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HD Springer suspension
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Ladder72
Posted 10/27/2011 9:24 AM (#61191)
Subject: HD Springer suspension


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Posts: 5
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Location: Mount Vernon, OH
Hello - I have been cruising around with my recently installed 94TLE sidecar on my 2002 Springer and have found a pretty serious problem. The long mounting arm (front top), that mounts to the crossmember has a bolt that secures it to the threaded boss on the crossmember. Due to the added weight of the hack, the front suspension is sitting lower than stock. Even though I only weigh 170 and the boys only weigh 60 each, the front fender now has 2 "dents" in the back, caused by the suspension travel allowing the fender to come into contact with the bolt head. I can have the dents removed right now because the paint wasnt damaged, but I need to fix the problem first.
How can I stiffen the Springers front suspension. Is there aftermarket lower springs with a higher spring rate? Is there some adjustability that the shop manual doesn't mention? I should mention that it handles great and tracks very well otherwise. PLEASE HELP!
Thank you, Trent
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SwampFox
Posted 10/27/2011 9:00 PM (#61201 - in reply to #61191)
Subject: Re: HD Springer suspension



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Location: Summer Grove, LA USA
If I recall correctly, fellow forum member Bueller installed modified rockers on his Springer/Spyder rig to ease the steering effort, and then upgraded the spring/shock to compensate for the added weight of the sidecar plus the additional leverage of the longer rockers. Unfortunately, he sold his rid a year+ ago due to some health issues. He explained his modifications here, but it was a "For Sale" posting that has been purged from the forum. Maybe he is looking in and post his experience.
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timo482
Posted 10/27/2011 9:25 PM (#61203 - in reply to #61201)
Subject: Re: HD Springer suspension


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Posts: 628
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Location: Belle Plaine MN
i recently saw a springer with a sidecar *somewhere*, it was recent all black solo seat bike. he had a works shock made that included a spring - that made it ride right & it had extended rockers.

alternatively liberty does a modification of the fork that adds the proper amount of trail

to
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Bueller
Posted 10/27/2011 10:57 PM (#61206 - in reply to #61201)
Subject: Re: HD Springer suspension


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Posts: 10
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Location: S.E. Ohio
SwampFox - 10/27/2011 9:00 PM

If I recall correctly, fellow forum member Bueller installed modified rockers on his Springer/Spyder rig to ease the steering effort, and then upgraded the spring/shock to compensate for the added weight of the sidecar plus the additional leverage of the longer rockers. Unfortunately, he sold his rid a year+ ago due to some health issues. He explained his modifications here, but it was a "For Sale" posting that has been purged from the forum. Maybe he is looking in and post his experience.


I got your email. Though I don't have the rig anymore I'm still glad to help when possible.

To answer the OP's question - yes, you need more spring in the front end. I accomplished this by having a custom front dampener with a threaded body and a coil spring made. I believe the spring I used was a 330# spring. This was a stab at finding the right spring pressure, and we hit the nail on the head. Of course the fact that the threaded body and collars would provide some fine tuning adjustability made it easier to hit our target.

My situation was unique. Prior to having the damper/spring unit made I had cut apart a set of rockers and extended them about an inch in an effort to reduce trail and make the rig steer more easily. These longer rockers meant the wheel had more leverage on the springs in the front end, and the spring for the dampener was chosen with that in mind. When extending the rockers, I also had to extend the brake reaction link the same amount to preserve the fender relationship with the wheel.

The sidecar now has a new owner. I bought all new parts and converted the front end of the bike back to stock geometry. I'm sure not trying to turn this into a sales pitch, but the dampener, rockers, and brake reaction link are boxed up and not being used. If you have any interest let me know.

Edited by Bueller 10/27/2011 11:01 PM
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mtnman
Posted 8/20/2012 6:53 PM (#66360 - in reply to #61206)
Subject: Re: HD Springer suspension


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Posts: 5
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Location: East Tennessee
Did the extension of the rockers work in making the rig steer easier?
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jaydmc
Posted 8/21/2012 10:27 AM (#66385 - in reply to #61191)
Subject: Re: HD Springer suspension


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Yes it does, We have done this from time to time and have a jig for doing so. What we do is cut the rocker into 3 parts and weld in spacers.
Jay G
DMC sidecars
www.dmcsidecars.com
866-638-1793
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Bueller
Posted 8/21/2012 9:01 PM (#66396 - in reply to #66360)
Subject: Re: HD Springer suspension


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Posts: 10
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Location: S.E. Ohio
mtnman - 8/20/2012 6:53 PM

Did the extension of the rockers work in making the rig steer easier?


Yes, it does improve steering by reducing effort, but it is not a "night & day" difference. There is a complication in the fact that the longer rockers allow the front wheel to exert more force against the springs (more leverage), thus somewhat collapsing the front suspension. I came up with a nice solution to the issue and worked with a suspension maker to determine spring and damping rates that worked in conjunction with the amount I lengthened the rockers.

