Love/Hate Balance Beads – What I’ve learned

After extensive research on balancing techniques, it became clear to me that some praise and swear by balancing beads while others think they are a total waste of time and money.

In the midst of all my reading, I formulated an opinion that many that hadn’t had success might not have used an appropriate amount. Since balancing beads are always moving to offset the imbalance in a tire, you can never really have too many, yet too little will never work. The bottom line is I decided to give them a go when I purchased my new 37s. Since I wanted to keep my TPMS and often air-down, I selected the Off-Road Dyna Beads that are a larger bead. I consulted with Innovative Balancing on the appropriate amount of weight per tire and purchased five 10oz bags.

I found that the actual installation of these beads is a bit of a PITA when using narrow traditional wheels. These beads are to be poured in and while the directions stress to keep them out of the tire lube it is near impossible to do so. If you were using wider rims it would be better, but really the only way this can be accomplished without some beads touching the tire lube would be with bead-locks.

Once the install was done, I hit the road and my first impressions were not so good. In fact, they were pretty bad. But, as I mentioned, I did have some beads get into the lube so I was hoping maybe some were stuck and would free up once the lube dried. The following morning I had to take the rears off to better trim the pinch seam and as I moved the tires about my shop I could clearly hear the beads moving and they sounded free. Optimism began to grow but was extinguished quickly on the next test drive. The only way I was able to make the balance even sub-par was to white-knuckle it to 70MPH and then slow down to an appropriate speed of 55 on my country test roads. When cornering I could actually feel the beads move and cause instability. On two occasions this wouldn’t settle until I came to a complete stop and restarted.

Before I sucked the $120 in beads into a shop vac I called Innovative Balancing again for a consult. This time I spoke with another person which I later learned was the owner. This resulted in a fairly lengthy conversation where, after I told them what I was experiencing, they said the beads alone wouldn’t work for me. Before I get into the details, I would like to express my dissatisfaction with the fact that I was not informed of the possible balancing inadequacies when I called to discuss my application the first time. They also were unwilling to refund even a portion of my purchase on a product I was unable to use.

So if you’re still with me, here is the skinny:
The balancing with beads “technology”, if you can call it that, was developed for over the road truck tires. These tires have a bunch of tread weight variance, but the sidewalls are pretty consistent and have little variance. This created an up/down imbalance as the tire rotates and the beads work very well at correcting this type of imbalance. Unfortunately, most off-road tires DO have a bunch of tread on the sidewall and therefore have sidewall weight imperfections. This not only creates an up/down imbalance but also a side-to-side imbalance that beads can never correct for as centrifugal force is pulling the beads away from where they would need to be.

My tires had a severe amount of lateral (side-to-side) imbalance and, if anything, the beads made the whole thing worse. According to Innovative Balancing there is a procedure to use traditional weights in combination with the beads, but this requires a balancer that can spin a tire very fast and for a long time. Unless you find a shop that is still using really old equipment very few balancers still do this. Besides, if I am going to rely on traditional weights what is the point in the beads?

I ended up sucking the beads out of the tires and doing a traditional balance. And after driving several hundred miles with them balanced this way I have NO noticeable vibration. I am quite pleased actually. I accept that this is something that I will have to keep an eye on and likely have to have redone.

The reason I posted this is I think it gives some insight to why some love and some hate beads. I still like the idea of beads. If I were to rip off a lug, or have tires full of crud, the beads (in theory) should adapt to this change. But in practice they didn’t work for me. I wish there was a cut-and-dry list of tires that they will or won’t work with but to the best of my knowledge there isn’t. It seems to be a hit-and-miss thing even amongst the same type tire. I know two guys that I wheel with that have had VERY good experiences with the same beads that failed me. All I can say is if you are going to try them, you should be prepared for the possibility of them not working.

As a side note, if you drive on a bunch of 25-45MPH roads the beads will likely disappoint you, even on an ideal application as the tires haven’t spun up fast enough to get the beads where they need to be. (An imbalanced 37 gets a pretty good bounce at 30MPH.)

Anyway, this is what I learned, hopefully it helps you. Happy Jeepin’, and I hope to see you on the trail.
 

wayoflife

Administrator
Staff member
As you know, I am no fan of balancing beads and appreciate you taking the time to post up your personal experience in great detail. With any luck, it'll help save others some money.
 

sean.m.adams33

New member
Very informative stuff. I had never heard of a bead balance until I joined wayalife and from everything I read it doesn't sound worth it. Thanks for sharing.
 

Sudz

New member
I‘ve run dynabeads with mixed results.

On my latest set of tires, my buddy Pat balanced them on a Hunter Roadforce. Never had a set of tires run so smooth.. (35” MTZs)

100_7194.jpg


100_7199.jpg


100_7202.jpg


I have alloy wheels, so we used the flat, self adhesive weights on the inside of the rim

High weight tire was at 4 ounces / had one tire balance perfect, 0 ounces needed.

WheelWeights.jpg
 

2trackin

New member
I have been running 12oz of beads in my 37" toyos on Slabs for about 4 months now. I drive regular roads and highway travel. I air down and up again sometimes twice a week. I have yet to have any issues what so ever. I have had mud, water, and ice inside the beadlock ring and still have had next to zero vibration.
Maybe I'm just one of the lucky ones.
On another note I have a friend running the same wheels with 37" Goodyear kevlars with no balancing and he can run up to 80mph no problem. I think some people just get lucky with a well made tire and wheel combo that needs little to no balancing.


Sent from my SCH-I545 using WAYALIFE mobile app
 

wayoflife

Administrator
Staff member
I have been running 12oz of beads in my 37" toyos on Slabs for about 4 months now. I drive regular roads and highway travel. I air down and up again sometimes twice a week. I have yet to have any issues what so ever. I have had mud, water, and ice inside the beadlock ring and still have had next to zero vibration.

