Traveler Alignment

Late May 2015 I purchased a Traveler directly from TerraTrike and have for the most part enjoy riding it.  However I have on 3 separate occasions brought it into my LBS to have the alignment fixed.  Each time they've told me that the problem has been rectified and that everything is spot on after being checked by two mechanics/techs.  Today again I brought it into the store and told them that this time it is pulling to the left vs. the right the previous two trips in.  I've gone thru 3 sets of tires in less than one year.   I'm becoming extremely frustrated and upset with this problem.  I believe my local shops when they tell me that everything is in proper alignment.  What is being missed, why do have have this re-occurring issue with my trike?  Lastly is this Trike a lemon?

Comments

  • How tight are the cap bolts on top of the king pins? They should be just "thumb tight". Anything more than that will tend to make the steering pull to either right or left requiring constant correction to maintain a straight line. Tire pressures on right and left should be equal and your rear wheel should be centered on a line between your two front wheels when you are going straight.
  • Mike, thanks!  What are cap bolts and king pins?  I'd like to pass that info along to the shop; but before I do that I'd like to understand what those are.  I think the shops have just been focusing on the Tie Rod only.
  • Where your steering arms are attached to the wheel/brake assembly you will see a black plastic cap held in place with a single 5mm hex head screw. That is the tensioning adjustment that is used to compensate for play in the steering as the bushing wear. As mine came from the factory these were set too tight which caused the steering to "stick" going across center from left to right or vice versa. I re-greased my king pins and adjusted the cap bolts to "thumb tight" which cured the problem.

    Check your rider's manual (or download it) if you need help locating the bits of which I speak. Be forewarned though that TerraTrike has used more than one "recommended procedure" for front end setup. My trike is a Rover but you should find the method I used works the same on the Traveler.
  • Thanks again, I much appreciate your insight!  I'll pass this information on to them tomorrow.  Hopefully they'll understand and this problem will be finally be solved. 
  • About the tire wear, how many miles have you ridden in a year?  That wear seems to be extreme.
  • @ Florida_bound...My best guess is under 500.  I have a Mountain Bike also, so I switch between the two.
    @jamesr...I purchased the Trike directly from TerraTrike, so I would hope that they trued the wheels before shipping.  Penn Cycle is a chain of stores that is the Dealer in the Minneapolis area.  I've gone to two different stores with this issue and both keep telling me that alignment is correct.  As for doing a QC check ride afterwards before; this time I'll ask/tell them to do that before handing off to me.
  • @Enrigue64....My final question to them yesterday before leaving was if they were taking into account the frame flexing.  The mechanic/tech didn't know as he was relatively unfamiliar with TerraTrikes.  And when I pick it up I will ask them to check alignment with me sitting in the seat.  I had a car like this once, the dealership swore up and down that everything was within manufacture specs.  Or at least until I told them to take it for a test drive.  That changed their mind quickly.
    @Jamesr..I haven't noticed any wheel wobble which would indicate that truing is needed.  I'll take into account anything and everything possible and raise as many questions as possible.
  • I suspect TerraTrike (and probably most others) specify their toe-in measurements without the rider's weight presuming that it will stay within an acceptable range for "average" rider weights. Adjusted with a 250# plus rider the specified toe-in may actually result in a toe-out condition with a lighter weight rider. I checked mine without being in the seat. I'm a relatively svelte 155# so probably well within their target range. Somewhere I read that the "average" American adult male weighs 170#.
  • Here's an update for those interested.  I received a phone call from the LBS and here's what will be happening.  TerraTrike will be sending both the LBS and myself another new set of tires.  The shop will receive some small parts (unknown to me what these are, nor do I really care); they will retake measurements once the new parts are installed with a person close to my weight in the seat at the time. They finally admitted that the frame does indeed flex with a person on it. If after all of this and the alignment is still off, TerraTrike will replace the entire Trike.  I certainly hope that it doesn't come to that.  

    And guys can you please take the discussion about disc brake rotors warping to another subject.  Thank you
  • I wear Ragsters so my toes are always in.
  • The Terra trike website has a very good video detailing the front end alignment for both steering systems and both frame materials. I'd suggest viewing it for everyone.
  • Here's a bit of an update.  
    Recently I spoke with one of the more knowledgeable techs at my local Penn Cycle (local chain of LBS in the Twin Cities).  He pointed out to me that since the tie rod was spring loaded there would be a great amount of play in the steering (a design flaw in his opinion) and I tend to agree with that.  A possible solution of using a non spring loaded tie rod from a Rover or any other model would greatly reduce, if not eliminate that  problem.  I can live with spending an additional 5-10 minutes having the attach and remove the tie rod.

    So....now what are your opinions on this idea?
  • I am experiencing this same issue with a Traveler I purchased May 28th, on my 2nd set of tires and they are wearing very fast, I drive approximately 6-8 miles a day weather permitting. I am dealing with Terra and my LBS on how to fix this. How did you come out on this Stumblefoot??
  • My Traveler is at the bike shop Terra is sending new outriggers and tires. Hope to get it back soon.
  • Keep us posted. Guud luck!
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