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Steering head bearings...What next?

Old 07-16-2013, 06:43 PM
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Steering head bearings...What next?

So after much research (and getting an estimate), Ive decided to tackle this job myself. Everything has gone fine so far, except I wonder how to drive the new needle bearings back onto the steering stem shaft?
Any tips or ideas?
The ***** that came out had three parts...a curved seat that was pressed into place inside the frame, top and bottom:

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Then on the shaft itself was pressed another seat or race or whatever, at the bottom. This one was a TOTAL bitch to get off.
Another question; the new needle bearings are two parts...one is the bearings with a race already on it, and another part that they sit into.
What goes in and where, first? How? Should I just assemble it and then screw it down to tighten everything into place? Or do I need some sort of press or close fitting pipe to slide down over the stem and use to pound the bearing into place?
Any suggestions appreciated!!
I'll get more pics when I can...
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:13 PM
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Yeah, you should heat up the lower ones to expand them but they will still require a million little taps. They MUST be driven onto the bottom triple squarely. Any tiny bit off and they will bind. You can use the old bearings or a pipe to drive them on but be careful to not nick or ding/distort them.

Put the top race in the freezer before you drive it in & heat the head tube a bit. Be 100% sure it is driven til it seats firmly in the frame or it will cause slop in the bearings as it seats. Use the old cup ring and tap/drive it til you hear a change in tone when you strike it.

Again, a million tiny taps instead of a few big ones.
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:38 PM
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A thin coating of moly grease will aid the slippage.
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:29 PM
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Best tip I can give you is this... Take the old lower race, cut a slot through it with a hacksaw, and take away all the edges with a sandpaper... Then polish the inside a bit more...

That then slips over the stem easily, and using it to protect the new one, stick a pipe and some washers over it, and use the nut to push it down in place... Then, slide the top part in place, insert the lower triple, and tighten it in place as well...

For the top bearing lower race, sitting inside the stem, use the old part in the same way to protect it, don't need to slot it, but make sure to sand the outside so it doesn't stick in there... And then very gently tap them in place using a rubber mallet or similar... And like Joe said... Easy, small taps...
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:52 AM
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stick a pipe and some washers over it, and use the nut to push it down in place...
Genius, I like that, very clever.

(:-})
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:10 AM
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Good stuff guys, thanks for the help! I'll get more pics up tonight of what I'm dealing with, and find a pipe here at work in the meantime...wish I brought the damn thing with me so I'd know the size LOL.
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Old 07-17-2013, 06:12 AM
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Take the outer's (part in the bike) and freeze them for about an hour. Then, they'll literally fall right into place. The inners (part with the rollers that go on the steering stem), heat them up in a pot of boiling water for a while (about 20-30 minutes), and they to will fall right into place.

If you can't get any of the parts all the way in, use a draft brift to tap them all the way dow, or use the method that Tweety talked about. The thing that's important is you don't muck up where the bearings ride.
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Old 07-17-2013, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by cybercarl View Post
Genius, I like that, very clever.

(:-})
It's a lot easier that way to get even pressure, than tapping with a hammer... That usually results in it kinking...
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Old 07-17-2013, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by msethhunter View Post
Take the outer's (part in the bike) and freeze them for about an hour. Then, they'll literally fall right into place. The inners (part with the rollers that go on the steering stem), heat them up in a pot of boiling water for a while (about 20-30 minutes), and they to will fall right into place.

If you can't get any of the parts all the way in, use a draft brift to tap them all the way dow, or use the method that Tweety talked about. The thing that's important is you don't muck up where the bearings ride.
Usually they go 90% of the way with hot/cold treatement for me... But seating them finally, I found the above to be a good way...

And the best part, just stick the used "guides" in the rest of the parts pile, and you can re-use them for future changes... I have done a few changes on my own bikes, and for friends... The old races are a good way of making sure you don't harm the new parts when you need a little persuasive force...
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:08 AM
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You know you can always buy some drivers at places like Harbor Freight!
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by HRCA#1 View Post
You know you can always buy some drivers at places like Harbor Freight!
Yeah... but the old races cost me nothing... And with a full shop, what I save on the little things, I spend on larger, more expensive toys, like a mill, lathe... You know, the things that makes it easy to make the little things myself...

