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magsz18

Post LowSide Blues-My front wheel needs to be aligned...

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magsz18
Ok guys, ive got a question but before i ask, one thing i will say is "if you want something done right, do it yourself".
I am new to bikes and i am having a really hard time finding mechanics that i trust.
 
I googled, youtubed and searched my butt off to see how one goes about aligning the front wheel of a motorcycle and while it doesnt seem complex, given that this was my first accident, i figured a pro should take a look at it to make sure the forks, brakes and everything else was as it should be.
 
285 dollars later, my front wheel, to ME still looks crooked and the bike is not riding straight.  The wheel is cocked to the left and i feel like im putting more pressure on the right side of the handlebars to get the bike to run straight.  The wheel is also not visibly centered in the front mudguard/fairing but to be honest, i never looked at it that closely prior to my taking a slip and slide.   Im also not sure if i bent my handlebars or what but i doubt it considering this was a super low speed lowside, like 10 mph and the bike sustained barely any damage.  Then again, almost 400 pounds on a piece of tubular aluminum can do strange things...
 
Im at a point where i simply dont trust anyone to do this right and im wondering if im making a mountain out of a molehill.  Should i just go ahead and get a paddock stand and align the darned thing myself using string, or this videos method:
 
 

 
So, what are your thoughts guys?  Any help for a new rider would be genuinely appreciated because this is getting tiresome trying to find a good mechanic.  The first ass that i went to didnt torque my rear wheel axle nut after "servicing my chain and performing the 600 mile service".  I rode the thing home to find that the bolt was hand tight.  In addition, the right side chain adjuster bracket was at the back and the left side was on the first hash mark......sigh...

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crazycracka501
I dropped my bike trying to get it on the paddock stand at at stand still and did bend my handlebars. I had to get another stock set and replace them, so I wouldn't be surprised if your bars are bent. The dealer told me that Yamaha made the handlebars out of a soft alloy so that the handlebars would purposely give a little on impact to absorb some of the impact. This did make me feel as if the bike wasn't aligned. I'd take it to a dealer to find out which it is (alignment or bars) if you're not sure before moving forward.

Make it stop!....Now make it go faster!

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magsz18
CC,
 
Mind sharing what you paid for the replacement bars?
 
I actually dont mind the factory bars so i dont really want to have to use this as an "excuse" to "upgrade".
 
My wheel IS visibly cocked so i dont think its the handlebars as the main culprit.
 
I rode the bike a bit today, about 70 miles or so and yeah, its definitely not right. The bike is pulling, and it just feels off.

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crazycracka501
CC, 
Mind sharing what you paid for the replacement bars?
 
I actually dont mind the factory bars so i dont really want to have to use this as an "excuse" to "upgrade".
 
My wheel IS visibly cocked so i dont think its the handlebars as the main culprit.
 
I rode the bike a bit today, about 70 miles or so and yeah, its definitely not right. The bike is pulling, and it just feels off.
Found a guy on this forum that replaced his bars for an upgrade and he sold me his for $10.00.  If I were in your shoes, I'd take it to a dealer or at the very least another mechanic for a second opinion.

Make it stop!....Now make it go faster!

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YZEtc
If it's not the handlebar, itself, it's probably that the fork tubes twisted in the triple clamps (the things that pinch around the fork tubes on either side of the headlight).
This can happen on practically any motorcycle if it takes a hit.
 
Simple procedure:
Loosen JUST THE UPPER pinch bolts.
Hold the front wheel between your knees.
Tug the handlebar in the direction it needs to go to straighten things out.
Tighten the triple clamp bolts.
 
Don't neglect the possibility that the handlebar clamps may have twisted on the handlebar since the bar mounts are rubber mounted on rubber dampers in the top triple clamp.
 

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magsz18
Thanks for the info guys.
 
I am going to take the bike to another mechanic for a second opinion.
 
YZetc, when you say the upper pinch bolts, are you talking about the ones at the VERY top of the shock tube by the upper triple tree?

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YZEtc
Yes.
These pinch bolts thread into the top triple clamp (AKA triple tree).

