Author Topic: DIY Wheel alignment  (Read 4563 times)

Online orabanda

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DIY Wheel alignment
« on: 14.09. 2009 07:56 »
Hi All,
I have the satisfaction of learning how to align a bike's wheels accurately and cheaply, and hope the board members might appreciate the info.

I had been concerned that my RGS replica wasn't nearly as stable as the other bikes in the fleet; it had a "nervous" feel to it.

I had made up a couple of wheel alignment fixtures over the years, using 1" RHS and similar (straight) material, but they were never particularly satisfactory, or easy to use. A major problem has been working around (avoiding) the centre stand.

Anyway, I had checked the RGS frame during restoration, and knew it was straight, so looked for another way to align the wheels.

I discovered this site.

http://www.motorcyclemetal.com/Download18.html

Download the pdf file "Wheel alignment made easy".


Follow the instructions, and you have your wheels in line!

These are the items I have put together as a tool kit:

http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn82/orabanda/P1010177.jpg

http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn82/orabanda/P1010178.jpg

I found it best to use 100 ;lb fishing line (green is easy to see) for the material between the wheels, and 6 lb with a nut hanging off it, as a plumb bob.

Find an old octopus strap, tie a knot at around 3" from one end, cut off the rest of the elastic, and you have the elastic joiner piece.

Find someone to help you when setting up (a 10 minute job). Tie a loop in the fishing line at the appropriate spot, and join the line by stretching tight with the elastic joiner. TYou will have to lay down on the pavement to set it up. have the joiner somewhere in the vicinity of the centre stand.

The line will be 4 - 6 inches above the ground level, and will stay on the tyres if you have enough tension.

Tighten the sterring damper a couple of turns, so that when the bars are turned left or right, they will stay there.

I did for bikes yesterday in about an hour.

They were all out, but especially the RGS.

It now handles very nicely.


A $15 innvestment; no batteries or laser lights needed!

Good luck

Richard

Offline LJ.

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Re: DIY Wheel alignment
« Reply #1 on: 14.09. 2009 08:40 »
A decent wheel aligner is one of the best tools I have, and what a difference it makes in getting the wheels straight. Here's how I do mine. http://www.ljswain.btinternet.co.uk/lining-up-wheels.htm
Ride Safely Lads! LJ.
**********************
1940 BSA M20 500cc Girder/Rigid- (SOLD)
1947 BSA M21 600cc Girder/Rigid-Green
1949 BSA A7   500cc Girder/Plunger Star Twin-(SOLD)
1953 BSA B33  500cc Teles/Plunger-Maroon
1961 BSA A10  650cc Golden Flash-Blue
1961 BSA A10  650cc Golden Flash-Red

Online muskrat

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Re: DIY Wheel alignment
« Reply #2 on: 14.09. 2009 11:12 »
G'day Richard,
                   Yep, thats how it's done. They call it string lining. Mike Warner's dad told me that in '74 and I've used it more times than had hot breakfast. A quicker way is to wrap the string around the front wheel and tie off behind the back wheel. Then adjust the front (left or right) so that the gap between string and tyre  at the rear of front is equal. Now untie at back and move string so it just touches the front of rear tyre and note the gap from string to tyre at the rear. Adjust so both gaps ( L&R ) are the same. Takes about 5 min. Took longer to type this with 1 finger.
Cheers
'51 A7 plunger, '57 A7SS now A10CR,  '83 CB1100F, .
Australia
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Online RichardL

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Re: DIY Wheel alignment
« Reply #3 on: 11.08. 2011 17:25 »
Dredging up this whole wheel alignment issue, a couple of questions occur to me with regard to how our bikes are set up.

My first question is about rear wheel offset. I have assumed that our front and rear tires should track on the same line. However, looking at the link that Richard (Orabanda) provided, they show offsets in Harleys that cause front and rear to be on different tracks. Am I correct in assuming that's not right for an A10?

On my bike, it seems that the right side of the rear axle needs to be a bit forward of the left in order to be aligned. If you think of the left side, the chain keeps the axle against the adjusting screw. On the right, however, there is really nothing to keep the axle against the adjusting screw. So, is it, "just tighten up the axle against the swingarm and hope it doesn't slip" (which it does)? I don't think it's a case of the axle needing to be perpendicular to the swingarm end loops on both sides, or we wouldn't be discussing alignment.

Thoughts? ("Blokes a nitwit" understood, no need to reiterate)

Richard L.
Plan on signing up for the world-wide 2017 DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN'S RIDE on September 30, 2018. Watch website at https://www.gentlemansride.com for details.

