How to check for a bent axle on a Bandolero
If you’re brand new to racing, or mechanical repair, you may wonder how to check for a bent axle on a Bandolero? It’s really not too hard, and unless you are the luckiest person on the planet, with the luckiest kid, you’re probably gonna get one or a dozen if you race very long against very many competitors.
Is a bent axle on a Bandolero hard to see?
It can be. You can have a very minute bend in an axle and never see it. If it’s a minor bend, the easiest way to check, is to install your ride height blocks underneath the bird cages and jack the car up. Place the car on jack stands. When you have the car setting safely on the stands, by hand you begin to slowly roll the rear tires in one direction. If you closely watch the chain guard, or the brake rotor, as you are turning, you’ll see that bent axle on a Bandolero if there is one. The chain guard, or the rotor and caliper will wobble back and forth as you roll the axle over. The worse the bent axle on a Bandolero, the more exaggerated the wobble will be. A very minor bend can be harder to see, but its still going to wobble to a lesser degree. If you are still unsure, you can run parallel strings down the side of the car from front to rear affixed to jack stands. Then measure off the hard surface of the rim to each side of the string. You will find the measurement off if its bent. When that string is set up, you can still just rotate the tire and wheel in a few rotations and watch. You’ll see it turn up quick.
What do I do after I find it?
Well, normally it’s not too bad of a job to change one. You’ll have an easier time handling the assembly if you pull the rear tires off. You’ll need to pull off the chain and unhook the rear brake caliper and set it out of the way. You’ll need to unhook the trailing arms from the frame on each side. After you have those things done you can fish the axle out as an assembly. Before you ever get to this point, early on in the race season, i always take a paint stick and mark in a circular motion around the axle where the various components land. If you’ve properly aligned the components before you raced, you can pull some quick measurements when it comes time to reassemble. Sometimes the keyway on the axle can get messed up a little on the really hard hits and that is what will give you a little issue. We like to pull ours out as an assembly, and then take them apart outside of the car. It’s not a requirement, but it works for us. An old trick when you have it apart and have everything stripped off the axle except the sprocket hub and the rotor hub is to hold the axle vertical, like a walking staff and pick it up with both hands and bang the end down solid on a block of wood. That will get even the most stubborn sprocket hub or rotor hub sliding down and off.This of course is after you have all of the allen bolts loosened. Make sure you pay attention to the taper direction of the hub before you knock it apart. Once side is machined flat on the hub and one side has a taper. Put it back together the same way. When you get the hubs, bird cages etc assembled in the proper order then you can slide the unit back in. if you’ve marked everything, it should be close. set the car back down on the ground at ride height, and then set the left hand axle clearance. systematically line up the rest of the components after that. pay particular attendion to the chain and the brakes, and make sure that you are perfectly aligned.