Technical Discussion Topics related to Technical Issues

steering head bearings

Old 05-24-2013, 05:56 PM
  #1  
Senior Member
SuperSport
Thread Starter
 
twist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 581
twist is on a distinguished road
steering head bearings

I realized I haven't seen any posts on steering head bearing adjustment which begs the question, are the steering head bearings adjustable? I ask because I've noticed the slightest feeling of movement when I use the front brakes. I don't detect any movement when I attempt to move the forks laterally. Am I being paranoid?
twist is offline  
Old 05-24-2013, 06:26 PM
  #2  
Moderator
MotoGP
 
E.Marquez's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Kempner, TX
Posts: 4,217
E.Marquez is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by twist View Post
I realized I haven't seen any posts on steering head bearing adjustment which begs the question, are the steering head bearings adjustable? I ask because I've noticed the slightest feeling of movement when I use the front brakes. I don't detect any movement when I attempt to move the forks laterally. Am I being paranoid?
They are adjusted on install, but not really a maintenance deal.

The OEM ball bearings are prone to slop upon wear..

The replacement tapered roller bearings are a nice replacement with less lateral clearances even when compared to new ball bearings.

IOW, replace your steering head bearings with some tapered ones.
E.Marquez is offline  
Old 05-24-2013, 06:45 PM
  #3  
Senior Member
MotoGP
 
smokinjoe73's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,915
smokinjoe73 is on a distinguished road
Yeah actually just adjusted mine. Turns out just a couple measly times where you chop the thottle and sorta come down from a wheelie a bit hard are enough to jolt them into that tiny bit of freeplay.

But for sure go to the tapered rollers. They are like 10 times more robust.

Its not a tiny quick job though. Maybe a million or so tiny hammer taps, and removing the bottom race from the triples can be an integrity tester.
smokinjoe73 is online now  
Old 05-24-2013, 06:55 PM
  #4  
Moderator
MotoGP
 
E.Marquez's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Kempner, TX
Posts: 4,217
E.Marquez is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by smokinjoe73 View Post
Turns out just a couple measly times where you chop the thottle and sorta come down from a wheelie a bit hard are enough to jolt them into that tiny bit of freeplay.
If that caused a readjustment, they were not seated / adjusted correctly to start with.
E.Marquez is offline  
Old 05-24-2013, 07:22 PM
  #5  
Junior Member
Squid
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 11
chiknhauk is on a distinguished road
fyi,tapered rollers have a torque spec(preload).adj.spanners for the lockrings have a square hole for 3/8 dr.put torque wrench at 90 degrees to the spanner or the xtra length of the spanner if left straight on the end of the torque wrench multiplies the torque reading whereby a formula has to be used to get correct reading,but set at a 90 degree angle or "L" shape allows u to use settings on the torque wrench so set at 15 lbs. will get lockrings tightened to 15 lbs.,no math needed
chiknhauk is offline  
Old 05-24-2013, 07:36 PM
  #6  
Rex Kramer-Thrill Seeker
SuperBike
 
CruxGNZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Brookfield, WI
Posts: 2,312
CruxGNZ is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by chiknhauk View Post
...no math needed
No punctuation needed either.
CruxGNZ is offline  
Old 05-24-2013, 08:22 PM
  #7  
Senior Member
MotoGP
 
smokinjoe73's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,915
smokinjoe73 is on a distinguished road
So Eric, your supposition is that properly adjusted steering bearings will simply never come out of adjustment?

Sounds like something someone under 210lbs who rides on smooth roads, not in the rain or though northeastern winters would say (or think).
smokinjoe73 is online now  
Old 05-24-2013, 09:04 PM
  #8  
Moderator
MotoGP
 
Wolverine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Gettysburg, Pa
Posts: 4,468
Wolverine is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by twist View Post
are the steering head bearings adjustable? Am I being paranoid?
Yes they are.

No you are not.

If you can get the front wheel off the ground (jack w/ a piece of wood @ the oil pan + a rear stand), you will be able to feel slop in the bearings by pulling/pushing front to back on the wheel. The tapered AllBalls head bearings were one of the first mods I did when I got my hawk. The oe ones had slop and a slight detent I could feel when I had the forks off for service.
Wolverine is offline  
Old 05-24-2013, 10:38 PM
  #9  
Senior Member
SuperSport
Thread Starter
 
twist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 581
twist is on a distinguished road
Smoky, you're a funny guy, but I like you.
twist is offline  
Old 05-25-2013, 02:58 AM
  #10  
Moderator
MotoGP
 
E.Marquez's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Kempner, TX
Posts: 4,217
E.Marquez is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by smokinjoe73 View Post
So Eric, your supposition is that properly adjusted steering bearings will simply never come out of adjustment?

