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Old 11-18-2011, 06:58 AM   #1
brittrunyon OP
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Question R100GS Steering Head Adjustment ?

I searched this topic & found the answers of how it's done but now the finale.......
After 50k miles on a '92 GS I cleaned & re-greased the steering head bearing.......they looked good (no pitting, only slight discoloration). They felt a bit "sloppy" or "loose" after all the old grease was cleaned out.
Before & after.........
Photobucket
Photobucket

It's my belief that these bearing have spent most of their life in the "too loose" state. My questions has to do with the adjustment knob. As shown in the photo, I marked it's original spot. Reassembled & tightened the adjuster, in order to get it tight enough so that the bars did not just fall from side to side, I had to "crank" on the adjuster with a large channel lock to get the right tension. The adjuster ended up 1/4 turn farther than the original mark.
Here's the original mark..........
Photobucket

The results:
No "notch" felt when turning the bars from right to left. When tapped they did not fall freely to full stop. I went on a test ride....did Snobum's "tap the bars at 30 mph" to see if it produced a wobble, & it did not I thought perfect & patted myself on the back.
BUT, after 150 miles of riding the wobble came back with Snobum's test.
Here's my concerns:
1. Can bearing be worn out even though there is no "notch" felt?
2. Is it always necessary to "crank" down with a wrench on the adjuster? (it looks like it's intended to be adjusted by hand)
3. Should I just "crank" on the adjuster again?

I hope this all makes sense!
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Old 11-18-2011, 07:33 AM   #2
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The original location of the adjuster is irrelevant to it's location after having cleaned, greased, and reinstalled bearings.

1. Yes, those bearings could be bad even though they look & feel OK to you.
2. I always ove rtighten newly greased bearings to push out excess grease from the system, then you back off to no torque before your final adjustment.
3. You certainly can 'crank' on it again, but it probably won't "fix" anything permanently.

Order new bearings/races, sounds like you need them, and they are IMPORTANT to your safety.
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Old 11-18-2011, 08:17 AM   #3
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rufusswan....thanks for your response!

FollowUp:
When all is right.........
Is it necessary to use a wrench on the adjuster or can it be done by hand?
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Old 11-18-2011, 08:51 AM   #4
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I can't answer that, but your manual should give you some hints and a torque setting.

My 75 has the notches on top which indicates a tool, your knurled adjuster seems to indicate hand tightening. Regardless it doesn't take much of any torque to preload bearings, and you will test 'snugness' after adjustment like you mentioned above. I must have set and tested mine 5 or 6 times before I settled on "done" enough.
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Old 11-18-2011, 09:42 AM   #5
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I'm glad i saw this - I'm in the middle of doing mine now (waiting on the bearing puller tool though).

I read somewhere that you cannot re-use the lower bearings (the one on the lower triple clamp) since it widens once it's removed (the steering tube is a tiny bit wider in the middle) - so question is - did you remove those lower bearings to do the cleaning or clean them installed on the bottom of the tube (as in pic)?

I have another question - should I grease the threads on the adjuster nut and the tightening/torque nut above it? The specs ask for quite a lot of torque on that top nut - but if it's greased I'm assuming the torque will read way off anyway...(?)

One more - whenever I've installed races or bearing cartridges into a frame or hub cup, I didn't use lube - just froze the bearing and tapped or pressed in. I figure using lube to press in would not allow the race to really seat itself in there but maybe I'm wrong (?)
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Old 11-18-2011, 11:56 AM   #6
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Zodiac........
No, I did not remove the lower bearing, I cleaned it in place........If I had gone to the trouble of pulling it off I would have replaced it.
I don't think one would want to grease the threads on the adjuster, cap nut or the lock nut......
I have never used grease on bearing/races to help with instillation.............as you said.......
Hope this helps!

As for myself, I gonna tighten the adjuster a bit more (yes I will have to use channel locks) & take a ride...............wish me luck.
I'm still wondering if since the adjuster is knurled, if using a wrench on it is a "really" bad idea?

I leave for Panama in 7 days so I've got to figure this out, pronto!
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Old 11-18-2011, 12:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jorunny View Post
Zodiac........

As for myself, I gonna tighten the adjuster a bit more (yes I will have to use channel locks) & take a ride...............wish me luck.
I'm still wondering if since the adjuster is knurled, if using a wrench on it is a "really" bad idea?

I leave for Panama in 7 days so I've got to figure this out, pronto!
That adjuster is knurled because it only needs to be hand tight. If you're getting it hand tight and there's still feelable play in there or notchyness, then you're better off just replacing the bearings. Sometimes it helps to have the bike on the centerstand and lift up and down on the front wheel as you tighten that thing. You'll find that you can get another tiny fraction of a turn on it with some wiggling sometimes. I'd just get new bearings. Get the SKF or NTN number for them and just buy them at a bearing shop. Much cheaper than BMW. The NTN (japanese) ones are a good bit cheaper and for this application probably every bit as good. Don't waste your time on any of the chinese crap though.

