V6 Commodore Trike...

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Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5625
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
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V6 Commodore Trike...

Post by Prof » Thu Jul 07, 2016 12:00 am

Ron brought this monster up this week for some improvements. We'll be starting work on Monday.

It's built around a V6 Commodore drive train with shortened tail shaft. Built by a bloke I used to know in Pt Pirie...

We are going to try to get a bit more lock in the steering. We can only get an inch each way without moving the headstem forwards, but have to drop the radiator an inch to do it. Handlebars are also uncomfortable coming too far back into the rider's lap and handgrips sweep upwards rather than down, so the wrists ache pretty quickly. Headlight will also be remounted and a new solidly mounted windscreen installed.

Front brake is operated by foot pedal which the owner doesn't like so that will get changed along with a new brake anchor. The current one is attached to the swingarm and lifts the front end on braking which is really disconcerting when pulling up at the lights... .
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Rear section is a fuel tank off a Jap bike, which holds insufficient fuel, so we intend to lengthen and heighten it to increase fuel. Spoiler will probably go as it doesn't do anything but will be in the way of the rear tank...
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This engine cover is to be redone and new gauges installed in a nacelle on the bars...
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Ron also wants some extra storage space so two boxes may take the place of the panniers, but be double the size.

I'm going to get Jason (S&S chopper we did recently) to advise us on fibre-glassing engine cover and storage boxes.

As you can see, I'll need to resort my chopper storage to give us room to work on this machine.

I had planned to build a long awaited springer for my shovel in time for a chopper only ride we are doing (and videoing) in October, but I think my time will now be cut out on this and other current jobs I have. So stay tuned and we will see what we can do.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Bearcx
Posts: 1898
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Gawler, Sth Aust
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Re: V6 Commodore Trike...

Post by Bearcx » Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:12 pm

Far out, that thing would cruise along at a rapid rate.! 550 rule still apply to trikes>??
The brave may not live long, but, the cautious do not live at all.

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5625
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
Contact:

Re: V6 Commodore Trike...

Post by Prof » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:21 am

No. Doesn't apply.

Was going to get some pics up of today's work, but spent night researching brake boosters instead, cos these brakes are atrocious... no vaccuum boost.

I did a pile of measurements of the front end this morning when Ron arrived. Only 1/8" trail so wobbly to steer and axle is an inch below leading link pivot which adds to instability... axle should be well above. So we've cut the whole front end to pieces. Also steering head is HD... and bearings are badly worn after only 4 years... V6 motor and gearbox just too heavy for it.

On top of that, the leading link runs on four roller bearings with 12mm bolts as 'axles'... also badly worn... once again not heavy enough. I'll go into bearing place and bolt place tomorrow and see if I can get heavier setups for both. Standard roller or ball bearings should not be used... need to be either bronze bushes (think of a bike swing arm) or 'full complement rollers' (think universal joint).

I spoke to Mick Fiora of Fiora Machinery in Perth about steering geometry for trikes ( He has built quite a few) and he advises 2" trail and an axle position two three inches higher than pivot.

Will get some info and pics up tomorrow night.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Bearcx
Posts: 1898
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Gawler, Sth Aust
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Re: V6 Commodore Trike...

Post by Bearcx » Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:32 pm

Ok, thanks. Not good to hear that it has passed roady, with substandard pivots and bearings.
The brave may not live long, but, the cautious do not live at all.

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5625
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
Contact:

Re: V6 Commodore Trike...

Post by Prof » Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:05 pm

I won't give full details of this work as it is not a chopper unless it particularly applies, but here's what has happened so far...

Checking for trail... Turns out about 1/8th inch... not good Josephene!...
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Shocker mounts cut off and setting front end up to work out new axle, pivot and shocker locations. To gain 2" of trail we need to move the pivot forwards 2" (red arrow). Axle height needs to be 2"-3 " above fork pivot, whch means angling the swing arm upwards at the front.

