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  • steering head bearings

    I have an 04 with about 26,000 miles on it. I think that the steering head bearings are loose or in need of replacing. ( flop test fail on both sides) Is this something that can be done by a novice or should I let a pro. do it? Local shop said it would be $360.00, does that sound about right for what has to be done? And will it hurt to ride it the rest of the season and wait till winter to get it fixed. I think that is where the excess vibration is coming from.

  • #2
    How mechanically inclined are you?
    Do you feel like you can trust the local shop to repack the bearings and properly adjust the torque on the tension nut for $360?

    Comment


    • #3
      The local shop has done some work for me before, they are ok, if it were a car motor, no problem, just don't trust myself to do the job right the first and only time I have ever done it. Going down the road at 70 mph. is not the time to second guess your work.

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      • #4
        I did mine a couple of years ago together with the forks. It was a hell of a job, very satisfying though. The only thing I would do differently is buy a few extra tools to remove the bearings. Like SKWEARpeg said, how mechanically inclined are you?

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        • #5
          The bearings are not well lubed from the factory. To do it right, you should repack them. Or, you can easily loosen the two pinch bolts on both sides of the top triple tree, tighten the two head nuts with a hammer and screw driver, tighten the center tree nut then retighten the pinch bolts. Better than ignoring it all together.

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          • #6
            A new set of bearings and races is about $34. At a minimum you should loosen the steering head nut and check the condition of the bearings. You could very well only need to repack them (use some high grade marine grease).
            Peace,
            Baron Wilhelm Gustav von Schmidt III
            (But you can call me Joe)

            Comment


            • Ron Caudill
              Ron Caudill commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks for that part number. I hate googling but did confirm and that is a good number for a 2006 as well.

          • #7
            Is there a particular brand of High Grade Grease you guys recommend?

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            • #8
              Any decent marine grade bearing grease. I had a tube from Honda Marine I was using.

              Comment


              • #9
                You never know what might not work right, or get messed up at the dealer. I personally don't want anyone working on my bike but me. But, I have been a mechanic all my life, so naturally I am going to work on my bike. But if you don't feel comfortable doing it, then you don't have much of a choice. Its not that hard to do, but you have to do what is best for your situation. You can study up on what is involved in doing the job, there are videos you can watch and see what is involved. But its your bike and decision. Good luck which ever route you decide to go.
                Where ever you go, there you are.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by cat daddy View Post
                  if it were a car motor, no problem, just don't trust myself to do the job right the first and only time I have ever done it. .
                  If you can work on motors, this will be a snap for you.

                  Originally posted by Shores View Post
                  The bearings are not well lubed from the factory. To do it right, you should repack them. Or, you can easily loosen the two pinch bolts on both sides of the top triple tree, tighten the two head nuts with a hammer and screw driver, tighten the center tree nut then retighten the pinch bolts. Better than ignoring it all together.
                  Doing what Shores says is very easy to do. If you attempt to do the job yourself you have to have a jack which sounds like you have. I took the job a little further than Spokes did although I have done his way on some of my other bikes.

                  Here's how I did it. Whole job takes about 30 minutes and 2 beers.

                  Put bike up on jack so front wheel is off the ground.
                  Remove front wheel (requires removing the brake calipers, 2 bolts on each) I wrap them in rags so as not to scratch the front fender.
                  Cover your gas tank with several rags or a thick blanket material
                  Loosen the 4 bolts clamping the upper triple tree to the fork tubes
                  Remove the center nut on top of the triple tree.
                  Lift the triple tree with the handlebars and cables in tack and place them gently on the "covered" tank or you could string the handlebars up in the air like I do by attaching rope to the joists in my barn.
                  Loosen the double lock nuts on the triple tree up to the end of the threads but not remove. This will allow the lower part of tree to hang low enough for easy access.
                  Squirt a bunch of marine grade grease in the lower part of the tree so the lower bearings are damn near swimming in the stuff.
                  Slide the lower tree back up into place and squirt a bunch of grease in the upper bearing.
                  Tighten the double nut good and snug with a decent amount of force. Then loosen it a little then re-tighten it as best you can by hand
                  Clean as much of the excess grease you can from the top and bottom of the steering neck.
                  Put the top tree back on and just snug the center nut by hand.
                  Then do the flop test and use a punch or screwdriver to tighten the double lock nut under the upper tree until the results of the flop test are just where you want them.
                  Once there, tighten the center nut and the clamp bolts for the tubes, put the wheel back on, then the front calipers.
                  Ride like you stole it!

                  Eezy Peezy!

                  Comment


                  • RRS_07RdStar
                    RRS_07RdStar commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I do this procedure without removing the front wheel. As long as you can get the bike high enough off of the ground, you can use blocks under the wheel to hold it up while greasing bearings. I do my final flop test with the front end totally assembled as ridden, the weight on front end has an affect on how the forks fall.

                  • grubsie
                    grubsie commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You are correct about putting the wheel back on etc before doing the flop test. I put that part of it in it in the wrong order. Good catch!
                    I find it easier to remove the wheel though for the greasing.

                • #11
                  If you can do a motor, then you can do the steering bearings.

