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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question to ask to this most knowledgeable group.

I just bought (month ago) a 2001 Road King FLHR and at a ride group get-together the other night a fellow says " have you noticed your rear wheel is not exactly centerline to the centerline of your fender". Guess what it's not. It's slightly left of center guessing about 1/4"

I look at a few other RK (don't remember year) and the centerline of wheel and fender are perfect.

I look at my friends 2002 RK and notice his wheel is off center just like mine.

I'm puzzled and don't understand why the difference. I have no handling problems, excessive tire wear issues, and 7,600 miles on scoot.

I plan on talking to my local Harley Tech. tomorrow about this but I am also interested in your thoughts and experience.

Has anyone had this or discussed this before. Any insight on this subject would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Big Ron
 

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The plane of both wheels has always been somewhat offset on the FLT's.

One of the reasons one bike might look different from the next when looking at the rear fender is that the fender struts bend real easy or someone might have made a misguided effort to align or space things in such a way as to eliminate this visual effect.
 

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easy way cut a wire hanger about 10 inches bend into shape of an ell about 1.5 inches look on swingarm a hole in front of axel bout4 inches to front of bike place short end of hanger in hole lineup with axel nut mark with smallllll wire tie in center of nut then do other side center mark should line up if not adjust forward or rearward as needeed works every time
 

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like the Hippo said, on FLT's the wheels are offset.

if the bike don't have some bad handling characteristic or eat up rear tires why worry about it?
 

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Amazing but True!

It's amazing but true that the wheels on the FLT's are not aligned.

For us nonmechanical types, this is pretty weird. I thought someone was pulling my leg the first time I heard this.

Now, you too can amaze your friends at parties and events. Did you know that.... :cool:


***There are those who claim this strangeness contributes to the "infamous" wobble associates with our big bikes. There is no strong evidence to support this.***
 

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Re: Amazing but True!

pasadenajim said:



***There are those who claim this strangeness contributes to the "infamous" wobble associates with our big bikes. There is no strong evidence to support this.***

SYBIL has a wobble but she's a worn out road whore and been dumped pretty hard one time. if I overload her on the back end she will scare me if I go to fast.

My 01 does not have the same tendencies as Sybil,I doubt the wobbles have anything to do with wheel offset.
 

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Sidekick,

I lowered my 89 FLH bike and installed beach bars. The wobble over 75 was killer until I broke my drive belt at 90K. While it was down I dumped a bunch into it: new clutch and clutch hub, belt, chrome inner primary, all bearings and bushings, M6 chain tensioner and new swingarm bushing and isolators. The wobble is now GONE! Your 95 takes the same swingarm parts. Around $200 for the parts plus quite a few hours but if you every have it torn apart that might help. Good luck.

KNZRHOG
 

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Road King wheel offset

You should verify, or have someone verify that your wheels are aligned. Some offset of a rear wheel can be seen from the rear of the bike when compared to the wheel's position relative to the fender. This offset can be caused by improper adjustment of the rear axle, thereby angling the wheel to one side. There also could be a problem with the arrangement of the axle components that determine the wheel's position on the axle, and therefore the viewed position of the wheel relative to the fender. This is not very likely if the bike is new and untouched by unskilled hands. The other possibility on the Road King is the positioning of the isolastically suspended drive train which allows adjustment of the forward motor mount as well as the top end motor mount between the V under the tank. These mounts are normally adjusted on the new machines at the factory, but I have found some bikes out quite a bit. The design of the Road King has the motor, transmission, swingarm and rear wheel all interconnected and suspended from the chassis via isolastic mounts. The positioning of the drive train via the motor mounts directly affects the way the rear wheel is positioned. The proper procedure to check/adjust these machines, is to first establish the rear axle parrallel to the swing arm pin by measuring the distance on each side, and adjusting the rear axle with the supplied adjusters, while ensuring the proper belt tension. Once this is accomplished, the alignment of the front and rear wheels can be done to get the wheels in line. The forward lower motor mount is used primarily to provide this adjustment for horizontal/lateral adjustment, the upper mount can be used to correct slight vertical offsets; although I have not usually found any adjustment necessary. This assumes a couple of things; first, that some factory error did not occur involving the installation of the drive train and isolastic mounts. And secondly, that the fender is not simply twisted or improperly installed. Your dealer should be able, and ideally willing, to give your machine a good once over to ensure that everything is installed and adjusted properly, and should be able to perform a proper alignment check and adjustment, just like you'd get for your car or truck. I'm not talking about using some bent piece of angle iron or a florescent light bulb either. A lot of these posted problems involving wobbles, headlights offset, wheels offset,etc, can be more readily diagnosed if your Dealer or service guy had the proper tools to do so. Ask them if they use the Ontrack Laser Wheel Alignment System, which can be seen at www.get-ontrack.com If you have a more serious chassis problem, I would recommend seeing Bob at www.MOTOMODENA.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Time to say thaks

It's been quite a while now since I posted the rear wheel alignment question. I have recieved much opinion and advice on the possible reason why my rear tire and rear fender centerline do not match and I thank each of you for your time.

The use of a lazer level sounds like a quik check and easy do. I need to locate someone who is using one.

Knowing first hand that I have no ill handeling issues and that the rear tire has yet to be removed, I am of the inclination that when my RK was going down the assembly line one side of the rear fender struts, fender, bag supports, etc were all tightened on one side first then the other.

I believe this is logical and easy to fix with no added cost. After checking alignment with a lazer if everting is alligned. I intend to loosen everything up on the rear end and see if it springs back. If not I can take it to the next level, a long pipe and elbow grease.

