Before I get into the rear axle alignment process, let me
say that it was much cheaper to make the rear wheel alignment tool than to buy one. It is really an easy tool to
make. The picture to the right (from the service manual for the XR1200) shows the dimensions for the tool.
I picked up a steel rod from a local hardware store, enlarged the Harley diagram to full size, and bent the rod in a
vice to the shape of the drawing. I also picked up a couple of rubber plugs, drilled a hole in their centers,
and inserted a finishing nail in each plug. The plugs mark the center of each end of the axle, and a rubber gromet slides
on the rod to help position the axle.
I've included some pictures to show how I used the tool to
quickly and accurately position the rear wheel.
First, the below is a picture of the tool that I bent. As mentioned, I used
a rubber gromet as a slider on the rod, to mark the center of the axle. I also used a grinder to put a blunt tip
on the rod at the end of the bend.
A rubber plug gets inserted in each end of the rear axle.
The nail is used to point to the line in the center of the gromet that slides on the measuring rod.
Once the belt tension is set, the end of the measuring tool
is placed in the dimple in the center of the swingarm pivot bolt and the distance to the rear axle measured. I am showing
the left side of the bike since it is easier to see without the exhaust system, but the first measurement would be taken on
the right (drive belt) side of the bike.
|Swingarm Tool Centered in Swingarm Dimple
After marking the distance from the center of the swingarm
to the center of the rear axle on the right side of the bike, the tool is positioned in the center of the swingarm on the
left side of the bike, and the left end of the axle positioned in the center of the gromet using its adjuster screw.
|Measuring the Distance to the Rear Axle Center
Voila! a perfectly aligned rear axle! I should
have made one of these measuring rods a long time ago...