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Old 04-08-2011, 07:34 PM   #1
GSDonovan OP
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What the hell happened....steering dampener shot?

Hello all, I've got about 25K miles on an '08 GSA that I bought new in '09. I just started noticing over the last few days that my steering seems really wobbly. The handlebars turn from side to side with almost no resistance when the bike is on the center stand. Riding on the interstate seems more tiring...the front seems less planted. I'm not sure if its just my imagination or not.

Has anyone heard of the stock steering dampener failing or wearing out after such a short period of time? Maybe rain water has messed up the bearings or something?

Is there anyway to verify if its ok or not without having to take the whole thing apart?

Any comments/advice are welcome. Thanks!
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:56 PM   #2
slowinfastout
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There is no stock steering dampener on a GS.

You could have loose head bearings or a worn front tire. You don't say the mileage on the bike, but either of those are but two possibilities.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:00 PM   #3
GSDonovan OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowinfastout View Post
There is no stock steering dampener on a GS.

You could have loose head bearings or a worn front tire. You don't say the mileage on the bike, but either of those are but two possibilities.
Thanks, I have 25K miles (stated above) on the clock...brand new front tire, so maybe its the steering bearings.

The bike is still under warranty, would that sort of thing still be covered you think?
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSDonovan View Post
Hello all, I've got about 25K miles on an '08 GSA that I bought new in '09. I just started noticing over the last few days that my steering seems really wobbly. The handlebars turn from side to side with almost no resistance when the bike is on the center stand. Riding on the interstate seems more tiring...the front seems less planted. I'm not sure if its just my imagination or not.

Has anyone heard of the stock steering dampener failing or wearing out after such a short period of time? Maybe rain water has messed up the bearings or something?

Is there anyway to verify if its ok or not without having to take the whole thing apart?

Any comments/advice are welcome. Thanks!
Slowin, you been drinkin' man?


To the OP, you don't have a steering dampner on that bike unless you mounted one. You don't even really have head bearings as you would in a normal bike, because you have a ball joint and a trailing arm instead. You do have one angular radial bearing which sits under your top fork clamp, and that can go bad but not often.

The bars ought to swing freely from lock to lock without hitching up or being sticky. If they don't, you have a problem with that bearing, and they should get notchy, not lose.

As for your steering feeling lose, there can be problems with the ball joint and it is PITA to replace. Also, you could have that tire issue Slowinfastout mentioned.

At least you have warranty coverage for the bike, which would be good news if it's the ball joint. But I'm with Slowin in thinking it's something else.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobbySands View Post
Slowin, you been drinkin' man?


To the OP, you don't have a steering dampner on that bike unless you mounted one. You don't even really have head bearings as you would in a normal bike, because you have a ball joint and a trailing arm instead. You do have one angular radial bearing which sits under your top fork clamp, and that can go bad but not often.

The bars ought to swing freely from lock to lock without hitching up or being sticky. If they don't, you have a problem with that bearing, and they should get notchy, not lose.

As for your steering feeling lose, there can be problems with the ball joint and it is PITA to replace. Also, you could have that tire issue Slowinfastout mentioned.

At least you have warranty coverage for the bike, which would be good news if it's the ball joint. But I'm with Slowin in thinking it's something else.
Thanks, yeah, I may swing by the dealer tomorrow and see if they can look at it quickly. It MIGHT be my imagination, but I don't think so...it really feels much looser to me.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:36 PM   #6
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Did you recently adjust the air in your tires?
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:51 PM   #7
pbransonii
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Damper.


Unless it's making your steering wet.
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:22 AM   #8
Tosh Togo
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Originally Posted by pbransonii View Post
Damper.


Unless it's making your steering wet.



Dampeners need diapers.

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Old 04-09-2011, 06:37 AM   #9
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Among the conditions that will make your front end squirrelly, you might add a separation in your tire, loose spokes/wheel damage, a cracked hub, loose axle, loose lower or upper triple clamp, shock damage or failure, loose fork tube to upper triple clamp, torn or dislodged rubber bushing at the fork tube to upper clamp connection, damaged handlebar or clamp, loose grip, etc. A cursory check on the front end while on the center stand will eliminate most of these. Then the dealer, for sure.

There is always some restriction in the steering from the cable/hoses/wiring. Even a hose that was binding or a zip tie that broke and freed something up will make the lock-to-lock feel different.

All of the above is unlikely; still, your safety depends on your instincts. Don't let anyone talk you out of this. If you feel that something is different in your steering, something is probably different.

Good luck.
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Old 04-09-2011, 07:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSDonovan View Post
Hello all, I've got about 25K miles on an '08 GSA that I bought new in '09. I just started noticing over the last few days that my steering seems really wobbly. The handlebars turn from side to side with almost no resistance when the bike is on the center stand. Riding on the interstate seems more tiring...the front seems less planted. I'm not sure if its just my imagination or not.

Has anyone heard of the stock steering dampener failing or wearing out after such a short period of time? Maybe rain water has messed up the bearings or something?

Is there anyway to verify if its ok or not without having to take the whole thing apart?

Any comments/advice are welcome. Thanks!
Did you recently play with the suspension or tire pressures? Normally that is the problem. Even if you had a SD, which you don't unless aftermarket, it would likely still be tire pressure, bearings (highly unlikely given the mileage) or improperly adjusted / set up suspension.
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Old 04-09-2011, 07:23 AM   #11
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Hey guys, thanks for all the comments....I'm gonna investigate the front end and look for the obvious stuff you've all mentioned. The anakee 2 tires are brand new (500 miles), air pressure is ok and steady...and I haven't been making any suspension setting changes. If I don't find anything, I'll swing by the dealer later today if they aren't swamped. Otherwise, I'll take it other next week at lunch.

Thanks again!
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Old 04-09-2011, 07:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSDonovan View Post
Hey guys, thanks for all the comments....I'm gonna investigate the front end and look for the obvious stuff you've all mentioned. The anakee 2 tires are brand new (500 miles), air pressure is ok and steady...and I haven't been making any suspension setting changes. If I don't find anything, I'll swing by the dealer later today if they aren't swamped. Otherwise, I'll take it other next week at lunch.

Thanks again!
Another idea. If you use a top box and it is filled to capacity with something heavy, at high speeds I found the front end on my 12GS get light. But I am talking more than legal speeds.
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Old 04-09-2011, 07:35 AM   #13
Lime
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My front wheel easily turns under its own weight while on the center stand. I did however recently find a loose bolt under a plastic cap that holds the rear of the paralever to the bike.
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