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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
    Hey there,

    I got the wheel off, but the job was kind of like... uh... what I imagine hell to be like :). But, truthfully, there was much more to this than just removing a rear Norton Commando wheel with a standard everyday seized axle. I haven't had the bike for very long and the previous owner had done some work towards turning her into a sort of chopper. Thankfully he didn't actually cut anything - a least on the frame. My plan is to work towards putting it back to as close to original as I can.

    The previous owner had done some interesting things with the rear end, including removing the original fender, and adding an old Harley fender that really wrapped around the rear wheel, and that included racks on both sides, that I assume were for strapping side bags onto. The original seat had been replaced with two seats, one for the driver, and a passenger seat on top of the fender. The bottom of the fender was really inaccessible, and was probably only meant to be messed with when the rear wheel was off.

    Another relevant change that the PO made was a smaller diameter (16 inches instead of 19), but much fatter rear wheel. It was fat enough that it was actually in continuous contact with the chain. So the back of the bike was way lower than it should have been, and it had this huge Harley fender lookin ugly and making things hard to get at. And then there were the seats. Anyway, needless to say, these were high on my list of things to address on my back to stock mission.

    I tried everything people suggested, and everything I could think of, and the axle would not come out, so I had to cut it. The only parts that were destroyed during the operation were the axle and the spacer, but the wheel didn't just let go after the cutting was done... the ridiculously fat tire flopped against the side of the huge wraparound fender and would go no further. After moving the wheel around to every position possible it became clear that the fender had to come off, and that part was pure torture. Having to twist myself all over the floor of my freezing, snow-covered shed while jamming my hands up into tiny, cold, dark ,greasy dirt filled crevices to find and undo a huge number of randomly sized American standard nuts was no fun at all. I had tried to get the fender off a couple of times before and had given up thinking that it would be so much easier with the wheel off. Oh man. But anyway, I kept at it, and over the course of probably two hours I managed to get all the nuts off, and to finally get the fender and both seats off. And then I still had to take one of the shocks off, and let all of the air out of the wheel to get it off! Holy cow. But she's looking a million times better already, and she should roll quite a bit better without constant contact between the back wheel and the chain!

    I'll have to order an axle and a spacer, and I've got a newly laced rear wheel that needs be trued. I've also got the original seat and a new rear fender that I can't wait to see on this thing.

    Anyway, thanks for the help guys!!
     
  2. Mr. Rick

    Mr. Rick VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Supercat, that sounds terrible. And in a freezing shed no less! Well congratulations.
    We still wanna know why the axle wd not come out, though. What did you find there?
     
  3. Tornado

    Tornado VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Your project has similarities to my own....a '74 HiRider 850 which had a 16" fatty rear wheel tire and some assorted Harley parts (just mirrors, taillight paintjob). I'm converting bike to Roadster and built a WM3-18x2.15 alu wheel with a rim & spokes from MadAss (posted on ur thread earlier about a one piece axle (which he also sells).

    Be sure to use new type sealed bearings in your new wheel...no need to keep open bearings in there now a days. You might want to review rear wheel offset on the Commando before finalizing your truing....https://www.nortonownersclub.org/support/technical-support-commando/wheel-offsets
     
  4. Ron L

    Ron L VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    "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."

    If you go this route, be careful not to damage the swingarm. From what you describe, you aren't getting any movement between the spindle and the swingarm, so it will be difficult to drive a pickle fork between them without damage.

    I would still cut the axle. It is not likely reuseable at this point anyway.
     
  5. Supercat

    Supercat

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Thanks all :)!

    Mr. Rick: I haven't had a good look yet. When I got the wheel off I just breathed a huge sigh of relief, thanked the powers that be, and hustled out of the shed to return the angle grinder to the friend I borrowed it from. I'll be back at it late today and will let you know. I'll see if I can take some photos too.

    Tornado: Thanks for the tips on the bearings and the truing. Both will definitely come in handy.

    Ron L: Thanks for the input, makes me feel better about having to cut the axle :).

    Talk soon.
     
  6. Supercat

    Supercat

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Hey there,

    I've just brought the wheel from the shed into my kitchen where I can work in comfort. It's too late in the evening for me to wail on the axle to drive it out, but it's clear that the spacer that was between the bearing (and that is still inside the hub) is turning with the spindle. Those two appear to be fused together as several of you said. I'll try to knock them out tomorrow.
     
  7. madass140

    madass140 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    grease these items on reassembly
     
  8. Supercat

    Supercat

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Hey there,

    I drove the axle out last evening and our suspicions have been confirmed. The spacer that was between the bearings is permanently attached to the spindle. I tried using two sets of vice grips to see if I could get the spacer off, but it's not happening. Cutting was the only option. I'll definitely grease the new ones before they go in.

    Thanks again for all the help folks!!
     
  9. Tornado

    Tornado VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Did you try putting a propane torch to it? This can ease seized nuts/bolts on rusted out exhaust systems on farm tractors etc.
    Needs to get really hot, basically nearly glowing.
     
  10. XTINCT

    XTINCT VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Thank you for NOT sending any before pictures.
     
  11. chaztuna

    chaztuna VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    May 5, 2017
    Why use grease, when you can use a product that is made specifically for this, NeverSeize! Don't leave home without it!:cool: Grease will work, but NeverSeize will last longer.
     
  12. Nater_Potater

    Nater_Potater

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2013
    Oh, no; we want carnage! Morbid curiosity. Y'know, like celebrity-before-and-after plastic surgery... Besides, it makes the after pictures all that much better when you see what the poor chap had to work with.

    Nathan
     
    delagem likes this.
  13. Craig

    Craig VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    How do you send / post photos I have some ....
     
  14. Tornado

    Tornado VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    If you are not a VIP member ( this site is worth it), then you can only link to images already post somewhere else on Internet. I use an online photo storage called PBase.com...no bloody adverts, full screen viewing and they permit image linking.
     
    Nater_Potater likes this.
  15. madass140

    madass140 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    well, I didnt say what to grease them with.
     
  16. Nater_Potater

    Nater_Potater

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2013
    "Postimg.org" is another option, one that I use. It's amazing for its sheer lack of adverts!

    Nathan
     
    Tornado likes this.
  17. Supercat

    Supercat

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Sweet, thanks guys, I'll try one of the suggested products when I go to put the rear wheel back on.

    Tornado: I tried your suggestion of putting a propane torch on it and have had some success. It took a good while, and I nearly gave up on it, but eventually it started to budge and I've been able to hammer the axle part way out of the spacer. I'll need to put it into a vice and use a nail punch or something to get it the rest of the way through.
     
    Tornado likes this.
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