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harley tleu allignment

Ok I had the car off to get a new motor and when put back on it pulls hard to the right. It will pull you uphill over the crown from the left lane to the right lane. There were no adjustments made to the car just undid the two lower heim joint bolts and upper mount clamp on the downtube. I did get a new tire, same as before but not a whitewall and the shocks were low and I pumped them up from 0lbs to 15LB because it bottomed out riding without car. Would a new tire or shocks cause it to pull or be out of allignment? I checked the lean angle and it is between 1-2 deg lean in magneted anglefinder to the front outer disk ( new guage but not sure how acurate it is). The car frame and wheel might be a degree out of level. The rear frame tube was 0deg but the car roter measurement was a 1deg towards the bike. My 2x4s are bowed so I could not check toe. Anyone in the North Alabama (Nashville, Birmingham, or Atlanta) area that could help show me how to set it up. That's a few hours around me in north Alabama. I will ride to you and buy lunch 🙂 The dealer did it before the motor crapped out but i only had a few hundred miles on it. I do not remembering it pulling like this when I bought it where I needed to constantly steer left. This is my second rig and is not near as smoothe as my old CSM rig Claude set up for me.

I would think a new chair tire would make it go left, if anything. I know my setup has leanout to make it track straight. (2001 Roadking with 1999 Harley chair)
The rods with the heim joints didn't get knocked out of alignment somehow?

I did not remove it and the shop that did swears and I believe they were careful. They had a bad sidecar experience before and learned not to touch any adjustments. I need to get some straight edges and just start from scratch and dial it in. I have never adjusted one so will give it a whirl this weekend. A local hd dealer said they would align it, but it was not great last time they aligned it but it was better than it is now. Besides after they sold me bike that needed an engine a month later I would not let them air my tires unless it was an emergency.

I think lean in is too much and sidecar level may be off. But do not want to fool with adjustments until I check the toe.

Feel free to give me a call. You can use string run over some blocks or something for a straightedge. too much Toe in will typically only give you more tire wear. Toe out will give apull to the right. Lean out makes it go left and lean it makes it go right. Always recheck toe in after messing with lean out. If it is a harley sidecar the shops typically go by the harley manual and will lean the bike in and not out. this is due to th eharley sidecar shaving no suspension on them. It is not always correct. The seat of one's pants is what setup is all about if you know what I mean. Again feel free to call 570 837 5120 shop .

With the combination of 2 degrees lean-in and 1 degree sidecar lean you have 3 degrees total which should make you able to knock down every mailbox in town while trying to drive a straight line.
Get some straight edges. Old 8' fluorescent tubes, angle iron, or? I use 1"x1"x.120" square tubing.
Place one tightly against the rear tire only on bricks or blocks to get a better reading.
Place the other (on blocks) against the sidecar wheel.
Take a measurement across from behind the rear bike tire and another across from in front of the front tire.
Set toe-in when front measurement 3/4" less than rear measurement.
Place your protractor on the left front brake rotor and sidecar with normal load, climb aboard the seat and see where the lean angle is.
Set lean-out at 1 degree positive with you on the saddle and you should be good to go on an average crowned roadway.
This should also take care of your sidecar lean-in problem if the lower mounts haven't been messed with.

Good luck with it.

Lonnie Cook
Northwest Sidecars

Thanks Claude, I am going to follow the manual and see how it goes and if I get stuck I will give you a call. It killed me to sell your rig but I needed the money to put a new engine in this one. I hope that when I get it set-up right it will handle as well as yours. I have big plans for you to build me a new once I scrape a few pennies together.

Lonnie, thank you for the tips, shuold I not try to level the sidecar frame before any other adjustments? It looked in the manual like that is done with the u-bolts on the rear sidecar side of the mount. Should all the measurements be taken with me in the seat? what about the load in the car? I run 80lbs of ballast and my wife is a little more than that but I remove ballast whith a passenger. Shuold I leave the ballast in the car or put her in it? I ride 50/50 with a passenger.

I think the increase in lean-out will probably take care of the sidecar sag since you will be lifting the mounts (right side) as you increase the bike lean to the left.
You could split the difference with 100# in the boat. My bride tops 135 and I still leave my 75# ballast in with little difference in handling.


Be very careful in using the front wheel for lean out measuements as if it is anything but pointed straight ahead the camber curve will give you a flase reading. Frankly we seldom use the common degree settings when setting up a sidecar as they all react a little3 different when loaded and different operators want different feeeling on the road. There is no all enclusive correct degree that will be 'right' for every outfit nor every road nor every sidecar jockey. Rulle of thumb: lean left to go left and lean right to go right and always recucek toe in after lean out ifs adjsuted....or at lease pllay with it so you know what changes in toe in may take place as you adjust lean out. No mystries here just simple things to play with.

Ok I bought a digital angle guage since I can't see those little lines. The bike leans 2 deg in and the car leans 2 deg in towards bike. The toe is 38 of a inch. I'm going to set ti to 1 out then check the toe and set it to 3/4. And go for a ride. Both the jam nuts for toe adjustment are loose so I assume it was messed with to take it off or the dealer sit it up crazy. I swear I ate half a tire in 1200 miles but I thought excessive toe did that.