Steering Damper

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by BWeber, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. BWeber

    BWeber Been here awhile

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    I'm looking to add a steering damper to my Triumph sidecar rig with a leading link front end.
    The mounts I received from Claude at Freedom Sidecar that were intended for a Volkswagen shimmy damper. When I tried to use them, I found the Volkswagen damper had too short of a stroke. My next move is to find a steering damper with a longer stroke or modify the mounts. Unfortunately the stuff I found on the web so far does not give any indication of stroke.

    Any suggestions out there on what steering damper would be the best for my application??

    Attached Files:

    #1
  2. TurTal

    TurTal Been here awhile

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    Scotts or Ohlins
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  3. Sidecarjohn

    Sidecarjohn SidecarJohn

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    The functional stroke of a steering damper is determined by how and where it is mounted. Our outfits have featured various damper units with equally varying strokes - Volkswagen, Mercedes, Girling (short stroke from a Watsonian sidecar suspension unit).
    #3
  4. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority

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    I've been using Scotts (same as Ohlins) dampers for years on my off road race bikes and have had one on my sidecar rig from the get-go. The problem with the Scotts/Ohlins is that they require some way to mount the post and bar clamp for your bike. I had a great deal of trouble finding one for my 07 BMW R1200GSA. Eventually I found a guy in South Africa who made the needed hardware but when I finally got it it was for the wrong year and I ended up having to weld and re-machine what was sent rather than deal with international shipping and refunds.
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  5. BWeber

    BWeber Been here awhile

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    I can change the mounting to use almost any stroke damper but I think going with a damper that has a longer stroke should be better.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
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  6. BWeber

    BWeber Been here awhile

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    I am looking more to one I can mount to the leading link. The bar mount units would be too weak for a heavy leading link, I think????

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
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  7. davebig

    davebig Another Angry Hun !

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    I believe the VW bus or Mercedes units are longer than just a VW damper. I would think any pro auto parts supply house would have specs in their MOOG catalog.
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  8. We're Here

    We're Here Been here awhile

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    EML puts their damper on the Leading link. A tight fit for sure , but it works.

    DSC_0027.jpg
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  9. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority

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    EML uses a shock on the telelever and shocks on the leading link fork?:ear
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  10. draperg1

    draperg1 PapaBear

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    The higher you mount the damper the shorter the stroke needed. I would look for a mounting point somewhere close the bottom triple clamp. The damper needs to be mounted at a 90degree on conventional forks, on a leading link it would be 90 from the steering head angle. The problem with longer stroke they require more effort to steer. Most longer strokes are bigger (heavier duty) plus the piston moves further to accomplish same amount of turn which also requires more effort. BTW if mounted at wrong angle or too far down can cause bump steering (slight steering corrections over bumps in road) In my experience the smaller the better.
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  11. We're Here

    We're Here Been here awhile

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    This rig only uses the shock on the tele-lever, conventional forks, no leading link. Forks have been modified to accommodate the wider tire. Image is top of fork, with offset. Lower triple is wider as well.

    DSC_0033.jpg
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  12. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    Look on eBay. There are a bunch of different dampers for VW and Porsche. You'd think one of them would be the right length. I think I'd probably get on the phone to one of the more knowledgeable sellers and pick their brain.
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  13. BWeber

    BWeber Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the input!!!
    The Triumph radiator prohibits mounting the steering damper higher than the engine crankcase, which is not really an option.
    All the searching I could do the specifications are based on which vehicle the damper fits. None of the spec sheets I can find list the stroke. At the local Auto Parts store they will take them out of the box and measure.
    Looks like I'm just going with the generic Volkswagen shimmy damper.
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  14. THEAPE

    THEAPE EML Rocks

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    EML BOGE # M28, 500 MM OAL, 100 MM stroke. Still works great even after 38 years.
    IMG_8527.JPG
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  15. cycleman2

    cycleman2 Been here awhile

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    I had similar issues with my VW steering damper as it had about a 6" total stroke. The front wheel was straight ahead during this procedure. In the end I located one end of the damper to the right upper shock bolt ( leading link front end ) and then used a clamp on the front upper sidecar mount. I pulled the rod out of the damper, and measured about 2.5 inches and then moved the clamp around until it lined up with this setting. Both ends of the damper where mounted with 3/8" hem type joints that threaded onto the clamp bolt and a long 3/8" bolt that went through the upper shock mount. Both ends could pivot around as much as they wanted, and this had no affect on the stroke, and in practise this takes any stress off the mounting points.

    I was worried about not being able to go from lock to lock, as this length of stroke and my location points wouldn't allow the handlebars to go lock to lock. ( No way I could make this short of stroke go lock to lock in its current configuration) I took the rig out for a test drive and in my slow speed trials, ( up to 40 mph & in parking lots ) this has not been a problem. It has been far too windy where I live 60-70 mph winds, to take out on the highway and try at highway speeds but the damper travel will have no impact at highway speeds.

    I have looked at trying to mount the damper, similar to the EML one on the newer GS, and I might be able to make it work similar. Good winter project.

    In closing it does really affect the steering and makes it much stiffer but I need to put more time with the rig to draw a final conclusion. My initial response is favourable and it takes all the twitchyness out of the rig and I don't mind the heavier steering as overall the trade off is much less work. The rig handled fine without the damper at highway speeds, but I would get the odd wobble at 25 mph. So for the price and a bit of fiddling I figured I'd try a damper.
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  16. cycleman2

    cycleman2 Been here awhile

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    Strange world. We put leading links on to make the steering easier than add a damper that makes steering harder. Had the rig out on the highway yesterday, before the 50-60 mph winds arrived, and found a lot of difference in how the rig handled with the damper. Much more solid and less moving around, and less constant input required by me. I need to take a longer ride, when the weather gods cooperate. Still will work over the winter in finding a better location, more like 90 degrees to the front axle.
    #16
  17. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority

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    A quality steering damper like Scotts/Ohlin or GPR does not dampen normal steering input. They dampen rapid movement away from center and don't dampen rapid movement back to center. Not even close to the VW style damper that dampen in both directions.

    Ohlin damper.jpg
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  18. davebig

    davebig Another Angry Hun !

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    One can use a worn out shock of some sort to dampen the leading links. Then there's the usual LL issue of a larger front tire also causing heavier steering, some LL people use motorcycle rear's on there 15" LL wheel for lighter steering.
    After owning 2 rigs with leading links it seems to me it's as much about strength and accurate steering as it is about trail reduction. On that note anyone want to buy leading links ? :-) Shameless self promo http://hpsidecars.com/ForSale/20151002/EZS Leading Link Forks.htm
    #18
  19. cycleman2

    cycleman2 Been here awhile

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    Yes I'm aware of how the solo motorcycle steering dampers work, my R1100R had a factory damper on it. You never noticed it and was put on there to prevent/help with a tank slapper moment. It was the only bike in the 1100 series that had the damper. Likely because of the handlebar mounted windshield.

    My understanding of the dampers like these is they don't work that well on a sidecar with leading link front end.
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  20. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority

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    I can't think of a single reason why not, especially with their adjustability. Hell, you can even adjust it to make it hard to turn all the time like a automotive damper, if you were so inclined that is. My guess is that those who have them don't really understand the proper operation of the Scotts/Ohlin damper.

    #20
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