Beware! Truing wheel with Harbor Freight wheel balancing stand.


Been Around the Block
So I set out to true my newly laced wheel with the Harbor Freight wheel balancing stand. I figured I could clamp an old spoke to the stand as an indicator for runout. I proceeded to do just that and really got it looking pretty good(I thought). I took a break to play with my son and when I went back to work the wheel was way out of whack! After some investigating I realized a few problems:

1) the shaft was warped, bent or whatever you want to call it.
2) the cones that are supplied are drilled much larger than the shaft which makes it damn near impossible to get them square after tightening the set screw. This causes the cone to go unsquare to shaft.(wheel wobble)
3) the bearings supplied as rollers are junk and some barely moved.

Planned remedies:
New bearings
Straight shaft
Centering cones with tighter tolerances
I have the same stand and was/am not happy with the centering cones. While I didn't have the problem of the cones slipping, there was a great deal of fiddling with them and the set screws. After reading this, I checked my shaft and found it was straight. My roller bearings worked fine as well. We get what we pay for at HF.
if you are truing your wheel and not balancing then just clamp the shaft tight at one or both ends(at the stand rollers) so it doesn't rotate
I made my own truing/balancing stand for that very reson. Link to video:

Since your wheel runs off of the axle, I believe that the wheel should be trued using the wheels actual axle. Works for me. The cone will cause the wheel to appear oval when rotating due to the slop of the cone to the axle they send you.
I bought my HF stand 3 years ago and have built/trued a couple dozen wheels with no problems. It's been a great investment. I use a clamp on dial gauge for measuring run-out. They cone tolerance against the axle is spot on with no play. I replaced the set screws with regular M6 cap screws, much easier to tighten.

I tried it by holding the shaft and letting the wheel bearings do the work and thats much better!
Expensive stands have to setups. The top with the bearings is for balancing only like the Harbor Frieght / Pit Posse etc stands have. The second setups is stationary which lets the bearings do all the work for truing like on the K&L Stands.

I have a HF balancing stand too...The shaft was warped also. I went to Sear's Hardware (Home Depot and Lowes Have this too) and bought 1/2 inch steel rod....checked for striaghtness in the store by rolling...

For an extra $6 I had a straight shaft. I had no issues with the cones....I did double check rolling on wheel bearing and the wheel was within tolerance.
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