Homemade alignment aid (lots of pics) - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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  #1  
Old 02-27-2008, 11:11 PM
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Default Homemade alignment aid (lots of pics)

As most of us know, the index marks on the swingarm that are to be used for aligning the rear axle are not always accurate. A fellow $tromtrooper, JRShaw, said "to adjust the wheel properly we need a way to accurately measure the distance from the swingarm pivot to the axle on each side of the bike." Well here is what I came up with: two lengths of all-thread with with collars/bushings/tapers as needed to keep one rod centered in the swingarm pivot and the other centered in the axle. With these in place it is just a matter of using a tape measure to get the same distance on each side.


Here's what my tools look like:



Here they are in place:

swingarm pivot left side:


axle, left side:


axle, right side:


swingarm pivot, right side:






Taking measurements:




I cut down a couple nuts on the lathe to make the tapered parts, but if you were careful, you could probably just wrap some tape around a rod and get the same results. For the right side of the swing arm pivot an old lug nut worked perfectly.

You have to pull the cotter pin out to do this, so don't forget to put it back when you are done. (If I had a lawyer I sure he would tell me to add that)

I've done this with my DL1000 but I suspect it will work on a variety of makes and models.

Last edited by readytoride; 02-27-2008 at 11:12 PM. Reason: add warning for lots of pics to title
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  #2  
Old 02-28-2008, 02:18 AM
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Thumbs up

What an excellent idea. Hard to imagine getting any more accurate than that! Kudos.
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  #3  
Old 02-28-2008, 07:58 PM
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Default aid

Good job!! Harley uses a similar method on the later Sportys. There is a small hole drilled in each side of the swing. Then you just bend a 90 on the end of a length of heavy gage wire, insert in the arm, and set both sides equal, measuring to the center of the axle. I have found that the oem marks are ok on my V. Maybe you should market your idea!
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Old 02-29-2008, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by readytoride View Post
As most of us know, the index marks on the swingarm that are to be used for aligning the rear axle are not always accurate. A fellow $tromtrooper, JRShaw, said "to adjust the wheel properly we need a way to accurately measure the distance from the swingarm pivot to the axle on each side of the bike."
Good idea!
By chance, did you check the marks on the swing arm after your adjustment tool was used? Just kind of curious as to the findings.
I will have to try this on mine and see if the marks are correct.
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:26 AM
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Default Laser Level Method

I assume you are aligning your chain, sprockets and rear wheel with this method. That is very clever and elegant. Way to go.

I saw laser chain alignment tools, but dang, they cost a lot up to almost $200. So I thought I'd use a regular laser level from Home Depot. (I cheered when the Lowe's opened around here, I have terrible luck with the Depot).

I bought the first laser level that I saw, I'm sure there are better units. But $39 and almost no time invested sounded good to me. I want the sprockets and chain straight, straight, straight, and I was frustrated with the ways I'd tried to align everything.

I stick this laser level on an 18" or so 2x4 standing on it's end behind the rear wheel so it can look down the rear sprocket along the chain to the front sprocket. I try to get the beam to draw a red line right in the middle of the chain links the entire length of the chain and all the way down the rear sprocket. I use the leveler bubbles to make sure the bike is not ever so slightly canted to one side or the other on the center stand.

The biggest difficulty is my setup isn't very elegant. Lining up the blocks of wood (I use two blocks, one flat, one stading up) is kind of awkward. I keep telling myself I'll make a stand for the laser but awkward or not, if I can line up that beam along the chain with a bit of fidgiting, about 30-45 seconds per each line up of the laser, that baby is straight and I'm happy.

The way I do all this is awkward because I dont' have a good stand for the laser. But it is all worth it when I see everything very straight. I'll have an elegant method when I get a good stand figured out. Right now I'm fine with awkward.
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Last edited by Corkus; 02-29-2008 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:48 AM
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Thumbs up I trust the factory.

I think that Mrs. Suzuki probably made the bike right, and sent it across the Pacific Ocean with its chain straight.

So when I adjust the chain, replace the chain, or replace the rear tire, I compose myself, let all other ideas seep out of my mind (don't laugh, old farts' minds wander a lot ... now, back to that recipe ... um, chain), and concentrate on symmetry.

Whenever I need to move or remove the rear axle, I turn each side an equal number of one-sixth-turns, counting aloud to myself. I let nothing interrupt me until I have brought the non-chain side into alignment with the chain side.

This works for me. My DL650's original chain lasted 22174 miles, almost as long as two rear tires. I have used the same method on many bikes, with great success.

Keith

P.S. Your method is far more elegant and reliable, readytoride, and I wish I had thought of it first.

Last edited by Keith Falkner; 02-29-2008 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 02-29-2008, 11:11 AM
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I use a caliper to measure the distance from the back of the rectangular washer to the end of the swing arm. Takes but only a second or two. I have found that the suzuki marks are pretty much right on the money.

Otherwise, I do as Keith does.

Cheers!
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  #8  
Old 03-01-2008, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handyhiker View Post
Good idea!
By chance, did you check the marks on the swing arm after your adjustment tool was used? Just kind of curious as to the findings.
I will have to try this on mine and see if the marks are correct.
I relied for years on a method very similar to Mr. Faulkner's with good success, but now seeing is believing, and so is feeling. My handlebars finally feel straight now!

If you can ignore the dirt in the pics, you can see just how far off those marks can be:




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  #9  
Old 03-01-2008, 08:43 AM
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Thanks for that last set of photos readytoride, now I'm seeing what the original poster's method is about, this is aligning the rear wheel/sprocket with the chassis of the bike, by changing the rear wheel alignment using only the chain slack adjusters on either side of the swingarm. Right?

This is different than the common methods that align the rear wheel/sprocket with the front sprocket/chain and ignoring the alignment of the rear wheel to the chassis.

Isn't it one or the other here? Or am I missing something? Maybe I am.

If you only use one adjustment, the chain slack adjusters, how can you align the rear wheel/sprocket with the chassis of the bike and at the same time align the rear wheel/sprocket with the front sprocket and chain? It seems to me if you perfectly align one, the other is possibly out of alignment.
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  #10  
Old 03-01-2008, 09:45 AM
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Just a note on the vee adjusting plates that the adjuster bolts push against...they are not symmetrical. The axel on the left is full diameter but on the right is turned down and threaded. If you reverse these parts on reassembly, you will definately have an out of alignment axel if you use the stock alignment marks.

Rich
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