Author [NL] [FR] [ES] [DE] [SE] [IT] Not tracking straight - bike 'pulls' left  (Read 2332 times)

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  • Offline dandrumheller   us

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    Offline dandrumheller

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    Not tracking straight - bike 'pulls' left
    on: Oct 05, 2020, 03.59 pm
    Oct 05, 2020, 03.59 pm
    Hey all,

    This left pull has been going on for some time.  Not exactly sure how long, maybe from new, but was present at 2000 miles or so anyway.  Early on, I assumed it, as well as a mild bar shake from about 40mph to 55mph, were most likely due to the OEM tires being 5 years old and/or maybe not properly balanced.  As it's not severe, I left it alone and assumed when I got new tires it would resolve itself.  Well, new tires happened a couple months ago, and the issue is still present.  Haven't returned to addressing it until now due to lots of other stuff both with the bike and otherwise going on. 

    The bar shake is only really noticeable with both hands off the bars, begins around 40 mph, increases until about 50mph, then starts easing off until completely unnoticeable by 55 or so.  It isn't significant enough to upset the bike - I can ride with both hands off the bars through this speed range. 

    The left pull is enough that I need to shift my weight about 1/3 of a 'cheek' off the right side of the seat, and put some downward pressure on the right peg, to keep the bike tracking straight with hands off the bars.  The bike also seems to want to 'turn in' a little easier going left than going right. 

    - New tires are Michelin Road 5 GT with, IIRC, 2019 date codes.  Were mounted and static balanced on the wheels by a local amateur drag racer who does tires in her spare time as a side business and gets excellent reviews.  Fairly confident the tires/balance isn't the issue.  She also mentioned that the wheel bearings were in excellent shape, so gonna rule that out for now as well. 

    - Wheels were mounted back on the bike by me - first time I've ever done this on any bike.  Followed shop manual, torqued spindle, pinch bolts and calipers all to spec, then did the 'bounce' to let the front end find it's center.  After doing some further research, it seems most guides to do this indicate that pinch bolts (and maybe caliper bolts as well) should be tightened up AFTER doing the fork bounce (this makes sense to me as the spindle can't move once the pinch bolts are torqued if I understand correctly).  So I loosened everything back up, and did the bounce after torquing the spindle only, then did up the rest.  This did not seem to make an appreciable change. 

    This, and my increasing OCD about the pull, leads me to my current thinking that perhaps the forks are slightly 'tweaked' in the triple trees, causing a front end misalignment.  With all the bodywork on, I can't really get a good visual on the bars / forks / wheel all at the same time - nothing 'appears' out, but it's really impossible to see. 

    I have had 2 zero speed drops (one each side) so it's not out of the realm of possibility that it got tweaked.

    That brings me to the next step - I'm thinking of trying the fairly well shown (on the internet, anyway) practice of loosening the lower triple trees from the forks, along with the wheel mounting hardware, and re-doing the front end bounce, should get the trees back in alignment if they are, in fact out.  It looks like this may be possible by removing just the inner front fairing plastics on the front end, rather than the whole outer fairing.  Has anyone tried this?  Anything to look out for?  Can anyone confirm it's 6mm allen bolts on the lower trees?  I'll need to pick up a short socket to get in there with the outer fairing till on probably. 

    Any other suggestions for things to check? 

    Thanks!

    Dan



    2015 TTSE.  It's blue.

  • Offline janfmiller   us

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    Re: Not tracking straight - bike 'pulls' left
    Reply #1 on: Oct 05, 2020, 04.35 pm
    Oct 05, 2020, 04.35 pm
    Check out
    https://www.triumph-trophy.com/index.php/topic,2330.0.html

    whereas Coconut has a listing of errata in the service manual and clarifies which front wheel spacer is left and which is right, the correct answer being below:
    20. Section 16 - Wheels and Tyres.
    Page 16.6 :
    The Note at the foot of Column 2, after Paragraph 5 reads :
    "Note: The right hand spacer is longer than the left.
    To identify the spacers, the right hand spacer has two machined rings

    while the right has a single machined ring. Note the position of the spacers.”
    This should read, : “….. while the left has a single machined ring.”

    While anything is possible, I doubt this would cause the issue you have, but worth a check.
    Worn wheel bearings might be the culpret, check for play in the wheel.

