Steering stem bearings


18 replies to this topic
  • turnbuckle

Posted July 23, 2013 - 03:37 PM

#1

I don't think I've seen pics or a thread about steering stem bearings, so I thought I'd take a few pics while I serviced mine..

1st thing was remove the cluster and bars from the top clamp..
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Next was remove the top clamp..
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Then the wheel, forks and lower clamp....

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Crappy pic, but here's how much grease was on the upper bearing- not much..

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Upper again, not much grease..
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And the lower..

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I re-greased both bearings with Belray w/p and slapped it all back together..

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Wasn't too tough of a job, the only electrics I had to disconnect were the headlight and ignition switch.
If I was to do it again, I'd drop the forks first, makes it a whole lot easier to get at all the nuts & connectors.
Any questions, feel free to ask.

Edited by turnbuckle, July 23, 2013 - 03:51 PM.


  • slolane

Posted July 23, 2013 - 04:20 PM

#2

Nice! Thank you for sharing.

  • hockeyrick

Posted July 23, 2013 - 05:46 PM

#3

Yes, always wondered how the factory guys grease em up!
How long did the whole process take?

  • turnbuckle

Posted July 23, 2013 - 05:59 PM

#4

Yes, always wondered how the factory guys grease em up!
How long did the whole process take?


About 2 hrs, give or take a few beers.
The manual says "Remove this, then that", but I really took my time and examined every single connection during disassembly to determine what exactly had to be screwed with.
Doing that really helped on re-assembly- it all went back together without a hitch & about a 3rd the time it took to break down.

Edited by turnbuckle, July 23, 2013 - 06:07 PM.


  • gnath9

Posted July 23, 2013 - 06:20 PM

#5

I did not do my own work but, after reading threads and asking questions ... I was told the first thing the race guys do to a bike is tear it all the way down for a full lube job. I paid $125.00 for my axle and wheel bearings along with the steering stem as your have just done and my swing arm and rear suspension linkage.
At that price I will pay it again someday ... :thumbsup:

  • hockeyrick

Posted July 23, 2013 - 06:30 PM

#6

About 2 hrs, give or take a few beers.
The manual says "Remove this, then that", but I really took my time and examined every single connection during disassembly to determine what exactly had to be screwed with.
Doing that really helped on re-assembly- it all went back together without a hitch & about a 3rd the time it took to break down.


I love doing my own wrenching, there are little things I like to do after my years of riding and racing, one always picks up little tidbits of info, especially from the "old" days!
The only thing i really have not done is split the cases type of work. But to me its very ZEN to work and know your bike completely.
And I just hate to pay someone to do something that I can do. Same on a vehicle, pay a guy to change disc pads????? Gimme a break!
Thanks for the info!

  • slolane

Posted July 23, 2013 - 06:44 PM

#7

I will do this over the winter when there is ice out.

  • turnbuckle

Posted July 23, 2013 - 07:12 PM

#8

I love doing my own wrenching, there are little things I like to do after my years of riding and racing, one always picks up little tidbits of info, especially from the "old" days!
The only thing i really have not done is split the cases type of work. But to me its very ZEN to work and know your bike completely.
And I just hate to pay someone to do something that I can do. Same on a vehicle, pay a guy to change disc pads????? Gimme a break!
Thanks for the info!


Splitting cases isn't any harder than any other situation, just gotta have the right tools and manual for the job.
I recently had the privilege of completely tearing down an XR and replacing one half of the engine cases because some nimrod tried to pry the flywheel off with a screwdriver and broke a chunk off the case the size of a lemon wedge, then left the whole entire bike, motor & all, in 3 milk crates.
Got the manual, specific tools for that model and all went as planned.
Crack a cold one, read, read again, search, read, etc..

Edited by turnbuckle, July 23, 2013 - 07:22 PM.


  • turnbuckle

Posted July 23, 2013 - 07:21 PM

#9

I did not do my own work but, after reading threads and asking questions ... I was told the first thing the race guys do to a bike is tear it all the way down for a full lube job. I paid $125.00 for my axle and wheel bearings along with the steering stem as your have just done and my swing arm and rear suspension linkage.
At that price I will pay it again someday ... :thumbsup:

I paid zero, plus I have the knowledge it wasn't a rush job and everything- grease, reassembly, proper torque values, nothing overlooked, etc. was done to my satisfaction.
It's my life on the line, peace of mind goes a long way..

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  • gnath9

Posted July 24, 2013 - 03:22 AM

#10

I don't have the time or the proper work space. Also Tracin is a really good guy and runs his own shop and he is also the lead mechanic for Tuff Racing arena cross.
I know everything was done right :thumbsup:

Edited by gnath9, July 24, 2013 - 07:42 AM.


  • Cat ji

Posted July 24, 2013 - 06:49 AM

#11

turnbuckle, thanks! Mine is on the to-do list, 2nd phase of the to-do list. At least they had greased it. The Belray grease you used looks better, though - it looks similar to Yamalube grease.

