TLZone Forums banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
501 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I was getting a 'clunk' from the headstock when braking or accelerating which is typical of head bearings needing a bit of attention. I could've just re-greased and tightened them, but I wanted to upgrade to taper bearings as I've done this on previous bikes and preferred the handling and reduced maintenance requirements of them. Thought I'd take a few pictures as I went to help others who might want to do the same job.

I didn't do this 'strictly by the book' as I've done it a few times before so just set about pulling it apart :) Possibly this could be done without removing quite so many components (I know on the RF900 it's possible to do with with clocks & bodywork in situ) but I like having room to work and it's a good opportunity to clean up the parts.

The tank will need to be raised. Once the forks are removed the top yoke can hit the tank:


Remove the plastics and disconnect the wiring:


Remove the clocks and front subframe (I just unbolted the subframe from the frame and took it out as a complete assembly):



Taking pictures of brackets etc. is a useful guide to re-fitment:


Remove the brakes. Taking them out as one assembly means less bleeding later (I hate bleeding these six pots)


Raise and support the front. Remove front wheel & mudguard:


Remove the forks:


The manual method is to remove the airbox, disconnect the ignition wiring and remove the top yoke with ignition attached. I find it easier to remove the switch from the top yoke as I have the required security bits:


Remove the ignition switch and hang it all out the way:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
501 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Removing the top yoke reveals the adjuster nut and lock nut:


A modified 32(?)mm socket works as a replacement for official suzuki tool xyz...


The locknut and tabbed washer come out:


An inexpensive C spanner is a useful tool for this job:


Removing the adjuster nut and metal cover reveals the upper bearing seal:


The lower yoke and stem now lift out from underneath. The bearing(s) are comprised of the following parts (from top to bottom). Seal, inner race, bearing cage and lower race (still in the frame):


The races now need removing from the frame. You can see that at the bottom of the tunnel, there are two notches to get a drift in to hammer out the races:


Using a suitable drift and BFH, the races are driven out:


Here's a better illustration of how they fit in the frame:

Outer race:


Bearings:


Inner race:


Seal:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
501 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I will use the old outer race as a drift to install the new tapered races. Cutting a slot in it will mean it won't be a tight fit in the frame so it can come out afterwards:


This is the horrible part of the job. Taking the inner race off the lower stem. I decide to try a bearing removal tool:


It doesn't really work that well though, so I resort to my tried-and-tested method. CAREFULLY, with a grinder, I nibble away at the old race after bending the dust seal out the way. Care must be taken not to grind into the stem or lower yoke:


Get it thin enough, and the pressure from the stem (they are an interference fit) and heat from grinding is enough to crack the race:


And it lifts off with no damage to the stem:


Now it's time to press in the new races. Using the old race as a drift, knock in the new races with a BFH. It's easier if you leave them in the freezer overnight before trying to install. You can see how much more surface area there is on the new taper bearing race than the old ball bearing race:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
501 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Here's the old one for comparison (it broke in two after installing two new races :D):


One of the advantages of tapered bearings is they spread their load over a larger area. Larger surface area = less pressure = less wear. Rather than a point loading as per the ball bearings, the load is spread along the length of the cylinders in the bearing:


Installation is the reversal of removal. Clean up the lower stem, and install the dust seal:


A suitable drift will be required to install the bearing. Here's one I made earlier; a length of scaffold pole cut down the length as the internal diameter wasn't quite enough:


Grease the stem:


And thoroughly pack the bearing with grease. I used about two inches from the dispenser just in the bearing alone. Don't be tight like Suzuki and they'll last longer :)


Drive down the bearing with a drift, and clean up the excess grease:


Grease the races, then re-install.


There's an important distinction between ball bearings and tapers. Tapers DON'T require pre-loading like the balls, so ignore the manual and go by feel. I do it the following way:

Lightly install as per the above pic
Tighten the bearing 'quite tight' with a C spanner
Work the yoke left and right. You'll probably feel it get (a bit) lighter to turn. This is good :) It's getting slacker because the bearing is seating the race in the frame.
Loosen the bearing right off until you can feel play in the yoke assembly
Tighten a little bit until there's no play (the nut will be far less tight than that required for balls). That's it. No pre-loading is required. All you're trying to do is make sure the taper bearings are in light contact with their races with no play.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
501 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Now install the washer:


And counter-hold the adjuster nut with a C spanner whilst torquing the lock nut with the pegged socket. The steering shouldn't get tighter. If it does, back it all off and try again.


