Alignment issue. XS650SK

jetmechmarty

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Some of you may have seen my remark in the Just Ride thread. I got my rear wheel alignment all out of whack. Those two Honda guys who fixed it had plenty of whack to spare.

There is more to the story. Just before my departure on a 1,000 mile extended weekend, I replaced the tires. Before leaving it didn't feel quite right and the chain deposited oil on the side of the tire as if rubbing. On the ride west, I knew the alignment was off. So, I tried to fix it when I got to the hotel. I think I made it worse. I'm focusing on the lower triple clamp.
outofwhack.jpg


If you look over my tank at the lower triple clamp (the bolts have bright orange torque stripe on them), you can see the right side is closer to the tank. That's what I see going down the road. JP (@JRP01) and Floyd fixed the rear wheel alignment, and the bike goes straight down the road perfectly. In the photo, the bike is on a HF lift. The front wheel is in the clamp and the rear tire is centered on the deck. I never noticed this before, and it bugs me so much now that I can't believe I never noticed it before.

Could I have somehow induced this when I changed the wheel? I crashed the bike in 1985 and the fork tubes were replaced at that time. I can't believe I could have ridden it all this time without noticing. Should I take the whole assembly loose and retorque from the bottom to the top? I'm stumped.

For the record, everything was apart over the winter. The fork seals and springs were replaced, and the head bearings got fresh grease.
 
First thing I'd do Marty is remove the front wheel and fender. Loosen the top and bottom triple pinch bolts so you can rotate the fork tubes (inside the triples). Rotate one at a time and see if the distance at the bottom tube changes. In other words, first verify the tubes ain't bent.
 
Provided the tubes are straight, here's the sequence I follow:
Wheel off, fender off, 4 lower and 2 upper pinch bolts loose. Loosen the triple stem (center) bolt and pinch bolt so the upper triple can rotate freely

Lightly snug the 4 lower pinch bolts. Give everything a good shake and a twist back and forth and snug the 4 pinchers again.

Use your best eyeball to sight down the triple and tubes and handlebars and see if everything look kosher. If it is, go ahead and snug up the stem (center bolt) and top 3 pinch bolts. If it's not kosher, maybe the upper or lower (both?) got bent in the '85 crash.

If all is good, torque what you've snugged so far.
Reinstall the fender... loosely.
Install the wheel. Tighten the axle nut first then the pinch nuts on the other leg. Then tighten the fender. Double check everything's tight and go for a test ride.
 
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BEFORE you do what Jim suggests. Bike on the center stand, board under front tire so it's not in the air support under engine or weight or strap rear down.
Um yeah, been there done that. It's a pisser to have your bike take a kneel or have the tubes drop down out of the top triple. :sick:
 
BEFORE you do what Jim suggests. Bike on the center stand, board under front tire so it's not in the air support under engine or weight or strap rear down.
Um yeah, been there done that. It's a pisser to have your bike take a kneel or have the tubes drop down out of the top triple. :sick:
I have a jack under the frame. I'll just take the weight off the front wheel.
 
Since you "know" your tubes are straight if you drop one out of the top triple (wheel and fender off. It should go right back up in the hole again if you have to struggle to get the tube in the hole that's the bent lower triple. At that point you want to be checking the neck too.
Sorry but I've had bikes with bent necks too.....
Is this the bike that breaks rear shocks?
 
I won't assume anything at this point. I'll do the bent tube test as well.

If it comes to that, I guess I can compare the triple clamp to another.

The bike was in a low side accident in '85. It slid into the guardrail and bent the stop tab on the front of the frame.
 
If you had tubes bent bad enough to replace, the lower triple tree is bent too.
I'd bet you a meal at the next rally. ;)
You'll be impressed with how easy they are to straighten. o_O
Thinkin' back to the times I've bent forks.... yeah, the lower triple has always needed "tweakin."
Near as I can remember anyways.... :umm:
 
I'm not sure how I'll recognize that, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Slide both tubes down out of the top. Now push 'em back in one at a time. If the lower triple is bent, one of 'em won't want to go back in.... it'll hit at the edge. If it is, like Gary sez, they'll tweak back pretty easy. I stick a pipe up inside the bent triple and bend it back. Careful, they'll bend a lot easier that you think they will... it's easy to overdo it.... baby steps.
 
Slide both tubes down out of the top. Now push 'em back in one at a time. If the lower triple is bent, one of 'em won't want to go back in.... it'll hit at the edge. If it is, like Gary sez, they'll tweak back pretty easy. I stick a pipe up inside the bent triple and bend it back. Careful, they'll bend a lot easier that you think they will... it's easy to overdo it.... baby steps.

Here is one way. Need to remove and clamp to a flat surface.

View attachment 217843

Or if the front wheel is removed eye from the side, (down from the triple), to see if one tube is forward or back from the other
Okay. I can work with that!
 
I won't assume anything at this point. I'll do the bent tube test as well.

If it comes to that, I guess I can compare the triple clamp to another.

The bike was in a low side accident in '85. It slid into the guardrail and bent the stop tab on the front of the frame.
If it hit hard enough to bend that tab that means the frame absorbed a lot of shock. Ever seen someone hit something with a pipe in slow motion? There’s flexing going on that the naked eye can’t see. Molecules are moving all over the place and some of them don’t make it back to their original position. Law of Physics.
 
I’ve been away. I’m not feeling energetic today, but I checked the fork tubes with the @gggGary method. My fork tubes are straight. I have another wrinkle. I found a crack in my fender.
CECC9B8C-3398-435E-8FF1-BF86B062F88A.jpeg

I marked it with red paint.
Today, I loosened the fender, the axle and both clamps. I put it back in the opposite order. I might ride it before I take it down to check the clamps. I didn’t want to take it all apart as it may be a week before I can get back to it.
 
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