  • slolane

Posted July 24, 2013 - 06:49 AM

#12

I pick and choose what maintenance I do and what I pay for, some is quick and easy, other stuff isn't worth the time. I respect both options but my time is very valuable so I don't do it all.

:thumbsup:

  • hockeyrick

Posted July 24, 2013 - 03:40 PM

#13

Here in Thai the dealer mechs are so by the book. They never think outside the box so even some basic common sense things go unnoticed, therefore, if i need it to keep the warranty in check will do or if they give me something for free, otherwise best to do it myself and my " trained" eye!

  • turnbuckle

Posted July 24, 2013 - 06:19 PM

#14

A little update..

When I first unscrewed the nut that holds pressure on the bearings it was just barely finger tight, I was able to break it loose with my thumb and index finger.
At the time I wrote it off, thinking it shouldn't be much more than that to properly seat the bearings anyways.
Well, when I re-installed everything I properly set the bearing pressure and buttoned it all back up, not even thinking about how loose it was originally.
Took it for a ride today & all I can say is night and day difference stability wise. Planted in the corners, less vibration and just an overall more comfortable feel.
If your experiencing a searching, vague feeling from the front end at speed, you might want to check the tension on those bearings..

I'm talking about this nut-
Posted Image

Edited by turnbuckle, July 24, 2013 - 07:11 PM.


  • Tro1086

Posted July 24, 2013 - 06:38 PM

#15

Iv always thought the steering on this bike felt kinda lose, to easy. Like when you lean it on its kick stand, the steering is so easy that no matter what way its pointing, when you let it rest on the stand it almost always turns to the left. It bugs me the most when your either working on or washing the bike and you try to turn the steering a certain way so you can get to an area, and as soon as you touch the bike the steering just falls back to the left.

Im used to a bike with a steering damper so I just kinda wrote the "lose" steering off to not having a damper, but now Im wondering if my steering stem bearings are also set very lose. Mine feels stable on the street or highway thou.

  • Cat ji

Posted July 24, 2013 - 10:43 PM

#16

Well, when I re-installed everything I properly set the bearing pressure and buttoned it all back up, not even thinking about how loose it was originally.


How did you do it? (I mean you can't use a torque wrench there.)

  • turnbuckle

Posted July 25, 2013 - 04:13 AM

#17

How did you do it? (I mean you can't use a torque wrench there.)

After re-greasing the first step is to tighten the nut down hard then swivel the lower clamp back and forth half a dozen times or so. This gets rid of any grease that may be causing a gap between the bearings and seats.
Then you loosen the nut a little bit at a time till you find that sweet spot where everything turns freely, but there's no wiggle slop.
Best thing to do is keep loosening the nut till you do get slop, then tighten it back down till it's too tight, then repeat the process till your sure it's exactly where you like it.
If your not re-greasing and just want to set the play, loosen the top nut and upper fork pinch bolts, then you can get at the nut with a long screwdriver and tap it back & forth. It works better with the wheel off and brake removed from the fork- less weight gives you a better feel.
(Don't forget to tighten everything back up when you're done.. ;) )

Edited by turnbuckle, July 26, 2013 - 02:53 PM.


  • turnbuckle

Posted July 26, 2013 - 05:26 AM

#18

After going over my preventative maintenance list yesterday, there was one major task left to tackle- The rear end.
So I broke out the tools, jacked the bike up and proceeded to remove the swingarm & linkage.
I didn't take any pics (Hands too dirty), But what I did find was the complete lack of grease on all the bearings- I'm sure there must be some in there, but I couldn't see it with the naked eye. Not cool.
Packed the bearings with Belray, cleaned off all the excess grease, washed my hands and proceeded to put it all back together.
The only "Special tool" I needed for the job was a stubby Phillips screwdriver to remove one of the brake hose clamps from the swingarm, all the other bolts are pretty much standard stuff.
One snag I did run into was when I re-installed the swingarm, both sides of the chain and the brake line wound up under the swingarm- DOH! :banghead:
Right about then my wife showed up and held the chain and brake line in their proper positions while I installed the swingarm again.

I'm glad I finally got this chore out of the way early, if I had waited a year or two it'd be new bearing time.

Edited by turnbuckle, July 26, 2013 - 05:57 AM.


  • gnath9

Posted July 26, 2013 - 06:33 AM

#19

After going over my preventative maintenance list yesterday, there was one major task left to tackle- The rear end.
So I broke out the tools, jacked the bike up and proceeded to remove the swingarm & linkage.
I didn't take any pics (Hands too dirty), But what I did find was the complete lack of grease on all the bearings- I'm sure there must be some in there, but I couldn't see it with the naked eye. Not cool.


I stressed the importance of this quite awhile back.
I guess this is common on all bikes dirt and street. Tracin told me the first thing they do to a new race bike is to tear it all the way down and grease it up.

I'm glad to see this discussion brought back up :thumbsup:





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