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Rear Wheel Alignment?


Elio Addict
Mar 20, 2014
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OK, OK boys, it's time to shorten this to what's important and what's not.

Yes alignment to the center of the front, and perfectly to the vertical is most important. By design, this is not a complex assembly with vehicle weight dynamics influencing the geometry. This design does ignore the road surface compliance that more complex suspensions give.

Simple is best. Why? More complex and the advantage goes back to 4 wheelers. Is this good enough? Yes, it works, already tested. Proven elsewhere many years ago.

So about damage, if you do have something that knocks it out of alignment left-right you've also lost your vertical plus any other axis you can think of. So this gets to be very complex to deal with. No shop is set up to do this. Covering all the possibilities via adjusters would be very difficult. Also the normal alignment cost is already competitive with just replacing a swing arm if it is designed simple.

It does need to be weaker than the frame however. But the car is light, so no big deal. So just replace the arm if it gets damaged and live happy. Once the skirt is off, it's easier to replace than a motorcycle arm with a chain, in some respects.

I'll argue the most important issue is the vertical stiffness in a turn because in a three wheeler there is no dynamic adjustment for the body roll due to weight sifting, so you do want a very stiff arm and very little play in the swing bearings.

Elio has a very wide arm mount at the frame, this helps to disarm that play. And the travel on these bearings is very limited. Given that, plus the low weight involved, you only need about as high-tech a bearing set as a heavy bike would need. Even Babbitt bronze flat bearings will do pretty well. The side play below a threshold will not be a problem, again due to the wide mount and the stiffness. Just needs to stay parallel.

And for stiffness up to a point, the thick hollow arm does this quite well. Light and stiff, it's all good.


Elio Addict
Jul 24, 2014
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Pacific, MO
Nice! Can't argue with that (not that that would stop me ;) ).

Not to go "off topic" on my own thread, but did you get a chance to make any more progress on that 3D model (interested parties should check out that thread)...it was looking pretty great!
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