I don't have the bike or sidecar anymore, but at the moment I do still have the rockers and custom made damper - though they may be spoken for. Let me know if you have any interest, and I'll let you know if they are available.
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jaydmc
Posted 8/22/2012 10:28 AM (#66405 - in reply to #61191)
Subject: Re: HD Springer suspension


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If you make the same changes to the back side of the rocker, the spring and dampening remain the same while reducing steering effort however on bikes with the 16 inch wheel and fender you will have to make a change to the rear fender stay. On bikes with a 19 inch front wheel as the fender mounts different this is not an issue.
Jay G
DMC sidecars
www.dmcsidecars.com
866-638-1793
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mtnman
Posted 8/22/2012 11:25 AM (#66406 - in reply to #66396)
Subject: Re: HD Springer suspension


Member

Posts: 5
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Location: East Tennessee
I'm still in the design stage on this rig. Right now I have a Ural that has caused me to want MORE! I've several Harleys, one of which is a 97 Heritage Springer. I'd thought about making a rig out of her but I've decided to build a Harley powered rig from the ground up. I'll be using a Softail frame and an aftermarket springer (or possibly a leaf spring Indian type front end), EVO engine, Five speed transmission with aftermarket reverse and a Ural car. Couldn't a person add inner springs to the stock springs to compensate for the leverage of extended rockers? This is the way we did it on the original springers.

Looking at the pictures on the DMC web site, it looks like you increased the distance between the legs about the same distance as the axle to front leg. Doesn't this change the angle of the spring guides going through the bushings, making the springs inclined. This would seem to also wear the bushings oblong.
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jaydmc
Posted 8/22/2012 12:05 PM (#66408 - in reply to #61191)
Subject: Re: HD Springer suspension


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The back legs on these front ends pivot a little bit so it all works out. Rather then the Ural sidecar you might consider our M72C or M72CX both are on sale right now. They look very similar to the Ural but sit lower, are of a higher build quality, run a Harley style wheel, fender and tail light and come with adjsable mounts that will work better with your frame as the Ural sidecars have a very long frame moving the rear mount to far aft. If you went with the Indian type leaf spring you could add a leaf.
As you are building from scratch I would go with a wider rear end so that you can fit an automotive tire on it.
Jay G
DMC sidecars
www.dmcsidecars.com
866-638-1793
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Bueller
Posted 8/22/2012 8:37 PM (#66419 - in reply to #66406)
Subject: Re: HD Springer suspension


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Posts: 10
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Location: S.E. Ohio
I didn't like the thought of changing the relationship between the rigid fork and the sprung fork. Like I said, I came up with what I thought was a good solution, and it worked pretty much perfectly. Since a picture is worth a thousand words...

Photobucket


I could have done a chrome spring, but I liked the contrast of the black one. Working out the spring and damping rates was a bit of a trick, and finding the right width damper body and spring was a bit of a challenge. But I got ahold of a smart engineer at a custom suspension company, and between the two of us we nailed it.

And to address what Jay said about the fender, I preserved the fender's relationship to the front end by extending the brake reaction link the same amount that I extended the rockers. Additionally, I took a measurement of the angle of the rockers on a stock Cross Bones with a 180 LB rider on it, and when I cut the rockers apart to lengthen them I modified the angle of the extension so I wouldn't change the amount of ground clearance my Cross Bones/Sidecar combo would have when riding down the road. The rockers and reaction link were lengthened a total of .900", all at the front end of the rocker so all front end component relationships would be preserved.

When you looked at the rig you wouldn't have known it had been modified unless you knew what you were looking for. But since you now know what I did, when you look at this photo you can see the amount of angle or curve built into the rockers when you compare the rigid fork mounting point at the rear of the rocker to the wheel mounting point at the front of the rocker:

Photobucket

When I was all done the bike really rode well, the steering was *somewhat* lighter, and the front suspension worked better than it did when it was a stock bike. Trail went from a stock 6.2" to 5.3". If I'd wanted the rig to steer like it had power steering the next step was going to be having the rigid fork re-raked, which would have reduced the trail perhaps 1.7" more. It's an expensive modification and I decided I really didn't want to go that far.

Lastly, keep in mind I am not suggesting anyone immediately start cutting the front end of their springer into pieces. When you make these kinds of modifications, obviously you assume all of the risk and better understand the pros and cons of your modifications!

Hope that helps!


Edited by Bueller 8/22/2012 8:39 PM
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3details
Posted 11/24/2012 2:43 AM (#68220 - in reply to #66419)
Subject: Re: HD Springer suspension


New User

Posts: 1
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Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
To Bueller, Do you still have that custom coilover dampener? I would be interested in purchasing it.

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Bueller
Posted 11/26/2012 8:03 PM (#68280 - in reply to #68220)
Subject: Re: HD Springer suspension


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Posts: 10
0
Location: S.E. Ohio
PM sent...
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