Sounds like something someone under 210lbs who rides on smooth roads, not in the rain or though northeastern winters would say (or think).
No my opinion and experiences are if adjusted correctly, doing what you describe can not make them '"come out of adjustment".

Once the bearings are seated, and properly adjusted..

Unless you're wearing the bearing surfaces, stretching the steering stem, deforming the frame, deforming the bearings or the lock nuts are moving.,, there is nothing else to allow a re adjustment needed.

Short or wrecking the bike, tons of hours and wearing the bearing surfaces, or some extreme stunta deal... If tapered steering head bearings need periodic adjustment during the normal service life.. something else is going on...Thats not normal. If your talking adjustment needed every 10 years,, well, maybe.

Or at least it is not normal for any of my 6 current bikes or the dozens of others I work on, maintain, modify each year.

Roads in the state I live in today are anything but smooth, and I've lived in 6 other states previously, same there. I do not weight 210, but some of my riders do.... I lived in Oregon, you know the Pacific North Wet.... Yes I know what rain is and yes, rode year round there as well as I do here in TX.... And no.... Im not guessing, I'm simply relating my experiences and opinion.. Yours may vary...but I'll say, if you find YOU need to readjust your tapered steering head bearings often.. might want to figure out what your doing wrong

Last edited by E.Marquez; 05-25-2013 at 03:02 AM.
E.Marquez is offline  
Old 05-25-2013, 03:26 AM
  #11  
Out of my mind, back in 5
MotoGP
 
Tweety's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Skurup, Sweden
Posts: 6,109
Tweety is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by E.Marquez View Post
No my opinion and experiences are if adjusted correctly, doing what you describe can not make them '"come out of adjustment".

Once the bearings are seated, and properly adjusted..

Unless you're wearing the bearing surfaces, stretching the steering stem, deforming the frame, deforming the bearings or the lock nuts are moving.,, there is nothing else to allow a re adjustment needed.

Short or wrecking the bike, tons of hours and wearing the bearing surfaces, or some extreme stunta deal... If tapered steering head bearings need periodic adjustment during the normal service life.. something else is going on...Thats not normal. If your talking adjustment needed every 10 years,, well, maybe.

Or at least it is not normal for any of my 6 current bikes or the dozens of others I work on, maintain, modify each year.

Roads in the state I live in today are anything but smooth, and I've lived in 6 other states previously, same there. I do not weight 210, but some of my riders do.... I lived in Oregon, you know the Pacific North Wet.... Yes I know what rain is and yes, rode year round there as well as I do here in TX.... And no.... Im not guessing, I'm simply relating my experiences and opinion.. Yours may vary...but I'll say, if you find YOU need to readjust your tapered steering head bearings often.. might want to figure out what your doing wrong
Middle of the road here... I find that no matter how well I seat and adjust them on initial installation... About a month or two later of use, I need to tighten them down a little... But after that, I never ever had to touch mine again... Kind of like a "wear in" period... Could be what smokinjoe meant...
Tweety is offline  
Old 05-25-2013, 03:53 AM
  #12  
Moderator
MotoGP
 
Wolverine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Gettysburg, Pa
Posts: 4,468
Wolverine is on a distinguished road
My experience is exactly in line with Tweety.
Wolverine is offline  
Old 05-25-2013, 06:43 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
SuperBike
 
NHSH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: South of Live Free or Die & North of Family Guy
Posts: 1,387
NHSH is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by Tweety View Post
Middle of the road here... I find that no matter how well I seat and adjust them on initial installation... About a month or two later of use, I need to tighten them down a little... But after that, I never ever had to touch mine again... Kind of like a "wear in" period... Could be what smokinjoe meant...
+1 Same as well, besides wear doe's increase if you do what Joe doe's on a regular basis
NHSH is offline  
Old 05-25-2013, 07:06 AM
  #14  
Senior Member
MotoGP
 
smokinjoe73's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,915
smokinjoe73 is on a distinguished road
For me in my experience, almost every older used bike has a lot of stuff out of adjustment. And head bearings on many (most) street bikes are out of adjustment.

Almost all the bikes friends want me to look at for them to buy have rattly head bearings.

They are mechanical parts that need to be adjusted, which predisposes them to be......................out of adjustment. (shock)

If they didnt, then this one spot on this one machine is the only situation where adjustable bearings somehow never degrade or tweak out, but then why would the wizards at all the oems have adjustment procedures?

I guess all thos millions they spent on all that R&D, and engineers are all way off.

Ron Popiel had it right.....set it and forget it.

