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How to replace Steering Head Bearings

Started by Mustang, May 20, 2008, 01:34:35 AM

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The same basic procedure applies to the Girly bikes as well  and they both use the same bearings

1. Get the front end off the ground . I like jack stands nice and stable , one under each footpeg and one under each side of the skid pan

2 Remove all the fasteners for the three front fairing pcs. (Did ya know that there are more bolts for the fairing than there is for the whole front end ?)

3. Unbolt the handle bars and lay them over the dash board
4.remove the front wheel
5. remove the calipers and front fender
6. remove the brake line junction from the lower triple tree
(note you leave all the brake lines intact thus avoiding more work for yourself , don't have to bleed em this way )
7 Loosen the pinch bolts on the triple trees and slide the fork legs out the bottom

Now go ahead and take the tank off (shoulda known Triumph wasn't going to make this easy )

Now comes the reason you need the Special wrenches from triumph for the tree nuts
The wrenches are 38mm but they are only a 1/4 inch thick to get under the top tree .
Triumph made the top tree so it is captured by the steel pc welded on the neck . It is some sort of anti-theft engineering that makes it hard to service the front end , bastards ! Wait ..............whats that you say you can do it with out the special wrenches ?

8. With the gas tank off you can turn the top tree all the way to the right as far as you can and then it will lift off with out interference with the frame .
9. Now you can loosen the lock nut and take off the bottom nut that gives the bearing preload and holds the lower tree in the frame .
10. Now you can use a brass or aluminum drift and beat the top bearing out from the bottom side and then do the same to the race that is in the bottom of the neck .
11. You can see the wear in this one imagine how it felt with the front brakes on and all the bike weight transferred forward ..........

12. This next step is the hardest part of this whole procedure ..................
you need to remove the bearing from the triple tree stem .
I use a air powered cut off wheel to score the bearing race and then with a chisel you can crack the race and then beat the bearing off the stem , or take it to a shop that will press it off for you . If you are good , or is it lucky , you can reuse the seal , but you probably ought to have one on hand before you attempt this cuz more than likely Murphys Law says you will screw the seal up !

13. Take your new bearing that you got from triumph for $50 or you can order this one from McMaster Carr for $26 it's the same bearing  made by Timken . McMaster Carr p/n is #6677K58
Pack it with the flavor of grease you like ( I use a marine grade grease ) then using a pipe the same diameter as the race not the bearing cage use a hammer and drive it home , it goes on fairly easy so don't get carried away with the hammer .

The Top bearing is a special , it has a snap ring to locate it in the steering head , you can buy triumphs or source one your self from a bearing supplier it is a 6205DU (DU means sealed bearing ) with retainining ring
or if you have a lathe you can get this one from McMaster Carr 5972K46  for $8 and put your own snap ring grove in .

14 .Use a pc of wood or aluminum or brass that is the diameter of the outer race and with the magical hammer tap it into place .

15 Now stick the lower tree up thru the headstock and tighten the nut to set the preload . you want the forks to have no slop in the bearings and they should remain whereever you put them but be able to turn free and smooth , the key is tight enuff so they won't fall side to side from gravity but still move freely , make sense ? I hope so !

16 . Put on the top Lock nut and then reassemble everything in reverse order of removal .

Easy Right ? :D !


Thanks for taking the time to take pics and put this thread together.


Good job. As you say, it's the same for girlies (I only look in here out of curiosity) so might be worth putting a link to it from the girly section.

1931 Sunbeam Model 10
1999 Honda SLR650


Awesome write up and pics - thanks.  I'm sure I'll be doing this at some point.

How many miles on your bike now?
\'96 Steamer


Quote from: "Mudhen"How many miles on your bike now?
Over 50 K purrs like a kitten !


Quote from: "Mustang"
Quote from: "Mudhen"How many miles on your bike now?
Over 50 K purrs like a kitten !

Cool, that means I've got at least another 5k miles before needing this...  :wink:
\'96 Steamer


How far up into the neck do you set the bottom race
do you have it flush with the bottom of the neck or drift it all the way up till it stops against the lip set in the neck


All the way till it stops !


cheers worked like ya said it would


How about drilling yourself a couple of punch sized holes in the lower tree for easier bearing removal next time?   :wink:

From parts unknown.


Three reasons I can think of off the top of my pointy head
1. Chance of weakening triple tree !
2. Water will be able to get at the bearing easier .
3 . It's not as bad as it looks or sounds to get the bearing off .


It really wasn't that difficult to do and I tend to err on the side of caution if I'm aproaching a project for the first time hence the question.
The bike is almost back together except for a new paint job matt black of course. I'm going for the lumpy paint look as I can't be arsed to sand or clean it and I'm doing it rattle cans.
Cheap and cheerful , thats me


Line-X it!  That would look bomber! :lol:
From parts unknown.


Quote from: "JetdocX"Line-X it!  That would look bomber! :lol:


Ok apparently my head bearing is fine, but it needs to be tightened.  Is there anyway to do that without the special wrenches?
There\'s no place like

2007 1050 Tiger, Jet Black
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