toy4speed
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10 Dec 2008 11:56 AM

    I'm contemplating the purchase of a tire changer machine, but would appreciate any feedback, experiences, from anyone who has gone this route already. This would be for home use, usual autox r-tire/wheels. Sidewall aspect no lower than 35 ratio. Hoosier or Kumho, not sure yet. Have seen a bit and heard of Corghi (sp?), Ranger, Hunter ($), and seems like just a ton of add on options available. Do all those side swing arm things provide essential purpose for the occasional home user? What would be a fair estimate on a price for a adequate machine? I still have to figure out shipping problems too. Seems truck freight shipping requires purchaser to unload from delivery truck. At over 600 lbs, not sure how I might manage that. If delivery could be made with a power lift tailgate, and the delivery service could drop it in my driveway, I'd be happy with that. Thanks for any help!

    47CP
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    10 Dec 2008 01:29 PM

    We have a Ranger from American Automotive, http://www.americanautomotiveequipm...tc1202.htm" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.americanautomotiveequipm...tc1202.htm I am pretty sure it is this one, I got it about 5 years ago. I went in with a few local racers and we split the costs. Interestingly enough, only 1 or 2 of the group of 5 use the machine very often.

    I have some experience mounting wheels and tires from a prior life. I have been able to do tires from the 12" wide CP tires, 14" wide EM wheels, 35 series race tires, etc, but they can be a challenge. THe 12 and 14 inch wide whees don't really fit, so the bottom bead has to be done by hand. Low profile tires sometimes need two people. I would not be comfortable doing certain tires on fancy wheels that absolutely couldn't be scratched.

    If I had to do it over again, I would get all the assist arms like on this one: http://www.americanautomotiveequipm...tc1202.htm" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.americanautomotiveequipm...tc1202.htm

    Or a used Hunter machine. THose assist arms make all the difference in doing tough tires. I think by definition, any Hoosier or Kuhmo race tire is going to be much tougher than the equivelant RoadHandler. :)

    Owning the machine is very nice and has certainly paid for itself in the time we have had it.

    DaveW

    toy4speed
    Basic Member
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    11 Dec 2008 10:07 AM
    Hmmm, thanks for the input. Those assist arms probably add about $600 to $700 to cost of a machine. Gotta check whatever budget I have. I guess we're not mounting 70 series tires anymore :)
    Kupop
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    11 Dec 2008 03:49 PM

    I have this machine: http://www.gregsmithequipment.com/A...tc589x.htm

    It's a lot cheaper than most of the bigger named equipment but I don't think I went wrong buying this item at all. I actually found it used about 2.5 hours away from my house on Craigslist and picked it up with my Sister's truck. We used a back hoe to get it out of the truck and then lowered it down onto 2 of my car dollies placed on a piece of plywood in the driveway (rocks) and rolled it into the garage. Once on the cement it rolled around to where we needed it and I was able to tilt one side up at a time and get the car dollies out. One on the ground by itself it can be slide around a bit for final movement. I do not have it bolted down and sometimes while working on some tires it may wonder a bit.

    The one thing I liked about this machine, as some others do also, is that you can add an assist arm to it at some later date. I never did really wide wheels/tires yet (widest I did was a 255) or extremely low profile race tires (lowest I did was 205/40, but a street tire) but haven't had a wheel/tire I was unable to get on. Some of the tires do fight a lot in either coming off or going on though. I have a second pry bar that helps, and bought a hands free clamp which helps a lot. The hands free clamp is almost like an assist arm but a lot cheaper. There is no adjustment on it so depending on the wheel it may not hold the bead down far enough.

    I'm still using the standard metal head and have yet to scratch any wheels. I do have a plastic head for it but haven't switched over yet.

    I also have the following balancer: http://www.gregsmithequipment.com/A...atwb42.htm

    I actually found this for sale only about 10 miles away from my garage and lucked out with it being the same model as the tire machine I got. I don't balance all of my race tires that I mount but I've used these machines on plenty of street tires already with no issues. The only time I had a problem with this balancer was on some very large truck tires. I'm not into that type of stuff so if the balancer is unable to do them or I was doing it incorrectly; I don't mind as it works just fine for the type of wheels/tires I need to work with.

