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Sidecar on bike now - long, being a bit of a windbag
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hdjoe
Posted 7/23/2014 6:07 AM (#79000)
Subject: Sidecar on bike now - long, being a bit of a windbag


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Posts: 20
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The trials and tribulations of putting on a sidecar. Now understand that working on my bike is a long term affair and I get to it when I have time.


I bought an older Harley Sidecar ('92) a month or so ago. Got it home and realized that some of the mounting hardware was homemade and would not fit my bike. (difference between a 2013 and 1999 bike) I knew when I bought the bike that the rear lower mounting bracket would not fit. So off to the local Harley Stealer I went and ordered it and when it came in, it fit on the bike perfectly.


Later when I started to mount the forward mounting brackets, I learned that the lower bracket was also homemade and was not fitting on. Now I was a bit upset, as this was getting to be a bit expensive and even more time consuming, hey, I have a one track mind! Well looked on ebay and hey someone was selling a mounting setup that had come off of a 2000 harley. Other than a few missing bolts and washers it seemed to be all there. It even came with a couple of extra stock swing arm brackets. Well what do I know never been around sidecars before. Got it in the mail and cleaned up the garage a bit and all the different parts from the two kits got thrown into a box.

Mounted the new lower mounting bracket and the upper brackets onto the bike and started to mounting process following the instructions in the manual. Got the front lower attached, went to attach the back lower and found that one of the set screws had been stripped and there was no way to loosen or tighten it. Off come the bracket attached to the sidecar and a drill and easy-out and a trip to the local hardware store took care of that problem.

Went to mount the front upper attachment, and the two brackets would not line up. Hmmmm, no matter what I did to the attachment bar on the sidecar, it would not line up. We stood around scratching our heads and had a glass of iced tea. By this time I had called a friend over to help and we were both confused. Finally my friend took the other top mounting bracket that I had and set it up on the down tubes and hey it fit between them at the right height.. We quickly threw it on and now everything was going fine.

We made a trip to the local hardware store to pick up some missing nuts, bolts and washers. I will admit a few of the missing ones are laying on my garage floor someplace never to be seen again. We measured, tweaked and in general lined up the car with the bike. When we were satisfied we locked everything into place and were pleased with our handy work. Time for a test ride and got on the bike and rolled it out of the garage to the street and used the momentum of the bike to turn the bike around to go down the street. It was so weird not having to keep my foot on the ground to keep it upright. Needless to say I kept doing it for a bit, old habits are hard to break.

Fired up the bike and let it warm up a bit and off I went down the street. The bike seemed to be tracking true and up into 2nd and then about to shift into 3rd. Happy that hey, we got it to run down the street and started to pat myself on the back as everything seemed to be working. All of a sudden the bike and sidecar wanted to pull to the left and the steering became very heavy. Tried to keep the bike in the center of the street, but came to a stop next to the curb about 120 yards down the street. Now the bike was leaning a bit away from the sidecar. We looked and discovered that we had forgotten to tighten the top mounting bracket and it had slipped. Good thing I wasn't going really fast on a street with lots of parked cars.

Pushed it back to the garage and loosened everything up and realigned everything and tightened everything down again including the top mounting bracket. Pushed the bike and sidecar out of the garage again and let it roll down the driveway to the street. Darn, didn't let it build enough speed to let it roll far enough into the street and turn. Quickly learned how much easier it is to push the bike with the sidecar around than with only two wheels.

Rode it down the end of the street and turned around and came back, with the german shepherd chasing me all the way. Let my friend get on it and he repeated the route and we discussed it a bit and back into the garage again. Back into the garage where, we changed the tow-in a bit and adjusted the lean a bit and repeated the test drive. Back into the garage and did a bit more fine tuning and after the test ride again, we were finally satisfied.

Later, after supper took it out for a spin around town and don't think it handled to bad. Going down the road the steering wasn't to bad, it would pull sightly left or right depending on the street condition. (We have some bad streets here) When turning, the steering takes a bit more muscle, but not overly harsh. But what do I know as I have never been around sidecars before.

While out I quickly learned that I have to watch where I am going as I took a turn into a driveway and cut it short a bit and the sidecar wheel hit the curb a bit. Oops, need to watch that. In all the bike and sidecar seemed to handle without any major problems. Tomorrow I will need to work on the lights and hookup the brake and start coaching the dog to get into the sidecar.
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SwampFox
Posted 7/23/2014 7:51 AM (#79001 - in reply to #79000)
Subject: RE: Sidecar on bike now - long, being a bit of a windbag



Expert

Posts: 1662
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Location: Summer Grove, LA USA

hdjoe - 7/23/2014 6:07 AM

The trials and tribulations of putting on a sidecar....

