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Steering stem bearings

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I've read that a few people had problems with the stem bearings rusting within just one year, so I figure it might be worth looking into before I have the same problem. I'm planning on taking the stem off and greasing the bearings really well. The only snag I'm worried about is removing the stem nut. In the manual, it shows that a special stem nut wrench is needed. Just wanted to know if this is really nesscesary, or can I use something else?

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Something else :cry:

Ohhh, what something else you ask :cry:

Well anything from a bike crank set wrench, or a elec cannon plug wrench, to, a piece of 3/16 steel plate cut out to form a simple tool, to a punch and hammer... Or the OEM tool will work also :cry:

You could also cut/grind a cheepo socket to make your own tool.

Lots of choices.... all right ones as they will do the job :cry:

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Ok, here's part two of the question. How much do u tighten that stem nut when you put it back on. The manual saids to tighten it to 32lb-ft using the special stem nut wrench which I don't have. Then move the steering side to side 5 times to seat the bearings, and then loosen the nut 1/2-1/4 turn. What do you guys do?

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Snug it up, move it some back and forth, snug it up.. make sure it moves freely. Install every thing else,, It should be fine.. If you find some ,movement (thunking under braking, or on landing a jump) tighten it up a bit more. Basically, tighten till it makes some resistance in movement, then back it off, just a bit.

Or build/buy a tool, and do it the manual way :cry:

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Yeah, what he said^^^. I tighten it up fairly tight but not seriously tight (real objective terms there :cry:), turn the bars back and forth to make sure the bearings are seated and then back the nut off until I can feel any more resistance. I then put the channel locks down and use my hand with the rag and tighten until I can feel drag in the bars and then loosen just enough for it to go away.

I just realized that it takes longer to describe it than to actually do it :cry: :cry:

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Easy job! I did mine on my new '04 "S" last night. Not hardly any grease in there from the factory. No special tools needed, screw driver & a hammer along with some patience is all you need to tighten the top spanner nut. My bike is only 6 weeks old with 1200 miles on it mostly street & I am glad I pulled it down to grease it properly. My '01 "E" bearings failed at about a year, lower bearing was completely shot no grease just rust!

Next up is the swingarm bearings & cushion rod bushings. Only problem is I mashed my finger real good tonight mounting tires. Split the finger nail down the middle. I did not finish mounting the tires needless to say. Finger is way sore right now typing is even hard. So the swingarm & tire mounting will have to wait a day or so.

Grease everything you can because Suzuki sure didn't bother!

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jha07- As an option, you can use the Motion Pro Steering Stem wrench for Suzuki (thanks DaveI :cry:) It can remove and adjust both the adjustment and lock nuts. Long for good leverage and feel. Nice tool, works great.

When tightening all back up, the point is to seat the bearings but not bind them. When all done the bars should arc smoothly from side to side - yet there should be zero play if you grab the forks down low and pull/push toward and away from the bike. Clear as mud?

Bicycle bearing tuning dictates: leave the adjustment nut slightly looser than optimum, because when you torque down the locknut, the adjustment get a little tighter.

Actually, the whole assembly is pretty forgiving. I got it spot on the first time!

As for the rear suspension, the only bearing I could not disassemble for greasing (2004 "S") was the rear shock top bearing. It's a "floating axis" type bearing :cry:. How do I repack this unit, anyone?

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Are they sealed top and bottom bearings on the `03 DRZ?

If so i assume they cant be greased or can they?

Andy

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jha07- As an option, you can use the Motion Pro Steering Stem wrench for Suzuki (thanks DaveI :cry:) It can remove and adjust both the adjustment and lock nuts. Long for good leverage and feel. Nice tool, works great.

When tightening all back up, the point is to seat the bearings but not bind them. When all done the bars should arc smoothly from side to side - yet there should be zero play if you grab the forks down low and pull/push toward and away from the bike. Clear as mud?

Bicycle bearing tuning dictates: leave the adjustment nut slightly looser than optimum, because when you torque down the locknut, the adjustment get a little tighter.

Actually, the whole assembly is pretty forgiving. I got it spot on the first time!

As for the rear suspension, the only bearing I could not disassemble for greasing (2004 "S") was the rear shock top bearing. It's a "floating axis" type bearing :cry:. How do I repack this unit, anyone?

Thanks for all the feedback. I think I found a tool that might work. It's for the bottom bracket of a bicycle, but it looks like it should work.

As for the rear suspension, is this also an area I should be worried about? Has a lot of people had suspension bushings rust?

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Not disputing what you say but i stripped the yolks off and both my bearings are sealed units.My dealer,(Fowlers motorcycles,Bristol),quote the same part number for top and bottom bearing.thought this info might be useful for someone out there.

Andy

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Ah, sealed.. or it has a seal.. Not the same thing. They all have a dust seal,, which is why you can not get thme from just any bearing store... But I have not seen or heard of a sealed bearing being used. How is it seald? what retains the sealded unit in the frame? when you remove the steering stem,, does the sealed bearing stay on the stem? or in the frame?

Additionally, sealed bearings are normally of the ball bearing style or roller bearing,,, while the bearings used in the DRZ steering are tapered roller bearing.

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