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    So if I'm reading this right. If I just want to tighten the bearing I can loosen the pinch bolts center cover bolt and tighten the nut with a hammer and flat screw driver? I assume that you would try to tighten the lower bolt and the top bolt will come with it, correct? Look like both the lower and upper nuts are together with a set tab? I don't have any movement in the wheel, just will fail the flop test. I think due to the fairing with speakers and amp in it.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      If it hasn't been lubed in a while, I would do so before tightening it. With the top off, it's not that much more work to drop the steering and load it with grease. I do mine every year.
                      Peace,
                      Baron Wilhelm Gustav von Schmidt III
                      (But you can call me Joe)

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Originally posted by Txulrich View Post
                        If it hasn't been lubed in a while, I would do so before tightening it. With the top off, it's not that much more work to drop the steering and load it with grease. I do mine every year.
                        Every 2 years works for me. I know it needs looked at when I get a Slight Wobble in a higher speed curve. That's the for sure Flop Test that works for me.

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Originally posted by Horsehammerr View Post
                          Every 2 years works for me. I know it needs looked at when I get a Slight Wobble in a higher speed curve. That's the for sure Flop Test that works for me.
                          YMMV. I can ride year round here in Texas. Your profile doesn't say where you're from so I can only guess that you probably garage it for part of the year.
                          Peace,
                          Baron Wilhelm Gustav von Schmidt III
                          (But you can call me Joe)

                          Comment


                          • #16
                            Originally posted by Txulrich View Post

                            YMMV. I can ride year round here in Texas. Your profile doesn't say where you're from so I can only guess that you probably garage it for part of the year.
                            was all on old site. reentered

                            Comment


                            • #17
                              Originally posted by NCB View Post
                              So if I'm reading this right. If I just want to tighten the bearing I can loosen the pinch bolts center cover bolt and tighten the nut with a hammer and flat screw driver? I assume that you would try to tighten the lower bolt and the top bolt will come with it, correct? Look like both the lower and upper nuts are together with a set tab? I don't have any movement in the wheel, just will fail the flop test. I think due to the fairing with speakers and amp in it.

                              The two nuts are separate.
                              After loosening the pinch bolts and removing the crown nut, you can lift the upper bridge(if the windshield brackets have been removed).
                              You need the upper bridge far enough out of the way to lift the funky two legged lock washer.
                              Now you tighten the torque with the bottom tension nut. Then, run the top nut down to finger tight, only tightening a bit more as needed to drop the funky two legged lock washer back on.

                              When its all together, with weight off the front wheel and the bars centered, a slight nudge should start the wheel falling one way or the other. The wheel should move smoothly to the stops, and not bounce.

                              When you’re in there, you’ll see how you need to have room enough to lower the front wheel far enough with the top assembly removed from the top end of the Stem, to expose and repack the lower stem bearing.

                              Comment


                              • #18
                                Originally posted by SKWEARpeg View Post


                                The two nuts are separate.
                                After loosening the pinch bolts and removing the crown nut, you can lift the upper bridge(if the windshield brackets have been removed).
                                Txulrich - You need to remove the speedometer assembly to lift this off. It also makes more room to get at the crown nut.
                                You need the upper bridge far enough out of the way to lift the funky two legged lock washer.
                                Txulrich - I would remove both nuts and examine the top bearing. If it's worn or dry, you will know if you need to look at the bottom one.
                                Now you tighten the torque with the bottom tension nut. Then, run the top nut down to finger tight, only tightening a bit more as needed to drop the funky two legged lock washer back on.

                                When its all together, with weight off the front wheel and the bars centered, a slight nudge should start the wheel falling one way or the other. The wheel should move smoothly to the stops, and not bounce.

                                When you’re in there, you’ll see how you need to have room enough to lower the front wheel far enough with the top assembly removed from the top end of the Stem, to expose and repack the lower stem bearing.
                                My comments above in red.
                                Peace,
                                Baron Wilhelm Gustav von Schmidt III
                                (But you can call me Joe)

                                Comment


                                • SKWEARpeg
                                  SKWEARpeg commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  I mostly wanted to address his question about the relationship between the two nuts.
                                  It’s been awhile since I had one apart, but I know there was a handful of little odds and ends of “oh crap, that comes off too”. :^)
                                  I’m still glad I installed zerks in both of mine.

                              • #19
                                Does not sound that bad just to grease the bearings, but what if the bearings need to be replaced? All of it would have to come apart. How easy is it to remove them? And do the races need to be replaced also?

                                Comment


                                • #20
                                  Originally posted by cat daddy View Post
                                  Does not sound that bad just to grease the bearings, but what if the bearings need to be replaced? All of it would have to come apart. How easy is it to remove them? And do the races need to be replaced also?
                                  It is more involved, and does require complete disassembly. Most guys service the forks at the same time, because it’s all in pieces.
                                  Yes, you will be replacing the races as well.
                                  You drive the races out of the neck from above and below.
                                  The lower bearing can be a bit of a stinker to get off the Stem. Some press the Stem down thru the lower bridge thus removing the lower bearing. Others have managed to work the bearing up using a cold chisel to leverage the bearing up off of the lower bridge.

                                  AllBalls makes a good bearing replacement set. It’s the same for all years, and comes with seals.

                                  Comment

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