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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, me again. 2002 ST4S, first time removing front wheel from this particular bike. Brake calipers are off, axle nut off, fork pinch bolts plenty loose. I tried tapping the axle out, light taps with a dead blow. If I can move it far enough to access the through hole, I'm home free. But as I tap, the spacer on the right side (that's a spacer, right?) seems to slide into and jam up partway inside the bottom of the fork. At least, I think that's what's going on. Correct me if I'm wrong. There's a ton of side-to-side wheel play at that point.

With axle tight:


After trying to tap axle out:


Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Aram
 

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often when people overtighten the axle pinch screws it deforms these axles and makes them hard to get through the bearings. knock it back in, rotate it 90 degrees, tighten the pinches up and see if that helps. maybe rotate it 60 degrees, tighten, loosen, another 60 sort of thing if it's really crabby.
 

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If I understand this correctly, the spacer is fused to the axle, but the axle is freely moving side to side through the fork legs, but whose motion is limited by the frozen spacer.

If this is the case, I think heat is your friend here. Put a wide steel hose clamp around the spacer and tighten it until you see God. Then lightly heat the spacer all around its circumference and use an adjustable pliers to grab the clamp/spacer and work it axially until it breaks free. The clamp will take the abuse of the pliers. You don't want too much heat here because of the bearings and seals etc but a little will help.
 

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I have had it when the axle is rusted on the bearings due to lack of grease. I used a drift and knocked it out but had to hit it pretty bloody hard.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If I understand this correctly, the spacer is fused to the axle, but the axle is freely moving side to side through the fork legs, but whose motion is limited by the frozen spacer.

If this is the case, I think heat is your friend here. Put a wide steel hose clamp around the spacer and tighten it until you see God. Then lightly heat the spacer all around its circumference and use an adjustable pliers to grab the clamp/spacer and work it axially until it breaks free. The clamp will take the abuse of the pliers. You don't want too much heat here because of the bearings and seals etc but a little will help.
First, thanks to everyone for your help.

Casor, that does seem to be the case. Clever idea. I think I'll try it.

Safe riding,
Aram
 

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there's no spacer on the right, that's the axle. there's a spacer on the lh side where the speedo drive used to be. if it has moved that far then nothing is seized.
 

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there's no spacer on the right, that's the axle. there's a spacer on the lh side where the speedo drive used to be. if it has moved that far then nothing is seized.
Judging from the diagram here https://ducatiparts.bmwmcjax.com/a/Ducati__ST4S/_50019_5689211/FRONT-AND-REAR-WHEELS/STST4S_USA_2003-86.html it appears that @belter is correct and there is no spacer, - what we're seeing is simply the difference in the diameter of the axle that looks like a spacer. Either the axle frozen on the inner wheel bearing race ID or something (rust, crud) is preventing it from sliding through the fork. The forks are split underneath - a hardwood or aluminum wedge (OK, use a shorty screwdriver if you're careful) may be inserted in the split and tapped in carefully open it up a few thou to give the fat end of the axle more clearance.

You have to carefully analyze this thing and ID exactly where and how the axle is hanging up. What a pain in the neck.
 

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I'm also assuming that you've hosed the offending parts down with PB Blaster, WD-40 or KY Jelly or some other damn thing.
 

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Listen to what belter said. Rotate, tighten pinch bolts, try again. That works every time.
 

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As others have said You simply have a crushed axle due to it being over tightened, you are trying to push a oval through a round hole and it is likely oval on both sides. Get a plastic or other soft driver and beat that sucker out of there. You will do no harm to the forks and the axle is already done, it is common when people do not use a torque wrench and do not know how tight to make things.

I have a number of customers with similar axles and they choose to let me deal with it, you know know why to not over tighten the axle so if you buy a new one you are not likely going to cause the problem again. Buying used axles is gambling because this is so common, if the used axle is guaranteed then that's one thing otherwise either get used to it or buy a new one. And a torque wrench.

There are many critical fasteners I do not torque because I have been doing this so long, those pinch bolts (or any pinch bolt for that matter) I always torque. Now pull up your skirt and get that axle out of there! lol
 

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+4 on Belter's diagnosis. I had the same thing happen. Wondered how the axle could increase in diameter with time. I could just get it out but it did not come easy. It was only tight on the right side (from riding position view), which is the larger diameter end. I put some calipers on the diameters and had a measurable difference. I put mine in a vice (nylon jaws) and very carefully reshaped it.

r-

Tom C.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone. I'll get to this after I get my riding mower back together. Yep, it's that kind of month.

I appreciate your help.

Best,
Aram
 

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Mine was a real PITA on reassembly the 1st time since my bike was purchased used and no amount of sanding was going to cut it. Had it machined back in shape. Damn axles are expensive!
 
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