HEAD RACES / STEERING BEARINGS - Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 7-21-2011, 6:25 AM Thread Starter
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HEAD RACES / STEERING BEARINGS

Hi guys, need some help here.

firstly the problem.. when riding at times the handlebars get shakey, at times generally at lower speeds, quite violently, to the stage im afraid to let go of the handlebars!

ive been told by by local bike shop the problem is likely to do with bearings or tyres. i have a recent new rear and balanced tyre and the front has plenty of life left in it and doesnt appear to have lost any weights.

this leaves bearings..

now the wheel bearings them selves im quite confident in replacing myself, as far as i can gather it would be an out, grease, new ones in job.

its the headraces i have the problems with.

the shop have quoted quite a hefty figure to do the work, im guessing probably due to having to remove the front end of the bike, i was wondering how difficult it really is and what tools and time are required to do the job at home?

i have found a good reliable website selling a full set of tapered bearings for 37.00 so i would be saving a huge amount of cash so long as no specialist tools are needed.

look forward to your replies!

thanks guys


James


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 7-21-2011, 7:49 AM
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Re: HEAD RACES / STEERING BEARINGS

Its not that hard...remove fairing...remove front end...replace bearings. replace front end...replace fairing. Honestly you can do it in a few hours and the hardest part is supporting the bike...( a jack and a couple of boards will do it nicely) You will not really need any specialty tools...a hammer and chisel to knock the old races out. I say do it...the experience will be good for you.

If it floats...flys...or f*cks...its cheaper to rent it.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 7-21-2011, 8:22 AM Thread Starter
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Re: HEAD RACES / STEERING BEARINGS

Think I will then. As you say experience would be beneficial. Never really been near the front end so far. Is there anything else I can do whilst it's in bits?

Also I'm planning on taking my carbs to bits soon as per the above sticky and whilst there off I was gping to have a go at valve clearances.

Again I have no experience with this. Is there anything specific I would need and is it a difficult or lengthy job?

Thanks again!


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 7-21-2011, 4:45 PM
smith.p.sean
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Re: HEAD RACES / STEERING BEARINGS

see string thing in the how to section. Your rear wheel is out of alignment causing the headshake.
post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 7-21-2011, 8:36 PM
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Re: HEAD RACES / STEERING BEARINGS

It could just be set too loose. There is a detailed procedure on tightening of the locknut. A newer bike I wouldn't suspect but the older gen 1s I would. Setting the tension properly and the string thing should be done first before procuring bearings unless of course you just want to for some other reason.



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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 7-21-2011, 8:40 PM
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Re: HEAD RACES / STEERING BEARINGS

Well, he can test the bearings himself by turning the wheel very gently while on the centerstand and feeling for resistance.
post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 7-21-2011, 8:50 PM
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Re: HEAD RACES / STEERING BEARINGS

Steering stem nut wrench kaw number 57001-1100 is what the book suggests. I used a screwdriver and hammer it was crude but I'm happy.
They say to turn the nut a fraction of a turn at a time and retest. The steering has to fully go side to side or its too tight, any wobble or play is automatically too loose.





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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 7-21-2011, 8:50 PM
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Re: HEAD RACES / STEERING BEARINGS

Steering stem nut wrench kaw number 57001-1100 is what the book suggests. I used a screwdriver and hammer it was crude but I'm happy.
They say to turn the nut a fraction of a turn at a time and retest. The steering has to fully go side to side or its too tight, any wobble or play is automatically too loose.





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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 7-22-2011, 1:56 AM Thread Starter
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Re: HEAD RACES / STEERING BEARINGS

i guys its a 98 second gen with 36,000 on the clock if that helps.
so you think i should simply check and adjust the rear wheel allignment, and check the tightness of the main steering bolt?
is that the one in view on the yoke below ignition i presume?


thanks


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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 7-24-2011, 1:00 AM
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Re: HEAD RACES / STEERING BEARINGS

Check the steering head bearings by putting the bike on the centerstand and with the front wheel off the ground, straddle the front tire, grab the lower fork legs and gently try to move them back and forth. If there's any movement, they're too loose. To adjust, remove the chrome cap on the top triple tree and loosen the steering head bolt. The adjustment bolt is under the top tree and has notches along it's edge for a spanner to grab onto. If you don't have a spanner (you most likely don't) then do as Florida said. Grab a drift (punch) and a small hammer and tighten the adjusting nut by GENTLY tapping against one of the notches. Only tighten it a little bit (maybe move it 1/4"-1/2"), tighten the steering head bolt to 32 ft-lbs and recheck for play. If there is still play, repeat the process. Once the play is removed, put the forks straight ahead and give the fork a nudge to one side. The fork should fall smoothly to the side (ideally it'll fall right to the stop, but the cables will likely hinder it). Then try the other side. It should move freely in both directions. If it's "notchy", and tends to hang up on-center, the bearings are shot. The most difficult step in replacing them is removing the lower bearing race from the steering stem. A puller is recommended, but not absolutely necessary. I got mine off by tapping a putty knife in between the race and the lower tree, then progressing to thin screwdriver then thicker screwdriver (tool abuse, I know, but I own screwdrivers for screw removal and other screwdrivers for more inventive uses like this). Putting the steering stem/lower tree into a freezer for a while, then heating up the race for a few seconds with a torch would make it easier, too.
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