Tips for Installing rear axle?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by JustRon, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. JustRon

    JustRon ex-broadwayron

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,357
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    It's not the bike, it's me. Because, on every bike I have (or had), it takes me forever to install a rear axle... last night I spent 20 minutes trying. Finally asked someone to help, and it took 30 seconds, which is really frustrating (I should be able to do this solo). And, I'm in a garage- not in the field!

    I have the bike on a stand, with minimal clearance below the rear wheel (less than an inch), and I slide a big screwdriver through the wheel, to provide some sort of guide. If I had a piece of tubing almost as big as the axle, but tapered on one side, that would be ideal, I suppose. When someone else holds the wheel and shimmies it a bit, the axle will slide right through. But, when I shimmy the wheel and try and push it through, it rarely works. I mean, eventually I get it... but clearly this is not efficient.

    Any suggestions?
    #1
  2. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,864
    Location:
    Turning expensive metal into scrap
    This is on your Berg?

    I have a few KTM axle equipped bikes and the axles can get gummed up with crap. I clean mine off with acetone or similar and wipe it spotless. Then I very lightly lube it with some grease like Belray waterproof.

    Make sure you wheel spacers and bearings are clean too as they can create drag. I go in from the brake side, so you need to get the caliper bracket in. Then I make sure the brake pads are clearing the rotor by splaying them out with my fingers and gently tap the axle through the first spacer and into the hub itself. Now I line up the axle hole with the swingarm and gently tap it in with a deadblow hammer. Toss on the axle adjust spacer and you should be good.

    Once you get one side started it should be a matter of getting the other side close and the axle should pull it into alignment until you jimmy the wheel to clear through the swingarm. I guess I've never had an issue other than the axle being gummed up with dirt/grease.
    #2
  3. Smoke Eater 3

    Smoke Eater 3 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    904
    Location:
    Lincolnville,Maine
    In the garage, I put a piece of wood on the ground and use a 2 x 4 as a lever. It helps to get the tire up and into place.
    #3
  4. Damifino

    Damifino Damn if I know

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    699
    Location:
    Maryland
    Some one needs to start making the Long John Axle tool again, I have one for KtM's, is a long wrench that the handle can be used to push the axle through the swing arm and it will hold the wheel in place, pull the wrench out and the wheel drops

    To install the wheel, you push the handle just into the first side of the swing arm, lift the wheel into place and keep pushing the wrench in, it acts like clutch alignment tool and aids in lining the wheel, spacers and swing arm up, once you have the handle all the way through, you use your axle to push the wrench back through and you are done, thread the axle nut on and torque it.
    #4
  5. Damifino

    Damifino Damn if I know

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    699
    Location:
    Maryland
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The tip fits in the hollow axle

    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. bomber60015

    bomber60015 Anatomically Correct

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    16,029
    Location:
    Chicago-ish

    my technique as well . . . . . .the closer you can et the wheel/spacer/brake caliper/dog dish to line up properly (some manufacturers sure do hang a buncha stuff off the axle, don't they?), it's easy.
    #6
  7. JustRon

    JustRon ex-broadwayron

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,357
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    Yeah, this is on my 'berg. But, I've had the same problem on all my bikes (in the last 2 years- TE610, KDX220, and Scrambler... then there was a long gap with no bikes. Not sure if I had this problem 25 years ago, though).
    The axle is always clean and well-lubed. I use a huge screwdriver as an alignment tool, similar to the Long John thing. Sometimes, I'll use a tire iron under the tire for a little leverage.
    I may try and find an aluminum tube just slightly narrower than my axle, but with a tapered end. That way, I can use it for alignment, and hopefully the tapered end will fit in the end of my axle to help guide it all the way through. (The tip of the screwdriver was slightly wider than the hole in the end of my axle.)
    I realize it's just a matter of getting everything aligned- but that's the problem.

    Edit - just noticed the Long John instructions... sounds like a pretty good tool.
    #7
  8. Damifino

    Damifino Damn if I know

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    699
    Location:
    Maryland
    I edited my post, I found the instructions for the Long John Wrench
    #8
  9. Navin

    Navin Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    8,475
    If I'm having trouble I put my foot under the tire and lift the wheel with it, pops right in then.
    #9
  10. OneEffinName

    OneEffinName Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    512
    Location:
    VanIsle, BC

    +1

    I sit on a little stool and lever the wheel up and down with my foot, a the while wiggling in the axle.
    #10
  11. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,664
    Location:
    Rotoiti, New Zealand
    Yep, I sit on the floor behind the bike which is just off the ground, put a heel in front of the rear wheel & roll the wheel up onto my foot & into position. It is easy to see everything that has to line up. If anything is being fiddly I chock the wheel in place with my other foot behind it leaving both hands free to wiggle stuff into position.

    Cheers
    Clint
    #11
  12. dmn0507

    dmn0507 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Italy, NE, Not too far from Venice
    +1
    #12
  13. racer

    racer Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,643
    Location:
    Indiana
    First remove the brake caliper from the holder. That way you can install it after the axle is in place and you don't have to fool around lining up the pads with the rotor. Next start the axle in from the brake side through the swing arm, chain adjustment block, and caliper holder. Place the spacers on the wheel if there are any and move the wheel into position and get the axle started in spacer. That will hold one side in place while you rock the wheel back and forth to align the rest.
    #13
  14. Navin

    Navin Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    8,475
    And back bleed the caliper before you remove the wheel. :1drink
    #14
  15. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    11,591
    Location:
    New(er) Mexico
    I sit semi-cross legged in front or behind (for front or rear tire) the bike and use my two feet to wedge/lift the tire in position leaving both of my hands free to position the axle.
    #15
  16. JustRon

    JustRon ex-broadwayron

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,357
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    For those who say to put the axle in brake-side first... I've always put it in the way it came out. In the case of my 'berg (which I was working on last night), I happened to be doing the brake side first.

    Can the axle be entered either way? I never even thought about that. (In this case it would not have mattered, but now I'm curious.)
    #16
  17. Damifino

    Damifino Damn if I know

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    699
    Location:
    Maryland
    I put my KTM axle in either way, it didn't matter which way it was in
    #17
  18. Dave in Wi

    Dave in Wi Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,063
    Location:
    Madison WI (40 Square Miles Surrounded By Reality)
    Now that you have the useful advice, I'll tell you what my dad used to tell me. "Put some hair on it". :-)
    #18
  19. trailrider383

    trailrider383 867-5309

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,457
    Location:
    NP, ID
    How tough can it be? A round axle through a round hole.

    You must have had a tough time with this game when you were younger. :rofl

    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. JustRon

    JustRon ex-broadwayron

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,357
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    Agreed. That's why it's so frustrating.

    Thanks for the replies.
    #20