ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Bikes > Thumpers
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-24-2006, 12:55 PM   #1
creeper OP
Still alive...
 
creeper's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Puget Sound
Oddometer: 10,718
Universal, one-size-fits-all penny-tech rear axle alignment tool

So while I was finishing up the brake DIY guide it dawned on me that although I’ve referred to a rear axle alignment gauge, I’ve never gone into much detail on how it works, how to make one or what it looks like… and I’ve never shown a photo of one.

OK... so it's not universal. The rod length will vary from bike to bike and it's of no value on a bike with snail cam adjusters like a DRZ for example... or a shaft drive anything. So I lied... so sue me.


What you need:
All you need to make one is a 35 cent piece of steel 1/8” welding rod... about 36" worth, and a zip-tie. For a total investment of what? 40 cents maybe. You can make this tool tricker and fancier... but I doubt you can make it cheaper.
Get at least 1/8" steel rod for this... smaller diameter or softer materials are too flexy and inaccurate.


Why you need it:
Rear axle alignment, with few exceptions, is usually only as accurate as the axle block and swingarm hash marks… which is to say not very accurate at all.
Rear axle misalignment can cause unstable tracking down a straight road, “odd” handling in corners, accelerated tire wear, brake pad wear and chain and sprocket wear.


How you make it:
Cut the rod to length so it is a few inches longer than the approximate distance from your swingarm pivot shaft center to the rear axle center… in the case of the KTM LC4, about 29-30” is fine.



Grind a point on one end of the rod and bend that end at a 90 degree angle. The length of this bend will vary from brand to brand, model to model, but the idea is to have the major length of rod parallel with the swingarm when measuring.
In the case of the KTM LC4, a handy length is about ¾”.

Now grab a zip tie, put it tight over the long end of the rod and cut the tail off short and to a point. Congrats… you have made a tool.



If you need to, you can make more complicated sets of bends to clear things that are permanently in the way. The drawing is an approximation of a tool for a '79 to present Harley-Davidson with a rubber mount driveline.



How it works:
On a KTM LC4, there are rounded plastic buttons in both ends of the swingarm pivot shaft and one on the fixed end of the rear axle… and then an aluminum axle nut.

It doesn’t matter which side you start on. You place the pointy end in the center of the plastic button on the swingarm pivot shaft...



... and slide the zip-tie so the pointy end of it aligns with the center of the axle… that is the "reference length" for one side.



Now you transfer the tool to the other side and see where the center of the axle is in relationship to the reference length.



Adjust that side of the axle (or both sides, more or less) until both sides measure the same distance by the tool, then using the current alignment as a baseline, readjust your axle for proper chain tension for your particular bike.
That's it... you done.


This is the "whole tool"... complete with blatant promotional background.




Small example of why alignment is a good thing:
It’s hard to believe, but with a 40 cent tool, you can get your axle aligned to an accuracy of less than one millimeter.
Can you screw it up? Sure you can... I did once recently because I wasn't paying attention, and my rear brake pads looked like this with a less than 2mm misalignment:



So there ya go,
C
__________________
So... how's tricks?

creeper screwed with this post 08-24-2006 at 01:42 PM
creeper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 01:12 PM   #2
MF1A
Ride with the Wind
 
MF1A's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Chile....
Oddometer: 257
Hey Creeper , great info thanks dude
__________________
Hi My name is Matimoto and i'm an DAKARholic! El MatiMoto
MF1A is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 01:13 PM   #3
Odysseus
Stoic Philosopher
 
Odysseus's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Aurora, CO
Oddometer: 4,154
Yesterday we get an awesome DIY brake guide, and now today this!! Creeper you are truely a gentlemen mechanic, thank you again.
__________________
Keep faith with our American heros:

Wounded Warrior Project www.woundedwarriorproject.org

Special Operations Warrior Foundation
www.specialops.org/
Odysseus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 01:15 PM   #4
creeper OP
Still alive...
 
creeper's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Puget Sound
Oddometer: 10,718
Quote:
Originally Posted by Odysseus
Yesterday we get an awesome DIY brake guide, and now today this!! Creeper you are truely a gentlemen mechanic, thank you again.
One kinda fell in line with the other... this took about an hour and half to do, so no biggie.

Hope it comes in handy.
__________________
So... how's tricks?
creeper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 01:52 PM   #5
tedder
irregular
 
tedder's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2004
Location: Los Angeles (ktown)
Oddometer: 8,797
That is kinda cool.

