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Tire wear; set up question
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MikeS
Posted 11/14/2004 9:15 PM (#5341)
Subject: Tire wear; set up question



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Posts: 60
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Location: Grand Marais, MN
I posted this on the yahoo sct site, but I'm looking for further technical response.

I have a few thousand miles on a new to me Honda GL1100-EML rig with
leading link fork and 15" car tires. The front fork is in the
reduced trail position. The Honda has had the EML on it for about
45,000 miles.

I'm getting tire wear on the sidecar side of the mule's rear tire.
It's not uniform, but more a "hopping" type wear, more on one part
of the RH side of the tire, and less as I roll the tire forward.
It's more like oversized cupping on the RH side of the tire, in one
spot on the tire, and covers about 20% of the diameter of the tire.

I checked alignment of the rig, and it seems things are off. First,
the steering and drive wheels of the mule align, using a 7' straight
edge (a long level). Toe in is 1 1/4" in 7'. Lean out is 0.5 degrees
out unladen (not in, as the drive tire wear suggests). The rig
handles fine on the highway and in town, but tire wear is an issue.
I do ride on the highway most of the time, mostly solo.

I also have a very slightly loose front upper mounting brace, the
one running from the sidecar frame to the bike frame at the steering
head. It has a steering dampener connected to the brace, and the
force of the dampener has worn the bolts or the holes slightly. I
can't feel any problems with this looseness while on the move, as
it's very tiny. I will repair the bolts or holes, and move the
steering dampener.

I did grease and adjust the steering head bearings recently. While
doing that, I noticed the leading link fork has a horrible setup
where the fork down tube connects to the front swing arm. Instead of
bearings, the movement of the swing arm (as the front swing arm
moves with the front suspension) is taken up by a larger diameter
and small diameter bushing connected by rubber, just like the sleeve
and rubber mount used for a shock absorber mount. There was some
looseness in that system, and I shimmed it to reduce the looseness.
Is this a typical EML method? Seems to me I should get that changed
out to a greased bushing or greased bearing system. I seem to
remember my BMW Earles forks had bearings here, but that's a long
time ago.

So that's the whole story, and so;

Han Kendall's book states 0.25" to 0.75" toe in, and 1 to 2 degrees
outward lean unladen. I know a buddy who set his rig up with no toe
in, to reduce rear tire wear. How should I set up this rig? And
should I rebuild that front fork shock absorber style bushing? I'll
definitely fix the loose brace, and change the steering dampener
mount.

Mike Senty
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Posted 11/14/2004 11:32 PM (#5342 - in reply to #5341)
Subject: RE: Tire wear; set up question


Setting up a rig is a trial and error procedure different for each machine, rider, and road conditions. You did well to read Hal Kendall's book. Another good reference is the "Manual for Enthusiasts of Riding with A Sidecar". Both books do a good job of explaining the how's and why's of sidecar setup.

Now that you've got the theory, try changing one adjustment. I'd start by reducing the toe-in a bit; say to 1" even. If it doesn't harm your handling, do it a bit more; say to 7/8" or so. That should help reduce tire wear, though with cupped tires you might not notice the improvement for some time. At some point you may have to add a bit more lean-out to compensate for the reduced toe-in. Too much lean-out, however, will make the seating position uncomfortable and will increase the tendency for the chair to lift.

If you make your changes in small increments, and carefully evaluate the results, you should have it dialed in after a few iterations.

Let us know how it works out.

Jim
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stevewoo
Posted 11/14/2004 11:44 PM (#5343 - in reply to #5341)
Subject: RE: Tire wear; set up question



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Posts: 744
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Location: Salem, OR
Mike - You are getting great advice here and on SCT about setup, but I'm wondering if you don't just have a busted belt or some other defect in the tire. You haven't mentioned what brand or type of tire it is.The rig is new to you - are you able to talk to the previous owner to see if this has been observed before?
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claude #3563
Posted 11/15/2004 1:00 AM (#5344 - in reply to #5343)
Subject: RE: Tire wear; set up question



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Location: Middleburg, Pa
Mike I want to apologise if your question got swallowed with the activity at SCT today. I think we had close to 50 posts in one day.
Anyhow... I have pasted my response to your question below for those here to look over. One thing I did not mention is that when toe-in is changed it can, on some rigs, also chang ethe lean out . With this in mind be sure to see where you were and where you are after any adjustments to toe or lean out.
Below is post from SCT.
Mike,
It seems as though it is popular today to run as little toe in as
possible. I would say for sure that you have too much at this time.
Maybe get down to 1/2" or so and try it. If the tire wear can still
be monitered at that time good. If not, and just to check it out you
may want to turn the tire around. Is it a 135R15? What brand??
Doing that and tightemning things up would be a start.
Hope others will chime in WHO HAVE MORE EXPERIENCE WITH AN EML.
Claude
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MikeS
Posted 11/15/2004 7:27 AM (#5345 - in reply to #5343)
Subject: RE: Tire wear; set up question



Regular

Posts: 60
2525
Location: Grand Marais, MN
I will replace the tire, and check it's condition. It's a Firestone tire, a 15" car tire. I don't have the width number in front of me, but it is a radial. Same sized tires all around the rig.

