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Thread: Springer front forks

  1. #1
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    Default Springer front forks

    Good day to everyone, well I have this set of forks off the trike.

    They are heavy for the size and should be if solid bars of metal were used in making them.

    The neck stem is 3/4" dia. and much longer than the neck tube, which is only 7" long.

    The main fork is 1 1/4" dia. and the spring fork is 3/4" dia., and the lower tree and spring fork are welded to the main fork.

    Lower bearing is worn and thrashed, the lower inner race is also worn with a lip/groove on the back edge, guess if I could look at the front edge it would have offsetting wear, or should have it.

    Here are some pics.

    20180511_124157.jpg

    20180511_124132_001.jpg

    when the forks are laying in the above positon there is a rock from left to right, and the forks rest on the tips of the rockers and the tree holding the spring/forks. I understand that might not be a true level machined edge.

    The tip pic above is with weight pushed down on the tree and it lifts up this tip, other side stays on the ground.

    Next pic is with now weight on the tree and both tips set on the ground, look at the shadowing.

    20180511_124136.jpg

    oops, the first tip pic is of both tips on the ground, than when weight is on the tree the left tip lifts up a little, 2nd pic.

    20180511_123905.jpg

    tried to get a pic of lower bearing race wear, not so good.

    20180511_123834.jpg

    20180511_123751.jpg

    As you can see the left tube sticks above the tree while the right tube is flush in the top tree. This is the position the tree slide onto the forks when I put the right tube into the tree first. If I try the left tube in the tree first I can not get the right tube to slide in, a bit of work with the hands and it fits on. I do not think a heavy tweak is in any tube, I do think there is a tweak going on from wheelie's and bouncing back down onto the ground, but solid tubes helped this not be so noticeable, but is the lower tree bent and the neck stem ?

    20180511_123730.jpg

    Not sure, but I was told one could carefully grind off the welding so all could come apart and parts replaced, if you know what is bent out of whack.

    20180511_123717.jpg

    In this resting position there are 3 points of contact, the center of the bottom tree and the end of the rocker arms and main tube connect. They do rest solid on the floor in this position, but kind a hard to get a rock out of the 3 point resting position. I am not a biker, getting to the triker, so have not seen springer forks this up front and personal ever, but there is a first time for everything, cross this off the bucket list, LOL

  2. #2
    400+ Posts LarryA's Avatar
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    I would remove spring rods and springs, also the rockers, then check fork tubes for being like the letter H but racked, in other words the lower tree not square with the tubes........then check forks for twist or the letter H laying flat ,but with both top legs on a flat surface, then checking the rocker ends of the tubes for being parallel with the top tubes.

    a local machine shop may have precision levels, surface tables etc, they will be able check this out. Or a good eyeball and some ingenuity witha good square and level go ahead and have at it. a machine shop with a press should be able to straighten minor bends.......good luck!

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    I wish I knew if these were original old time springer forks, guess some of them are worth more than most think, but they are newer in design and probably mid to late 70's as best as I can tell.

    Larry thanks again for your input. I think yesterday I spent wondering what I am going to do, but now I have a plan of attack and things to do or get done.

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    Okay I am bad, thought I had gotten all the fork pics up, did that, but the neck tube alignment got forgotten.

    I took a piece of 1 1/4" fence pipe, never used as it was cut off waste, and slide it down inside the neck tube and tried to rest it centered in the tube.

    20180510_101818.jpg

    I could not get back far enough to get top and bottom of pipe in the picture, I just have to much crap in the garage, problem is it is not all mine. I know the camera can make things look off when we take a picture, so I have tried to keep these things in mind when I take the pic, try to stay square and horizontal if possible.

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    500+ Posts vwbug72501's Avatar
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    From the sounds of things your trike has been rode hard and put away wet a few times. From the wear you are finding the trike has obviously had a lot of miles put on it. Testament to a good riding trike. I'll bet when all is freshened up it will ride really nice.

    IMHO the forks are probably going to be the weak "sacrificial" link here. The main neck tubing is probably heavy enough to take a fork destroying lick with little or no damage to itself. The bearings and races definitely need to be replaced!

    The fork pictures do look tweaked. Can't tell just where with out measurements. Here's an "Old School" CAD drawing of a fixture idea that I had that might help facilitate the measurements.

