Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

[Melb] Wed 9/4 Spanner night #6: steering head bearings

Discussion in 'VIC' started by Loz, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. OK party peoples, this is an interesting one.


    Steering head bearings are the bearings that let your handlebars and forks turn smoothly to steer the front end of the bike. When these bearings wear out or get damaged due to large bumps, accidents or (ahem) badly landed wheelies, they develop a 'notchy' sort of feel, where the bars will no longer turn perfectly smoothly.

    This plays havoc with handling - the bars fall into these notches as you're cornering, and the bike can feel like it's steering itself against your will. It's quite unnerving, off-putting and downright dangerous.

    We're lucky to have as our project bike this week Damian's ZX-9R, which has just about the worst headstem bearing damage I've come across - so if you want to know how to feel for notchy bearings, make sure you come along, you'll feel what I mean for sure.


    Replace steering head bearings, drain and replace fork oil. This is a fun job, it involves taking the whole front end off the bike: brakes off, wheel out, forks out (while they're out we'll take the opportunity to drain and replace the fork oil too), triple clamps off and then we can get to the bearings. Getting the bearings out and off the steering stem can be tricky. After that, we'll grease the new bearings, pop them in, put the whole shebang back together, torque the steering head a bit and marvel at the bike's new found handling prowess.

    Special tools/materials:
    New upper and lower headstem bearings, 1 bottle of 15 or 20W fork oil, high temp marine grease, scissor jack, some crappy magazines/bit of wood, bodgy tool to get stupid bloody Kwaka front axle bolt off (you'll see what I mean, this is a great bodge that Rog showed me), straight drifts/hammerable screwdrivers to pop bearings out of races/off stem, and if possible a decent bench vice to hold steering stem and fork tubes for parts of the operation.

    TBA. Has anybody got a bench vice? I've got the rest. Time is 7pm Wednesday 9th April. Please PM me if you want to volunteer your place for this week's fun and games.
  2. I'll most likely be there :)

    No bench vice from me tho :(
  3. I may try and get to this one. (depending on location)

    My ZX6R has a little play in the bearings, and I'm sure after a few more crap wheelie attempts it will get worse :oops:

    As before Loz, my place is available and suitable, but maybe a bit further out for some?
  4. By "play" cossie, do you mean that the head is a bit loose? Have you checked for movement of the headstem by lifting up the front wheel, grabbing the forks and testing for any forward/backward movement?

    A bit of movement there doesn't necessarily mean the bearings are rooted, you might just need to tighten the headstem nut a bit if you're lucky...
  5. Would've loved to have had it at the workshop ( Dandenong) .. unfortunately it's my daughter's 22nd Birthday on the 9th.
    Looking forward to the next one hopefully :cry:
  6. Don't forget the 22mm Hex bolt Loz :rofl:

    Dependent on numbers, we might be able to use my place in the next few weeks. It's got a workshop, workbench, outdoor lighting and is undercover.Let u know asap.
  7. Nah, its just a tiny bit of play, would almost certainly tighten out with the nut. Just interested for future reference (my last two bikes went the same way and didn't have the tapered bearings, so I just overtightened the nut as a temp 'repair'. lol.
  8. Hey Loz, I can offer up Casa Del Jake for the evening if someone hasn't already put their place up.
  9. I have the week off, so I should be able to make this one. Will give me an opportunity to return some tools.
  10. Oh lordy.

    People, we have been offered the opportunity to work in Jake's garage, which is actually several times bigger than his house, and a f*ckload cleaner. I think we'd be foolish not to take him up on it.

    It's over the westside again, Jakey can you PM me the address and tally ho!
  11. My bike is STILL (yes, i know 7 weeks now) in the workshop.

    If by some miracle they get off their asses and stop making excuses i will have it back on tuesday or wednesday.

    I'd love to come to this, as said shop believes i need new "head stem bearings". And i'm like... oh, is that so? My steering feels fine...

    So, either way, i'd love to come along if you'd have me :) (and if i get my bike back)

    Westside is better for me too cause i live on the coast :)
  12. Get the bike back, dont pay them, then cart it up here and we'll fix it ;)
  13. I will be there for sure.
    Can someone PM me the address and start time?

    Cheers Peter. :cool:
  14. I'm going to try and be there also
  15. I'm keen. How far west? Jake, pls PM me when you're doing the address advice to people :)

    [edit] (ohh - Sunshine! Note to self- Read stuff - it helps you look less silly!)
  16. Damn. Got a commitment and won't be able to make this one.

    Pity. Based on previous nights this should be hilarious.
  17. Righto then! PM sent. Those that want to come need to send me a PM for the address. I'll supply basic tea and coffee but food is up to the individual. Luckly I live just around the corner from a couple of pizza/burger/fish n chip joints and noddle shop so plenty to choose from.

    Loz, never ever mention again that you think the shed is cleaner because 1) It will get us both in the shizenhouse with Mel and 2) Mel might want me to transfer my shed-cleaning activities inside. So shhhhh! :LOL:
  18. Yeh might come .. pm addie plz.... :grin:
  19. I need an address too ... I have the donor bike, so I think I should make the effort to be there on the night ... lol
  20. If you want to come shoot me a PM and I will respond. I'm lazy like that :grin: