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Rear wheel removal question

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by Supercat, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. Supercat

    Supercat

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Hi folks,

    I've run into an issue with what should be a very easy task, and I'm looking for advice. I'm trying to get the rear wheel off of a 1972 Commando Roadster, and the axle on the right hand side unscrews so far, and then just spins without going any further. When it gets out so far it will get slightly harder to turn, then I'll hear a little knock inside the hub and it'll get easier to turn again - and this will just keep perpetually happening.

    I tried supporting the wheel and putting pressure against it from different angles, and I've tried prying with a lever between the brake drum and the wheel while turning the axle, but not luck.

    Should my next move be to setup an adjustable wrench on the axle so that I can smack it outward with something, or to just start taking off the drum etc on the left side? Or something else?

    I've read the other rear wheel removal threads, but they don't quite answer my question.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions, and sorry for having to post such a nooby question.

    J
     
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  2. Mr. Rick

    Mr. Rick VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    That axle is threaded into the dummy axle on the DS (drive side), so you have to have a wrench on the left to keep the dummy from turning.
     
  3. Supercat

    Supercat

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Thanks Mr. Rick! Nothing seemed to be turning on the left though when I was wrenching on the right.
     
  4. kommando1

    kommando1 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Remember to step on the rear brake while re-tightening the drive side axle, it centers the shoes.
     
  5. madass140

    madass140 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    the left side dummy axle cant turn with or without its nut. it has flats machined on it which locate in the swingarm axle slot. But its
    advisable to keep the left side nut tight when removing the long axle from the right side
     
  6. Nortoniggy

    Nortoniggy

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    The speedo drive can bind badly on the wheel spindle which makes removal difficult. Hold the speedo drive as you turn the spindle to see if it is tight. If it is loose then the spindle must be binding on something else. If you are sure it's unscrewed as far as it can be you will have to use a bit of force to remove it. Hopefully once it is out you can figure out where it is binding.
     
  7. Mr. Rick

    Mr. Rick VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Don is right about the flats on the dummy axle, of course. All the times I've removed that wheel, you'd think I cd remember that? But no...
    Sounds like the threads are caught up on something inside. If it was me, I'd try to put outward pressure on it while still turning (unscrewing) it, hoping it will spin off whatever it's hanging on to. How far out does it come until it hangs? It's not just hanging up on the outside washer near the adjuster screw, is it? They get cocked a little when the axle is loose.
    There have been reports of broken axles, but they usually fail in such a way that the axle wd just fall out.
     
  8. madass140

    madass140 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Supercat, how far out does the axle unscrew? If less than 5/8" or so there is a small possibility the thread is stripped
    (not uncommon) and is just turning in the stub axle, or the threaded end of the axle is burred up and preventing removal
    Lot to be said for One Piece Axles.
     
  9. elefantrider

    elefantrider VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2013
    The right hand axle will unscrew about an 1" then you need to pull it out completely to free the wheel. Sometimes you need to tap on it gently before it will slide out. Be careful not to damage the axle threads or the axle head. You only need the touch the left hand side (brake side) nut if you want to check the condition of the brakes.
     
  10. Supercat

    Supercat

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Thanks for the help folks!

    Nortoniggy: the speedo drive turns as I turn the axle, but I can hold it and keep it from turning with one hand while I turn the axle. I've tried putting the axle all the way back in, and then unscrewing it again while holding the speedo drive, but the same thing still happens.

    Madass140: It's hard to tell exactly how far. It looks pretty much the same on the right hand side whether it's fully tightened, or unscrewed as far as I can get it before it stops moving. But if I look at the left side while unscrewing the axle I can see the three paddles (if that's what they're called) coming out of the hub. They look like they must be almost, but not quite out when the axle refuses to go any further. So maybe close to an inch?

    Mr. Rick: It's possible it's caught on the outside washer because that doesn't seem to be going anywhere the whole time.

    So it sounds like there's probably not much point in taking stuff off of the left side, and that it would be better for me to put outward pressure on the axle while turning it. What's the best way to do this? Would putting something like a vicegrip on the axle putting a piece of wood against it through the spokes and tapping it with a hammer work? Should I just put a vicegrip on there and pull on it while I turn a wrench?

    Thanks again, and talk soon,

    J
     
  11. Danno

    Danno

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    If you could clamp something loose to the axle, you could slide-hammer it out as you turn it with a socket.
     
  12. Supercat

    Supercat

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Thanks Danno,

    Unfortunately I don't have a slide hammer... Should I get one, or do something like you're suggesting, or would I be better off just taking everything off on the left side?
     