Original shockers have been replaced at some time and we have removed the original bracket as well as the ugly addition. Bottom of shocker will be kept up the front (bottom greeen arrow). top mount will be worked out once rest of front end is rebuilt. We will juggle rake, trail and axle location then which will allow us to find the location of top of shockers (top green arrow)...
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Original shocker mounts were made of 1.6mm steel (too thin) so I have made up some new ones out of 3mm wall rhs. Captive nut on one side give a good load bearing surface and an 3mm washer is welded to the other side. Piece of round bar is cut and machined to locate the mounts and a set square used to get them set up equally on the swing arm...
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Distance is measured back from the axle on each side to get them square...
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I've done a pile of machining the last two days. On left is original 1" headstem bolt (no lock nut and way too coarse a thread, nor is the bolt an accurate shaft for the bearings). New headstem machined out of 30mm K1045 chrome bar (proper axle steel). It is an accurate fit for bearings. The bottom is a press (interferance) fit on the bottom triple tree. Top has a narrow adjusting nut as well as a top locknut. NUts are fine thread (24x 1.5 and 18x1.5).

New steering head on left is much beefier than original and I've made it from carbon hollow bar. It has 30x62mm tapered rollers instead of the original 25 by 50 (actually imperial) HD tapered rollers.

Original fork pivots were roller bearings running on 12mm bolts. Again rollers usuitable for swing arm rocker action and far too light. New bearings will be machined out of oil impregnated nylon (equivalent strength to bronze but not needing lubrication. Shafts are 20mm shoulder bolts. Old mount is the one being held up by the clamp... much too thin to take the sideways shear of a heavy V6 hammering around a bumpy turn!...

Long skinny M10 bolt on far right held the handlebars to the tip triple tree... way way way too thin. Will be replaced by the M16 socket head cap screw
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Bottom headstem bearing needs a seal. Nothing suitable available for this size, so I had to buy a $58 wheel bearing (right) so I could cut off the seal which is a good fit on the new bearing...
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Bottom acorn nut to lock in headstem to bottom triple tree... made up of a nut plus a machined up cap which will be bronze-welded to the nut...
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Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5625
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
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Re: V6 Commodore Trike...

Post by Prof » Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:09 pm

Had to go into Lonsdale today to get some shoulder bolts for the Trike and do a few other jobs as well. Nice to be on the shovel though and she is running like a dream, so I had a great time sweeping around intersections, listening to the blast of the exhausts as I accelerated out of the lights and intersections.

Anyway, back to the topic. I only got back on the job late afternoon.

First job was installing the headstem bearings. Outer races were left in the freezer overnight. Took them up to the workshop on this bit of tube so they wouldn't heat up from my hands. Pressed in on this little hand press. Had to machine up a piece of aluminium to the press shaft could push down evenly on the ring. You can pull them into the headstem with a heavy thread with heavy washers if you have no press...
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The top bearing under the triple tree needs a dust cover. Being a proprietry item (ie made especially for the model of bike) it was a case of make one for this big mother of a steering head. Step one; cut out an aluminium disc and cut the correct size hole in it (24mm)...
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Step two; spin it up on the lathe. Here you can see the spun dust cover. On the left (white arrow) is the mandrel which has a curve on the edge for the aluminium disc to 'roll' over. On the right is the pressure pad which is an aluminium block that fits over the bearing of the lathe live centre on the tail stock. The former or 'spoon' (yellow arrow) is pushed against the aluminium by levering it against the tool post which I move about to get the right leverage. Dust cover took a couple of minutes to actuall spin...
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Here is the set up still clamped together. Orange arrow shows the formed dust cover. Dotted line shows the initial angle the 'spoon ' is held at. Green arrow points to the tool post...
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Dust cover fitted. A steel shim is between the nut and dust cover to stop the nut eating into the ally...
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Headstem hole in top triple tree is 25.4mm (1") and our new hedstem is 22mm at this point so I machine up a brass reducing bush in brass to be an interferance (press) fit. ID is 22mm and it reduces slightly as the bush is forced in by the press...
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Hole is brought back to a perfect fit using an adjustable hand reamer. Takes about four tests to get it just right...
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An underside view of the dust cover. Locknut is hidden between dust cover and triple tree, but there is a 4mm gap for a spanner which I will make so Ron can keep things adjusted without too much effort.
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Tomorrow morning I will turn up an 18mm acorn nut for the top. Black txsta mark shows thread than needs to be removed. I will then press the headstem into the bottom triple tree, weld the cap on this nut and tat part of the job will be finished...
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Next job on the trike will be bushes for the bottom of the fork legs and then we can begin to set up front end to correct specs.

