Greasing steering head and suspension linkage

Put on new tires last night, Dunlop K180's. 75 miles on the stockers was all I could take. Before I put the bike together tonight, should I grease the steering head bearings and the suspension linkage? Are they as dry from the factory as the Kawasaki's are (03 KX250)?

Thanks in advance. :D


The Yamaha factory is quite dodgy when it comes to greasing things.

You should do all your wheel bearings too. You will find they are probably dry.

With the head set bearings, since the oil is in the frame, it heats up and melts the

grease out of the bearings. Not good.

I just did my linkage at 550mi. There was still grease in there, but I just *had* to know. I would gather up a fistful of grease fittings and the appropriate drill/tap combo before doing it and do the swingarm and steering head all at the same time. I've looked over the top shock mount and am unsure if I can get a fitting in there. The good news is that it is up out of the mud and spray.

Yep my steering head and linkage bearings had stuff all greese in them. The lower steering head bearing had already started to rust at 500KM. I reckon greese nipples are the go but I'm a bit reluctant to drill holes in the housings incase I weaken them or create a source for a future crack. I wonder if many others have installed them without problems. The old XR I had was good - just pumped the greese in after washing the bike and watched all the water get pushed out.

Thanks y'all- Gonna go do it now. :D

Tried to take the steering heqad nut of last night and it wouldnt budge!! Anyone else have this prob? Any hints/tips to make the bugger move?

From memory just undo the lock nut on top and mine was fairly loose. I made up a special tool to untighten the nut (2" steam pipe with 2 square lugs welded to the end and an old socket welded to the other) but when I went to untighten it it was just past finger tight.

Lock nut was pretty tight- had to put some muscle into it. Stem nut was too tight- well above spec. No wonder it had so much bind. Everything was under-lubricated. Pitiful they cannot address this at the factory... But it gave me the chance to get to know my bike a bit better. :D

Just did lower shock mount plus the lowest linkage bolt/needle bearings. man those needles dislodge easily! After some needle replacement and greasing all was well and buttoned everything together. Too tired to get other linkage points tonight- but they are less stressed than the main bottom one...

Motard time. :D

Thanks again for encouraging me to do this- it was definitely needed.

How did you get both these nuts off? I didnt have a socket big enough for the lock nut (is that the top one?) so was using a shifter but didnt want to damage the nut so gave up until I can get a bigger socket. But the bottom one (stem nut?) with the wierd gaps-looks like you need a special tool?

I wonder if ti is cost prohibitive to lube this in Japan??? Not as if it would kill them to buy some grease, but the clean-up would be rough.

Can you imagine the job of "steering head wiping guy"??? A long , painful life of drugs and alcohol awaits him.

I leave bars on so no socket. 1&3/16 seems to be the right size but all I had was 1&1/8 and 1&1/4. So I had to use a combo of crescent wrench and slip joint pliers!!! Doh!!! I am embarassed to admit that...

But it worked. :D

For the stem nut it is not tight at all- I simply snugged up the crescent wrench centered on the little notches and it loosened up easily.

The torque spec for the nut on top of the upper triple clamp is 105 Ft/'s best to remove the bars....the adjusting nut should just touching the bearing race. When you torque the top nut it'll take up the clearance and be just about perfect.

The torque spec for the nut on top of the upper triple clamp is 105 Ft/'s best to remove the bars....the adjusting nut should just touching the bearing race. When you torque the top nut it'll take up the clearance and be just about perfect.

Agreed that it is better to remove bars. I was tired and just wanted to get it done, plus did not have the correct socket. My Yamaha manual was not handy so I looked at my KX manual which spec'd only 53. Seems like a huge variation, and 105 seems excessively high. Just my .02. :D

When you do up the funny shaped nut, make sure you tighten it up firmly then back it off to the recomended tourque (not very tight - no resistance when turning the bars). This will make sure everything seats properly. If you don't do this, it will probably end up a little loose. If it is too tight you will think you have a balance problem becaise you will keep falling over when going slow in a straight line.

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