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Author Topic: Wheel alignment notes  (Read 669 times)

WillW

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Wheel alignment notes
« on: May 16, 2010, 01:02:13 PM »
Wanting to be sure that my wheels were lined up true, I bought a couple of cheap lasers and made up the wheel alignment jig as described in the Real Classic article.
The snail cams had been adjusted equally and I'd assumed they were right, and I'd kept them equal when adjusting chain tension.
But as it turned out I needed to turn the left hand snail cam three notches more than the right to get the wheels in line - there'd been a difference of half an inch. That is, the right hand laser beam was half an inch further from the front tyre than the left.
I can't say I'd noticed the offset in the handling - but then this was my first bike for forty years and I've learned to ride it as it came to me. I'll be going out later so will see if it feels any different.
Regarding the snail cams - I don't find any real difficulty with these. They don't need to be forced providing the nuts are slackened off enough to waggle the wheel a bit, when the cams can be easily moved. The only slight difficulty is when doing the final tightening of the large nut - then the RH cam wants to move a bit with it. I overcome this by wedging a flat head screwdriver in the bottom of the slot and forcing it round the opposite way while tightening the nut. You don't have to over tighten here - the castle nut and split pin will hold it. I tighten the anchor nut - just down and right of the other two - last. I hope this is the correct order of things.....
The laser device is easy to make, and the lasers are available for five quid inc p&p from ebay or amazon marketplace. They're fine for this job but pretty crappy for any other use. BUT don't attach them to the jig as the article says, rather put a wider piece of wood across the back once you've clamped to the wheel and then line up the lasers. For the G5 on its stand, the beam wants to go down the outside edge, not the inside as described, or it'll hit the stand and not make it to the front wheel. Also, you could get away with just one laser if you wanted, measuring the distance of each side in turn.
Don't assume your bike has been properly set up by the dealer. Check it yourself.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 01:07:18 PM by WillW »
2010 Royal Enfield Electra (G5) DL

2004 Kawasaki W650
~ the best british bike they never made ~

GreenMachine

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Re: Wheel alignment notes
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2010, 02:01:45 PM »
Good post..I'll keep that in mind.....I'm sure they at least eye it up but doubt they gone to the trouble you have to get it perfect..cheers
Oh Magoo you done it again

WillW

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Re: Wheel alignment notes
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2010, 03:29:43 PM »
Update.

Just back from test ride. No discernible difference, except I like knowing that everything on the bike is as right as it can be.
Fifteen hundred miles - I swear this bike is getting better and better. I've loosened up nicely too and am right back into it. Lightning gearchanges and down and dirty on the curves. Ah yes....it's all coming back......

One of the screws has vanished off the top of the exhaust heat shield, but everything else stays tight. A bit of heat discolouration showing to the rear of the heatshield. I'm still tempted by the watsonian short exhaust, but I hear a lot of reports of backfiring when these exhausts are fitted.
Oh, and that Wurth chain lube is brilliant.
2010 Royal Enfield Electra (G5) DL

2004 Kawasaki W650
~ the best british bike they never made ~

UncleErnie

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Re: Wheel alignment notes
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2010, 07:10:14 PM »
You do realize the front tire is narrower than the rear- right?
I use angle aluminium on bricks.  With the alloy just touching the rear rim, it should be equidistant from it in 2 places in front.

Just trying to make sure you're not trying to touch the front rim. 
Pardon me if I didn't understand what you were saying.
Run what ya brung

WillW

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Re: Wheel alignment notes
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2010, 08:16:26 PM »
Hey Ernie, don't worry  -  with a straight edge against each side of the rear wheel (clamped in place as per the jig shown in the Real Classic article)  I had two laser lines running paralllel all the way past the front of the bike. I then measured out to each line from the bottom of the front wheel (lined up dead ahead) -  bigger gap on the right so I adjusted the left snail to even it up. Three notches got it spot on both sides.
2010 Royal Enfield Electra (G5) DL

2004 Kawasaki W650
~ the best british bike they never made ~

UncleErnie

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Re: Wheel alignment notes
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2010, 09:08:15 PM »
.Wow- that's a big difference.
Run what ya brung

Chris-G5

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Re: Wheel alignment notes
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2010, 10:46:54 PM »
Hey Ernie, don't worry  -  with a straight edge against each side of the rear wheel (clamped in place as per the jig shown in the Real Classic article)  I had two laser lines running paralllel all the way past the front of the bike. I then measured out to each line from the bottom of the front wheel (lined up dead ahead) -  bigger gap on the right so I adjusted the left snail to even it up. Three notches got it spot on both sides.
Seems to me that it would be more accurate to measure at two points (front and rear) on the front wheel. In the UCE Service Manual it says " If the string touches two points on the rear wheel and two points on the front wheel (four point contact) then the wheels are aligned."  This also doesn't seem entirely correct as the front tire is thinner than the rear if you have the stock tires (rear 3.5" Front 3.25") I use a straight edge, an 8' piece of angle aluminum,  making sure the front tire is straight, put it against  the rear tire side-wall so that it is touching  2 points and then make sure the space at the 2 points (front and rear) on the front tire are equal. On my bike when the wheels are aligned the cams are on the same notch.

WillW

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Re: Wheel alignment notes
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2010, 11:06:47 PM »
The bike carries on getting better up to 2K??!!  You've made my day with this news!  I'm keeping an eye on the bits which might fall off, particularly as I'm going a bit faster these days, with consequent vibration increase....

Point taken about the two point contact method using a long straight edge, but the difference on each side using the lasers was very obvious - I set the apparatus up three or four times and got the same result. But, being a little on the obsessive side, I will check again by the other method.
2010 Royal Enfield Electra (G5) DL

2004 Kawasaki W650
~ the best british bike they never made ~

WillW

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Re: Wheel alignment notes
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2010, 07:55:37 PM »
Quick update regarding the two-point contact method. This too can be done with the lasers by clamping a similar jig to the front wheel (same as back one but no need for the L shaped ends).  The beams then shine along the front jig rather than the floor and can then be measured precisely from front and back of the wheel. Works a treat - spot on accuracy!

(L.H. snail cam now set two clicks more than right to get wheels absolutely true.)
« Last Edit: May 19, 2010, 08:15:17 AM by WillW »
2010 Royal Enfield Electra (G5) DL

2004 Kawasaki W650
~ the best british bike they never made ~