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Old 07-01-09, 11:55 AM   #1
Bam42685
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Dropout Alignment

Would it be possible to align my dropouts with a long steel rod tapped at one end. I would screw into the end with a screw the same diamter as the axle then use the rod for leverage. Will this work? Also, would I need to support the stays?
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Old 07-01-09, 12:04 PM   #2
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I don't think your proposed procedure would work, because as soon as you remove the rod, the dropouts would spring back to their pre-procedure alignment.

The best solution is to cold set the dropouts using something like the Park FFG-2. If it's an aluminum frame or 753 steel, cold setting won't work.
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Old 07-01-09, 12:13 PM   #3
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I mean that I would take a rod several feet long and bolt it to the dropout and use it like a prybar. I coldset the frame yesterday and now the right side dropout isn't parallel to the other.
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Old 07-01-09, 12:18 PM   #4
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I mean that I would take a rod several feet long and bolt it to the dropout and use it like a prybar. I coldset the frame yesterday and now the right side dropout isn't parallel to the other.
Lets say you took threaded rod and bolted it to the dropout with big washers on both sides.....you'd bent the rod before you moved the dropouts. With that method you still wouldnt know if the 2 sides were properly aligned.

Dropout tools are very stout.
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Old 07-01-09, 12:32 PM   #5
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I used an old solid axle with nuts on either side of one dropout and it was very easy to align the dropout by putting pressure on the end of the axle. The dropouts don't bend, the narrow ends of the stays bend. I reinstalled it with the axle running through both dropouts to check the alignment. It's not as accurate as professional tools, but I think I got it close enough. It's a Reynolds 531 frame with Huret dropouts. A threaded rod would give you so much leverage that you'd need to be careful not to overbend.
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Old 07-01-09, 12:35 PM   #6
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I would use cold rolled steel with an M10 tapped hole and a socket head cap screw. I've been checking alignment with two M10 x 80 screws to see if they point at each other. Would the LBS be my best bet?
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Old 07-01-09, 02:27 PM   #7
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The best solution is to cold set the dropouts using something like the Park FFG-2. If it's an aluminum frame or 753 steel, cold setting won't work.
Not a problem with 753, as it's the dropouts (usually forged from mild steel) that bend during alignment, not the tubes.
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Old 07-01-09, 04:48 PM   #8
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I just examined the frame carefully, and it's true that the dropout bent, not the tube.
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Old 07-01-09, 10:17 PM   #9
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Go to an old, good bike shop, they should have a Campy tool kit which includes dropout alignment tools, that will allow you to correctly align the bent dropouts
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Old 07-02-09, 06:46 AM   #10
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I just examined the frame carefully, and it's true that the dropout bent, not the tube.
I'm going to try your technique tonight. I have a length of threaded rod, if it goes OK I should be able rig up something inexpensive.
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Old 07-02-09, 09:07 AM   #11
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I'm (still....) working on a Motobecane Mirage mixte frame for my daughter that took some damage in a previous life. I've got the dropouts pretty much aligned, but the derailleur hanger is off enough that the RD isn't aligned well. Last night I started the process of bolting in an old axle to keep the dropouts from moving, while attempting to bend the hanger into shape. If I cannot bend it into submission, then the unthinkable... cut it off and substitute a chrome bolt-on hanger from my stock of cheap bike parts.
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Old 07-02-09, 09:40 AM   #12
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Fibber, there's a tool for aligning the derailleur hanger, but it's expensive. You can bold the wheel in and just bend the hanger with a big adjustable wrench. The problem is, you can't see how well aligned it is until everything is together. But you can do it this way. Make sure that the jockey wheels are in the same plane as one of the sprockets on the freewheel.

I'm seriously considering buying dropout alignment tools and maybe even the derailleur hanger tool. But making them has its appeal, too.
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Old 07-02-09, 10:37 AM   #13
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I found a hanger alignment tool at a garage sale recently. I'd be happy to loan it out to anyone who wants to pay round trip postage from 80301. It's like the Park DAG-1 without the little feeler rod so you need to use a ruler instead.
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Old 07-02-09, 11:34 AM   #14
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Thanks, guys! Looking at the DAG-2 on the Parktool page (I should have known that 'real' bike mechanics have a tool for fixing anything...) gave me some ideas on how to assess the multiple degrees of twist that this tang of metal has suffered.

I cannot do much with it with an actual rear wheel in place, as the cluster impedes wrench access. Thats why the bare threaded axle. But something that bolts into the hole would provide both grip and leverage, with a reduced risk that it will bend at the hole itself. Worth trying....
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