I humbly suggest you read this entire page (including the bit about reassembly) once before you start. Oh, and there is a companion page on how to remove the front wheel too...
These are the tools you will need:
- Something to tap the axle out after you remove the nut
- A large 27mm wrench, or a 1/2" drive with a 27mm socket
- A torque wrench (for tightening the nut properly after reassembly
- A 12mm wrench
- A 6mm Allen wrench
- (optional) a 14mm Allen wrench, or something else 14mm in size [the little black gizmo on the right is a Sears Craftsman miniature 3/8" socket drive, with a 14mm head -- designed for using sockets in places too cramped to use a ratchet handle -- very useful!]
First, put the bike on a level surface, then put the bike on the centerstand. If you use a 3/4" piece of wood under the centerstand then the wheel will come out much easier (though this isn't absolutely necessary). You can leave the saddlebags on if you want, but they are so easy to take off you might as well remove them.
Remove the 27mm axle nut on the left side of the wheel. I didn't shoot a photo of that as it's pretty obvious. Not so obvious is the fact that you must remove the bolt that holds the rear brake torque arm. Use the 6mm Allen and the 12mm wrench. Remove the bolt and nut. Using an old bread pan (or other cast-off kitchen container) to hold the parts helps prevent losing them by inadvertantly kicking them into that scary dark place in your garage.
Now that the axle nut is off, you can remove the axle pinch bolt on the right side with the 12mm wrench. It's purpose is to hold the axle in place should the nut accidently come off. It doesn't have to come out, it just has to be loose enough that you can remove the axle, which you will do next.
Larry Grant discovered that the OEM toolkits have this 14mm extension on the sparkplug wrench that is perfect for fitting into the unthreaded end of the axle to aid in removal. Doh! I never thought of using the stock toolkit...
Note the position of the spacers on the axle before you remove it. One is between the caliper bracket and the wheel, and the thin washer goes between the caliper bracket and the swingarm.
Tap the axle with something soft (I use a plastic mallet) until the threaded end is flush with the swingarm. Now comes the slightly tricky part...
Sit on your butt on the floor behind the bike, with the soles of your feet wedged under each side of the rear wheel. This is so you can change the angle of your feet to take the weight off the rear wheel (and axle) and make it easier to remove the axle. If you're lucky, you can grasp the right end of the axle, which will now be protruding a ways from the side of the swingarm, and twist it out.
If that doesn't work, then use the 14mm Allen wrench (or the Craftsman gizmo, or a nut with a 14mm head) to get a little leverage on the axle and twist it out. By moving your feet you can feel when the axle is loosest, and pull it out then.
After the axle comes out, the large silver washer (which I mentioned two photos above) will probably fall somewhere. Don't loose it. The silver spacer will probably remain in place stuck into the wheel (as it did in the photo above). Wiggle the brake caliper out of position and let it hang as also shown in the photo above.
Important note: do not depress the rear brake pedal when the caliper is removed. It will make it tough to slip over the rear brake disk on reassembly.
Keeping the axle out of the dirt is a trick sometimes. Here's one idea for where to put it...
You may have to use your feet again to lift and wiggle the wheel some to the right to get it to detach from the final drive housing. I did.
Now, if you put a board under the centerstand, the wheel will just roll out at the slight angle shown in the photo above. If you didn't use a board, then some serious wiggling will be necessary, and maybe even removing the rear reflector which is bolted to the lower edge of the rear fender. I did it once without the board, and without removing the reflector, but it was tight.
At this point, the wheel will be off. Pull the silver spacer off the wheel and put it with the other parts you removed. This photo shows what you should have if you didn't loose anything. The 27mm axle nut and washer, the brake caliper bolt and nut, the axle with right-side washer, and the silver spacer.
Congratulations!You did it, and the rear wheel is now off. Chances are, you did this because you want to change tires, and there will be a Webpage here Real Soon Now to show you how to do that too.
ReassemblyReassembly is done in the reverse order. You may need to pry the rear brake pads apart with a large flat-blade screwdriver to get it to slip over the rear brake disk.
The SERVICE MANUAL suggest that you should lube the axle, the wheel bearings, and the oil seal lips with lithium soap based grease. I also lubed the gear on the wheel where it mates with the final drive housing.
I use a tire iron or large flat-blade screwdriver to slowly pry the rear brake pads apart, so it is easier to slide them over the rear brake disk. After you get everything reassembled, it is wise to pump the rear brake pedal a few times until you feel it return to normal. Not doing this can mean that your first stop after completing this work will be very exciting!
There is a long metal sleeve in the final drive housing that should have remained in place (mine did) when you removed the wheel. The axle slips through it. Make sure yours is in place or the axle won't fit properly.
Here are the correct torque values for the nuts/bolt:
- 90 ft-lbs (125 Nm)for the 27mm axle nut
- 22 ft-lbs (30 Nm) for the brake rod nut
- 11 ft-lbs (16 Nm) for the pinch bolt
Before you put all your tools away, and declare the job done, check everything one more time to make sure you put it together right, and that all the nuts/bolts are properly tight. Now would be a convenient time to check the tire's air pressure too, and pump the rear brake a few times.
"Measure twice, cut once"...
Copyright © 2003, by H. Marc Lewis. All rights reserved.