    IMG_20180512_172735_386.jpg

    This fixture should give you a sufficiently straight and accurate measuring point to determine if the tubes are bent. By accurately building the 2 wood end brackets you will be able to support the disassembled rear fork tube assembly by 2 points on each tube and remove any errors added by the brackets touching any surface. The tubes should seat in the v notches on both ends and you should be able to take measurements at intervals along the tubes from end to end. I thought that an L square run along the top edge of the tube would allow you to make measurements easier. If you set the spacing for the slots in the wood fixture so the L square is vertical from the edge of the tube you will be able to measure easier. Just make sure that the horizontal leg only rests on one fork tube at a time.

    I'll bet you will find that the tubes are bowed around the bottom triple tree bracket. You might be able to straighten the legs with a press and some suitable leg supports. Do the pressing cold and slowly (measure, press, measure, press, etc. High point center will move some.) will probably preserve the chrome too. If you have a local machine shop, check with them about shaft straightening. I have cold press straightened shafts to within .001" with just a hand arbor press and some v-blocks.

    Check the front legs this way also. Also measure the flatness of the brackets by laying a straight edge across them. They should be flat.

    Once you know the forks are straight, install new neck bearings and races and see what your tire alignment measures look like.

    Hope this helps. Good Luck!

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    As I was reading the Chopper's Handbook today I came across Ed Roth's name. I guess he ran around in the late 60's early 70's in Southern Cal pushing pamphlets about making your own Springer Front ends. He had some designs that he was pushing around. Allen and Finch I believe are the two gentlemen that took it much further.

    I do wonder if Ed Roth designed this set of Springer Forks, they are to the size of this trikes rake and Ed's desired ride height. I just do wonder about it.

    Hope everyone had a enjoyable day with the Mom's and Wife's today, we all can enjoy Mother's Day.

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    VWbug, that was a lot of help to see how bad things are.

    Once I got all apart and checked things the spring rods are bent and the spring tube legs are bent, plus the springs were not sized up correctly, or have just worn differently over the years, or the bent up front end was long ago and usage did the off wear on the springs......... just trash to me now....

    Okay have been working on the new front end. I did get the neck tube welded into place on the insert tube. The bearing races pressed in and bearing pressed on lower tree, so I was playing with the mock up of rear fork tubes and the 5" rocker's.

    I do not think there is the room in the fork width and size front tire for the shocks to be mounted to rockers and rear fork tubes. I really kind a liked that design, so I am looking at the springer design with maybe the mono shock, again room is an issue it seems.

    The more I read and looked and building the springer type suspension, well the more I felt it was not what I wanted or I got lost in it all.

    New soft springs will compress over usage and over all length change, hard springs can cause issue with a pogo effect in the suspension......

    So do I even up the old springs, recheck the compression distance on them, if okay USE them with the mono shock.......... this is suppose to help smooth out the springer action of the fork set ?

    Is the shock what is set for pre load ?

    Preload of the springs, not much said on it, not sure how it is set.

    If the front end weight is 200lbs and you built the front end unloaded, than when all is lowered of the blocks the suspension feels this 200lbs and absorbs it........so pre load is 200lbs of spring tension so when all is lowered off the blocks nothing moves...... is the preload set in the lower springs by pre compressing them some so they are 200lbs stiff so that when the weight of the trike is on them ..........lost break time.

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    20181117_093026.jpg

    This is were I am at. Triple trees all mounted and leveled. It took some playing of back and fourth, but after some time I got it all to line up and give me the same distance reading on the tape measure's. Top shorter yellow level allowed me to make sure the top tree was set the same as the lower tree.

    20181117_092942.jpg

    I think this was the best pic of the levels and their bubbles, I still did not get directly head on with the camera, but close.

  9. #9
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    Looking good so far!

    My first bike was a 65 Honda Dream (CA77) and it had an Earles or springer fork assembly. The springs weren't that big as shown below. They had a small diameter shock/spring and held up a 350 lb motorcycle and 250 lbs of rider/passenger weight.

    CA77Forks.jpg

    I'd suggest that you fab up a portable jig to measure spring rates, determine the old spring rates, and then hit up the local MC salvage yard(s) to find a suitable shock assembly. The rear shock/springs of of some of these Chinese scooters or a small ATV/Dirt bikes might just fit your application. Your front end isn't that heavy due to the rearward weight bias of the design and the rear fork tubes are handling the major stresses. The shocks (especially when short) aren't affected by these major stress loads. It's when you add an extended lever arm to the springs/shocks as in a springer (or monoshock) fork that you have bending issues.

  10. #10
    400+ Posts LarryA's Avatar
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    nice looking side profile and angles.....you are making headway, good to see trike building activity!

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