If you do replace them, be sure you have a socket big enough to back off the locknut to make adjustments on the road. Sometimes they'll need a few tightenings after installation. Up to 1000 miles later even.
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Old 11-18-2011, 12:34 PM   #8
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Install new bearings. I had an R80RT come in last week with the wobble at speed. The front end was too loose so I tightened up everything and it felt perfect for maybe 5-6 handle bar turns..then the "notch" appeared. Riding so long with a loose setting had caused a notch in the bearing/race that couldn't be felt until it was properly adjusted.

Also refer back to an earlier thread about the top bearing needing to simply slide down on the tube with minimal if no force when you install it. An interference fit between the shaft and bearing will cause the torque setting to be way off.

Just sand the shaft down a little bit until the bearing slides down.
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Old 11-18-2011, 12:39 PM   #9
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I use a different technique that I think I took from here on old school, but I think its also found in one of the manuals.

I tighten the steering head bearing by using a sleave (built from copper tubing) as a spacer to allow the top nut to be snugged down onto the adjusting ring without touching the top triple clamp. Once tightened, i use a torque wrench to tighten the adjusting ring via the top nut that is now friction locked to the ring. Hope that makes some sense.

I tighten to the factory spec (not high - maybe 15ftlbs, don't have manual handy right now) but have always felt that the bars still fall too easily to the side. Perhaps it is just the weight of the switch gear, but I am happy to learn what others do in this thread.

I have a symptom whereby going around corners at higher speed it almost feels like I'm "ten pence"ing it (e.g. a multi sided coin). I was leaning towards pointing my finger at my TKC's (they have seen 4,500 miles of rather easy slab - front is somewhat scalloped and rear is wearing more on centre than sides), but I wonder if it could be loose steering head. I've tried going tighter, but then I sometimes feel a low frequency weave, but could just be in my head!!

Hope this isn't a hijack - just hoping to hear more about the steering head tightening experiences and tips from our collection of experts!

Cheers, JB
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Old 11-18-2011, 04:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbee View Post
I use a different technique that I think I took from here on old school, but I think its also found in one of the manuals.

I tighten the steering head bearing by using a sleave (built from copper tubing) as a spacer to allow the top nut to be snugged down onto the adjusting ring without touching the top triple clamp. Once tightened, i use a torque wrench to tighten the adjusting ring via the top nut that is now friction locked to the ring. Hope that makes some sense.

I tighten to the factory spec (not high - maybe 15ftlbs, don't have manual handy right now) but have always felt that the bars still fall too easily to the side. Perhaps it is just the weight of the switch gear, but I am happy to learn what others do in this thread.

I have a symptom whereby going around corners at higher speed it almost feels like I'm "ten pence"ing it (e.g. a multi sided coin). I was leaning towards pointing my finger at my TKC's (they have seen 4,500 miles of rather easy slab - front is somewhat scalloped and rear is wearing more on centre than sides), but I wonder if it could be loose steering head. I've tried going tighter, but then I sometimes feel a low frequency weave, but could just be in my head!!

Hope this isn't a hijack - just hoping to hear more about the steering head tightening experiences and tips from our collection of experts!

Cheers, JB
Is this your reference?

http://www.largiader.com/bearings/
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Old 11-18-2011, 07:47 PM   #11
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Yup thats it. Pretty sure it is in the factory shop manual as well.
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Old 11-18-2011, 08:04 PM   #12
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I'm still on my original steering head bearings. I had it all apart about 4 years ago - the grease has dried out - cleaned them, inspected them, re-greased them and tightened them. No wobbles were present before or after my maintenance activity.

I just wonder how many wobbles are caused by guys running tail boxes and such.
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Old 11-20-2011, 06:52 AM   #13
AntonLargiader
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jorunny View Post
I searched this topic & found the answers of how it's done but...
No you didn't. Nothing in your post matches how it's done other than the cleaning and re-greasing, and possibly the cleaning wasn't good enough (you have to have the fine threads of the adjuster clean so that the knurled ring spins freely in the stem throughout the adjustment range).

Look at the link from a few posts ago.
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:29 AM   #14
brittrunyon OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AntonLargiader View Post
Look at the link from a few posts ago.
You mean this link?......The one I posted............

http://www.largiader.com/bearings/

The threads were clean............
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Old 11-20-2011, 01:39 PM   #15
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Anton just wanted to say thanks for having that up on your site. It helped me a lot once in the middle of a trip.
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