So guys, DONT touch those head bearings. They dont need it. Even if you have headshake or rattle.
smokinjoe73 is online now  
Old 05-25-2013, 09:57 AM
  #15  
Senior Member
SuperSport
Thread Starter
 
twist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 581
twist is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by smokinjoe73 View Post
For me in my experience, almost every older used bike has a lot of stuff out of adjustment. And head bearings on many (most) street bikes are out of adjustment.

Almost all the bikes friends want me to look at for them to buy have rattly head bearings.

They are mechanical parts that need to be adjusted, which predisposes them to be......................out of adjustment. (shock)

If they didnt, then this one spot on this one machine is the only situation where adjustable bearings somehow never degrade or tweak out, but then why would the wizards at all the oems have adjustment procedures?

I guess all thos millions they spent on all that R&D, and engineers are all way off.

Ron Popiel had it right.....set it and forget it.

So guys, DONT touch those head bearings. They dont need it. Even if you have headshake or rattle.

this is what I needed to know. The bike has 22550 on it, I am second owner, the first owner was timid and barely used the bike because it was too much bike for him. Myself, I'm not into wheelies and other sqidly activities. Is it "normal" to feel a tiny little "bump" in the steering head when braking moderately? More like a little tick, or maybe it's what Joe describes as, "rattle" but I've ridden bikes with rattly head bearings and this isn't the same.
twist is offline  
Old 05-25-2013, 10:14 AM
  #16  
Senior Member
MotoGP
 
smokinjoe73's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,915
smokinjoe73 is on a distinguished road
Twist, as stated above, you need to lift the front end of the bike (not with a front end stand). You can jack under it with a 2x4 or hang it from rafters with tie downs.

Then grab the front wheel and push/pull forward and back to check for freeplay.
smokinjoe73 is online now  
Old 05-25-2013, 11:06 AM
  #17  
Banned
MotoGP
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Lake View Terrace, CA
Posts: 5,942
8541Hawk will become famous soon enough
Originally Posted by twist View Post
this is what I needed to know. The bike has 22550 on it, I am second owner, the first owner was timid and barely used the bike because it was too much bike for him. Myself, I'm not into wheelies and other sqidly activities. Is it "normal" to feel a tiny little "bump" in the steering head when braking moderately? More like a little tick, or maybe it's what Joe describes as, "rattle" but I've ridden bikes with rattly head bearings and this isn't the same.
The Bay Area will make short work the stock ball bearing set up....... So, no you shouldn't feel a bump and swap in a set of tapered bearing when you can and the bike will be much happier.
8541Hawk is offline  
Old 05-25-2013, 11:26 AM
  #18  
Senior Member
SuperSport
Thread Starter
 
twist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 581
twist is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by smokinjoe73 View Post
Twist, as stated above, you need to lift the front end of the bike (not with a front end stand). You can jack under it with a 2x4 or hang it from rafters with tie downs.

Then grab the front wheel and push/pull forward and back to check for freeplay.
Thanks Joe, That's what I did and couldn't detect any play but the little bump I feel has my attention. I don't plan to tackle the replacement as I don't have a proper place to do the work. Besides, don't the bearings on the bottom bearings and race need a hydraulic press to be fitted properly? BTW, do races AND bearings need replacement?
twist is offline  
Old 05-25-2013, 11:28 AM
  #19  
Senior Member
SuperSport
Thread Starter
 
twist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 581
twist is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by 8541Hawk View Post
The Bay Area will make short work the stock ball bearing set up....... So, no you shouldn't feel a bump and swap in a set of tapered bearing when you can and the bike will be much happier.
Hawk, many of the bay roads have been resurfaced but there are still hazards that take their toll. The coast road to Stinson beach is a dream just now, but North of there is hit and miss.
twist is offline  
Old 05-25-2013, 12:05 PM
  #20  
Senior Member
MotoGP
 
smokinjoe73's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,915
smokinjoe73 is on a distinguished road
Yes for sure all races and bearings need replacing since ball and tapered rollers are vastly different.

IMHO it is not worth paying for the work (or busting you own knuckles) to just put ***** back in there. It is under engineered to me. The ***** indent the races and cause stiction. New ***** will do the same.

Tapered rollers are the same as are on the wheels of my van, so very robust. Go with those or really just adjust yours, they may have more life in em.
smokinjoe73 is online now  
Old 05-25-2013, 12:10 PM
  #21  
Moderator
MotoGP
 
Wolverine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Gettysburg, Pa
Posts: 4,468
Wolverine is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by smokinjoe73 View Post
So guys, DONT touch those head bearings. They dont need it. Even if you have headshake or rattle.
Real good advice, way to keep it positive.
Wolverine is offline  
Old 05-25-2013, 01:04 PM
  #22  
Banned
MotoGP
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Lake View Terrace, CA
Posts: 5,942
8541Hawk will become famous soon enough
Originally Posted by twist View Post
Hawk, many of the bay roads have been resurfaced but there are still hazards that take their toll. The coast road to Stinson beach is a dream just now, but North of there is hit and miss.
I've only been gone a year so I doubt they have changed a whole lot.

