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How easy is it to replace steering header bearings?

Discussion in 'Bling and Appearance' started by LPCIII, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. The reason I ask is cos my bike failed its pink slip because the steering header bearings were notchy and when I asked how much it would cost they said between $300 and $400.

    Now I would prefer a proper workshop to do it cos they have all the tools and the right stands, also my bike is still in beautiful nick so I don't want to do anything that will stuff it up. But I just don't have that sort of cash at the mo.

    I understand that I have to take the wheel, front forks and triple clamp off. But is this a job I can do myself, and does anyone know how long it would take?

    Yeah I really just don't want to mess up my baby. :(
  2. Yep I've done 2 sets lately and I don't know a spanner from a banana.

    It can be difficult doing 2 parts of the operation:

    1) removing the outer bearing races from the frame tube - they get stuck in there super tight. Some bikes have little recesses that allow you to get a screwdriver or drift onto them, others like the Across have nothing so it can be difficult to knock them out.

    2) removing the inner bottom bearing race from the headstem tube. Again, usually only difficult because you can't easily get a drift onto it because there's nothing poking out. But you can take the headstem tube to a mechanic to knock that one off, it'll take 30 seconds with the right gear.

    I'd encourage you to have a crack at it, it's not the world's toughest job and I'm sure there's other Sydneysiders who could pop around and help out with the tough bits if you need.

    Don't forget to pack the new bearings well with grease!
  3. Well if there is anyone from Sydney who would be up for replacing some bearings, please let me know. :)
  4. Here's a pic of the outer bearing race poking out the tiniest bit at the bottom of the frame tube:


    You can't get to them with a screwdriver, as the slightest taper buggers your angle. A straight drift should do the trick.

    And you can see where the bearing sits on the headstem tube in this pic:


    All the rollers etc will fall off easily, but the inner metal race can be a bastard to get off, as it's stuck right up against the triple clamp and you can't get a drift or screwdriver in behind it.

    Oh, and don't bust the old bearing races either, you'll need them to hammer in the new ones.
  5. Nice pics Loz,very imformative.It all depends on the bike and the lip you have on the inner diameter of the frame.Did my XR,piece o piss,XJ900 same,FJ1200 was a complete and utter terd.
    You need a decent drift(technical term for a piece of long thin metal),similar to your extension socket in the old sidchrome set will sometimes do it,to get onto the bearing race to knock it out,it needs to be about 10-15cm longer than your frame that your tri clamp locates into,and preferably has a sharp edge in order to get a decent amount of force transferred to the bearing race.It aint rocket science and anyone with half an ounce of mechanical skills can give it a go,case in point,Loz :grin: .Mind you he has time aplenty on his hands at the mo :cool:
  6. make sure you have a left hand shifter and some sky hooks and you should be fine!
  7. Hey Loz what did you use to prop the front end up? And how many different parts did you actually have to take off separately?
  8. I guess i shouldnt post after coming back from the pub.
  9. I only wanted to edit the post not quote it.
  10. That one there was a suzuki across.

    Fairings, wheel, guard, brakes, clip-ons, forks, steering stem all had to come out. Very educational.

    I raised the side stand on a couple of bits of wood, then jacked it up under the exhausts with a car jack (using a thick folded bit of cardboard to protect the metal.

    Other pics here:
    http://www.got-words.com/lozblain2/Across Maintenance.html

    There's nothing too scary in the chassis, just get a system to remember what bolt goes where and don't lose any of those little clips that hold hoses and wires in place!
  11. Also would aftermarket bearings be ok, or should I get genuine honda?
  12. Just wondering if any one else has any helpful hints?
  13. Bearings I never get genuine if possible,they charge a fortune,on the bearing race will be a number embedded in tiny grey print,take that to AA bearings or numurous other bearing wholesalers and chances are they will have the same bearing for at least half the price some dealers charge,although I have had cases were they where same price because Clipstone Ymaha actually got the bearing from the same bearing wholesaler and by some freak of nature,wasnt putting their mark up on the bearing.
  14. Thanks Movin, still I got the bearings for $85, and although I may have been able to get them a little cheaper it was the cheapest I could find from calling around, and at least this is going to save me up to 300 buck.
  15. This really does suck, Fluffy Donkey, AMG and I tried replacing the the header bearings, now we got the old bearings off, with a lot of diffculty mind you, still when it come to putting the new bearings on the bottom one doesn't want to go all the way down the steering staft. Still I was wondering if you guy whould know that the proper bike garages would get the bearing pressed on properly? Should I just take the front fork in? Will they actually be able to do it? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  16. Ah yes,sorry bout that,I forgot, :facepalm: removing and putting the bearing on the triclamp, can be a real terd :!: ,my XR2fiddy was like 18 years ago I that did it,and I had to get the inner race pressed on to the steering shaft off with a press from the bike shop.The FJ and XJ went down without a hassle,but the bottom race gets water n shite from the road and can seize on the shaft,if you have a small blowtorch,with a localised flame,try some heat on it,failing that plumbers stiltsons can sometimes do it.

    If youre planning to do it all yourself,if/when you the bearing race off the shaft,very important-keep it,though it will be mangled,coz you have to basically destroy the bearing outer cage to get it of,the inner race of the old bearing should still be slightly mangled but usable for the following.
    You use it to whack the new bearing back on.Make sure you tap it on gently till it seats squarely on the shaft,then slowly making your way around where the shaft and the inner bearing race meet each other,localising the force spreading the impact through the inner race and the triclamp shaft.
    Give short-sharp-but forcefull whacks on the inner race,working your way around the shaft.They are really tough little buggers and as long as you keep the force spread over as wide an area as possible of the bearing,it will not damage the bearing when trying to get the bastad on..
    Once you have it seated correctly,and you reasemble it all and ride the bike for a bit,from the manual it says you are supposed to re torque the headstem securing nut anyways,in case the bearing beds in a bit,but I have never personally bothered.Hope this all makes sense :-k
  17. Movin beat me to it!

    I can add this though - after you place the old bearing race onto the new one, get a steel yube (for example the extension bit off your vacuum or an old fork tube) and bash the bearing on with that, it allows you to use even pressure all the way round and really lay into it for a couple of good whacks!

    And yeah, torque, tighten, loosen then re-torque the steering head bolt a few times before you put the cover back on.
  18. ...and check it a few weeks later on for original tension - shouldn't have to touch it for ages after that.
  19. Thanks heaps guys, the bottom bearing is half on after a few love taps, but I just don't want to destroy the bearing. Thnaks for the ideas of using the old bearing race and a vacuum hose tube thingy. Well today I am going to take a half day off work, cos I am determined to get it finished. :)

    Thanks again for all your help, if you guys are every in Sydney look me up and I'll buy you a beer.
  20. I was thinking about doing this myself... but seeing as I got quoted about $250 for the job I might just book it in. What I'd like to know is are there any other possible things that the mechanics might find under there in the proccess...? Like Forks need new oil, etc. I'm just worried the $250 quote might turn into another $500 job.

    Last time I took the bike in for a minor service it ended up costing a few bob... but I got a new front tyre... didn't realize I needed it. So I reckon replacing the head stem bearing might be a little beyond me.

    BTW Loz those pics are really helpful at least I know where the bearings are. Just ain't got the tools nor the patience to deal with it.