Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Québec, Québec, Canada
Bikes: Fuji Touring 64cm, Peugeot Canada PB-18 61cm and winter beaters
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Dishing... What a fun thing. You got the principle right - you want to loosen all non-drive-side spokes and perhaps tighten all drive-side spokes. The difference in tension between the drive-side and non-drive-side spokes is really high, especially if you have a 8+ speed cassette and a symmetric rim (as opposed to an asymmetric, or off-center rim).
The drive-side spokes will easily have twice as much tension as the non-drive-side spokes. I've seen figures as to the tension difference between drive-side and non-drive-side spokes but I can't seem to find them again - the difference is huge, though.
You're not looking at half-turn adjustments here. My guess is that you'll need to loosen your non-drive-side spokes by a couple of turns each. Assuming that your drive-side spokes are at the proper (quite high) tension already, you won't need to increase their tension.
Since you don't have a dishing tool, I suggest you do the redishing with the tire on. Eyeball it, and measure the chainstay-to-tire distance on both sides. Once the dishing seems good, which you'll achieve by relieving a lot of tension on the non-drive-side spokes, retrue the wheel in both lateral and radial aspects.
Once you're about done with the truing, don't forget to give all spokes a good stress relief, and don't be afraid to use a lot of force in that operation. Small and light bike mechanics put the wheel on the floor and walk on it, and the hit of a pothole is probably more than your hands can deliver - so put on gloves, grab the spokes four at a time, two pairs from each side, and squeeze them as hard as you can. You could also do the stress relief with a left-side crankarm, like Sheldon did. Stress relief is a critically important part of building a wheel that will stay true.
As for your front derailleur shifting issues, well... Triple chainrings are more capricious than doubles. You need to have the cable tension right, but more important that that, your low limit screw needs to be adjusted perfectly or you won't get good shifting performance.