I use the Motion Pro chain guide- it's something like $20, easy to use on any bike (even the DRZ).
tedder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 02:40 PM   #6
meat popsicle
Ignostic
 
meat popsicle's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2004
Location: Circumlocution Office of Little Dorrit
Oddometer: 14,158
What TDC-C is to valve adjustments, rear axle alignment is to drivetrain adjustment. (cut me some slack, it's not perfect)

Dotting all yer i's and crossing all yer t's - good man.

I will have to mate this with your brake DIY thread, since I note you snuck most of the adjustment method in a post about your tool. No wait, that came out wrong...
__________________
Kronreif Trunkenpolz Mattighofen LC4 640

Its not so much staying alive; its staying human that counts.
meat popsicle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 02:48 PM   #7
creeper OP
Still alive...
 
creeper's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Puget Sound
Oddometer: 10,718
Quote:
Originally Posted by meat popsicle
I note you snuck a post about your tool. No wait, that came out wrong...
Your thinking of Colin...
__________________
So... how's tricks?
creeper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 04:26 PM   #8
meat popsicle
Ignostic
 
meat popsicle's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2004
Location: Circumlocution Office of Little Dorrit
Oddometer: 14,158
Quote:
Originally Posted by creeper
Your thinking of Colin...
Freudian slip? Oopsie...
meat popsicle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 06:39 PM   #9
RMac
Cheese!
 
RMac's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Stumptown
Oddometer: 1,793
Thanks Creeper. I've seen other methods but this is elegant and best of all, cheap.
Ditto for the brake guide too.
__________________
"it's easier than just waiting around to die"
Townes Van Zandt

RMac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 07:36 PM   #10
creeper OP
Still alive...
 
creeper's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Puget Sound
Oddometer: 10,718
Quote:
Originally Posted by RMac
Thanks Creeper. I've seen other methods but this is elegant and best of all, cheap.
Ditto for the brake guide too.
Hear that Meat? I'm fuckin' elegant. So I gotcher Freudian slip right here buddy.
__________________
So... how's tricks?
creeper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 08:05 PM   #11
slideways
permanent ex-pat
 
slideways's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2003
Location: Ocean Dweller
Oddometer: 5,444
That deserves a cool tool award.
__________________
“Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary… that’s what gets you.”



Upper Italian Lakes report.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=160841

South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana ride report
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=454490

Great CanAm Tour
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=476605
slideways is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 08:12 PM   #12
KenR
Beastly Adventurer
 
KenR's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2004
Location: Park City, UT
Oddometer: 1,664
Excellent!

BTW, that tool will also work real well for measuring suspension sag on the bike without fussing with a tape measure every time. Just use a Sharpie to mark the rod in 1/2" increments and you've got a quick way to measure the effect of your spring preload adjustments.
KenR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 08:18 PM   #13
DaFoole
Lewddite at large...
 
DaFoole's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2004
Location: BFE, SW Oregon/SF BayO'rea
Oddometer: 4,014
Thanks Creep!! Great idea even I can build.... Ummm...why can't you use it on a "snail-cam" bike??? Aren't the reference points the same???
__________________
"...when I handed the 40 ouncer to him, he got that far off stare that a cat gets when it just gets done licking its ass for the last 15". Yeah, THAT stare." -WTF-Over
"Don't come in here with your thoughtfulness, empathy, and reason... this is shit, up with which, I shall not put." -Boondoggle
DaFoole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 08:34 PM   #14
creeper OP
Still alive...
 
creeper's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Puget Sound
Oddometer: 10,718
Quote:
Originally Posted by XBeemerfool
Thanks Creep!! Great idea even I can build.... Ummm...why can't you use it on a "snail-cam" bike??? Aren't the reference points the same???
You can use it on a snail cam axle, but you really can't do anything about it if it's misaligned.
I imagine there are a few ways you could even align it... one that comes to mind off the bat is to grind down the register pin a bit on the swingarm on the "long side" to even things up.
If that worked, and assuming the snail cams match, that would be the first and last time you'd need the gauge.
__________________
So... how's tricks?
creeper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 08:38 PM   #15
creeper OP
Still alive...
 
creeper's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Puget Sound
Oddometer: 10,718
Quote:
Originally Posted by KenR
Excellent!

BTW, that tool will also work real well for measuring suspension sag on the bike without fussing with a tape measure every time. Just use a Sharpie to mark the rod in 1/2" increments and you've got a quick way to measure the effect of your spring preload adjustments.
Yep... or a few more zipties. One for wheel off, one for static and one for rider weight. Hell, a few more just for fun... maybe in colors.

Colors... huh, that's not such a goofy idea.
__________________
So... how's tricks?
creeper is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 08:55 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014