Tuesday, 8 December 2020

FH - Swinging Arm bushes

A while ago, last May in fact I removed the SilentBloc swinging arm bearings and I wrote about it here. Since then, lots of things have got in the way - not only the Honda stuff, the QR50 and the CX500 but also the rear mudguard and the oil filter for the FH and of course the W/NG engine rebuild. Anyhow, as regular readers will know, the oil filter is done and I am on to the swinging arm. I'm doing this next as I want to check the oil filter will fit (and can be re-fitted) with the FERC in place and I can't do that without the swinging arm fitted, so here goes.

Before I start, the inspiration for this job, the details of the bushes and indeed the spindle (and it's machining) came from Steve Carter, who's done more miles on Huntmasters than probably anyone alive today and who is a stalwart member of the AOMCC and a daily contributor to the AOMCC forum.

Thanks Steve.

So, I have two oil filled bronze bushes measuring 22 mm ID x 32 mm OD x 50 mm long that I bought from Simply Bearings under the part number AM2232-50. The cleaned out journals for the old SilentBloc bushes measure exactly 1 1/4", which is 31.75 mm and we will want an interference fit of maybe 0.002" or 0.05 mm.


Well, you know what is coming next don't you. Charlie will start banging on about the virtues of his mini-lathe. What puzzled me for a while was how to hold the bushes to machine the outside diameters to size - I considered expanding mandrels, grub screws in a mandrel and Loctite. I was nervous of using Loctite as the these bushes are porous and I was worried about getting the bush off the mandrel.

As it happened, I just went for it and did it. This Ever Build cyanoacrylate is old and cold and may not work very well but I put a 1/4" wide ring of it around the 22 mm mandrel and slid the bush on - in a few minutes it was set.


I machined the bushes quickly and easily to size using the power feed and a carbide tipped left hand tool running at about 400 rpm. and it cut beautifully with no complaints from the glue. Actually, the cutting forces probably don't test the glue very much as this bronze is quite soft.

When considering fits, I had thought about cutting a clearance fit and using Loctite 603 Bearing Retainer, but discarded the idea as I should be able to machine a reasonable interference fit and not require a liquid retainer. As it turned out, this worked beautifully with the first bush which had a medium driving fit, but I cut the second one slightly undersize so I used some retainer with that. They both held up to the reaming forces.

The mandrel knocked out very easily and the bushes were pushed in flush with the end of the swinging arm tube, since I knew that there was minimal end float with the swinging arm in the frame:


The spindle material I got from Steve was 7/8", which is about 22.25 mm so we needed to ream the bushes. The spindle needs to carry the original stud through the middle, which created a problem - my lathe is not long enough to drill out a suitable round bar, nor does it have the capacity to pass such a bar through the lathe spindle. This is where Steve comes in again - he had a bit of bar long enough to provide spindles for two of his bikes, mine and another friend’s so he ended up making four. All I had to do was trim it to length to suit my frame, which I could do with a fixed steady. 

With the reaming done, I could oil and fit the spindle - fortunately it fitted both sides simultaneously with out any adjustment, so I was lucky - I had taken no precautions to align the bush I was reaming with the other bush.

The fit is great - there is no play that I can feel on the bench, though it may be a different story when the bike is on the ground.


Last thing I need to do is fit a grease nipple, though I want to assemble the arm back in the bike so I can see where to put the nipple for best access.

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