    Although both machines I got were lightly used I did buy them myself and it is a little expensive. I haven't even had them for a year yet and could not tell you how many times I have used them. I will change tires for local people I know and charge them a little bit of money which helps pay for it, but also every time i use it myself it is saving me money, and so much more convenient than having to take the tires off and haul them to some shop.

    I know over time they will more than pay for themself and I should of invested in machines like this years ago. Just be prepared for a large amount of junk tires around your place... I've got mountains behind the garage. I just don't understand why I have to pay to dispose of a junk tire when there are places making money off of these things!

    toy4speed
    Basic Member
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    13 Dec 2008 03:06 AM

    Thanks for suggesting another good choice in brands. My learning curve is now more closely approximating my hp curve, and less like my torque curve :)

    Yes, piles of old tires will be an issue. I believe our waste disposal company will take away 2 sets of used tires a year for free. Almost enough.

    snaponbob
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    13 Dec 2008 09:15 AM
    1. With the economy in the condition it's in, local shop equipment suppliers will be getting buried in used equipment.
    2. If you purchase an air powered upright tire changer you will need a "real" air compressor.
    3. If you purchase an electric tire changer make sure your electrical supply is up to the task.
    4. Convenience factor will be VERY high, but return on investment won't be!!!
    5. Check with some local shops about the general satisfaction of the local equipment repair outfits. ( For instance, when I was selling Snap-On in the D.C. area I knew the Hunter servcie was exceptional. Here in K.C. not so much. This could matter in the future.)
    6. Some balancers can be easily calbrated by an owner, and some can't. Find out on the one you want.
    7. Make an attempt to "test drive" a few tire mounting machines to see if you even want to bother with it and see if different machines can actually do what you want. (Example; my local Goodyear store has an upright machine that simply can not mount up a 295/30X18 A6 on an 18X8 wheel. A local race shop has a much better, yet still not real new, tire machine that CAN handle it, but he has LOTS of experience and knows how to "hold his mouth right".)
    8. You get what you pay for !!!! Good machines cost more new or used. Stay away from Jim Bean and FMC machines. (They were in my product line!!) Older Snap-On balancers were top notch but are now old enough that they may no longer be serviceable. Also, Accuturn tire equipment is relabeled Jim Bean. Hunter and Coats tire machines are very good. Lots of good to excellent balancers are available.

    HTH some. Good luck.

    47CP
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    13 Dec 2008 09:27 AM
    snaponbob wrote:

    Convenience factor will be VERY high, but return on investment won't be!!!

    Not arguing...

    How much are people paying shops to get tires mounted? WHen I could even find a shop that would do mine, it was $80-$120 to mount/dismount 4 tires. In my case, it didn't take long to justify a $1500 machine. This past season, with Chris and I running his Z06 so much, we probably paid for the machine again (3-4 sets of tires, lots of flips)

    Just wondering...

    DaveW

    talon95
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    13 Dec 2008 10:21 AM
    47CP wrote:
    snaponbob wrote:

    Convenience factor will be VERY high, but return on investment won't be!!!

    Not arguing...

    How much are people paying shops to get tires mounted? WHen I could even find a shop that would do mine, it was $80-$120 to mount/dismount 4 tires. In my case, it didn't take long to justify a $1500 machine. This past season, with Chris and I running his Z06 so much, we probably paid for the machine again (3-4 sets of tires, lots of flips)

    Just wondering...

    DaveW

    What are the air requirements for your changer Dave? It gives pressure, but not volume. Might be a newb question (not sure what is powered by air and what is powered by A/C?).

    Dave G.

    47CP
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    13 Dec 2008 10:29 AM

    I have a 5hp 60 gallon compressor, so I never paid too much attention...:(

    The table rotation is electric. The rim clamp and bead breaker are air powered. The machine has an internal air tank for the jet blast and other air stuff. I would suspect that you could get by with a smaller compressor in a non production environment, but I really don't know.

