Author Topic: Crooked steering after replacing fork inner tubes  (Read 2733 times)

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Offline dankeller

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Crooked steering after replacing fork inner tubes
« on: September 09, 2015, 01:37:23 AM »
I saved up and had my pitted front fork inner tubes, seals, and dust covers replaced on my 1978 xs 500e. I was told it was a good time to also replace my steering bearing. So I did that too.  All parts are NOS, except the steering bearing which I believe was aftermarket. Cosmetically, I was please with the result.

But, the steering is off now.  With wheel straight, the handle bars are turned a couple of degrees to the right.  While driving, straightening the handle bars causes the bike to go left.

Other things I noticed is that my front fender is twisted a couple degrees to the right relative to the front wheel, and the right inner fork is about a centimetre taller than the left inner fork (measured from top of dust boot to bottom of headlight holder).

The mechanic says it could be a number of things but likely a crooked triple tree, bent inner tubes, etc.

I was hoping you might have some ideas.  How do you straighten the steering on these bikes? Would lifting the right inner tube 1 cm in the right grips help?

Thanks a bunch.

Dan

« Last Edit: September 09, 2015, 01:42:50 AM by dankeller »

Offline dankeller

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Re: Crooked steering after replacing fork inner tubes
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2015, 01:51:38 AM »
It looks like I mostly solved my crooked steering / front wheel alignment issue. I don't know if this is the correct approach but it worked for me.

I put the bike on the centre stand. Then I loosened the four bolts at the front fender, the 4 bolts at the bottom of the tree and the two bolts at the top of the tree.  Then I jiggled the front end up and down a bit and went, and wheat in front of the bike, straddled the front wheel between my legs and gently twisted the handle bars (does not require much force) to get the wheel and fender aligned with handlebars perpendicular to the wheel.  Then I tightened all the bolts going from top to bottom.

The result was that the steering was almost perfect. I'm less than a degree off, and if I was motivated I could do it again to get that extra .5 degree. 

The whole procedure didn't talk much more than 15 minutes.

Dan

Offline guylr

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Re: Crooked steering after replacing fork inner tubes
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2015, 03:47:44 PM »
There you go Dan. I knew you'd figure it out on your own. You did exactly what a trained tech would have done. Sometimes the members here don't just jump in with the fix because it's really better to get it on your own. I think the members do pay attention though and want to see you make the bike a good rider.

Guy
Now Retired Yamaha guy. Cut me and I bleed "Cinquasia Red"

Offline dankeller

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Re: Crooked steering after replacing fork inner tubes
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2015, 06:17:01 PM »
Thanks Guy.  I wasn't being impatient, just trying to add back to the community what little I can by posting what worked for me. 

It gives me confidence to do a job if I can see the steps someone else took, and those steps taken fall within my own limitations.  :)

Bye.

Dan

Offline dankeller

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Re: Crooked steering after replacing fork inner tubes
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2016, 07:42:50 PM »
I'm revisiting this issue with my front wheel alignment.  Can you please let me know what you think?

After carefully loosening and tightening the front to try to align the front wheel I am still off slightly.  My handle bars are turned a couple of degrees to the right when riding straight.

So I suspect my triple tree is bent slightly at the bottom. 

My question is whether I can straighten it without disassembling the front.  Can I put a two-by-four between the fork legs and gently pry to straighten the tree just a bit?  I read that somewhere but I wanted to check with you guys before trying it, in case it is a dumb idea.

Many thanks.

Dan

Offline dankeller

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Re: Crooked steering after replacing fork inner tubes
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2016, 01:34:12 AM »
I followed a tip from another forum and it seems I fixed the slightly crooked steering issue on my bike.  I lined up the front wheel against a pole and pushed the handle bars hard a couple of times to the left with the front wheel against the pole. Now the wheel and handlebars are aligned.  I didn't loosen the pinch bolts when I did this.  I think this procedure unbent my triple tree.

By way of summary after trying to align the wheel the proper way of loosening the bolts holding the forks and fender, and retightening them from top to bottom, the front wheel was still off to the left a couple of degrees with the handle bars straight. This suggested that my triple tree was slightly bent.  I pushing hard on the handlebars to turn left against a pole, and managed to get the front wheel aligned with the handle bars.  I hope it stays that way.

Dan