New steering bearings - first attempt - Honda RC51 Forum : RC51 Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-09-2014, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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New steering bearings - first attempt

At the end of the season, my bike decided to throw me a curve ball and give me some bad bearings to deal with as the cold weather is coming in. I was able to turn one direction normally and the other direction gave me some serious hesitation. I decided to order some new bearings and start there. As I pulled off the bearings I could see they were visibly bad.

Long story short, I ordered new bearings, got the races and seals in place, and pieced it all back together. When I took it for a test ride, it went from bad to worse. When I am taking it around the block, I'm going up to around 30 or so. Slow speeds it feels wobbly. Closer to 30 or faster, it feels like it doesn't want to turn. It doesn't make any noises or feel loose on the jack. It turns easily when it is up on the jack. I am attempting to trouble shoot and from what I'm reading with others, it sounds like it may be too tight.

I wanted to get it ballparked just so I can get it safely to my winter storage, but with a lack of daylight when I get out of work, I haven't been able to make adjustments as often as I would like. I also plan on making my own tool using the hacksaw, but I haven't had time to make a trip to the local hardware store yet.

Any help would be appreciated. I would prefer not to use the local stealership as they are dishonest and iffy on work quality.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-11-2014, 12:19 PM
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just redid my bearings too-did u use tapered bearings like ALL BALLS tapered roller bearings or use the stock, caged ball bearings? If you converted from stock BALL bearings to TAPERED style, make sure you changed races as well.
Did you have the lower bearing pressed on by a shop? May want to check their work i.e. fully seated, dust seal in place.

Look at the shop manual for correct assembly and torque figures.

I had the same issue as you but it was brake lines, reservoir,and the tops of the fork legs hitting the fairing stay.....check your wiring/cable routing as well...
Also, where the ignition switch sits, it can rub on the frame bro jondog9 caught that one for me...I used a drill/grinding stone and smoothed it out.

hope that helps.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-11-2014, 10:11 PM
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Tapered rollers use very little torque.
Compared to ball bearings, incredibly little torque.

Just snug them finger tight to where there's no slack in the steering stem with the forks mounted.
The forks should swing freely back and forth with little effort.
You may have to practice a bit.

If the bearings are too loose, you'll get a head shake, and if too tight, you'll get weaving with a "hinged in the middle" feeling.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-11-2014, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice folks. I did the work myself, but I have taken it apart a few times to see how everything was sitting. I did use allballs and they are seated great. I do believe I found the issue, and it has nothing to do with the bearing... one of those cases where everything went wrong at once I guess. My front tire looked a bit low today. Originally, and yes, I know I should have checked when I took it for the first test ride, but I chalked it up to the dipping of the temperature and intended on bringing it to the correct pressure, but wanted to get everything back together. This time I actually checked it and it's done. I am not sure why as I see no marks in the rubber, so perhaps it's the stem, but I will refill it tomorrow and see how that works out. I feel like that could be the issue as the steering seems loose when the wheel is in the air and tight when it's on the ground... it's perhaps because 50% of the tire width is making contact with the road on a semi-fresh tire.

Of course, keep in mind all of those work is taking place on every available nice day before winter sets in. By the time I'm up and running, guess I'll have to take a few 40-degree day rides just to get it out of my system. This does give me a chance to work on the brakes too.

Anyway, before any other suggestions come rolling in, let me try inflating the tire and see if that was the issue. Ugh.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 09:18 PM
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I'm doing mine for the first time, thought I'd bump this old thread.
I ordered OEM bearings/races, seals.
I understand where everything goes, but as I'm reading through the Honda manual, I see I have not a single one of their special tools. Shocking right?

Any input or tips about removing the races is appreciated.
I read in another thread, someone used the old races to tap in the new ones. Would that work?

John, 2000 RC51 #000100

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 11:29 PM
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Yes, use the old ones to install the new ones.

Freeze the new ones for a few hours. Heat gun the frame for 5 mins before installing them.

The existing bearings will tap out easily.

The ONLY asshole in the whole job is removing the inner race from the lower part of the steering stem. It may be worth having it done professionally.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 11:46 PM
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I used a Snap-On bearing race driver set, and a 1/2" threaded rod with some nuts and washers from Lowe's. It looks like Harbor Freight sells a bearing race driver set for $39

Tap lightly with a small ball peen hammer as you tighten to ensure they go in straight! Once they get a third of the way in, they pretty much stay straight, but keep checking!

You can also tap around in a circle with a small punch, but there is not much meat at the top of the race....

You can also grind down the old race, but make sure it drops in without binding before you use it, as you don't want to get the old race stuck in there too....take your time, and be patient!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 11:47 PM
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Don't know why the pics rotated.....????
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