  13. Nater_Potater

    Nater_Potater

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2013
    Does the knock happen at the same point once per full revolution of the axle? If so, it's probably the final thread acting as a ramp that slowly spreads the swingarm, then thumps as it goes past the thread and is smacked back in as the swingarm is holding spring pressure against the bolt. My money is on a center spacer (#29, http://www.oldbritts.com/1972_g17.html) between the bearings that's rusted to the axle. It could also be #31. I would first try your idea of placing an adjustable wrench under the head of the axle, and tapping it from the left side. It might turn out to need more than two hands to accomplish. However, there's a good chance that the spacers between the speedo drive and swingarm (#4, #34) are doing the same thing. If that's the case, a light dousing of penetrating oil is called for before proceeding.

    Nathan
     
  14. Ron L

    Ron L VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    It sounds like the axle spindle is corroded into the wheel bearing spacer. You may have to sacrifice the axle spindle and possibly the axle spacer. If you can't shock the spindle free (slide hammer or alternative), you could cut the axle and spacer near the speedo drive, being careful not to damage the drive. This should release the axle and spacer and hopefully allow enough space for the wheel and frozen axle section to move away from the brake drum enough to extract the wheel. Then using Kroil or ATF/acetone mixture and a hammer and drift you can drive the the remaining section of the axle spindle out of the wheelhub. I would then strip the bearings and spacer from the hub and replace them with new items. The hammering to drive out the axle spindle will likely damage the bearings.
     
    JimC likes this.
  15. Mr. Rick

    Mr. Rick VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    The wheel is moving to the right w the axle, as you see the paddles becoming exposed. You don't want that.
    I'm with Ron L here, I think you have the axle spindle frozen to the spacer. You unwind the spindle off the dummy axle (about 10 full turns) till the threads are free, but the spacer and spindle are turning together.
    Can you open up any room at all on either side of the long spacer that sits between the swingarm and the speedo drive? If so, I'd find or make something like this with a slot at least 9/16 (just over 14 mm), but less than 1", and try to drive it in the gap, to lever the wheel back left while pushing the head of the axle right:
    https://www.zoro.com/jacobs-wedge-set-13269/i/G1714474/#specifications
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  16. Danno

    Danno

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    The stuff on the left remains captive until the wheel is off. As previously stated the long axle (the one you're trying to remove) threads into the backside of the stub axle and must come out before anything else can be removed, other than the left axle nut etc.

    I'd rig up something with junk laying around. Anything you can get on the back side of the axle hex with. The slide hammer was just an example. Might help to have someone else turn and pull while you tap outward. Be gentle and nothing yet unharmed will be.
     
  17. Supercat

    Supercat

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Thanks folks, this is all extremely helpful. I won't mess with anything on the left side. I'll see if I can get a bit of room on either side of the long spacer by the speedo drive and will try to lever left while pushing the axle right after I get some breakfast. I'll let you know how it goes. I'm hoping not to have to cut anything. I sprayed some liquid wrench in there as well as I could the last time I was in the shed. Talk soon.
     
  18. Supercat

    Supercat

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    No room on either side of the long spacer. I tried a few things including screwing the axle all the way back in and putting clamps on the drum and hub to keep the wheel from going to the right as I turned the axle out again. No luck. Tried a bit of hammering and levering. No luck. Maybe if I tap an old chisel in next to the spacer? Or next to the head of the axle?

    Maybe I should just cut the thing off... It looks like there are a few used ones around in the 50 dollars Canadian range eh? I would hate to do that, but if it's 50 bucks, as opposed to 150 or 200 bucks and if it'll save me a day or two of cranking the same damn nut around and around I'm ok with it.
     
  19. cyclegeezer

    cyclegeezer

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2010
    I don't want to advocate violence against the machine, but if you have access to a tie rod removal tool, aka pickle fork, you might be able to wedge it between the axle nut head and the swingarm and then carefully tap/hammer to see if you can get it to budge. If you're considering cutting it off anyway, that would be a final step before cutting.
     
  20. Mr. Rick

    Mr. Rick VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Another thing to try before cutting: Loosen the nut on the left side and run the chain adjusters all the way forward. This might allow enough wiggle of the whole thing to start a wedge on the right side.
    If you do end up cutting, do as Ron L suggests, cutting between the long spacer and speedo drive "top hat". With luck, you save the drive, need only buy the axle, tophat, and (maybe) the spacer. Whatever you do, don't just cut off the head; everything wd still be trapped in the swingarm.
     
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