One of the big issues with the trike, when I first got it, was the lack of dampening on the steering.
With both hands on the bars, all was good and there was no noticeable wobble.
However, as soon as I took one hand off things would start getting tricky. Under 30 mph the wobble was there, but not too bad. Over 30 mph, when you dropped the revs, the wobble would start and was pretty much self powering until the bar would nearly be ripped out of your hand.
Going over about 3 mph in reverse was what can only be described as dangerous. Again, keeping two hands on and all was pretty good, but use only one hand then within a few feet the bar would be ripped out of my hand, and the steering go on full lock.
This only happened once!
I soon realised that I needed to fit a damper, and I needed to fit one soon The last thing I want was a speed wobble at silly miles per hour.
I have a mate who has a similar trike, and I have seen his damper. It was like a black tube, with a bulbous bit at one end and a rod at the other.
I then searched though loads of listings on ebay to try and fine a similar unit. I soon found that it was a steering damper off of an old style VW Beetle.
I then wanted a ball joint on the end to make a more flexible connection, allowing for a nice clean and versatile fixing on the front forks.
The guys at Pro Parts in Waterlooville allowed me to rifle though all their suspension parts, in the store room, until I found the ideal part. A “Vauxhall Vectra Anti Roll Bar Stabiliser Drop Link” not only had two ball joints, but the link bar was the same width as the bar in the end of the damper.
So, the plan was to cut off the hooked part from the VW Damper, and cut one of the ball joints off, and then weld the two together.
I did a mock line up on the trike, allowing for a full extension with the steering on full lock in one direction, and a full contraction with the steering locked the other way. From this I worked out that I needed about 3 inches of the rod left on the ball joint.
I tapered the edges of the two ends of the rods, at about a 45 degree angle.
This meant that I had a nice valley to fill once I started welding. This should lead to a nice strong weld, not that one is really required, and one that would not need to much tidying up.
The weld was a little proud, which was a good thing because after cleaning it up on the bench grinder the weld was hardly noticeable.
For mounting, I welded a bolt onto the cross member, at a point that I determined by extending the damper so half the rod was showing. I then lined the ball joint up to a point where I would mount it on the forks.
Next, I made up a U shaped mount, with a hole drilled into it to take the ball joint mounting. This was then welded to the forks.
I did have a lot of trouble trying to do up the nut on the ball joint, due to lack of space in side the mount I made. I then noticed that you can get a 17mm on the bottom of the ball joint thread, and turn that, instead of the nut. Saying that, I did have to grind the spanner down so it was only about 2mm thick 🙂
So, after testing it there was a definite improvement. I could now take a hand off at over 30mph and there was only the slightest of wobble.
I then decided to err on the side of caution, plus I had a spare ball joint, so I made up another damper and mounted that on the other side of the cross member.
I can now happily take both hands off the bars, though I only did it the once for testing. No point in testing fate, is there?