JR (Lurker) View all posts in this topic  
Thu May 08, 2008 10:51 pm
DIY Wheel/ Chain Alignment Tool        

Over the years on this board, I've seen several posts about wheel alignment. They all seem to be newer people who are putting their rear wheel back on, or more experienced riders mentioning the Kawasaki alignment marks can be unreliable.

Other than an experienced eye, that leaves the option of the tape measure method or purchasing a chain alignment tool. I've never been satisfied with using the tape measure, and I'm apparently too chea... err, frugal, to actually spend the $20-$150 for an alignment tool.

So, here goes:

Materials (all available from your local home improvement store for under $10):
(1) 1/2" EMT Conduit (sold in 10ft sections)
(2)1/2"-1" Zinc Ground Clamps
(2) 1/4 - 20x4 Hangar bolts (pick ones with a pointed end)
(2) Nuts for the 1/4 hangar bolts
(2) 5/8" Hole plugs- Nylon (these are optional- they just look nice)

Tools:
Phillips Screwdriver
Tubing cutter



Steps:
1. Use the tubing cutter to cut your conduit to length. I just cut to what seemed/ felt right- but it ended up @ 39 inches for those of you who need a hard number.
2. Set the tubing aside, and remove the center screw from both ground clamps.


3. Next take the 1/4" nuts and screw one onto each of the hangar bolts.


4. Screw the hangar bolt all the way into the ground clamp, then tighten the nut down (this locks the hangar bolt in place)


5. Secure both of the modified ground clamps onto the conduit. Place one at the end of the conduit and tighten with your screwdriver. Tighten the other by hand. It will be adjustable so that it can slide up and down the tubing.


6. Optional: Insert the nylon hole plugs into each end of the conduit.


7. Your tool should look like this:


8. You will now be able to measure from the swing arm pivot (under that shiny chrome cap) to the axle bolt center. To use the tool: Place the fixed hangar bolt onto the center of the rear axle. Use your hand on the adjustable hangar bolt to tighten/loosen/ slide as needed (see pic) to the swing arm pivot.


9. When both sides measure the same, your wheel is in alignment.


Well, that's about it. It seems to work and perform the same function as purchased tools from Muzzy and Race Tools.

Anyway, I thought I'd submit for peer review. Maybe someone can use it.

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