... a trip to the local hardware store took care of that problem.....

... scratching our heads and had a glass of iced tea.....

... We made a trip to the local hardware store to pick up some missing nuts, bolts and washers.... measured, tweaked.... old habits are hard to break....

... Back into the garage where, we changed the tow-in a bit and adjusted the lean a bit and repeated the test drive. Back into the garage and did a bit more fine tuning and after the test ride again, we were finally satisfied....

... Tomorrow I will need to work on the lights and hookup the brake and start coaching the dog to get into the sidecar.


Excellent start!! Quite similar to many of our first experiences with sidecars.  Please be careful with the ...old habits are hard to break.... and study/practice piloting your new rig.

 

Good luck with the dog.  I suggest starting without the bike running & progress from there - some dogs seem to take to it more readily than others.  Run a "Search" on this forum for "dog" in "Subjects" and you'll find several discussions re: training, riding & traveling with dogs.

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Hack'n
Posted 7/23/2014 7:02 PM (#79010 - in reply to #79000)
Subject: Re: Sidecar on bike now - long, being a bit of a windbag



Expert

Posts: 4833
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Location: Boise, Idaho
adjoe,
Great posting.

Lonnie
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timo482
Posted 8/1/2014 10:17 PM (#79178 - in reply to #79010)
Subject: Re: Sidecar on bike now - long, being a bit of a windbag


Elite Veteran

Posts: 628
50010025
Location: Belle Plaine MN
its super common to get a used HD sidecar and find the mounts are all stupid....

folks just take it off and sell it not having the first clue how many dollars of parts are still on the bike...

oh well - we all learn that the hard way....

to
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bazam9s
Posted 8/2/2014 9:06 PM (#79198 - in reply to #79000)
Subject: Re: Sidecar on bike now - long, being a bit of a windbag


New User

Posts: 1
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HDJOE
Great post. I'm in the exact situation as you. I have an 02 RK and an 06 TLE/Ultra. Fortunately for me the guy I bought it from included the connection kit minus the brake cylinder reservoir and adabpter and a few small items. I finally got it hooked up a couple days ago. I lost my leg so I'm trying to do the install with my prosthetic, but I did it. I also work on the install as I have time so things take me longer. I have the sidecar wheel 90 degree and thought by sight I had toe and lean right. I also have a steering stabilizer hooked up. The rig went pretty straight but the ride over bumps was erractic. Steering was a bit erractic too. I think it only needs some fine tuning to be right. I would like to install raked trees and reverse but I'll wait until the winter when I plan to hit the MA lottery.LOL.
My biggest obstacle now is bleeding the brakes. I have the modified master cylinder and reservoir installed and filled but cannot pump up any pressure at all. Did you have to modify the master cylinder and install a reservoir? Did you have the same problem?
Thx

Edited by bazam9s 8/2/2014 9:09 PM
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timo482
Posted 8/3/2014 8:44 AM (#79203 - in reply to #79198)
Subject: Re: Sidecar on bike now - long, being a bit of a windbag


Elite Veteran

Posts: 628
50010025
Location: Belle Plaine MN
bleeding the rear brake system will almost take two sets of hands.. bleed to the rear bike brake first, then the sidecar brake and repeat.. what happens is the air trapped in one leg can contaminate the other leg making it hard to get it all bled.

but it will bleed out and work properly

to
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michaelh
Posted 8/3/2014 1:11 PM (#79205 - in reply to #79203)
Subject: Re: Sidecar on bike now - long, being a bit of a windbag


Veteran

Posts: 119
100
Location: Pago Pago, American Samoa
I was taught to always bleed the brake furthest away from the master cylinder first.

In all seriousness, please educate me, why would you bleed the bike brake first; I'm not seeing the logic.

Thanks and best
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timo482
Posted 8/3/2014 9:20 PM (#79212 - in reply to #79205)
Subject: Re: Sidecar on bike now - long, being a bit of a windbag


Elite Veteran

Posts: 628
50010025
Location: Belle Plaine MN
its larger - many times the volume of the sidecar brake.

so, if there is air in the bike brake - it compresses and then expands back into the sidecar line - over and over

so if you are measuring distance its farther to the sidecar - but if you measure how much fluid goes where - its the bike brake.

it won't gravity bleed since the rez is too low - so you have to pump, hold, bleed......

I've done it a couple of times - fwiw once the bike brake was bled it only took a few mins to bleed the sidecar brake.

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