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Thread: Adjust toe in on 1976 FL with square Swingarm rear mount

  1. #1

    Default Adjust toe in on 1976 FL with square Swingarm rear mount

    I have the LE sidecar frame mounted to 1976 FL with stock rear square swing arm connector. Sidecar frame is level front to back and side to side. All connectors were relaxed prior to tightening. Rear wheel is aligned with motorcycle frame. With all connectors snugged up and checking alignment with laser mounted to motorcycle rear wheel rotor and sidecar hub. I have approx 1.25" toe out. I know the rear mounts on later 1979 and up have toe in adjustment, but have do you adjust toe in on the 1978 and back square swing arm mount. I read on an old post on another board that on pre 1978 rear mounts there is no toe in or out adjustment. Is that correct. If I insert flat washwashers for shims at the rear mount, I will have to changeout to a significantly longer bolt. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    283

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    So I take it you shooting the laser parallel with the roto and measuring the laser lines just in front of the bike? My sidecar frame was not quite level for and aft and the bike also leans away from the sidecar x degrees.
    I just went by the 1979-84 sidecar book and everything lined up. I know the rear mount is different than what you have, but my sidecar had the proper toe in on my 69 flh round swing arm and my 77 flh square swing arm.
    The 79-84 sidecar manual can be downloaded free at https://www.carlsalter.com/harley-service-manuals.asp
    Last edited by ryan; 05-10-2019 at 05:37 PM.

  3. #3

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    Yes, I have the 1936-1979 and 1979-1984 factory manuals. I have aligned bike rear wheel to bike frame. I attach one laser to bike rear rotor and the other to the sidecar outer hub. Shoot forward and backward and measure at rear of rear bike tire and front of front of bike front tire. Beams are 1.25" farther apart at front. I also checked this with a straight board aligned with bikes rear tire and sidecar tire and get same results. My question is how do you properly align toe in on square Swingarm bike. I know I will have to add shims at rear swing arm mount, but I will have it be an inch or so of shims and I will have to go to longer bolt. Is there any problem with this or has anybody done this. There is no explanation of alignment in factory manual for square arm bike. The sidecar is not going to tract correctly as is. I am going to try and add some photos this morning.
    Last edited by Buster; 05-10-2019 at 07:47 AM.

  4. #4

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    Hope photos came through. First photo shows amount of spacers required to obtain 1/2" toe in. I can find no frame damage to bike or sidecar frame. If I have to space out this far, I am going to machine a one piece spacer and weld to Swingarm connector, as opposed to individual spacers. I will need longer bolt grade 8 bolt. Has anyone had this problem on a non adjustable square swing arm connection or anyother suggestions on how to correct would be appreciated. I am going to ride this and I Need it to be safe. Thanks.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Central Florida
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    937

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    Shim it to about 1/2"-to-one-inch of toe-in at the front axle of the bike. That's not the most critical measure, to be slightly off square and parallel and level. Most important is the bike leaning out just a few degrees, turning left, away from the sidecar. Don't know why yours needs so much shim at the rear, but some of these old parts have led rough lives. But square it up and then adjust it and tighten it down.
    If it's still factory curved, the end of the underbody brace, down from under the neck, will stick out about an inch beyond the right end of the right-side pinch bolt cap.
    Last edited by Sargehere; 05-10-2019 at 09:26 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Central Florida
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    937

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    Are you using the "offset" rear sidecar swingarm connector? There's no need to. It was changed back in 1969-or-whenever to clearance a changed exhaust system. Make whatever you have to, to line up. Good luck! Sidecars are more fun than a barrel of monkeys!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Central Florida
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    First off, you're sure the rear wheel is squarely centered in the swingarm, pointing fwd through the centerline of the bike? 'Looking for a reason to need all that rear shim.

  8. #8

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    I'm looking for a reason to require all that many rear shim also. I have used the straight 1973 up Swingarm connector. I also have an earlier offset one, but it is shorter than the correct one I used and the sidecar frame would not sit level. I have checked the alignment of the rear bike wheel by measuring from a similar fixed point on both sides of frame back to center of rear axle. I have double checked by aligning straightedge at two similar areas of rear tire and running forward to front wheel. Front wheel appears to be parallel and to have the 3/16" offset. Could a sidecar frame have been this far out of alignment from the factory or are they all close to correct toe in with no shims or adjustment. This is my first sidecar experience.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Central Florida
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    937

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    If my front & rear wheels are same width, I'll run a straight edge down the left side, an inch-or-two off the floor, catching all four tire sidewalls. Might have to adjust the rear chain a little, by turning the r. tire left or right, but that's where the bike tracks and you can take all the other points off that; FOLLOWING THE FRONT.
    Line up the sidecar frame about level (it's NOT critical) and make the front ball connector at home, then bring the rear in and get just under an inch (my preference) of toe-in, measured across a line at the bike's front axle to its intersection with the front extension of the sidecar's right sidewall line.

    So far, I did this with the third brace hanging under the neck, completely detached at the pinch bolts end. I bring the third brace up and tighten it down; I will have to experiment with how much lean-out to the left will counter the pull of the sidecar toward the right. Do this on the road, with a pair of 5/8" wrenches for the four pinch bolts, by trial-and-error. (The old pinch bolt heads are 9/16", AAMOF.) I get it to pull straight, then experiment with the balance valve in the brake line and get it to stop straight, with or without a passenger. Good luck!

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