head set bearings 04 yz450f

on a 04 yz 450 how hard is it to change the head set bearings. is a one night job or what. do I have to take the forks off according to the manual i think you do not have to. help please

With the right equipment, it's an easy 1 1/2 hour job. If you have to jury-rig tooling solutions, it will take quite a bit longer, and it can be turned into a nightmare if you do it wrong. And yes, the forks have to come off.

The best and neatest way to remove the lower bearing from the stem is to press the entire stem out the bottom of the lower clamp, then reassemble it and install the new bearing. With no press, you can cut away the roller cage to expose the inner race, then as quickly as possible heat the inner race to red in a single spot with an acetylene torch and dislodge the bearing race with a chisel.

The new bearing can be installed without a press by placing the stem and clamp in the freezer for at least 90 minutes, then warming the new bearing carefully to about 200 degrees in some type of oven. Don't make it hotter or the built-in seal will be damaged. At this point, take the stem out of the freezer, and using gloves spin the bearing onto the stem as far as possible before it "sticks" from shrinking. Drive it down the remaining distance, if needed, using a piece of steel tubing that will fit over the stem, but not touch the bearing cage.

Replacing the races in the steering head will require great care if the correct drivers are not available to you. You must avoid denting or deforming the edge or surface of the race in any way.

Like I said, with the right stuff, it's simple. Without it, it's a different story. Be sure you're up to it.

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