    DaveW

    snaponbob
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    13 Dec 2008 11:00 AM
    47CP wrote:

    I have a 5hp 60 gallon compressor, so I never paid too much attention...:(

    The table rotation is electric. The rim clamp and bead breaker are air powered. The machine has an internal air tank for the jet blast and other air stuff. I would suspect that you could get by with a smaller compressor in a non production environment, but I really don't know.

    DaveW

    It depends on how fast the reserve tank recovers and if there are bead air blowers in the turntable.

    talon95
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    13 Dec 2008 11:12 AM

    Well, I have a 6hp 30 gallon compressor, but it is a 110v portable. I guess I'd need to talk to the manufacturer as to whether it would work or not. Those look really tempting though and I have room for it.

    Dave G.

    RX7 KLR
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    13 Dec 2008 03:16 PM

    http://www.centralequipment.net/cgtires.php

    I have the 9820ti. Works great, no problem even doing 245 V710s on a 7.5" wheels. The equipment is less important than knowing how to use it, takes a few sets, but once you have it down it is easy.

    RX7 KLR
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    13 Dec 2008 03:21 PM
    47CP wrote:

    I have a 5hp 60 gallon compressor, so I never paid too much attention...:(

    The table rotation is electric. The rim clamp and bead breaker are air powered. The machine has an internal air tank for the jet blast and other air stuff. I would suspect that you could get by with a smaller compressor in a non production environment, but I really don't know.

    DaveW

    5hp 22 gal 110v here... Runs 100% of the time I am using the machine, been doing it this way for over 3 years with no problem. I will do one tire (dismount old-mount new) then shut the compressor off for five minutes. I could use a bigger compessor, but if it was to quick everyone would ask me to mount stuff for them. [;)]

    mwood
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    13 Dec 2008 03:30 PM

    I have access to a Corghi machine that my buddy bought from a tire shop that had gone out of business...with his industrial compressor he bought from a bankrupt body shop, it's an easy job...even Kumhos. [;)]

    If you have the compressor capacity and floor space, finding industrial quality machines for good prices isn't too hard and they do make life easier. Craigslist and auctions are you friends...

    snaponbob
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    13 Dec 2008 03:38 PM
    mwood wrote:

    I have access to a Corghi machine that my buddy bought from a tire shop that had gone out of business...with his industrial compressor he bought from a bankrupt body shop, it's an easy job...even Kumhos. [;)]

    If you have the compressor capacity and floor space, finding industrial quality machines for good prices isn't too hard and they do make life easier. Craigslist and auctions are you friends...

    Great points. Look at equipment like liability insurance. Buying the basic policy is the expensive part, and increasing the cap on the policy is realitively cheap. Same with equipment, as the basic piece is the "price of entry", and for a little bit more money one will be able to obtain equipment that has reserve strength, power, and capacity. Money spent well once, is money spent only once!! Quality costs LESS.

    barryott
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    13 Dec 2008 09:48 PM

    Here's a similar thread:

    http://sccaforums.com/forums/1/3089...spx#308910

    I like my Manual machine a lot! I've done 275's on 15x7 wheels, surprisingly easy.

    Barry Ott

    191 ES Miata

    boxboy
    Advanced Member
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    Posts:512


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    14 Dec 2008 04:53 PM

    I have the same one Jason Isley does. A few of us bought one of these used for $300 about 4 years ago. It was extra cheap since it had some air leaks, but some PM and it runs fine. Vic ran it on his 30gal 5hp compressor for a few years, and it would run that compressor most of the time. I got a 60gal 7hp compressor and it stays well ahead of the machine.

    Like others, I'd recommend scouring the used markert. You should be able to find a decent unit at a fraction of new. And the fact you should be drastically reducing the duty cycle on it compared to a tire shop, means it will probably last a good long while.

    The number of times this machine has paid for itself is enormous.

    -Andy M.


    Windscreen
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    17 Dec 2008 11:52 AM

    I'll put in some good words for a Hunter TC3500. That's the machine you see the Hoosier and Bridgestone guys using at Nationals. The assist arms, along with a bead depressor will enable you to get pretty much any width tire onto a wheel. The issue then will become one of technique and experience to get it to bead up on super pinched tires (due to the side wall wrinkling and not sealing to the wheel's bead hump). There are lots of flavors of bead depressors; I prefer Hunter's depressor tail, some like mounting clamps, and others just use a pair of tire spoons to manually hold the tire in the drop center. The nice thing about the TC3500 is nothing metal ever touches your wheel.