Thanks guy's

Big Ron
 

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I have a 03 Road Glide that handles supper but pulls left when taking both hands off the bars. I pulled the front motor mount to the left as far as I could. It only seemed to help slightly. I took it to the dealer and they did an alignment on it. Naturely, they re-centered the front adjustment. No difference.
I have off-set the axle by about .090 and still looks like the front of the rear wheel is aimed to the right but I haven't been able to test it because of the salt on the roads.
 

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Wheel Alignemnt

I would suggest that unless you have a definitive way to measure the results of adjustments, that you refrain from arbitrary adjustments such as you did on the motor mount, or spacer changes. There are many possible reasons why your machine may pull to the left, as there are many components which link the front and rear wheels together. Everything in between is a manufactured component made to a tolerance, and then assembled by a human being. That said, assuming the wheels are straight and all assembled components are correctly put together and tightened properly(steering stem, for instance); the only way to really see where your at is with the use of a device such as the Ontrack System which can measure the amount of lateral offset of your wheels, but moreover, it can measure the relative camber of the wheels. This will give the trained mechanic a more thorough picture of your overall machine's condition; and thereby enable him to possibly determine and correct the problem. This will be the only way the dealer is going to be able to intelligently quantify where your bike is at-chassis wise; otherwise they are guessing. I would question your Harley Dealers alignment methodology before paying them good money to diagnose a heart condition with a pair of pliers. This industry has been immersed in apathy and misinformation in regards to this topic forever; most Dealerships are no different, as there wasn't an economically priced(less than $600), easy to use system to facilitate this; few will buy a GMD Computrack franchise for $300K. Ask them how they did your alignment- did they determine the amount of lateral offset and camber as found? Did they tell you where they left it afterwards? I bet they said basically, "It's all set"; no worksheet, no hard data, just a bill...You didn't know any more about your machine when you got it back then you did before you took it there. I'd go back and ask them what the offset was; what the camber was, and if they couldn't tell me, I'd demand my money back because they didn't do what they promised-a wheel alignment. When you take your car or truck in for an alignment, you get a worksheet telling you what the condition is- same here. They probably charged you for something they don't have the equipment to do. Ask them why they don't have a proper system like the Ontrack. www.get-ontrack.com Don't be fooled because it looks simple; there's more to it than meets the eye. This is a powerful system for a trained technician. It's not just laser levels either; it's the accessories that aren't pictured and the instruction manual that properly details, and facilitates the process.
There is another basic thing to keep in mind in regards to your tire condition. Since you don't mention this, I would impart that tires tend to wear a little more on the left side in the US due to the crowning of the road ways to ensure rain runoff. If you've got alot of mileage(wear) on your tires, this may be contributing to your problem as well. Best of luck to you in your search for straightness. Take solice in the fact that you are not alone- there are so many, that some have convinced themselves that "it's supposed to be that way", "they're all like that"
 

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shoveler said:
I have a 03 Road Glide that handles supper but pulls left when taking both hands off the bars. I pulled the front motor mount to the left as far as I could. It only seemed to help slightly. I took it to the dealer and they did an alignment on it. Naturely, they re-centered the front adjustment. No difference.
I have off-set the axle by about .090 and still looks like the front of the rear wheel is aimed to the right but I haven't been able to test it because of the salt on the roads.
Shoveler:
Be careful messing with the front stabilizer and adjustment. You probably wound up with a dog tracking effect the time you pulled it all the way to the left. Hopefully, it has been fixed.

Have you checked the alignment of the rear wheel in the swingarm?? If not, check that. Another suggestion too. Take off both saddlebags and ride it. Does it still do it??

One more item. I have seen a couple of guys who had a slight pulling problem. Turned out that they both sat in the seat a little off center. Go figure.
 

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Shoveler, I had the exact same condition on my 02 Glide. Checked all the alignments and it was perfect.
To make the story short, it turned out to be the routing of the clutch cable that caused the bike to slightly countersteer hands off. Verified it by temporarily rerouting the cable and the pull was gone.
Put the cable back as it was and over time as the cable flexed the pull became less and less to the point where after 10 or 12 K miles it was almost gone.
 

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"Have you checked the alignment of the rear wheel in the swingarm??"

The rear wheel adjustment on 02 and 03's touring bikes is automatic. There is CAM on both sides of the axle that assure equal adjustment on both sides.
 

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The rear wheel adjustment on 02 and 03's touring bikes is automatic
Providing the cams on both sides are actually touching the indexes on the swing arm and that the swingarm is manufactured correctly.
While you need to verify the latter only once, you will find that it is not that hard to get the rear axle tightened down improperly. One needs to make sure the rear axle is pushed forward on both sides before adjusting belt tension and tightening, with a rubber hammer if necessary.
 

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so much has been written here regarding wheel alignment on flt's that I decided to check mine on my 95 following the manuals instructions. I used two straightedges. came to conclusion that Sybil was out of alignment with motor pulled off center to the right.

I really haven't had a chance to ride her much since adjustment, what little bit I did ride only proved to me that I didn't make it worse. I will report back after a long ride and see if Sybils problems with rain grooves and hi speed wobbles have improved/degraded.
 

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Alignment Procedure

I have just finished installing a 150 on my roadking and a 34T transmission pulley. Checking my wheel alignment, I found that the front wheel was aligned with the back. Right side of front wheel both fore and aft was about 5/8. The left side of the tire both fore and aft was about 1/8. Question? Is there an offset on the roadking or should there be equal spacing on four sides of the front tire according to the manual. Which linkage would adjust this?
 
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