Loosely fit the forks, bars, ignition and upper yoke:


Tighten the steering head nut:


Then set the fork height with a good rule and set square:


Then slacken the head nut, torque the upper clamps, lower clamps and finally the head nut again. Start re-installing as per removal:


My bike also needed a new front tyre so I do that whilst I'm at it:



Then give all the parts a clean and complete the re-assembly:



And give yourself a pat on the back after a short road test :) Taper bearings shouldn't need any re-adjustments for a loooong time, but it's always good to check for play after a few miles. Tyre aside, this job cost me just over £30 in parts but it's a labour intensive job so expect a lot more if using garage labour; at least £150 I'd guess.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
501 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Next job that desperately needs doing is the valve clearance check / adjustment as it's not running all too well at the moment. I will grab a few photos from that too if anyone's interested?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,138 Posts
Great write up, i would be interested in a valve clearance write up as i normally do my own clearances but am a little nervous of doing my S or sons R as ive read about getting the rear cam 180 degrees out and causing damage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
501 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Well first impressions are good :)

The improvements are due a combination of things rather than just the bearings:

  • New front tyre that isn't squared off
  • Revised suspension set up (Suzuki's 'soft' setting [preload & comp 9 clicks out] with a little less preload than spec [8 rings instead of 6])
  • Head bearings replaced
But I rode it to work this morning and it's like a different bike. Requires less effort to turn, and seems far less inclined to run wide. The suspension is actually soaking up the bumps which made it a far more pleasant ride too. Oh, and there's no clonks from the stem under braking which is nice :D

These 'very soft' suspension settings suit the bike far better for my usual riding (commuting on congested A roads & bumpy B roads between 10 and 70mph). Hopefully they will let the tyre do its job a little better too and the next time I replace it, it will be because it's worn on the shoulders rather than squared off! My last two tyres have been replaced due to squaring rather than shoulder wear. Probably because the suspension wasn't absorbing the bumps well enough and the tyre was acting as suspension instead... That's probably also why it had a tendency to run wide after hitting small bumps mid corner!

Time will tell anyway :)

I'll do a similar write up for the valve clearances when I get round to doing it :thumbup
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
877 Posts
Very very nice guide!!!Definatelly going to do this the next winter along with pc the frame.
Should be a sticky.
Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
TLR Junkie, Where did you get the new lower dust seal? Did you buy a bearing kit which came with new dust seals or are they available somewhere? :O

Cheers,

Ian.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,394 Posts
It comes with the bearings, did i notice that there was no top yoke dust seal fitted 'Tlr JUnkie' there is a list on the planet for coloured anodised ones. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
I thought that might be the case.. I had the bearing dimentions and just bought some bearings from my local bearing wholesaler..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
I will use the old outer race as a drift to install the new tapered races. Cutting a slot in it will mean it won't be a tight fit in the frame so it can come out afterwards:


This is the horrible part of the job. Taking the inner race off the lower stem. I decide to try a bearing removal tool:


It doesn't really work that well though, so I resort to my tried-and-tested method. CAREFULLY, with a grinder, I nibble away at the old race after bending the dust seal out the way. Care must be taken not to grind into the stem or lower yoke:


Get it thin enough, and the pressure from the stem (they are an interference fit) and heat from grinding is enough to crack the race:


And it lifts off with no damage to the stem:


Now it's time to press in the new races. Using the old race as a drift, knock in the new races with a BFH. It's easier if you leave them in the freezer overnight before trying to install. You can see how much more surface area there is on the new taper bearing race than the old ball bearing race:

I've decided to powder coat my yokes so i ground off the lower race however the grinder jumped off the top of the race and cut into the stem ??? its only just nick it is this going to be ok or am i looking at a new one?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
877 Posts
Do you have any part numbers for the tapered bearings?Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
Great post, just a small point, you forgot to mention when to eat the WISPA .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,920 Posts
Do you have any part numbers for the tapered bearings?Thanks
Spyrious ,go to Stevetls site wotid .It has the information you require on there .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Putting the races in the freezer makes them tighter, not looser so that is not a good idea. If you have a big freezer you could freeze the entire stem.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top