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Steering Stem Bearing Replacement: Tips?

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Hi guys,

I have been looking over the steering stem topics from as far back as 2009 and found them to answer 90% of my questions. and also found a nice service topic for them as well. I have just a couple more concerns, which I probably should have asked about earlier to the good folk of TT. Here goes.

 

I am replacing my bearings with a Pivot Works kit for my 2004 CRF250R. This is my first time for me as I just bought the bike this year and was ironically told the whole front end was just serviced before I got it (turned out to be false), so the steering stem was the only thing I didn't touch.

 

A couple of my friends said to simply cut the old bearing off instead of taking it to a machine shop to press them out and press the new ones on. They say sometimes the automotive friendly machine shop dudes will actually damage the stem with their press, so they prefer to cut.   Does that sound accurate? I would imagine they would have to apply many tons of pressure to do so.

 

If I cut them off, would it be safe to then use the old race and hammer the bottom bearing all the way down? Saw other topics speaking of heating the bearing and freezing the stem.

 

 

CLIFF NOTES:   Can I cut off my lower bearing and then hammer a new one on?

 

Thanks in advance! Already missed a nice ride this weekend,  want to fix the bike back up tomorrow and take the day off.

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The old bearings should be positioned so you can hammer out with a screwdriver. I'm not God's gift to the wrench, but every steering stem I've seen has been designed that you can slip a flat head in and punch out the old bearings from the recess.

Grease the stem bearings every 25 hrs, you'll rarely have a problem. That's my maintenance schedule.

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I just did mine the other day. A flat chisel was used to knock the bearing up off its seat a little, then I used a pickle fork for separating ball joints, and such to knock it off easily

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Here's some good reading. The best method is a shop press but not everyone has one, so there is other methods as long as you are patient and carefull.

 

http://www.thumpertalk.com/topic/998311-easiest-way-to-get-bottom-steering-stem-bearing-off/?hl=%2Bsteering+%2Bstem#entry10482119

 

http://www.thumpertalk.com/topic/1008326-yz125-steering-bearings-tight/?hl=%2Bsteering+%2Bstem#entry10620755

 

The YZ's are NOTORIOUS for destroying linkage/stem bearings in a short period of time if you don't initially dissasemble the new bearings and add more grease than what came from the factory.

Edited by Polar_Bus
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I just did a set for a guy on Friday and I just put a flats head or a punch

oops. Let me finish.

Just put a flats head or a punch and hit them out then push the new ones in. You may need a rubber maker to two it.

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Thanks for the tips guys!       Feeling alot better after reading them, my main worry was getting the new one on safely without damaging anything. Will tackle this today I believe.

 

 

@Polar_Bus, those links were indeed good reads thanks!   I did not see those topics as I didn't check the Yamaha forum.

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SOOOOOOOooooo.....

 

Took my stem down to my friends shop today, turns out the OEM NTN bearing was a total beast to cut off. The bearing walls are nearly twice as thick as the replacements from Pivot works that I have now!         I am not quite happy as my stem has a couple nicks in it now....and then it turns out we still need to use a bearing press to push the bottom bearing on anyway.

 

 

 

Should have just gone to a machine shop from the get-go.

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You don't need a bearing press, just heat the bearing to 250 degrees F in your oven or by placing it on a steel plate and heating the plate from the bottom with a torch.  The bearing will just slide on but you only get one chance to do it right or you will have to finish the job with a press.  Working with gearbox builders the trick is to spit on the bearing while heating.   If the spit bounces around as it boils its hot enough to mount.

Edited by 1987CR250R
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Thanks for the tips all,   got everything back together and happy now. I somehow lost one washer below the stem nut and now my front brake is dragging (LOL) but the bike is back together. 

Did alot of troubleshooting on the brake but will just have to resume tomorrow evening.

 

Thanks again for all the support.

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Last time I did this I used liquid nitrogen to freeze the lower triple & post, then dropped the new bearing on!

Worked great!

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I tore the front end down again today to cure the brake drag after reading online and realizing it was probably just the wheel not aligned. Kinda happy with that actually, learned how to properly setup the front end in the process. Any knowledge for a newbie is good no matter which way it comes.

 

 Took the time as well to clean up the axles/bearings, disassemble the front caliper completely and regrease/threadlock.

 

Bikes good now.  Only thing odd to me is the front brake pull is certainly heavier now, assuming that its a result of tightening up the top bolt pin more than it was before.

 

Thanks again for all the help and info guys.   Mission accomplished.

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You can also put the stem assembly in the freezer over night. This plus heating the bearings will allow them to easily drop right down the stem shaft.

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Hi guys,

I have been looking over the steering stem topics from as far back as 2009 and found them to answer 90% of my questions. and also found a nice service topic for them as well. I have just a couple more concerns, which I probably should have asked about earlier to the good folk of TT. Here goes.

 

I am replacing my bearings with a Pivot Works kit for my 2004 CRF250R. This is my first time for me as I just bought the bike this year and was ironically told the whole front end was just serviced before I got it (turned out to be false), so the steering stem was the only thing I didn't touch.

 

A couple of my friends said to simply cut the old bearing off instead of taking it to a machine shop to press them out and press the new ones on. They say sometimes the automotive friendly machine shop dudes will actually damage the stem with their press, so they prefer to cut.   Does that sound accurate? I would imagine they would have to apply many tons of pressure to do so.

 

If I cut them off, would it be safe to then use the old race and hammer the bottom bearing all the way down? Saw other topics speaking of heating the bearing and freezing the stem.

 

 

CLIFF NOTES:   Can I cut off my lower bearing and then hammer a new one on?

 

Thanks in advance! Already missed a nice ride this weekend,  want to fix the bike back up tomorrow and take the day off.

 

I recently replaced the steering stem upper/lower bearings and races on my 09 CRF450R and 230F.. I cut the bottom bearing set off with a small diameter cutting wheel, didn't nick the stem, no scratches, gouges, nicks, etc. Was very careful, quick, and easy. I milled a rod with notched end to knock out the upper and lower races. As with the lower bearing, very easy to remove. Installed the new races with matching size diameter aluminum pipe and rubber mallet. No issues.

 

Installed the new lower bearing with a matching size aluminum pipe and large rubber mallet.. the bearing went on and seated without any problems. Did not freeze or heat anything. Apply plenty of water proof grease to the bearings, races, and stem; align the new bearing on the machined lower section of the stem and tap the bearing on with the matching diameter pipe. Should go right on with no problem and no heavy pounding. 

 

Worked great on my 09 450R. No damage to the stem, bearings, or races. Also replaced the steering stem bearings/races on my wife's CRF230F using the exact same methods. Works like a charm.

 

No need for freezing, heating, beating, etc.  

 

Good luck.

 

JL

0903131538a.jpg

Frame.jpg

CRF450R Frame.jpg

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