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Steering Head Bearing nuts driving me NUTS!

Old 06-21-2015, 01:16 PM
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Steering Head Bearing nuts driving me NUTS!

Hey guys.... All ***** tapered bearings installed over the winter. I have retightened my steering head bearing nuts 4 times now, and it feels like they are loose again... I'm tempted to resort to red Loctite... Can anyone help me figure out what is going on?

I've tried getting the lower nut real snug, then cranking the upper nut against it, but they still come loose...


James
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Old 06-21-2015, 04:13 PM
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2001 Honda VTR1000F A STEERING STEM | Ron Ayers

Missing #7 (lock washer) by any chance?
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Old 06-21-2015, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by captainchaos View Post
2001 Honda VTR1000F A STEERING STEM | Ron Ayers

Missing #7 (lock washer) by any chance?
I would think the same thing. It shouldn't go anywhere with the lock washer in place.
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Old 06-21-2015, 05:54 PM
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^^ +2 ^^
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Old 06-21-2015, 06:43 PM
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^^^ +10

that washer has tabs that bend up and down inbetween the two... they wont go anywhere with that in place
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:12 PM
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I have the lock washer, and tabs are bent up and down... Washer is placed between the two nuts.

James
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:23 PM
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maybe bearing races arent fully seated, and are fully seating due to abuse on the road? its a possibility, find some sockets and tap those in and see... maybe
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:32 PM
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Yah that's what i did last winter after powdercoat... Bearing races were installed after freezing, frame was mapp gas torched, races beat in really well....

James
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:44 PM
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Then there are two scenarios. One, the outer race was never seated correctly, or two, the assembly (#5,6, & 7) is backing off somehow. Number one seems more likely.
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:53 PM
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I agree that these bearings are a nuisance. There should be a better way.

I have always found them to come loose, even with hardly any wheelies.

I cant say locktite is out of the question as getting back in there to adjust them is a real hassle.
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:55 PM
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tighten those bitches up, mark them with something, and when you feel they are loosening take a look and see if they are backing off
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:56 PM
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So what if i tightened it again, then marked the upper and lower nut with a sharpie (make a reference line), make another mark on the frame. Then i can see what is really going on correct?

James
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:58 PM
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see my post right above yours

thats what I'd do
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Old 06-22-2015, 08:16 AM
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We posted 1 minute apart lol...

James
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Old 06-22-2015, 09:05 AM
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Marking the frame wont help since they rotate with the triples.
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:15 AM
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It would work if you go full lock to the left or right, then mark the frame.
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Old 07-20-2015, 07:10 AM
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So i tightened everything again two weeks ago. Got 1/4 turn out of the lower nut, then retightened the top nut against it, and rebent the lock washer tabs.

Took it for a 125 mile ride and the steering felt a little too snug. After about 50 miles it had loosened up and felt normal again. After 125 miles it seemed like it may be loose again.

I'm experiencing a little "knock" when i hit the brakes. I don't think its the brake pads moving in the calipers.

I'll try to remove the top triple clamp again today, remove the nuts, and try to reseat the top race more. I cannot remove the forks and work on the bottom race right now.

I think i may have thrown away the old races, so i need to find something like a big socket that will allow me to hammer evenly on the AllBalls race....

I've considered smacking the lower triple tree with my small sledge to try and seat the lower race, but have some concerns about hurting the bearing

James
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Old 07-20-2015, 07:57 AM
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Just found the center nut on TOP of the triple clamp was barely tight. I KNOW I cranked it down real tight when I last retightened everything... Hmmm...

James
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:03 AM
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Top adjuster nut UNDER the top triple clamp was really tight. That's a good sign.

Sorry for all the posts. These are real time updates.

James
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:23 AM
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Well... I didn't remove the top bearing because i don't have the front end off the ground, family is in town for the week, and i'm running out of time... Lame excuses i know.

I did apply pressure several times to the top bearing (exact method is a trade secret).... Not exactly my best day, but I felt I had to do something since I was in there.

Reinstalled thr top triple and will Red Loctite the top nut this time...

James
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:48 AM
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As stated earlier, the most likely cause is the races not seated. Doesn't make sense that the nuts with the locking tab would loosen. Was there any powder coat in the neck?
It is possible to distort the cages, although I'm guessing that you didn't put that much torque on the nut. As with wheel bearings torque to a preload then back off to what ever is called for.
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:57 PM
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Rode 100 miles yesterday. It felt alright, no knocking when stopping. It did feel like the bike was wandering a lot at lower speeds, like in town traffic, and idling in heavy traffic.

At this point I'm gonna keep an eye on it until winter, then pull the front end off again and check everything.

I would really like to get ahold of the steering stem socket so I can torque it properly (I know I can make one, but I would prefer not to). Hoping to find an inexpensive one somewhere like I did the frame castle nut socket.


To answer your question Xeris: No powder in the steering head area. I made sure it was spotless before installing the races. Also I never torqued the nut, just snugged it.


James
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Old 07-26-2015, 02:14 PM
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I have a set of all ***** tapered races waiting to go in, but after all the drama you are having I am hesitant to do them !

Seems like a major pain and the originals are still good.

I think I will keep them until the originals go.
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Old 07-26-2015, 03:38 PM
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The only reason i did it was because i had the frame powdercoated.

If i had to do it over again i would have used all thread and a couple washers/nuts and made a squeeze press thingee... that would have seated the races better, assuming that is the problem.

I'll need to find a used set of races this winter so i can make one of those...

James
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Old 07-26-2015, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by kenmoore View Post
I have a set of all ***** tapered races waiting to go in, but after all the drama you are having I am hesitant to do them !

Seems like a major pain and the originals are still good.

I think I will keep them until the originals go.
There is no drama when installed correctly.

I've installed hundreds of sets of tapered steering bearings.. NOT ONE issue ever.... I have them in all 6 of my bikes, and every bike owned previously.. NEVER an issue.

I don't profess to know why one or two people on this list find them to not work as designed, I just know it's not a common complaint.. and the few times I've worked on a bike where it was an issue, the install was ALWAYS the problem... races not seated, head tube damaged, nicked, dented, cracked or had debris when the races were installed. wrong tools used to install, damaging race, or head tube or the steering stem.

Not saying that is the issue with well known members here,, just never seen it otherwise.
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Old 07-26-2015, 04:14 PM
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Keep in mind i never said i installed them correctly, or used the right tools. I did the same thing i did on every other bearing i've installed. Squared it up, tapped it in slow, then continued to hammer it in (not using direct hits, but using the old races as an intermediary), until the sound changed from it hitting bottom. Then i hit it some more to ensure it was seated.

I realize this is not the proper way, or the proper tool, it's just what i did.

Live and learn.

James
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Old 07-26-2015, 09:17 PM
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you dont always need the "proper"tool... ALL of my bearings have been installed using the hammer and socket or hammer and old race method. never had any issues...

could there be some bearing grease on your threads causing an improper torque or allowing the nuts to back out easier?
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Old 07-26-2015, 09:37 PM
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I don't think so. In fact last time i looked the nuts hadn't moved, or didn't seem to have moved from where i marked them.

Time will tell. I'll tell you guys more when i know more.

James
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Old 07-27-2015, 06:08 AM
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Hmmm,

Still concerned about this.

James obviously has a good understanding of the mechanics of a bike.

Could it be that the bearings are faulty or damaged?

Time will tell, however I am leaving mine for now!
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Old 07-27-2015, 06:11 AM
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I went through the same thing before finding out the frame neck had gone oval where the races sit.......
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