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Gas Gas Steering Slop/ Lower Triple Clamp

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So my 2001 XC200 has had slop in the steering for a long time, and I finally got tired of it and ordered new head bearings. Turns out, the old ones weren't that bad, the grease on the lower was a bit mucked up and sticky, but I had a hard time discerning if there really was much play in it. 

Now here's the part that I am 99% sure I know the answer to, but in case I'm wrong, I'd like to know. The steering stem is loose in the lower triple clamp. Like I could spin it all around (made locknut removal a pain), wobble it, and when it came time to get the bearing off, it was as easy as just tapping the stem out of the bearing. It obviously was not held into the tree how I expected it to be. (at all) Now, this is the first time I've had the triple trees off of a bike, so I don't really know, but I assume that the stem must be solidly pressed into place in the tree, in which case, I need a new lower clamp and stem. Am I right?

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The stem should be a press fit into the triple clamp.

 

You can remove the stem.

Take a center punch and punch divits into the stem where it contacts the lower 3X clamp.

The divits will have a raised profile which will  allow for a tight fit into the 3X clamp.

Some Loctite stud/ bearing mount will provide some extra hold too.

Edited by Home Skillet
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Yeah, I think the stem wallered out the triple clamp enough that if I were to weld the stem in, the weld would be the only thing holding the stem centered in the hole in the triple clamp. 

 

I tried the centerpunch method, and that little bit wasn't enough to lock it up. 

 

I may have understated my problem the first time around. I need a new steering stem and triple clamp. 

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Yeah, I think the stem wallered out the triple clamp enough that if I were to weld the stem in, the weld would be the only thing holding the stem centered in the hole in the triple clamp. 

 

I tried the centerpunch method, and that little bit wasn't enough to lock it up. 

 

I may have understated my problem the first time around. I need a new steering stem and triple clamp. 

I saw your post on the GG site as well as here, my offering is to have the stem or clamp sleeved with some steel. Turn down the stem a bit so it's nice and round, then press a steel sleeve on. Mill the hole in the lower triple clean and round, then turn the sleeve to fit. Press it all together and you are golden. Should be a simple job for a qualified machinist. Might even be cheaper and faster than finding a lower clamp.

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