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align rear wheel

Wheels, hubs and tires
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panhead55
Posts: 46
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:22 am
Location: phoenix

align rear wheel

#1

Post by panhead55 » Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:10 pm

hello. im about to put the rear tire on my panhead. any tips on alignment? someone said something about a straight edge. in the past i just eye balled it but i think that is where my speed wobble came from so ill try an do it the right way now. any tips will help. thanks.

-billy



Cotten
Posts: 6911
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 9:09 am
Location: Central Illinois

Re: align rear wheel

#2

Post by Cotten » Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:14 pm

Billy!

Get a piece of aluminum conduit and make a trammel like shown in the pic. This one uses mirror clamps but pipe hangar clamps work well.

One point is set upon the front axle center, and the other is adjusted to the rear axle center. When compared to the other side of the bike, it becomes obvious if the rear axle is skewed.

...Cotten
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doug_heisel
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:45 am
Bikes: 1952 FL
Location: Ottumwa Ia

Re: align rear wheel

#3

Post by doug_heisel » Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:22 pm

Thanks cotten I was wondering that just the other day.

ozwick86
Posts: 758
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2004 4:06 am
Bikes: '59 Pan FLHF
Location: N. California

Re: align rear wheel

#4

Post by ozwick86 » Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:41 pm

Cotton,

Would you please demonstrate the trammel on a bike.

Hauula Pan
Posts: 402
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:15 am
Bikes: 1952 FL
Location: California

Re: align rear wheel

#5

Post by Hauula Pan » Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:42 am

The local shop has a similar set up and they use the center of the swing arm to axle center on swing arm & soft tails and the center of the seat post on rigids. Any reference point that is reliably the same on both sides will work. You just set it and the measurement should be the same on both sides. A straight edge or yard stick works too its just that the points on the tool make it easy as they can touch the points and clear junk that's in the way, that a straight edge might not be able to get around.

Cotten
Posts: 6911
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 9:09 am
Location: Central Illinois

Re: align rear wheel

#6

Post by Cotten » Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:18 am

Mark asked: "Would you please demonstrate the trammel on a bike."

Unfortunately I cannot even view a video with my WIN98, much less upload one on my dial-up.

Let's hope the attachment is explanatory.
Just roll the bike forward to get the front wheel straight, and then lay it on its kickstand or block it up.
Using the trammel like a big caliper, just measure the distance between axle centers on one side of the bike, and compare to the other. Readjust the rear as necessary to be square to the front.

Tracking is a whole 'nother consideration.

....Cotten
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ozwick86
Posts: 758
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2004 4:06 am
Bikes: '59 Pan FLHF
Location: N. California

Re: align rear wheel

#7

Post by ozwick86 » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:02 am

Cotten,

Thanks! for your demonstration. From your first post, I thought that you were only taking the measurement from one side. I get the picture now.

FlatHeadSix
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Location: Lonoke, Arkansas

Re: align rear wheel

#8

Post by FlatHeadSix » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:12 am

Huala
On the "modern" harleys there is a hole in the swing arm drilled just for that purpose, they have a tool for sale with an H-D part number to do the alignment. The "tool" looks like a piece of straightened coat hangar wire with a short 90 degree bend on one end of it and a hard rubber grommet with a little pointer that slides on the other end. You stick the the bent end into the hole, slide the grommet to the axle center, then remove it and stick it on the other side to compare and adjust.

I fell for their trick years ago and bought one of their coat hangar alignment tools for some stupid amount of money to align the rear wheel on a Sportster I had at the time. I won't be doing that again.

mike

Mark44
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1948-ish Pan
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Location: Snohomish, WA

Re: align rear wheel

#9

Post by Mark44 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:02 am

FlatHeadSix wrote:Huala
On the "modern" harleys there is a hole in the swing arm drilled just for that purpose, they have a tool for sale with an H-D part number to do the alignment. The "tool" looks like a piece of straightened coat hangar wire with a short 90 degree bend on one end of it and a hard rubber grommet with a little pointer that slides on the other end. You stick the the bent end into the hole, slide the grommet to the axle center, then remove it and stick it on the other side to compare and adjust.
I think I saw something like what you describe in the J&P catalog for about $30. Something that would be better and cheap you could make out of a piece of welding rod with one end bent at 90 degrees and ground to a point. Instead of a rubber grommet, I think an improvement would be a cylindrical doodad that slid along the welding rod. I would drill one hole across the width of the cylinder slightly larger than the diameter of the welding rod. I would drill another hole from one end of the cylinder to just past the first hole, and then tap it for a set screw to clamp the unit onto the welding rod. If you ground one end of the cylinder to a sharp point you could measure the distance on either side of the bike fairly accurately.

Panacea
Posts: 1864
Joined: Fri May 24, 2002 1:00 am
Bikes: 64FL 99FLHR 01FXSTD
Location: Mpls. MN.

Re: align rear wheel

#10

Post by Panacea » Tue Jul 28, 2009 3:57 am

I made one just like they show in the bagger manual, using a chunk of #9 hanger wire bent up like they suggest with an O-ring that slides to the center of the axel to compare both sides. On our older bikes though, I like to check things out with a string set up next to the bike on jack stands, about the same height as the axels with the bike standing level ( on a lift ). Adjust the string so the measurement to the front and back of the rear rim is the same, then see if that same measurement works on the front and rear of the front rim, if you can get both tires parralell with the same measurement then yer strait! On some newer bikes there is some offset in the front wheel, so that must be calculated in. Mike

FlatHeadSix
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Location: Lonoke, Arkansas

Re: align rear wheel

#11

Post by FlatHeadSix » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:44 am

Mark44 wrote: you could make out of a piece of welding rod with one end bent at 90 degrees and ground to a point.
BINGO!!!!!

you wanna see the one I made out of welding rod?, just like you described, works great, I'll post a pic if I can find it

mike

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