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I've had my sidecar on the 81 Interstate for over a year and have been playing with the adjustments for most of that time. It seemed no matter what I did, it pulled to the left at over about 50mph. I finally got it today where it's hardly pulling to the right at all, but when sitting with no weight in the sidecar, I have 8 degrees of lean on the bike to the left! The darn thing looks like it's going to fall over! The E3's really howl like that too. Granted, the formula II is a heavy sidecar, but I think I must be doing something wrong to require that much lean. Any suggestions? At this point I'll try about anything. Recently I got the sidecar moved about 6" closer to the bike by buying and installing a shorter mount. One was way too long, which kept the sidecar way out there. It was wider than a full size pickup. Even with the excessive lean, I am really enjoying how it handles now. It just looks and feels really weird leaning that far.
 

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Junior Grue
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Take this with a grain (pound) of salt as I've never done a sidecar:ROFL: but I would think it has more to do with alignment of the sidecar tyre.
If the sidecar tyre is toed in or out to much it would pull on the bike.
 

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Our 93 HAD the same issue. I pulled some directions off another board that made zero sense but they worked! Give me a day or so then PM me for them. Are you mechanically inclined? I need to find them, scan them, then hopefully be able to attach and send them to you....digital is hard on this ol grandpa.
 

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HELLO FELLOW SIDECAR RIG OWNER....t'is rare to find one on this Forum!
BEST ADVICE: Go to: sidecar.com; join there, free. Many very experienced folks will walk you through what you can do to realign your rig and they have books, too.
Had 4 over 40+ yrs. of riding only s/c rigs [9 solos before that]. Recently installed Austone rear tire on my Wing [shown in my signature]; had to tweak rig alignment, as tire and new rear shocks, boosted rear of Wing up quite a bit. All's well now, after also tightening steering bearings, to get rid of annoying low speed wobble it had developed. TTFN. GOOD LUCK ....Keep in touch...Old Tom aka papasmurf in NH
 

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My toe in is right about 3/4" at this time, if my measurements are correct. I will be double checking that today. 9394SE's, I'll pm you soon. I am a member of sidecar.com, but haven't posted on there much. I've done a good bit of reading on there though. I really like riding the rig. It sure gets a lot of notice. There are only 2 other rigs in the area, so they aren't seen much around here. I also have both of Hal Kendall's manuals for sidecars. I'll keep on working on it. At least it's handling really well now. One thing I had been doing wrong was I had 5 deg lean on the rear and only 1 deg on the front. I corrected that yesterday. I adjusted both to 4 deg and as we rode I adjusted the mechanical lean setting. When we got home I rechecked the lean and found both front and rear were at 8 degrees. When we left, I was hoping to adjust the other way, but it wasn't to be.
 

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When I had my sidecar on the bike, I found it handled better all around with some weight in the car. It seemed to settle down to a dependable feel with at least 100 lbs in the car.,,
 

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The proper "lean angle" is 4 degrees to the left. Your car should be 1/3 the weight of the bike, this includes the weight of the passenger. If the passenger is not in the side car, you should at least "ballast with half the weight. To light of a side car tends to get a bit light in right corners, meaning you "fly the chair" quite easliy.
 

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This sidecar is pretty heavy by itself. When no one is riding with me I usually have about 80 lbs in it for ballast. It also has a 6 gal aux gas tank in it, so that adds to the weight.

I carefully remeasured my toe in yesterday and it is off after changing the lean. It's a little over an inch toe out now. I'll be fixing that tomorrow. I'm hoping that will allow me to decrease the lean. I hope to get it down to 3 to 4 deg.
 

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Turns out I'm going to be a bit longer changing the toe in. We were hearing a noise from the wheel area on the last ride. I pulled the wheel Tuesday and found my bearings are making some noise. So, today, I'll try to find some new wheel bearings and get those installed. Then I'll work on the toe in and lean. I'm going to set my lean adjustment to the lowest setting with the sidecar frame lower to the outside with a lean of about 2 deg. Then I'll see how the lean works with the lean adjust bar. I know it's never going to be easy to handle with the stock front setup, but I sure hope to get it easier. Time will tell. Pretty soon I plan on taking it apart and start the job of painting it.
 

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Larry,

One of the important things is to make sure your two lower mounts are at the same level above the ground. Think of them like a hinge. If your hinge is misaligned, then your "door" will twist a bit as it opens or closes, such as when you compress your springs when you mount up or adjust your lean.

This too I learned the hard way!!
 