Yeah, yeah... I know I'm a bit off... But I'm happy that way...
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:00 AM
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Thanks everyone, for your input. I'll post an update probably tomorrow, as this crazy heat wave has me thinking more swimming pool than hot sweaty garage...plus I gotta bring in the parts tomorrow to size pipes, drivers and w/e else I can put to good use!
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:31 AM
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Maybe go online and do some self hypnosis/relaxation meditation as you may be in for a small truckload of frustration.

Tell your wife if you yell at here you are sorry in advance.
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:15 PM
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Wife? whoa, FAT chance of that! LOL I listen to my 'elders' hahahaha!

Well, I'm nervous about which surface to bang on. So I took a few pics and added some nomenclature that I feel is needed to break things down, for a simple man such as myself.

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Thats what I got^^ needle bearing set. Top an bottom.

It seems to me, that the top set just kind of 'sets' into place upon re-assembly...no pounding or pressing needed in advance.
The bottom bearing needs to be pressed into place, by a pipe or washers or something. So which surface should I size a 'pressing' device to engage?

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Part 2 surfaces A and B are a different height to each other.
And as an assembly you can see this better. Surface C almost matches surface A:

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So what surface/s can take the force of being pressed onto the shaft? Should it be pressed on as one unit? or separate?
Thanks for the help guys!!

Last edited by Bandit400man; 07-17-2013 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:10 PM
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Ok forget the wife, tell your BFF to relax.

So first. These are NOT needle bearings. Those only take load in ONE direction. These are tapered roller bearings which can take load in 2 directions (on 2 planes). This way you can steer the bike and hit bumps and brake all at the same time.

Second, you didnt consistently label the mating surfaces. (you kids today are all over the place). In one pic, surf A is the one closest to the mating surface, but not in another pic.

Anyway, in the first close-up, part 2 surf B is the spot to direct force. Also in that pic, part 1 surf C is to be driven into the frame. BUT..... try not to tap directly on those surfaces if you can avoid it.

By this I mean, you can place a bearing driver ON mentioned surfaces and wack on the driver (or piece of pipe). BUT (agian) you can use the old (stock) piece as a buffer so you kick the crap out of the old trash one, and the other side of the old one happily distributes force of each tap onto the new one.

I was going to suggest watching utube vids to help but so far every one I watch is a bunch of total hacks using tons of hammer and chisel stikes to destroy everything in their way.

Now I know why I do all work on my 5 bikes and van myself. Holy crap.

Back to you job. Any part that will touch a bike part directly can be driven. Just dont wack a bearing cage & hope the force will happily drive any other piece, this will destroy everything involved.

I use this park tool to drive out the races because it saves a ton of time.
Attached Thumbnails Steering head bearings...What next?-park-steer-rem_is.jpg  
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:37 PM
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Like Joe said, you are all over the place, LOL...

The inner solid metal part is the one that should take the load, not the roller cage, that's fragile... And a driver, or the old part (turned upside down) both will touch that metal lip but not the rollers... The upper parts aren't quite as easy as "falling into place", albeit almost... Like said above, boil one part, freeze the other, and do it in the steps I suggested, and it will be even easier than you can imagine...
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:09 PM
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You know no one has said it and I don't mean to be insulting but before you install those bearings they need to be packed with Moly B grease. I mean packed, not rubbing grease on them. In the olden times we used to repack wheel bearings on cars. You put an ample amount of grease in you palm and work the bearing back and forth until you can visually see that it is fully greased.

Sorry if you already knew that but it hadn't been said!
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:08 AM
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Alright, I see where I fooked up...LOL
Ok, part 2 surf B is where I whack it...aka surf A in those other two pics. Thanks guys!
And about 'pressing' it into other places...that bottom bearing was the only one that seemed to need it? as in the others fit right into the frame, no pounding or freezing...? guess thats a good thing? cause how the hell am I to set a race into the underside of the frame? that'd be a real bitch...
And HRCA I'm already on that one...that part I DID get from you tube videos haha cause smokinjoe is right, the methods used are...questionable LOL
Thanks again everyone, I'll post up tonight how it went. I'll try and not be 4 beers deep when I edit another pic
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:17 AM
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Well, it might seem like they slide in, but unless something is wrong, they won't actually go all the way without the hot/cold or a little persiasion... Have a look from the top, to check the bottom one, and vice versa... They should be flush with a step in the metal all the way around, it's easiest to feel it with a nail...

However, if they slide almost all the way in, you can compress them in place by sticking the bottom triple in and torqueing it to bring the bottom in place, and the top should only take a minimal tapping with the old part as a buffer...
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