Neat trick for installing the lower steering head bearing

I just installed new steering head bearings and races on my yz400. I thought installing a new lower bearing on the triple clamp was going to be tough because it is a press fit and I don't have a press.

I put the lower triple clamp and steering stem (they are pressed together) in a plastic bag in my freezer over night. I greased up my new bearing and put it under a heat lamp for about 20 minutes. They literally dropped right together.

Gotta love physics and chemistry....

I just installed new steering head bearings and races on my yz400. I thought installing a new lower bearing on the triple clamp was going to be tough because it is a press fit and I don't have a press.

I put the lower triple clamp and steering stem (they are pressed together) in a plastic bag in my freezer over night. I greased up my new bearing and put it under a heat lamp for about 20 minutes. They literally dropped right together.

How did you get the old bearing off?

I used a propane torch and a chisel.

I basically destroyed the old bearing, pealing away the outer cage and having the balls fall all over the place. One of those telescoping magnets (like the ones sitting on the counter at any autoparts store) works great for picking up those suckers off of the floor. I then heated the bearing race that was left on the steering stem with a propane torch and beat it off with a chisel. It was pretty easy.

The steering head races weren't that bad either. You need at least a 12 in long drift and a good size hammer. My drift was pretty rounded on the edge, so I grinded it flat so it can engage the edge of the bearing race more positively. That made a big difference.

Putting in the bearing races in the steering head went pretty easy, just took a bit of time. I froze the bearing races and got me heat gun and heated the steering head. I used my big hammer and a brass drift to tap them in. It was pretty slow because I wanted to be careful to not damage the race. The brass works great because it is dead when you strike it with a hammer and it's so much softer than the hardened steel of the race.

I also tried using a piece of all thread with nuts and washers on either side to press the races into the steering head. This didn't work so good because the washers would bend and it was difficult to keep them on the races. Tapping with the brass drift and a little heat to the steering head worked much better.

"I used a propane torch and a chisel."

Holy Crap! Sounds like you finessed one thing and cave-manned another!

Not really. The propane torch isn't that hot, not like an oxygen/acetelene. The chisel gets a good bight on what's left of the old bearing, which is trashed anyways.

I have to admit, there is a little bit of satisfaction of destroying the old bearing with a chisel though...

LJ,

Sounds like fun...kind of. Not knocking your way, but when I changed out my last set I just took the lower triple/steering stem to my local shop and for $20 the took the old bearing off and pressed the new on.

Simple if you have a press!

Good tip. I did mine this winter and the local machine shop charged me $18. I'm going to try your method next time, a penny saved is a penny earned.

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