However I have a couple of hours to finish moulding Jett's frame before he comes up this weekend and also need to do a couple of days on James GSX chopper. I'll get some pics up of progress on james' chopper so far shortly as well.

Probably back on the trike next week.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5625
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
Contact:

Re: V6 Commodore Trike...

Post by Prof » Thu Jul 21, 2016 6:34 pm

Last couple of jobs on the triple tree set up...

Top acorn nut is turned up out of 1" Stainless hex bar. Most of the cutting done with the parting off tool...
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Turned around to finish point with file, then shined up with abrasive belt off the linishing machine...
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Keep file cleaned with file card...
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Some bits of metal will not come off with the card. A flattened piece of copper pipe gets it all. Look closely and you can see the fine grooves in the end of the copper as it is scraped along the file...
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Threading with M18x1.5 thread tap. Use lubricant (black arrow) and wash off with kero (green arrow) between and after cuts...
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Start thread with taper tap (on right) and finish with bottoming tap (on left) that gets the thread to within 3mm of the bottom of the hole...
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Pressing the head stem into the bottom triple tree...
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Bottom acorn nut made up of two parts. A thin bead of bronze was laid on the top of the nut and then the acorn put on top and the hole lot heated to red heat. A final very thin layer of bronze around the join creates a strong tidy joint...
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Bottom dust seal has to be glued to a thin shim. ID of shim first has to be enlarged 3 or so mm with die grinder so it locates on the bottom of the bearing...
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Seal glued to the washer...
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Seal and bearing installed...
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Final decorative washer for top triple tree lock nut. When cutting of pieces from the lathe chuck, I poke the drill into the end, so it doesn't fall down into the lathe tray and swarf that builds up so quickly...
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The handle bars were originally held by two M10 bolts. There is a lot of leverage on the pull backs adn even standard HD bars are held with 12.5mm bolts. I've picked up a couple of M16 Socket Head Cap Screws to replace them. Here drilling out the holes to 16mm...
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The whole shebang done...
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Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5625
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
Contact:

Re: V6 Commodore Trike...

Post by Prof » Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:05 am

Well here's another thirty photos that end in an almost finished front end...

As we've already mentioned, main rocker bearings were balls and unsuitable for a rocking motion and the ears holding the bolts I felt were inadequate. Two days were spent mucking around asking questions of people who know more than I do and then trying to find what the ideal set up (progressive roller bearings) was unavailable. Next best choice was oil impregnated nylon bushing material.

