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Old 07-26-2012, 09:01 AM   #16
DaveBall
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Is this turning into a tire thread? I like my Bridgestone Spitfires, as they suit my style of riding and get good mileage out of them with good grip in all weather conditions. Plus they are pretty cheap compared to some of the others, at least where I live. I average at least 2 sets per year, due to the high mileage I put on (about 25,000 per year).

If you are feeling a lot of play in the front end, definitely adjust those head bearings. Not all that hard, once you have played with them for a bit and find the "sweet spot". The trick is to get the right amount of load on them and tighten down the nut without adding more load. Play with it and you will get it right. The way I was taught by a factory trained mechanic, back in the day, was to have bike on centre stand and adjust the bearing load. You should be able to set the bars to pointing straight ahead, then with a very slight touch to one side or the other, they should slowly swing to full stop. Not to fast, and not stop part way. I do it with the tank off, so that I don't slip with a wrench and damage it.
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:43 AM   #17
erimille
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBall View Post
Is this turning into a tire thread? I like my Bridgestone Spitfires, as they suit my style of riding and get good mileage out of them with good grip in all weather conditions. Plus they are pretty cheap compared to some of the others, at least where I live. I average at least 2 sets per year, due to the high mileage I put on (about 25,000 per year).

If you are feeling a lot of play in the front end, definitely adjust those head bearings. Not all that hard, once you have played with them for a bit and find the "sweet spot". The trick is to get the right amount of load on them and tighten down the nut without adding more load. Play with it and you will get it right. The way I was taught by a factory trained mechanic, back in the day, was to have bike on centre stand and adjust the bearing load. You should be able to set the bars to pointing straight ahead, then with a very slight touch to one side or the other, they should slowly swing to full stop. Not to fast, and not stop part way. I do it with the tank off, so that I don't slip with a wrench and damage it.
Sorry to ask what might be a silly question, but how does the dampening knob relate to this problem? I had assumed that tightening the dampening knob to zero in on this sweet spot would have been the easier way of adjusting the bearing load.

--e ('72 bmw r75/5 ... also trying to minimize a front end wobble)

erimille screwed with this post 07-26-2012 at 10:50 AM
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Old 07-26-2012, 02:17 PM   #18
disston
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The dampener on my bike has been disconnected for ten years. I was told it does nothing for the safety of the steering. The steering works fine on a properly set up Airhead front end without a dampener. If there is a problem a dampener will only hide the problem not cure it. If you really think there is some advantage and want a dampener I suppose that's OK too. But I don't consider it a safety feature, item.

Proper tire is a start. Too loose a steering bearing can cause a tank slapper. Be sure you check this ASAP. Too tight a steering head bearing will wear the bearings out fast. It's true that cleaning and regreasing may cure notchiness but if the bearings show shadows and feel notchy with out grease I change them.

I did steering head bearings a couple of months ago on my 1975 R90/6. I expect every part of my bike to perform to the standard that was built into her. I never regret putting in new bearings. I also replaced all the wheel bearings, first time in almost ten years and the swing arm bearings.
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:02 PM   #19
DaveBall
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Disston, I never said NOT to replace the bearings. I was only suggesting that a lot of people change bearings when they don't really have to. I have seen head bearings that were so stiff I thought they were rusted, until I got them out and saw the congealed mess. Cleaned up real nice and once new grease in them, they were like new.

Now wheel bearings are a totally different issue. They are under a lot more stress and if one decides to pack it in at a high rate of speed, the results just are not pretty. Been there, done that, after a wheel replacement at a BMW dealer. They did not even grease the damn things, just left the packing oil on them. Dumb so called mechanic did not have a clue. Totalled the axle, brand new recall wheel and nearly me. The dealer did replace everything and was extremely apologetic, but I have never gone back for any mechanical work there.
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:37 PM   #20
disston
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBall View Post
Disston, I never said NOT to replace the bearings. I was only suggesting that a lot of people change bearings when they don't really have to. I have seen head bearings that were so stiff I thought they were rusted, until I got them out and saw the congealed mess. Cleaned up real nice and once new grease in them, they were like new.

Now wheel bearings are a totally different issue. They are under a lot more stress and if one decides to pack it in at a high rate of speed, the results just are not pretty. Been there, done that, after a wheel replacement at a BMW dealer. They did not even grease the damn things, just left the packing oil on them. Dumb so called mechanic did not have a clue. Totalled the axle, brand new recall wheel and nearly me. The dealer did replace everything and was extremely apologetic, but I have never gone back for any mechanical work there.
Dave I was not trying to disagree with you. Cleaning the grease can fix a notchy steering bearing. But I thought it worth while to mention the shadows they sometimes get and to look for the notchiness with light oil on them before reassembly. I didn't word it quit like that but that's the idea I use for checking them. Mine were not too bad really but I could see the shadows.

I don't think we disagree. Maybe just draw the line a little different.

I think a lot of dealers had problems with that wheel recall some years ago. Not too many that have anybody can do much Airhead work. I'm lucky I live close to Bob's, even tho I do my own work. Parts service at Bob's is great and if I have a question they let me go over to the shop and ask somebody there. I try not to bother them tho. I never had a SnowFlake wheel. If I did I'd be tempted to not exchange it because they might be worth something some day as a wall hanger. Might not be a good idea really. I understand they will still exchange them now after all these years if you show up with one from a bike that the VIN # says hasn't been exchanged yet.

Charlie
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