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rick
I would loosen the pinch bolts at the top and lower triple clamp as well as the axle nut. IF you need to, hold the wheel between your legs like YZEtec suggested then fine - been there, done that. It would be best if you could take all of the weight of the front wheel with a stem stand. IF it was just tweaked, loosening everything and then retightening at the middle first, then the top and then the axle should get it all realigned.
 
Did anyone have the front wheel off? There are usually(ok, always) spacers between the wheel bearing and the forks. These spacer are frequently different lengths. If someone got them flipped, (or even the wheel was put on backward - seek out direction arrows on the tire) this will put the wheel off-center in between the forks.

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crazycracka501
I did not know that, great future info. Thanks Rick.

Make it stop!....Now make it go faster!

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scordiaboy515
I would loosen the pinch bolts at the top and lower triple clamp as well as the axle nut. IF you need to, hold the wheel between your legs like YZEtec suggested then fine - been there, done that. It would be best if you could take all of the weight of the front wheel with a stem stand. IF it was just tweaked, loosening everything and then retightening at the middle first, then the top and then the axle should get it all realigned.  
Did anyone have the front wheel off? There are usually(ok, always) spacers between the wheel bearing and the forks. These spacer are frequently different lengths. If someone got them flipped, (or even the wheel was put on backward - seek out direction arrows on the tire) this will put the wheel off-center in between the forks.
    Good advice, front wheel spacers are the same width btw 

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YZEtc
By the way, there is no actual front axle nut, but instead, the axle itself threads into the bottom of the left-hand fork leg.
There is a 19mm hex on the opposite side of the axle with a pinch bolt on the bottom of the right-hand fork leg.

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rick
Well, obviously, I haven't touched any of that stuff yet.
 
But good to know. With the axle threading directly into the fork leg, after the world thaws, I'll be giving that front axle a nice coat of new grease as well as some antisieze to those threads. Probably do the caliper bolts while I'm at it as well.
 
Can't remember the last time I had a front wheel off a bike and the spacers were the same. Always assumed it was due to how the wheel bearings were installed in the hub. maybe it's just a euro thing, lol. But that'll sure make life easier.
 
Any of you guys know, is a direction specified for the wheel - an arrow or something similar?
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magsz18
Supposedly they took my front wheel off...who knows.
 
I took the bike in for a second opinion and they straightened it in exactly the manner described above and charged me nothing.
 
When i stated that i was charged 300 dollars by another mechanic, they were appalled and said at a maximum they would have charged me about a hundred bucks to take the front end off and have a look.
 
I got taken, hard and im wondering what i want to do about this if anything.
 
Thanks for the advice guys. Given how easy this is, in the future, im just going to align my own darned front end...

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rick
Well, that's good news! Always seek out the simplest fix 1st.
 
The guy who charged you 3+ hours labor and gave the bike back w/o fixing it, well, there's a tazer out there somewhere with his name on it. Is this guy licensed as a mechanic by the state you live in? Complain to the licensing agency, file a complaint with the BBB, and maybe even your state's attorney general. This is not the 1st time he's overcharged someone for doing nothing. I'm thinking yer not gonna get your money back. But you could help put that guy out of business.
 
A really nice torque wrench will run ya about 100 bucks and cover most everything you need to be accurate with. I'd much rather have the tools than spend it on mechanics who wind up breaking more than they fix..
 
 

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magsz18
Rick,
 
Already on it. I have the torque wrench and the tools but i lack the knowledge. Hes got his own shop, www.douchenozzle.com (edited)
 
They've been around for a while and are generally well reviewed but..who knows what the deal is.

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rick
for your safety, no names please.
 
Well, if this shop has a good reputation, you might ask to talk to the shop manager (not the service manager - unless yer unfortunate and they are one in the same) . Maybe he doesn't know what's going on under his nose. Service rates are hard to get your head around these days, but I doubt anyone spent the time it would take to ring up that kind of bill and then not even fix what turned out to be a simple problem. And it's not like had rusted, overtightened hardware to deal with.
 
Sounds like your 2nd opinion will be a go-to place in the future.
 
With time, you'll find that no shop tech will be as careful or take as much time with your bike as you will. They are on the clock and one little FZ is just another bike.
 
As for the knowledge thing, forums like this are priceless.
 
 

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