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I've had my sidecar on the 81 Interstate for over a year and have been playing with the adjustments for most of that time. It seemed no matter what I did, it pulled to the left at over about 50mph. I finally got it today where it's hardly pulling to the right at all, but when sitting with no weight in the sidecar, I have 8 degrees of lean on the bike to the left! The darn thing looks like it's going to fall over! The E3's really howl like that too. Granted, the formula II is a heavy sidecar, but I think I must be doing something wrong to require that much lean. Any suggestions? At this point I'll try about anything. Recently I got the sidecar moved about 6" closer to the bike by buying and installing a shorter mount. One was way too long, which kept the sidecar way out there. It was wider than a full size pickup. Even with the excessive lean, I am really enjoying how it handles now. It just looks and feels really weird leaning that far.
Larry As you have your sidecar on a GL1100 as do I and a lot of my friends, one with over 300,000 miles, I suggest you check the height of your bottom mounts. Most of the mount sets that used to be made had the rear mount much higher than the front. If that is the case with yours then proper setup is a pain. The problem is that you can set your toe-in and when you adjust your lean-out it causes the toe setting to move in the opposite direction. I designed a better lower rear mount set a few years ago and have not had the problem since. Most of these old mount sets came from California Sidecar and also required about 14 to 16 inches of wheel lead that also added to the handling issues.
Another issue I see is that you are adjusting your upper struts for lean angle separately. I see this problem a lot where the struts are made with left/right threads like a turn buckle. The best way to make this adjustment so as not to put a twist in your bike is to completely disconnect one end of the front strut and then make the adjustment with the rear strut. Once set just align the front strut back up with the hole in the mount. Do not attempt to do the same number of turns as the strut angles are rarely the same.
Unless you are a new sidecar operator I do not see the need for ballast in a FII on an 1100 Goldwing. I do not know if you actually had any training with the sidecar or not but you will find it is not easy to get that sidecar off of the ground. You need to get a large parking lot and try to lift the wheel. That will give you a better feeling of how it works and help with the confidence level. I had that problem when I built my first sidecar over forty years ago.
 

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Hello, I too have a GL 1100 sidecar rig. If you still have the original air suspension units on the rear that might be part of your problem. These are not up to the job. I had mine pressurised up to 90lbs. They survived that much pressure yet still caused the bike to sag when loaded contributing to hanging out to the left (sidecar right mounted).
Two alternatives you might consider. Mount the spring loaded unit from a GL 1500 on left side and use original unit on the right set up to 35lbs. The length of the 1500 unit is a little longer but did not create an issue. It worked and sorted out my problem.
I now have a better solution mounted. Progressive units from a GL 1200. They are stiff and require little air pressure. So can play around with pressure settings to get the right height when your bike is laden.They are a lot better than original GL1100 units.

Hope this helps,

regards from Holland.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sparrowhawk, I realized I was twisting the bike with the upper mounts when I was adjusting the lean last time. I didn't exactly do as you suggested, but I did ensure that the lean measured the same front and rear. That did help a good bit. At the moment I can't honestly say whether the 2 lower mounts are the same height or not. I do know when I adjust the lean that I have to adjust the toe in again, so probably not as even as I was thinking. Dutchaussie, I no longer have the original rear shocks. It has Progressive shocks on the rear(1100) and Progressive on the front. The rear are set to max preload. They are the heavy duty set, but I am thinking about ordering the extra heavy duty springs for them. I thoroughly understand how hard it is to fly this sidecar. That's one of the first things I tried when I first hooked it up. It was harder then than it is now, since I moved it closer to the bike by quite a bit. I haven't had it on the road for a couple weeks now. I had to order some rear brake pads. I got them Saturday, and after installing them I found out I have a gas leak at the hose connection on the carbs. With all that's going on right now, I hope to have a chance to work on that next weekend. Sorry it took so long to respond to your replies, I just got a notification about the replies this morning. I appreciate the information and will check it out. I will take a closer look at the lower hookup height this evening. That definitely makes sense to me about the hinge action. It does handle much better now, but still does pull a little bit over 50mph.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I checked the lower mounts as far as being the same height. They're both attached to the lower frame and look the same height to me. I rode it to work and back yesterday and am pretty well pleased with how it handles. It's much better than it used to be. That's riding with a full auxiliary tank and a 50 lb bag of quick crete in the seat. Saturday, we'll be riding it in 2 parades so I'll get a good feel for how it handles with my wife in it. I may have to adjust the lean a bit. It has a lever to do that.
 

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Good to hear Larry!

Are your lower clamps the strap type? That's how I had mine mounted at first. The rear lower ended up slipping (rotated about 30* around the lower frame, gouging it a bit). I ended up using a U-bolt over the driver's foot peg to keep it from rotating. It got me home anyway!

 
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