I found riding with them loose peened the races so once tightened you end up with a "notch" in the center.

So I would just replace them but that is just me.
8541Hawk is offline  
Old 05-25-2013, 02:44 PM
  #23  
Senior Member
SuperBike
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Menifee, CA
Posts: 1,082
HRCA#1 is on a distinguished road
To add my 2C, what Hawk just said is what I used to see when I was a Service Manager at a Honda Dealership in PA. PA does mandatory vehicle inspections and one of the item on the M/C checklist was steering head bearings.

Nearly 30% of all of the bikes over 5 years old needed new bearings due to slop in the steering front to back or the notching Hawk describes. Many times the notching was bad enough that it was like a detent that hindered the steering from centering itself.

Needless to say we sold alot of tapered bearings even back in the 70's.
HRCA#1 is offline  
Old 05-25-2013, 07:00 PM
  #24  
Senior Member
SuperSport
Thread Starter
 
twist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 581
twist is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by smokinjoe73 View Post
Yes for sure all races and bearings need replacing since ball and tapered rollers are vastly different.

IMHO it is not worth paying for the work (or busting you own knuckles) to just put ***** back in there. It is under engineered to me. The ***** indent the races and cause stiction. New ***** will do the same.

Tapered rollers are the same as are on the wheels of my van, so very robust. Go with those or really just adjust yours, they may have more life in em.
I intend to go with the taper bearings, and I realized after I wrote the post that, of course I should replace races and bearings, duh! I've done it before on older bikes but had a decent garage to work in. Where I am now, we only have HOA patrolled security parking for the condos. While it's entertaining to watch the others heads explode when I do work down there, the fines can be a bitch!
twist is offline  
Old 05-25-2013, 07:10 PM
  #25  
Senior Member
SuperBike
 
NHSH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: South of Live Free or Die & North of Family Guy
Posts: 1,387
NHSH is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by smokinjoe73 View Post
Yes for sure all races and bearings need replacing since ball and tapered rollers are vastly different.

IMHO it is not worth paying for the work (or busting you own knuckles) to just put ***** back in there. It is under engineered to me. The ***** indent the races and cause stiction. New ***** will do the same.

Tapered rollers are the same as are on the wheels of my van, so very robust. Go with those or really just adjust yours, they may have more life in em.
+1 Also totally agree that it is under engineered, if you going to replace them, do yourself a favor and get the tapered bearings, you wont regret it.
NHSH is offline  
Old 05-25-2013, 07:55 PM
  #26  
Senior Member
SuperBike
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Menifee, CA
Posts: 1,082
HRCA#1 is on a distinguished road
Just to add to the conversation, back in the day as they say, the ***** were actually loose individual ***** that you would grease and set into the races.

Now days it seems the ***** are caged and if you look at MotoGP bikes they are using exactly that. The reason is the lower friction compared to tapered bearings which can handle high loads but have more friction.

The difference is that the MotoGP bike is rebuilt stem to stern after every race and sometimes during the race weekend so they can take advantage of the lower friction without worrying about wear.
HRCA#1 is offline  
Old 06-23-2013, 02:22 PM
  #27  
Senior Member
Back Marker
 
CascadeRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Roseburg, OR
Posts: 177
CascadeRider is on a distinguished road
Glad to come across this thread. I don't feel any play, but my bike has tons of miles on it ( over 60k at least) and recently I get a little wobbling at various speeds (could be tires-- they're new.) And, this gets my attention:

Name:  20130623_140711_zpsb32b26dc.jpg
Views: 8
Size:  262.4 KB

So.. I'm assuming the OEM parts at ServiceHonda.com are NOT the newer tapered kind. Where do I find those?
CascadeRider is offline  
Old 06-23-2013, 02:56 PM
  #28  
Moderator
MotoGP
 
Wolverine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Gettysburg, Pa
Posts: 4,468
Wolverine is on a distinguished road
Get on fleabay and search all ***** vtr...
Wolverine is offline  
Old 06-23-2013, 03:02 PM
  #29  
Senior Member
Back Marker
 
CascadeRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Roseburg, OR
Posts: 177
CascadeRider is on a distinguished road
That wasn't so hard. Only $34, shipped.
CascadeRider is offline  
Old 06-27-2013, 10:42 AM
  #30  
Senior Member
Back Marker
 
CascadeRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Roseburg, OR
Posts: 177
CascadeRider is on a distinguished road
And @e.marquez is gonna head my way to help me do the job and talk about and drink beer.
CascadeRider is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: steering head bearings


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.