Steering head bearings


I don't believe you are supposed to remove the bottom bearing unless you plan to replace it. The bearing is pressed on, so unless there is some special tool that the industry is hiding from us, I believe the chisel/hammer method is the only way. You might try putting the whole assembly in the freezer for awhile - if the bearing metal has a different expansion/compression rate than the steering stem this may aid the process. I would recommend wrapping the assembly with a large ziplock bag or other plastic bag. (If your married, bury it where the wife is unlikely to find it. From personal experience I've found that motorcycle parts in the freezer are not conducive to marital bliss.)

Unfortunately, it sounds as though you've already hammered on it pretty good and the dust seal is toast. I would quess that the bearing case is also a little tweaked. If you've lifted it 1/2" then you are probably really close to the point where the bearing is loose and will come right off. I'd recommend replacing the bottom bearing and seal. It's a good idea to replace the race and bearing as a set. If anyone on the forum disagrees or has other ideas let Ben and me know. This is what I've done with a couple of XR's I've had in the past and I imagine I'll be doing the same with my WR in the future.



A suggestion:

When reassembling the steering head I prefer to not follow the manuals procedures for tightening the ring nut over the bearings. The manual shows tightening (27 ft-lb), loosening (1 turn), and retightening the ring nut to 5.1 ft-lb.

When the steering shaft nut is torqued to 105 ft-lb this causes extra friction on the bearing and resists turning at the handlebars.

My suggestion is to back the ring nut off about 1/4 turn after the 5.1 ft-lb torque step so the final torque on the steering shaft allows a free motion but not too much. When the bike is on the stand the forks and wheel will now flop to the side from gravity. :)



I agree with James Dean, but watch out not to make the head to loose or your wheel will not align with the bars if hit too hard. This makes it hard to ride. The reason for tightening the nut so tight first is so if you installed new bearing they will be seated properly.

Hope this helps


I've taken apart my front end and am going to grease the steering head bearings and was wondering if it's necessary to remove the bottom bearing from the shaft, or just clean it and push grease into it while on. I had a hell of a time trying to remove it. The manual says use a chisel and hammer. This just tore up the aluminum on the lower triple clamp head. I only bumped it up the shaft about a 1/2 inch, and slightly damaged the dust seal as well. Any ideas to make this easier... or just leave it on?


From the sounds of it you should probably continue to pound out the bottom bearing, having gone that far already you may have damaged it. Better safe than sorry.

The only way to safely remove this bearing is with a press. Take the whole assembly in to your local dealer or machine shop and have them press it off. I would also suggest that you have them put on the new bearing.

I dont know what year your bike is but I've found that 98 and 99 models have a sub standard top bearing. The new 2000 bearings have an additional cover that helps keep out grime and water.

If you haven't choosen a grease too use, you might want to look into Silkolene RG2. Good stuff, very high boiling temp, water proof etc... Remember your bike runs hot oil throught the frame which in turn heats up the steering head grease to the point that it can melt.

Oh, one other thing, make sure to check your bearing races to make sure they are in good condition. If not, replace them. If you decide you need to do this let me know I've got a few helpful hints...


JJ - 99 WR; WR timed, stock jetting, Scotts stabalizer, Scotts triple clamps, Pro-Tapers, Terry Cable Hot start, MSR Raptor clutch lever, Moose skid plate, Works frame guards, Acerbis Pro Rally guards, Renthal MD-soft grips, Russel speed bleeders, Factory Effect graphics, YZ rear fender

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