Online bsa-bill

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Re: DIY Wheel alignment
« Reply #4 on: 11.08. 2011 17:59 »
I use one of those laser beam dodahs, a little yellow  one about six inches, you will have seen them in Aldis and the like.
set it up on a box around mid tyre height and far enough away from the bike so the beam clears footrest and brake pedals.
 from then on it's a case of just measure from the rims of both wheels to the beam until you get them all the same, a little jiggling around needed to get it set parallel but easy enough
All the best - Bill
1961 Flash - stock, reliable, steady, fantastic for shopping
1959 Rocket Gold Flash - blinged and tarted up  would have seizure if taken to  Tesco

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Re: DIY Wheel alignment
« Reply #5 on: 11.08. 2011 21:00 »
 Pretty high tech there Bill, for an old cow cockie (farm boy) *smile*
Our "A's" should run true Richard, just like 99.99% of other makes. HD write their own rules, like we just made 5000 frames but the chain rubs the tire. Lets just offset the wheel, no one rides these fast enough around corners to notice! LOL.
Cheers
'51 A7 plunger, '57 A7SS now A10CR,  '83 CB1100F, .
Australia
Muskys Plunger A7

Online RichardL

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Re: DIY Wheel alignment
« Reply #6 on: 12.08. 2011 02:54 »
Well, here's the rig I came up with. Two boards with an all-thread rod through the both of them. The rod sticks out equally on both sides of the wood and notches for the string are sawn into the nuts on the end, which are double-nutted (all this to clear the kick stand) and find that I was about 1/16" out of alignment, according to this rig.

Richard L.
Plan on signing up for the world-wide 2017 DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN'S RIDE on September 30, 2018. Watch website at https://www.gentlemansride.com for details.

Online bsa-bill

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Re: DIY Wheel alignment
« Reply #7 on: 12.08. 2011 10:50 »
Hi Muskie, yes but we country lads use a lot of hi tech stuff these days, (still carry a hammer as first choice of tool though) *smiley4*

Richard I got around to buying a good size plank to make up one like yours, even got the threaded rod and wing nuts etc, it's all still in the shed for a wet day job to make it up.
One problem I have to find a workaround for is to accommodate adjustment of the rear wheel, how have you tackled that, my thoughts run along the lines of a sliding plate to carry the threaded rods type of thing.
All the best - Bill
1961 Flash - stock, reliable, steady, fantastic for shopping
1959 Rocket Gold Flash - blinged and tarted up  would have seizure if taken to  Tesco

Offline alanp

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Re: DIY Wheel alignment
« Reply #8 on: 12.08. 2011 12:02 »
I've got a new Triumph Thunderbird 1600 in my garage and thought I'd check wheel alignment using Orabanda's method since it can be done with one person and usually I have the wife lying on the garage floor to tell me when the 'single side' string is just touching the rear tyre at both points while I check the front. However, I carried out the Orabanda method and confirmed, as I expected, that my Triumph's wheels are in line. I did however find that, to ensure that the string stayed on the tyres without slipping down while pulling it around both tyres, I needed to stick the string onto the tyres with Duck Tape. The string I used was some thin plastic stuff the brickies use when aligning bricks on walls. Anyhow, check out the photos.
By the way, just in case anyone is interested, the Thunderbird corners much better than you would expect from a cruiser, check out the wear marks on the rear tyre close to the edges.
Alan
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Offline a101960

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Re: DIY Wheel alignment
« Reply #9 on: 15.08. 2011 11:52 »
Having just checked and set up the wheel alignment (crinkle hub) using two cheap lasers. The actual set up process proved to be both quick and easy. What I did have trouble with though was the wheel moving during the tightening up process even though the wheel spindle was hard up against the adjusters. Eventually I had to enlist the help of a friend to wedge the spindle against the adjuster on the timing side, otherwise no matter how careful I was the wheel would move out of alignment as I tightened the spindle up. The job is now done and everything is aligned perfectly. As a matter of interest has anyone else experienced this problem?

Incidentally for anyone interested in seeing the method I used to set the wheel alignment full details can be found here. http://www.realclassic.co.uk/techfiles/wheelalignment.html

John

Offline iansoady

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Re: DIY Wheel alignment
« Reply #10 on: 15.08. 2011 14:51 »
...no matter how careful I was the wheel would move out of alignment as I tightened the spindle up. The job is now done and everything is aligned perfectly. As a matter of interest has anyone else experienced this problem?


Yes it's the same on my Flash. It was like that on the Norton Commando I had for 20 years, also on the Velo Venom. I always put it down to the spindle trying to "walk" along the slot in the fork end as I tighten it up.
Ian.
1962 Golden Flash (arrived)
1955 Velo Viper/Venom (departed)
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Offline a101960

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Re: DIY Wheel alignment
« Reply #11 on: 15.08. 2011 16:00 »
Ian, thanks for that reply. I am reassured to learn that it was not down to something that I was doing wrong.

John

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Re: DIY Wheel alignment
« Reply #12 on: 18.08. 2011 10:20 »
Quote
Pretty high tech there Bill, for an old cow cockie (farm boy)
Our "A's" should run true Richard, just like 99.99% of other makes. HD write their own rules, like we just made 5000 frames but the chain rubs the tire. Lets just offset the wheel, no one rides these fast enough around corners to notice!
When you are over at the National Rally this October ( cheap plug ) have a good look at the unit singles track
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Trevor

Offline Ethelred

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Re: DIY Wheel alignment
« Reply #13 on: 14.03. 2013 10:08 »
That trick with the string and an elastic band for doing the wheel alignment is brilliant. Having spent years messing about with planks this is a piece of cake. It's so obvious when you think about, great bit of lateral thinking.
'59 A10