    I don't ride with my hands off the bars, but next ride I'll see if my '13 does this.  Worn tires can definitely induce 'wander',
    Did you replace with the same brand/model of tire?  Could be a 'characteristic' of the tire itself.  I've had that happen, had a front I had to remove brand-new and toss as it hunted around badly ( on my departed R1150RT ).

    Hope you find the issue and it is minor...
    1977 Suzuki TS-185
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    2016 Yamaha FJ-09

  • Offline dandrumheller   us

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    Re: Not tracking straight - bike 'pulls' left
    Reply #2 on: Oct 05, 2020, 04.51 pm
    Oct 05, 2020, 04.51 pm
    *Originally Posted by janfmiller [+]
    Check out
    https://www.triumph-trophy.com/index.php/topic,2330.0.html

    whereas Coconut has a listing of errata in the service manual and clarifies which front wheel spacer is left and which is right, the correct answer being below:
    20. Section 16 - Wheels and Tyres.
    Page 16.6 :
    The Note at the foot of Column 2, after Paragraph 5 reads :
    "Note: The right hand spacer is longer than the left.
    To identify the spacers, the right hand spacer has two machined rings

    while the right has a single machined ring. Note the position of the spacers.”
    This should read, : “….. while the left has a single machined ring.”

    While anything is possible, I doubt this would cause the issue you have, but worth a check.
    Worn wheel bearings might be the culpret, check for play in the wheel.

    I don't ride with my hands off the bars, but next ride I'll see if my '13 does this.  Worn tires can definitely induce 'wander',
    Did you replace with the same brand/model of tire?  Could be a 'characteristic' of the tire itself.  I've had that happen, had a front I had to remove brand-new and toss as it hunted around badly ( on my departed R1150RT ).

    Hope you find the issue and it is minor...

    Thanks for the feedback janfmiller!

    I was very careful to get the front wheel spacers correct on install as I've seen it mentioned many times here on the forum.  However, I did go back and double check this last time when I loosened everything again, and they are in on the correct sides.  I suspect the brake calipers and ABS sensor would be incorrectly spaced if the wheel spacers are in on the wrong sides???

    I will check for play in the wheel - I hadn't specifically done this as the tire installer was happy with the bearings, but it's definitely something I've overlooked.

    The original tires were the OEM Pirelli Angel STs, the new tires are the Michelins, so different make and model.

    A couple other things I forgot to mention in the original post:

    - I did check the steering head bearings for play as described in the service manual - I couldn't feel any play.

    - I've tried various combinations of luggage and loadings - 10 pounds in the right saddlebag seems to reduce the left pull, as might be expected.  Left pull is still there with no luggage on the bike.

    - Thought maybe wiring/brake lines/clutch line might be exerting some pressure on the handlebars - put the bike up on the centerstand and rear-weighted it so the front tire was off the ground.  pulling the bars to the stops and letting them go, they fall back very close to centered, or maybe very slightly left - which would induce a right turning tendency if anything, I would think. 

    Edit.  As a matter of course, I don't normally ride with my hands off the bars.  I really started to notice this when I began actively trying to be better about being 'light' on the bars with my hands, and realizing i needed a very slight forward pressure on the left to track straight. 
    Last Edit: Oct 05, 2020, 04.54 pm by dandrumheller
    2015 TTSE.  It's blue.

  • Offline Coconut   gb

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    Re: Not tracking straight - bike 'pulls' left
    Reply #3 on: Oct 05, 2020, 05.42 pm
    Oct 05, 2020, 05.42 pm
    It's also worth checking at the Rear Wheel for any play,
    which could be present in the Rear Bevel Box or even
    the Swingarm & Rear Suspension Unit Lower Links and Bearings.

    Cheers  :821:


  • Offline dandrumheller   us

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    Re: Not tracking straight - bike 'pulls' left
    Reply #4 on: Oct 06, 2020, 03.20 pm
    Oct 06, 2020, 03.20 pm
    *Originally Posted by Coconut [+]
    It's also worth checking at the Rear Wheel for any play,
    which could be present in the Rear Bevel Box or even
    the Swingarm & Rear Suspension Unit Lower Links and Bearings.

    Cheers  :821:



    Thanks Coconut!  Will add this to my inspection list as well. 
    2015 TTSE.  It's blue.

  • Offline dandrumheller   us

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    Re: Not tracking straight - bike 'pulls' left
    Reply #5 on: Oct 12, 2020, 11.32 pm
    Oct 12, 2020, 11.32 pm
    Decided to do the tear down this weekend (working around a bunch of other crap going on), to see what I could see regarding the triple trees.  Seems to have been mostly  successful!

