Jason a friend of Craig's rode his rig over to visit and to meet me, when I first saw Jason's rig I couldn't believe my eyes, in the 6 years I have riding and wrenching on Ural's I had NEVER seen one so badly misaligned. For those not familiar with sidecars a bit of explanation will help you understand why this had to be corrected not only because it would make it easier on the machine but because the way the rig was aligned it was down right dangerous to ride.
Alignment 101, There should be a bit of "lean out" in that the motorcycle should lean away from the sidecar from one to three degrees, this is to counteract the crown that is on most roads on an off road bike I have found that zero lean out works best as the rig is often on terrain which causes it to lean away from the sidecar this in turn makes it easier to flip the rig over. It is also good to have the tire on the sidecar toed in a bit in relationship to the bike as this helps and makes it easier to steer the bike in a straight line especially on a crowned road, the amount of tow in will depend on how steep the local roads are crowned, how heavy the sidecar is and a number of other variables. Here again it has been my experience that a TWO WHEEL DRIVE Ural that is used primarily off road and is in two wheel drive a lot is much easier to control if there is zero toe in, this is because when in two wheel drive the toed in tire on the sidecar wants to push the rig sideways when under power.
Now that you have a bit of back ground take a look at this photo, notice how the bike leans toward the sidecar NOT away from it, also notice how the sidecar wheel rather then being toed in, is in fact toed out. This is from the front.
From the rear, also notice how the sidecar wheel is canted toward the bike at the top, this is WRONG.
I have a bunch of photos on my Smugmug showing the angles that the rig was set at if your interested in seeing them go to this gallery.
After discussing this with Jason, we arranged to go over to his home the next day and set his rig up properly what follows is photos showing how we did this job and the results of how the rig now looks and functions. Here we are getting ready to work on the rig in Jason's garage. Before we can correct the alignment we had to loosen all the adjustments, take measurements and determine the present angles.
We will be using a floor jack to move the rear of the sidecar so we can adjust the angle of the sidecar wheel and the toe in.
We will be using two old 8 foot long florescent light bulbs as straight edges, these will be held to the wheels with bunji-cords.
Here you can see the floor jack in place and the light bulbs are ready to be secured to the wheels.
First taking a measurement off my older rig we set the front adjuster so that we can then use the rear adjuster to set the toe in. On the older rigs, pre 2010, the front sidecar mount was NOT adjustable taking the measurement from my older rig gave us a good starting point from which to make the other adjustments.
All of the adjustments made, we are now making sure that everything is TIGHT and that reference marks have been punched or scribed on the adjusters so that if in the future the sidecar should ever have to be removed or if fine tuning of the alignment needs to be done a KNOWN starting point will be easy to find and or return to.
We rotate the mufflers for a bit more ground clearance.
Rotating the right side muffler is done much easier with the sidecar raised.
Jason at work whilst I supervise.
We do some grinding on the throttle cable supports to make cable adjustment much easier.
Now the rig is properly aligned, notice how the bike leans out a tad and that the sidecar sits level.
From the rear notice how the bottom of the sidecar frame is level and that the sidecar wheel is perpendicular to the level driveway surface.
A very HAPPY Uralista after taking the rig for a test ride.
Randy did some work on his rig while we were working on Jason's, he also did the the throttle cable mount modification, after which we readjusted his carb cables. cutting, grinding and filing the cable support. Notice that Craig is supervising this operation.
The finished support, ready to be reinstalled.
Installing the mount.
Ready to ride.
From left to right, Craig and his Retro, Randy and his Gear-Up, my Gear-Up, Jason and his Gear-Up. A good day of wrenching and all the rigs are running well, TOMORROW we RIDE.
And so another day came to a close, now that everyones rig was in good repair and tune tomorrows ride would be more enjoyable. Stay tuned.