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Homemade Removal Tool for Steering Head Bearing Races


Someone else has probably already done what I am about to describe , but I did a search and could not find any sign of it having been posted before.

I recently found it necessary to replace the steering head bearings in my DR650. I encountered no problems whatsoever until it was time to remove the old bearing races from inside the steering head. No amount of prying worked and my longest punch was too short to stick out the opposite end of the steering head so I could drive them out.

I remembered that in one of my tool catalogs I had seen very nice looking $30 (plus shipping) "special" tool which was specifically designed for the task at hand. I will try to describe this tool for those who may not have seen one: It consists of a length of what appears to be aluminum tubing about 1” in diameter and maybe 18” long. About a 6” length of the tubing at one end of the tool is split longitudinally into four sort of springy “fingers”. The other end of the tool is closed and is designed to be hit by a hammer. As the tool is passed solid-end-first though a steering head, the “fingers” compress and then when they have passed by the bearing race they sort of snap against the inside surface of the steering head, allowing them to serve as four points of contact with the back side of the bearing race. Once the fingers are in place, simply whacking the other end of the tool with a hammer causes the bearing race to pop out the end of the steering head just as easy as you please.

Well, the bottom line is, I saved myself $30 plus shipping by making a very similar device for myself out of a piece of scrap ¾” galvanized steel electrical conduit. It took about ten minutes to cut an 18” length of conduit and then split about 6” of one end into 4 little springy "fingers" using a cut-off wheel on a Dremel Tool. I filed the rough edges off and wrapped a duct tape “band-aid” around the end of each finger so as to avoid scratching the inside of my steering head, and gave it a try.

It took only one solid hit from a hammer on the end of the conduit to remove each bearing race and I was in business. It could not have been any easier.

That little piece of scrap electrical conduit now resides in my “special tools” drawer and I anticipate being able to use it on almost any of my bikes.

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