Steering stem bearings. - Wrist Twisters
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post #1 of 14 Old 10-16-2019, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Steering stem bearings.

I've got a couple of questions.
My bike is an 02. Steering bearings never looked at but feel fine.
I think I'll open it up and take a look at them.
What should I do. Clean and grease old or just replace?
I see the OEM bearings are actual ball type. But some advertised bearings seem to be the roller type. What type should I get if I decide to replace?
Cheers.

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post #2 of 14 Old 10-16-2019, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Islandboy View Post
I've got a couple of questions.
My bike is an 02. Steering bearings never looked at but feel fine.
I think I'll open it up and take a look at them.
What should I do. Clean and grease old or just replace?
I see the OEM bearings are actual ball type. But some advertised bearings seem to be the roller type. What type should I get if I decide to replace?
Cheers.
If they feel very smooth through the entire sweep with just a bit of drag and no detectable clearance at all, then they may still be OK.
(wheel must be off bike, and far better yet is forks also off)
Even if they seem OK that way, and you really want to know for sure, then drop the lower triple out, and then examine the balls of both bearings as well as their top races.
If everything is a pass, then regrease them after a thorough cleaning and reassemble.

As for roller bearings, they would actually be tapered roller bearings.
There are pro's and con's.
Short story, I'll take a good quality ball bearing of known internal clearance classification from a name brand manufacturer before I'll even consider unknown grade quality from a mere marketer of outsourced bearings from who knows where that changes all the time.

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post #3 of 14 Old 10-16-2019, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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They feel fine but I will drop the triple and check.
My plan is to just clean and grease. I checked the workshop manual and putting in new bearings seems to involve a hydraulic press, ye gods!
Yes the type I've seen were tapered roller type bearings. Some well known Japanese brands using the tapered roller type, some the ball type. I was just a little unsure which type should I get but will try to avoid that now.

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post #4 of 14 Old 10-16-2019, 10:59 PM
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.. and putting in new bearings seems to involve a hydraulic press....
Nah, they go in and out pretty well with a bit of judicious chilling and heating. I was anxious about extracting my old ones when I did the USD front end, but it was all just nerves.

All Balls get mixed reviews on here, but I found a front end kit and all is well so far. Part no was 22-1020

<http://www.cycletreads.co.nz/products/1937-all_balls_steering_head_bearin/11528-all_balls_steering_head_bearin.aspx>
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-17-2019, 09:08 AM
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How many miles?

At some point they'll wear out and maybe use has a small factor, but I would guess it's mainly miles / time. They are some 17 years old, so that lube has been sealed up and working for quite a while.

I'm showing $35 for a kit, not a huge price. I was thinking about doing the wheel/head bearings just to get them done.

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post #6 of 14 Old 10-17-2019, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Kiwi. If I have to take them out I'm sure it will be OK. I got heat, hammers, chisel and pipe. What could go wrong!!!
Yeah Karl my bike has a lot of years but low mileage. Your right, bearing price isn't too bad so I'll have a set on standby incase mine need replacement.
I found a set of NTN bearings and seals for $45 aud. They're Japanese tapered roller bearings. I've used their wheel bearings before, all good.

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post #7 of 14 Old 10-17-2019, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
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Thanks Kiwi. If I have to take them out I'm sure it will be OK. I got heat, hammers, chisel and pipe. What could go wrong!!!
Yeah Karl my bike has a lot of years but low mileage. Your right, bearing price isn't too bad so I'll have a set on standby incase mine need replacement.
I found a set of NTN bearings and seals for $45 aud. They're Japanese tapered roller bearings. I've used their wheel bearings before, all good.
Another method is ready rod with thick washers and nuts to do the driving.
Depending on the class of fit, that and some moly di' as lube will do the trick.

Re the temperature method, care is needed re how cold one gets the race that has to be driven in, too cold means too brittle.
Overdoing it with InstaFreeze is not a good plan.

NTN is good stuff, it's a real and serious bearing manufacturer.
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-17-2019, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Islandboy View Post
Thanks Kiwi. If I have to take them out I'm sure it will be OK. I got heat, hammers, chisel and pipe. What could go wrong!!!
Yeah Karl my bike has a lot of years but low mileage. Your right, bearing price isn't too bad so I'll have a set on standby incase mine need replacement.
I found a set of NTN bearings and seals for $45 aud. They're Japanese tapered roller bearings. I've used their wheel bearings before, all good.
So NTN is a mfg? Do you have a part number and are they better than what's sold by others? If they are of better quality, do they also make wheel bearings?

I would guess wheel bearing would wear much faster than head bearings.

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post #9 of 14 Old 10-17-2019, 02:19 PM
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Another method is ready rod with thick washers and nuts to do the driving.
...
+1

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post #10 of 14 Old 10-17-2019, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Cool, threaded rod is a great idea. I've got some so will source some thick washers.
I've been using NTN wheel bearings for years. Plenty of good reviews out there. The tolerance is good and all the ones I've used have lasted many years. Sometimes they say made in Japan sometimes Taiwan. So shop around if you want made in Japan.
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post #11 of 14 Old 10-17-2019, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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If using a threaded rod, nuts and washers does the driving washer need to fit into the steering tube or flush with it?

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post #12 of 14 Old 10-17-2019, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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I figured it out. Google and videos.

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post #13 of 14 Old 10-17-2019, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Islandboy View Post
If using a threaded rod, nuts and washers does the driving washer need to fit into the steering tube or flush with it?
Ideal is if the washers are just a slip fit inside the ID, but the chances of that are about zilch and would take too much work to get them good enough.
Knock off a few thou' all the around the OD of the old race, and use it between the near race and the washers once the washers reach the end face of the bore.

More...............
Smaller ready rod will have more threads per inch, so is better in that respect.
But you will need big bore big OD washers to get the washer dimensions needed, as well as adequate washer rigidity.
Sometimes two thick washers stacked are needed re stiffness.
When there is a mismatch of ready rod OD to washer ID, just use some ready rod sized washers or next size up, to "adapt".
Hope this helps you.

By the way, once a race gets cocked in a bore, it too easily ends as bad news.
The race must be started square and kept square.
The ready rod method is better in this respect than drifting a race in.
The class of fit can make it easy, or a nightmare, depending upon what one has to work with.
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post #14 of 14 Old 10-17-2019, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks mcromo44. Your advice is greatly appreciated as always.
Good call on the washer size in regards to bolt size. I was wondering if I should go a size up in threaded rod to find the correct washer size but I think you've help me sort that one out. I'll buy multiple washers and a couple of sizes.
My bike sat around for about 10yrs in some blokes shed. Not ridden. I've not looked in there either. So I won't be surprised if the bearings are damaged. Best be prepared to replace.
Cheers mate.

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