Honestly, that's because Toyo's are the roundest tires you can get. Hell, I've always just mounted them onto my bead locks and just went - NO BALANCING AT ALL and without any problems. In other words, your beads are doing nothing that your tires as is aren't already doing.

On another note I have a friend running the same wheels with 37" Goodyear kevlars with no balancing and he can run up to 80mph no problem. I think some people just get lucky with a well made tire and wheel combo that needs little to no balancing.

Now that's something I find hard to believe. The Goodyear MT/R's with Kevlar that I had were near impossible to balance and I know plenty of other people who will say the same thing. :thinking:
 

Armydog

New member
To the OP, awesome detail and information. Thank you very much.

To the members who have replied, how are you weighting your tires - especially beadlocks? Weights inside of the rim only? Don't think they can be arched to the outside or am I mistaken?


Sent from my iPad using WAYALIFE mobile app.......
 

wayoflife

Administrator
Staff member
To the OP, awesome detail and information. Thank you very much.

To the members who have replied, how are you weighting your tires - especially beadlocks? Weights inside of the rim only? Don't think they can be arched to the outside or am I mistaken?


Sent from my iPad using WAYALIFE mobile app.......

Tape on weights are what you want. They affix to the inside surface of the wheel.
 
Now that's something I find hard to believe. The Goodyear MT/R's with Kevlar that I had were near impossible to balance and I know plenty of other people who will say the same thing. :thinking:

I agree with this completely. I was able to get my MTRs balanced but we used a rather embarrassing amount of weight.
 
To the OP, awesome detail and information. Thank you very much.

Thank you and no problem!

To the members who have replied, how are you weighting your tires - especially beadlocks? Weights inside of the rim only? Don't think they can be arched to the outside or am I mistaken?

I used all sticky weights on the inside, but there are some as far to the outside as possible and some on the inside as far as possible. In my case, the inside and outside weights were often in completely different areas of the rim due to the radial imbalance I was fighting.

As Eddie stated I know many that tape their weights down. I used silicone to "seal" the weights to themselves and the rim, (I've had good luck with this in the past).
 

2trackin

New member
Honestly, that's because Toyo's are the roundest tires you can get. Hell, I've always just mounted them onto my bead locks and just went - NO BALANCING AT ALL and without any problems. In other words, your beads are doing nothing that your tires as is aren't already doing.



Now that's something I find hard to believe. The Goodyear MT/R's with Kevlar that I had were near impossible to balance and I know plenty of other people who will say the same thing. :thinking:

I'm just relaying what I know. I've never ran a Goodyear mt/r and this is the only friend of mine I know to run them both on and offroad. I remember the day he threw them on the wheels and slapped them on his tj and drove down the road and highway just fine.
I did message him just to verify he never had them balanced. And I forgot he's running Walker Evans not Atx beadlocks.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using WAYALIFE mobile app
 

darkknight1999

New member
I‘ve run dynabeads with mixed results.

On my latest set of tires, my buddy Pat balanced them on a Hunter Roadforce. Never had a set of tires run so smooth.. (35” MTZs)

100_7194.jpg


100_7199.jpg


100_7202.jpg


I have alloy wheels, so we used the flat, self adhesive weights on the inside of the rim

High weight tire was at 4 ounces / had one tire balance perfect, 0 ounces needed.

WheelWeights.jpg

Those are the tires I bought :) Now I'm even more excited :D
 

JK_Dave

New member
Thanks for this jnabird333! I was on the fence about these, but now I'll save my money. $120 is a lot of money just to experiment with.
 
Thanks for this jnabird333! I was on the fence about these, but now I'll save my money. $120 is a lot of money just to experiment with.

No problem bro.... I was just trying to share what my experience was, and some logic behind both the lover's and hater's reasoning.
 

hinrichs

New member
Thanks for sharing how they actually work and why they don't on MT tires. I ran airsoft ones in my walker evans since my tire guy did a static balance and wasted my money and wouldn't do them like normal since they were big (I was very pissed off due to how I try and always send everyone I know there) and I thought they worked, but what a mess when I pulled the tires. I still find them all over my driveway.
 

VeruGE*144

Caught the Bug
Did anybody have better luck with the balancing beads. Maybe they improved over the years? I am debating if I should give them a shot with my new wheels since most shops don’t want to balance beadlocks. I am leaning towards not using them and saving me time money and frustration.
 
Last edited:

Edwrds

Caught the Bug
Did anybody have better luck with the balancing beads. Maybe they improved over the years? I am debating if I should give them a shot with my new wheels since most shops don’t want to balance beadlocks. I am leaning towards not using them and saving me time money and frustration.

I’m glad you asked this question I’ve been searching for information on this myself. All I can contribute is that I have a friend that has 3 raptors. Yea I know! Back to the subject he uses the beads on all of his trucks and swears by them. He runs 35’s general grapplers.


Sent from my iPhone using WAYALIFE mobile app
 

wayoflife

Administrator
Staff member
Did anybody have better luck with the balancing beads. Maybe they improved over the years? I am debating if I should give them a shot with my new wheels since most shops don’t want to balance beadlocks. I am leaning towards not using them and saving me time money and frustration.

Balancing beads are still snake oil. Nothing beats a good balancing with tape weights.

I’m glad you asked this question I’ve been searching for information on this myself. All I can contribute is that I have a friend that has 3 raptors. Yea I know! Back to the subject he uses the beads on all of his trucks and swears by them. He runs 35’s general grapplers.

People are always eager to convince themselves that they've made the right decision on whatever it is they've chosen to buy. To say otherwise would mean they'd have to admit they're wrong. Not all tires need balancing.
 
Top Bottom