Easy cheap rear alignment tool.

Discussion in 'Dyna Models' started by R_W_B, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. R_W_B

    R_W_B Senior Member

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    I just wasn't real impressed with the HD manual bent rod method of rear alignment, mainly because my axle stuck out quite a bit more on one side than the other, so I would have to eye it in on the less protrusion side. The manual calls for accuracy of within 1/32" so I came up with an easier and more exact method that keeps everything under control and at right angles.

    You can buy these little magnetic squares at Harbor Freight for about $2. I got a package of 4 on sale for $4. All I did was take a good straight carpenter nail (a 12d or 16d size) and one of these magnets for each side of the bike.

    I put a wide piece of masking tape on the swing arm from the alignment hole forward a few inches to prevent the magnet from scratching the paint.

    I then inserted the pointed end of the nail into the alignment hole and placed the magnet on the swing arm and pulled it against the nail to snug it up to a 90 degree angle. It then holds itself and the nail so I can just let go of it.

    I then put some masking tape over the ends of the axle, and punched the center hole out and with a small bullet level I scribed a vertical ink line thru the center of the axle ends.

    Then I simply use a cheap little slide pocket rule I bought at H.F. for a buck to mark the distance of the shorter side. You can get your alignment dead on, very easily with these simple items. Instead of the slide pocket rule one could use the rod and plastic tie method or just a measuring tape, it's all easier with the magnet and nail as a reference.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. One Way

    One Way Member

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    That definetly looks like it would be a very accurate way to align, but I don't think the magnet or the nail would fit between the swingarm and the exhaust on most dynas. Maybe a shorter nail with a smaller magnet would work in that case. I use 2 wooden matches and a tape measure to adjust and I have to break the match in half to squeeze it between the muffler and swingarm to get it into the hole of the swingarm . I found this was easier to do than the bent rod method also.
    Dave
     
  3. elkhunter149

    elkhunter149 Account Removed

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    I like your set up. I will try it on my softail and roadking next time.. Thanks
     
  4. R_W_B

    R_W_B Senior Member

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    That may be the case, I'm running Vance and Hines Big Shots Staggered, you can see (just barely) the end of of the pipe in the pic. The magnets are only about 2" on the sides.

    If the pipe is a problem, one possibly could use the smaller rectangular magnets they sell at Ace Hardware. The key with any magnet though is to make sure the nail snugs up parallel with the face of the magnet (and of course check the magnet for square). I like using two magnets since I can measure without having to move the setup until I get the alignments to match.

    If HD had made the center hole in each axle nut smaller and of same diameter it would also have made it easier.
     
  5. HarryB737

    HarryB737 Junior Member

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    What a Great Idea... Thanks ! :D
     
  6. R_W_B

    R_W_B Senior Member

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    Re: Update

    Actually assuming that both axle nuts are the same O.D. one could just put a measurement rule right against the swingarm from the further most tangent of the axle nut perimeter to the alignment hole. I've never tried this so I don't know how everything would line up. I don't know for sure if both of these flare nuts have the exact same O.D. but they look the same.
    There is a guy on another forum that actually frabricated an aluminum tool to fit around the axle nut perimeter and run to the alignment hole so they must be the same size since he is pretty smart.
    But I would think a rule would work good without making a tool, unless the angle causes the rule to tilt so you couldn't get the ends of the same side against the tangent of the O.D.
     
  7. buck484

    buck484 Active Member Contributor

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    Re: Update

    Great tip!! Thanks
     
  8. rick1062

    rick1062 Active Member

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    Looks pretty good. I'll give it a try.
    :s
     
  9. eleft36

    eleft36 Junior Member

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    I use the axle center to the swing arm axle/bolt center for adjustment.

    Al

    :USA
    :CONNECTICUT
     

    Attached Files:

  10. pigrider

    pigrider Active Member

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    +1 here, just use a tape measure ,center of axle to center of swingarm shaft. To my knowledge haven't had any alignment problems.