First job however was to enlarge the original holes in the bottom of the fork legs using a 36mm drill bit on the large geared drill (sorry no pic). This left a 4mm larger ring on each end. Here you can see the steel inserts I made to dreate a uniform diameter across the whole bearing surface. These are made as an interference (press) fit.
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Yellow nylon bush pressed in. It is made to protrude 3mm out of each end. Then thrust washers are made of black graphite impregnated nylon. It is a real pain to machine and needs a very sharp bit and slow speed...
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Heavy duty ears have been made (see other posts on how to make these look good) and bottom end is completed with 20mm shoulder bolts...
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Ears have to be accurately welded to the swing arm so spaces are machined up, the ears bolted on and then the spacing set up using a piece of 50x10 bar that is cut and bent. Here being checked for accuracy against the legs...
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Will the new wider swing arm pivot we have just made, clear the brake rotor? thankfully yes...
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Tubing used for the swing arm is 2.6mm and a bit light in my book for welding the new ears to. So I cut up some pieces of 4mm wall tube to cover the critical area from axle to pivot. xx's mark the area to be cut out. This way the reinforcing is a close fit against the side of the bottom shocker mounts and a line of weld will support them nicely...
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Next job is to get the axle/fork pivot offset to 70mm under load. Shockers will compress about 30mm so I set the distance up at 40mm. Here measuring the axle height then the fork pivot height and subract the smaller fro the larger. Swing arm is cut and bent so the rear doesn't heit the road on full compression... will look better too...
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Swing arm welded up. The inserted pieces need to be a tight fit or the welding will pull things out of alignment...
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Reinforcing cut to size...
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Welded in. I can guarantee this set up won't come adrift or bend or break!
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Bottom fork bush ears need to be bent in 3mm to line up with our reinforcing. To get the bend accurate bar is cut half way through and bent. Once installed, the cut will then be welded up...
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Ears welded in place...
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Swing arm assembled...
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Shockers now mounted at the bottom to see where the top mounts need to be. I notice that on of the springs is a bit loose (4mm) and loosen of the lock nut on the adjustment ring and start widing it up... and winding it up... and winding it up! 1.5" to be exact. The other one is the same. So this front end was hanging on shockers that would have had the springs flapping around each time it hit a sizeable bump (all the time on SA roads!!!). A good way to wreck the shockers. So once they are tightened up we get 1.5" more travel! Preload will be adjusted if need be once the trike is on the ground again...
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Top shocker ears made and shaped in pairs. Here held to ether with a bolt and being linished...
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Ready to weld. Piece of white bar across them is to get all four level. These ears are only lightly tacked as their position may need to be changed once the trike's weight is on the front end, so we can achieve the 75mm of axle/pivot offset...
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Setting rake to 42 degrees, so we can check trail...
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White mark is directly below the axle. Far side of small ruler is where steering head line meets the ground = 50mm trail, just what we want...
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Now to mount the steering head. Old one was cut off with out measuring, as it was hard to get the angle grinder in. So we measure from the rear shocker mounts on each side to align this piece of 25mm bar (white). This will give us a register to check the remains of the steering head bracket for square...
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Here being done with a parallel ruler (easy to make in your workshop if you can measure well)...
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A bracket is made out of 6mm plate, so we can locate the steering head (forgot a pic). Green arrow points to a flat ground to tack the top of the bracket. YOu can also see the centre marked in the texta. Red arrow shows a wider area at the bottom so we can adjust the steering head to get it perfectly centred...
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Getting rake correct, Bottom flat had to be ground back a few mm to get it right...
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Top of steering head is tacked and then checked for centre with the plumbob...
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Steering head alignment is checked with laser on the same centre line...
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Forks assembled to steering head. I think it is too high, log off my work time, cut the tacks, modify the steering head mounting plate and lower it an inch and a half and weld it back up...
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Because we have raised the axle, the forks have been slid lower in the triple trees and will need lengthening. I'll cut out the weld and make up the extra length needed. I am a bit concerned about the strength of the forks especially with the extra length. To strengthen them up I will slide a couple of fork tubes I have that appear to be the right diameter down the trike's tubes to beef them up. I may also reduce the rake by a few degrees and put a slight backward bend by the top shocker mounts to keep our trail. Ron will be up tomorrow and I will talk with him about it...
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Handlebar time. Pull back section of bars will be 30mm x 3mm wall thickness. I machine up a pair of threaded slugs so weld inside the bars. Then to provide a bigger footprint on the bottom of the pullbacks I machine up a pair of caps that slide over the bottom and are 45mm wide. Here parting off the first one. The first is easy. It takes a bit more effort to do the second as it has to match...
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Bars are drilled for plug welding. Holes are offset for better strength...
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Ready to assemble. If you look closely, you will see the thread on the inserts starts part way in. This makes it far easier to assemble and also lessens the chance of cross threading...
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When tapping in the inserts protect the end from damage form the hammer...
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Pull back sections in place with a temporary 1" handlebar so Ron can work out his optimum position when he comes up in the morning. We'll also discuss the the positioning of the speedo...
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I hope this information helps you with your own builds. Stay safe and build well.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Bearcx
Posts: 1898
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Gawler, Sth Aust
Contact:

Re: V6 Commodore Trike...

Post by Bearcx » Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:52 pm

Hope you got a patent pending for all this stuff........ :lol:

Good, solid, engineering. Like it.
The brave may not live long, but, the cautious do not live at all.

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