    Some of the info I read online for this procedure suggests using a piece of glass placed across the fork tubes to check that they are parallel - if they are, the glass will lie flat along the whole length of each tube.  If not parallel, there will be a gap between one fork tube and the glass, at either the top or bottom.  I tried this, and felt only the tiniest 'play' in the glass - so little that I'm not sure it was there. 

    First thing I learned is that there is no way to get a torque wrench on the lower triple tree pinch bolts with the outer fairings on, so the first step was to pull all the plastic.  Initially I thought this was still going to be a failure as the forward tips of the fuel tank appeared to also be in the way.  However, further inspection shows that there is just enough space to get a long allen socket with an extension past the front of the tank in between the wiring harness and headlight housing to get on the bolts, after swinging the steering to the proper position. I have ball-end allen sockets, and suspect they are necessary for this operation as I don't think I had a dead-straight shot to a couple of the bolts. 

    At any rate, pulled the whole front end apart including removing the front wheel, just to double-ensure that I had it all together right.  My re-assembly process went as follows:

    -With front wheel off, I loosened all four 6mm allen screws clamping the lower triple tree to the fork tubes. 

    -Grease spindle and spacers, remount front wheel and tighten spindle to 'snug' but not fully torqued.  Axle pinch bolts are loose at this point.

    -Mount brake calipers to fork lowers, but not fully snugged up, so there is a little play, allowing the calipers to shift a bit on the rotors. 

    -Remove support from under the front of the bike so the front wheel rests on the ground, and place a block of wood in front as a 'chock'.

    -Straddle the bike, and push down as hard as I could on the bars,with them held straight, to 'exercise' the front suspension several times.  According to the procedures I've seen online, this 'should' cause the forks and wheel to self-align.

    -Tightened up the lower triple tree pinch bolts as much as I could with a small allen wrench, then find the gaps around the front of the fuel tank to get the torque wrench on them. 

    -Torqued the spindle to spec.

    -Did the 'fork bounce' process a few more times to make sure the front wheel was still properly aligned in the forks.  Then tightened the pinch bolts to spec. 

    -Lifted the front of the bike back up, and spun the front wheel to ensure smooth operation, and checked for any play in the bearings.  Then spun again, and then hit the front brakes.  One more spin, grab the brakes again then hold them on with a bungee around the lever.  Then tightened the caliper bolts to their mounts to spec, with the brakes held on.  No idea if this is really necessary, but was shown in one of the instructions for this process that I saw. 

    -Put all the plastic back on, then took some back off to figure out where those last two bolts were supposed to go (front edge of the lower mirror surrounds, so not much to tear back off, thankfully!  :001:


    I also tried pulling on the rear wheel at various hand positions (9 & 3 o'clock, 6 & 12 o'clock) and couldn't feel any significant play.

    I didn't get a ton of time to test ride, but the short ride I did the pull seems to be almost, if not fully, gone.  Areas where the road clearly slopes to the right generate right drift now, rather than reducing left drift.  I really need to find some freshly paved smooth stuff to get a really good test though.  The bar shake is still present, but reduced in both amplitude and frequency significantly.  Again need to test this on some good smooth road though. 

    Overall I'm very happy with the results.  Hopefully no one else needs to deal with this, but if so, maybe this will help. 

    Thanks all for the continuing good suggestions here!

    Dan

    2015 TTSE.  It's blue.

  • Offline Saddle Tramp   us

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    Re: Not tracking straight - bike 'pulls' left
    Reply #6 on: Oct 13, 2020, 01.59 pm
    Oct 13, 2020, 01.59 pm
    Thanks for your detailed write up Dan.
    Hopefully a long ride will prove that the issue has been resolved!  :028:

  • Offline janfmiller   us

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    Re: Not tracking straight - bike 'pulls' left
    Reply #7 on: Oct 13, 2020, 06.00 pm
    Oct 13, 2020, 06.00 pm
    Great job of sleuthing.  Hope your gremlins are dispatched.

    By the way, you CAN ride the beast around with her skirts off.  Looks a little industrial but saves time of removing all the Tupperware again if further work in necessary....  Hand signals are in order of course...  Though that doesn't matter much, young'uns don't know what they mean, and most are looking at their cell phones anyway...   :233:

    1977 Suzuki TS-185
    1974 Kawasaki Z-1 903
    2021 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES NON-DCT
    2016 Yamaha FJ-09