    I've seen decent used TC3500s go for under $2000 on cragslist and eBay. I bought mine on eBay for a bit over that and then had to put a couple hundred $ of parts into it. The parts probably weren't neeed, but I'm a perfectionist, and I've now got a like new machine. You don't want to have to put major components into it, as big parts form Hunter are not cheap, but the trinkets like o-rings and gaskets are very reasonable. So far I've been successful running the machine on a 110v 6 hp 25 gal compressor, but if I'm tearing though some easy to mount stuff (set of Z06 tires in 20 mins), the compressor probably runs 80-90%. As a home use compressor, its only rated for 50% duty.

    Freight shipping actually wasn't as bad as I thought, at least at prices this past spring. Ft. Lauderdale to southeast Wisconsin base rate was about $300 for 560 lbs, with an extra $60-80 for a truck with a liftgate on the pick up end. If you can find a friend that works somewhere with a loading dock and a fork lift, you can save yourself $ by having the truck sent there. I went through freightcenter.com for my shipping.

    -Steve

    47CP
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    17 Dec 2008 12:02 PM
    Windscreen wrote:

    I'll put in some good words for a Hunter TC3500. That's the machine you see the Hoosier and Bridgestone guys using at Nationals. The assist arms, along with a bead depressor will enable you to get pretty much any width tire onto a wheel. The issue then will become one of technique and experience to get it to bead up on super pinched tires (due to the side wall wrinkling and not sealing to the wheel's bead hump). There are lots of flavors of bead depressors; I prefer Hunter's depressor tail, some like mounting clamps, and others just use a pair of tire spoons to manually hold the tire in the drop center. The nice thing about the TC3500 is nothing metal ever touches your wheel.

    I've seen decent used TC3500s go for under $2000 on cragslist and eBay. I bought mine on eBay for a bit over that and then had to put a couple hundred $ of parts into it. The parts probably weren't neeed, but I'm a perfectionist, and I've now got a like new machine. You don't want to have to put major components into it, as big parts form Hunter are not cheap, but the trinkets like o-rings and gaskets are very reasonable. So far I've been successful running the machine on a 110v 6 hp 25 gal compressor, but if I'm tearing though some easy to mount stuff (set of Z06 tires in 20 mins), the compressor probably runs 80-90%. As a home use compressor, its only rated for 50% duty.

    Freight shipping actually wasn't as bad as I thought, at least at prices this past spring. Ft. Lauderdale to southeast Wisconsin base rate was about $300 for 560 lbs, with an extra $60-80 for a truck with a liftgate on the pick up end. If you can find a friend that works somewhere with a loading dock and a fork lift, you can save yourself $ by having the truck sent there. I went through freightcenter.com for my shipping.

    -Steve

    Hunter stuff rules. I couldn't find one for less than 3k when I got my machine 5-6 years ago.

    Here's a good deal: http://seattle.craigslist.org/oly/tls/959923015.html

    Needs work: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/HUNTER-3250-Tire-machine_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ63699QQihZ010QQitemZ200287449522QQrdZ1QQsspagenameZWDVW

    DaveW

    tiremonkey
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    18 Dec 2008 05:21 PM

    We use our TC3500 on %95 of the tires we do. We haul the mamoth Coats APX90E around with, us just for those few P.I.A. tires/wheels that the Hunter has problems with.

    If I could afford a machine for my home garage, it would be a TC3500.

    Windscreen wrote:

    I'll put in some good words for a Hunter TC3500. That's the machine you see the Hoosier and Bridgestone guys using at Nationals. The assist arms, along with a bead depressor will enable you to get pretty much any width tire onto a wheel. The issue then will become one of technique and experience to get it to bead up on super pinched tires (due to the side wall wrinkling and not sealing to the wheel's bead hump). There are lots of flavors of bead depressors; I prefer Hunter's depressor tail, some like mounting clamps, and others just use a pair of tire spoons to manually hold the tire in the drop center.

    -Steve

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