I'm coming to recognize the previous owner, who professed a lot of expertise, did not have the rig as up to snuff as he indicated to me. For one, he told me the front fork was in the reduced trail position. It was not, and I moved it recently to the reduced trail, which lightened up the steering.

I'm at least the third owner, so who knows? The bike has 87,000 on it, and the sidecar has been attached for about 45k of that.

The previous owner did tell me the setup of the toe in and lean out is perfect. But with the other small glitches that I've come across, and now the tire, I'm wondering. I've been driving it on long and short trips whenever possible, to get the glitches to show up. The rear tire was a new and unexpected problem. Once the snow comes, I'll have some quality garage time before me.

I do think the swing arm bearings and wheel bearings are good. I haven't had the rear wheel off, but when I change out the tire, I'll check them for looseness.

I really appreciate all the input I'm getting here. This is a strange wear pattern, which doesn't pass logic to me at this moment. The failing tire belt is one good possibility....

Mike Senty
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Hack'n
Posted 11/15/2004 1:45 PM (#5346 - in reply to #5345)
Subject: RE: Tire wear; set up question



Expert

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Location: Boise, Idaho
Cupping can also be caused by "tire tramp", a phenomenon induced by underinflation of the tires. Combined with a slight misalignment, this can cause some odd wear patterns. Underinflation is quite commom when using automobile tires on bikes and trikes, since it makes the ride less choppy.
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MikeS
Posted 11/15/2004 6:52 PM (#5350 - in reply to #5344)
Subject: RE: Tire wear; set up question



Regular

Posts: 60
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Location: Grand Marais, MN
Originally written by Claude #3563 on 11/15/2004 1:00 AM
Is it a 135R15? What brand??
Yes, it is a 135R15 radial, Firestone. I called two dealers to find a replacement. They both are stumped! Anyone know of resources for this size? I'd like to stay with the Firestone, unless there is a good reason not. The other two wheels have Firestone 135R15.

The rear rim is round, and not out of true. The rear tire is at 32 psi. Maybe I should have run it at maximum recommended, 36 psi.

Mike Senty

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claude #3563
Posted 11/15/2004 7:47 PM (#5353 - in reply to #5350)
Subject: RE: Tire wear; set up question



Expert

Posts: 2471
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Location: Middleburg, Pa
cLICK HERE:
http://www.coker.com/store/customer/home.php
Not sure if they have firstones though. If not shown call them as they may have tires that are not posted on the net.
Claude
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MikeS
Posted 11/16/2004 9:43 PM (#5364 - in reply to #5345)
Subject: RE: Tire wear; set up question



Regular

Posts: 60
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Location: Grand Marais, MN
Interesting thing I'm finding out on this EML, in that there is no straight forward way to adjust toe in. The bottom two mounts, front and rear, have no adjustment. The brackets to the bike frame are very rigid, which is good, until looking for an adjustment possibility.

Good news, I did talk to the new EML importer in the US, Marvin at Eurowing, in Miami, FL. He believes my tire wear problem is alignment. He also asked about tire pressure. I have to send him some details, and come up with the next step. He is very willing to help me with this problem, a good sign from a customer perspective.


Mike Senty
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claude #3563
Posted 11/17/2004 12:20 AM (#5365 - in reply to #5364)
Subject: RE: Tire wear; set up question



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Posts: 2471
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Location: Middleburg, Pa
I beleive you will find that toe in is adjustable right at the sidecar spindle. Maybe call Marvin for details.
Keep us posted.
Claude
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MikeS
Posted 11/17/2004 7:48 AM (#5366 - in reply to #5365)
Subject: RE: Tire wear; set up question



Regular

Posts: 60
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Location: Grand Marais, MN
Originally written by claude #3563 on 11/17/2004 12:20 AM
I beleive you will find that toe in is adjustable right at the sidecar spindle.

By spindle, do you mean the hack axle? I already looked at that briefly, then again in more detail, after your post.

The suspension of the hack is mounted to a steel plate. It looks like this steel plate, along with the suspension of the hack, can be removed from the hack frame with six bolts. There is another flat plate on the hack frame, that the suspension plate rests on. The six bolts I mentioned hold these two plates together. I cannot see if the holes are oblong, to allow for adjusting toe in. To get at them, and to loosen them, I'll have to remove the tub. Then I can get the six bolts loose, or at least remove one of them to see if there is an oblong hole, to adjust toe in. If this is the adjustment for toe in, I'll have to remove the tub whenever I want to adjust toe in. Hopefully I'll get it right the first or second time.

