__—— Spyder front wheel alignment using magnetic-base laser levels.
Aligning front wheels means aiming a laser pointer exactly parallel to the front wheels – BRP recommends a ( patented ) hub-mandrel system for attaching laser levels squarely to the wheels. However, it is just as accurate to use well-tested wheel standoffs ( see extra page link below ) and attach magnetic-base laser levels to them. The system is based on the ‘Alignment Box’ method, which ensures that wheel camber and chassis alignment issues are handled correctly.
All of my wheel alignment equipment has been assembled into an ‘Alignment Kit’ available to any individual or group of Spyder owners. It could be used by owners in remote locations, or for Shed Day gatherings around the country – the only cost would be the freight on the Kit to you, then back to me... using AusPost’s ‘Parcel Post Satchel’ ( large size, 510 x 435mm / 5kg ), the cost to post this 5kg carry-case anywhere in Australia is currently $17.60 – so that’s $35.20 all up, about a third of what you would pay for a professional alignment.
- The Kit contains everything you will need except a measuring tape and, if aligning 2013> models, a ½” socket-set with extension bar... some sort of wheel jack may also be useful if a front wheel needs to be rotated for spoke alignment purposes.
- Suggestion: If you are using the Alignment Kit for a Shed Day, where several Spyders will be aligned, it would be sensible to ask for a small donation for each alignment. That would at least cover most of the cost of posting the Kit.
This Kit uses Shinty LE007 Laser Level models, which are inexpensive units from China. They are accurate, but are made entirely of plastic, so need to be handled carefully and never dropped.
- If you want to use the Wheel Alignment Kit, just email me using the email button at top right of this page. There is NO COST apart from postage. For years, I paid the outbound postage but the Kit has been sent to over 30 owners, now, and that means I have spent hundreds of dollars on postage alone – fair’s fair. From now on ( late 2017 ) I expect you to pay $17.60 into my bank account before I send you the Kit – just enough to pay the outbound postage. After completing the alignment job, it will cost you another $17.60 at your local Post Office to post it back to me.
- See here for the pdf step-by-step instructions for using the Alignment Kit. These instructions are provided in laminated form in the Kit ( photo above ). Some owners may see these instructions as too hard for me!, but if you read them on a step-by-step basis you will see that each step is really quite simple. The overall procedure is what’s important.
- A DIY wheel alignment can be done solo, but is much easier with 2 people. The work is straight-forward, but some steps are awkward without an assistant, because you will need 4 eyes and 3 hands...
- Having performed many alignments, I can do the whole job in a bit more than half an hour but, for your first attempt, allow about two hours, and follow the step-by-step instructions carefully.
- For any extra hints about using the Kit arising out of feedback from users, see the bottom of this page.
If you wish to make your own gear for performing wheel alignments:
See this extra page, detailing all the equipment required, and how to make and calibrate it all. Now describing two recent major improvements.
Extra hints for using the Wheel Alignment Kit
- Feedback from Kit users has mostly been about getting steering centered before starting to align the wheels. I have specified a mechanical triangulation method for centering the steering before starting the wheel alignment work. The only known problem now is that, even if you align the steering-head AND the wheels perfectly, the DPS ( Dynamic Power Steering ) on the Spyder may still try to make the bike ‘veer’ to one side or the other when riding in a straight line. This is because the DPS center controls the angles at which the Power Steering cuts in, and also where turn-signal cancellation happens. To do an alignment perfectly you really need to connect BRP’s BUDS diagnostic system after squaring up the steering-head, just to zero the DPS angle... why? Because it is often incorrectly set, and sometimes outrageously so! If you feel that this problem affects your bike, you should resign yourself to visiting a Dealer to have the steering sensor reset – and cop the minimum $80 charge for just connecting BUDS and clicking the reset button. You can’t really blame the Dealer for that... they have to make a buck.
- A major recent improvement to the Kit has been the revamping of the wheel standoffs to use rare-earth magnets and L-collars to attach them to the brake discs, instead of the earlier method of using bungee straps, which worked fine, but was clumsy. Attaching the wheel standoffs now takes literally only seconds. The standoff plates are now also solid steel instead of ply / steel laminates. See the extra page about the equipment for an overview of this improvement.
- Another recent modification to the Kit has been the removal of a 3rd small laser and jig used for strapping the handlebar without moving it off-center after centering the steering-head. By simply changing the way the ratchet-straps are attached, the need for this extra jig was eliminated... and makes the whole procedure slightly easier to understand. See the 6-page pdf instructions for details.
- I recently had to perform an alignment on a windy day... and the laser targets blew over twice, even though we were working in a garage! We had to reset them each time, which could have been avoided if we had rested something heavy like a hammer-head or large spanner on the target bases. Just a tip if you are working on a windy day.
- An 18mm open-end spanner, needed for tie-rod lock-nuts on all model Spyders, is an unusual size – most retail sets have 17 & 19mm, but no 18mm. If using the Alignment Kit, 10, 16, 18mm open-enders are supplied, along with an 18mm Crow-foot spanner needed for left side only of 2013> models.
Newsflash: Some new models, 2016> have a different skid-pan, and it does NOT have the convenient opening on the right side for a spanner to access the inner tie-rod lock-nut. For these new models it is necessary to use the crow-foot spanner on BOTH sides!
• back to top •