The connection between the motorcycle frame and the four mounting points for the hack frame and struts is dynamite. Each is connected to the motorcycle frame in a way that there can be absolutely no twisting of the mounting hardware attached to the motorcycle, even with some loosening of bolts due to time and flexing of the machine. Initially I was looking for some way to adjust toe in, using one of the two lower mounting points.

I've come to recognize one added source for the alignment problem, in that the frame of the hack was extended, I believe by the fellow who owns Liberty Sidecars. He's someone who knows what he's doing. Obviously that changes the original dynamics EML put into the design.

I'm sending some digital pictures to Marvin, so he can intelligently advise me. I still need to get those pictures out to him.

Mike Senty

Edited by MikeS 11/17/2004 2:20 PM
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MikeS
Posted 11/21/2004 12:32 PM (#5400 - in reply to #5341)
Subject: RE: Tire wear; set up question



Regular

Posts: 60
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Location: Grand Marais, MN
If there is interest; Because of the involved steps to adjust the toe in, namely remove the tub and adjust toe in on the hack wheel, I went all out. I set it at 1/4" toe in, and one degree outward lean. Test ride, and I'm happy with the handling. It seems slightly better than prior to the adjustment. Front end alignment, on a car, is also very subtle, so I assume the same on the rig. Now I have the chore to put some miles on and see how the tire wear goes. It should be improved.

Thanks all for the feedback. It helped me a lot.

Mike Senty
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claude #3563
Posted 11/21/2004 12:39 PM (#5401 - in reply to #5400)
Subject: RE: Tire wear; set up question



Expert

Posts: 2471
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Location: Middleburg, Pa
Thanks Mike..yes, there is interest. Other than removing the body (which is a good idea when making a lot of adjustments anyhow) could you go into more detail on the EML toe adjuetment procedure?
tHANKS,
cLAUDE
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claude #3563
Posted 11/21/2004 5:41 PM (#5405 - in reply to #5401)
Subject: RE: Tire wear; set up question



Expert

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Mike,
Click on thi slink and see if it works:
http://tinyurl.com/3mdyv
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MikeS
Posted 11/21/2004 10:01 PM (#5408 - in reply to #5400)
Subject: RE: Tire wear; set up question



Regular

Posts: 60
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Location: Grand Marais, MN
Claude

I used the same procedure as most do, straight edge along the two wheels of the mule, and a second straight edge along the wheel of the hack. I used rubber straps to hold the straight edges to the wheels.

The EML wheels have a raised ridge on the rim, where the tubular steel spokes are welded to the rim. This ridge gave me a flat surface to measure to. Since all the wheels are the same, I used this part of the rim to double check that my straight edge was running true to a line parallel with the center line of the two bike wheels. Since the straight edges were against the rubber tire, and not the rim, there is some possibility of error. In fact, to get it true, I had to shim the straight edge out by 3/16" on the steer wheel of the mule.

The EML frame has no adjustment for toe in, only for lean angle. The wheel of the hack can be adjusted for toe in. It has six bolts by the hack suspension that need to be loosened to make the toe in adjustment. These bolts are hard to get at, and the nuts are partially buried by the hack frame. The nuts can only be turned with an open end wrench, a box wrench or socket won't work. The bolt uses a metric hex (Allen) wrench. In addition, the brakes, suspension, and wheel spokes get in the way on most bolts, and big time for one bolt. Keeping the tub in place makes the whole process worse than difficult.

Interesting side note, I first set the toe in with no weight on the saddle of the mule. I set it for 1/4", to minimize tire wear, which was my problem. Then, I got some sand bags, equal to my weight. Placing those on the saddle of the mule, the toe in did not change. Outward lean increased by one degree.

BTW, to measure outward lean, I used a small "smart level", an electronic level, which has a function that measures degrees. I just placed the level on the rear brake rotor for a reading, and double checked with the front fork rotor. It was very simple and quick.

I'm no expert, but so far this seems to have dialed things in better from the performance aspect. But then, I had no complaints about handling or performance before making these adjustments. Tire wear will be the real test.

As an edit, I'd think a laser beam could be handy to align the rig. Aiming the beam parallel to the two wheels of the mule, and it would also be easy to double check that the front and rear wheels of the mule track. On my EML, there are bushings and shims between the swing arm and wheel bearings, which allow for adjusting the track of the two wheels on the bike. I checked my tracking on the mule with a straight edge, but I could still be off by 1/16 or 1/8 inch, using that method. I'll eventually grab a small laser from work, and set it up to see if I can check the tracking. Again, I measured from the raised ridge on the EML rims. I wonder if anyone else has tried using a laser to check the tracking of the mule wheels.

Mike Senty

Edited by MikeS 11/22/2004 7:48 AM
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