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Steering Stem Maintenance

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How often do most of you disassemble and grease the steering stem? I have heard that Yamaha's come with very little grease from the factory and needs service soon after purchase.

I don't use a pressure washer and see from the parts schematic that they do have real seals in the upper and lower stem. I don't want to tear mine apart to soon nor wait to late.

Thanks.

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as shifter said it's real easy so easy a caveman could do it and the service intervals depend on the amount of mud/water you ride in and if it's never been done then it must be done...use a good waterproof grease such as belray.......but first clean the bearings real good in wd40 or what have you.....tighten the big/flat castle nut till the steering gets a little tight then back it off slowly/minimally until the steering is free and no looseness can be felt......then tighten the locknut to 80ft. lb.s

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as shifter said it's real easy so easy a caveman could do it and the service intervals depend on the amount of mud/water you ride in and if it's never been done then it must be done...use a good waterproof grease such as belray.......but first clean the bearings real good in wd40 or what have you.....tighten the big/flat castle nut till the steering gets a little tight then back it off slowly/minimally until the steering is free and no looseness can be felt......then tighten the locknut to 80ft. lb.s
Thanks! Do you replace the seals every time? I would expect that you need to but have not done one of these bike before. Do you use a special tool to press the new seals back in or does tapping them in with a flat wooden block with a rubber mallet work (what I normally use for trailer bearings)?

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as shifter said it's real easy so easy a caveman could do it and the service intervals depend on the amount of mud/water you ride in and if it's never been done then it must be done...use a good waterproof grease such as belray.......but first clean the bearings real good in wd40 or what have you.....tighten the big/flat castle nut till the steering gets a little tight then back it off slowly/minimally until the steering is free and no looseness can be felt......then tighten the locknut to 80ft. lb.s

There is more than one nut on the steering stem set up? I thought there was only one nut in between the bar mounts?

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I never touch mine because in 37 years of riding, I've never had a steering stem bearing fail.

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I never touch mine because in 37 years of riding, I've never had a steering stem bearing fail.

Yeah I agree ... I hear all these horror stories from other manufacturers who don't grease there steering stem bearings from the factory, so I pulled my triple clamps to check mine for the first time after 60hours of riding (washed bike with pressure washer after every ride too) expecting to find the worst.

The bearings were PACKED with grease from the factory.:worthy:

I don't know which manufacturer doesn't grease their bearings, but I know all three Honda's I have owned had TONS of grease:excuseme:

I suppose its easy to check and should be an off season maintenance item (I'll add it to the list because its so easy to do), but I would not lose any sleep over this. 🙂:D

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The guys on here that say they come with plenty of grease from the factory may be right on their bike - but I have not been so lucky. I have rarely found properly greased shock pivots or steering heads on the many bikes I have owned.

I hit the steering stem and rear shock linkage 2 times a season - just part of part of regular maintenance and I like wrenching on my bikes in the garage.

Bearings cost alot more than a little bit of time and Bel-Ray grease!

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I have about 100 hours on the bike and found that the steering stem bearing nice but the swingarm bearing not in good shape - especially the lower shock bearing. If I had the choose to do one it would be the swingarm.

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I just checked mine after 8 monthes of hard riding since I last checked them. They look like they did right before I put it all back together last time. Needless to say my next interval will be longer. I have a bearing go bad on my Yamaha after 2.5 years of no maintenence and lots of muddy riding.

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I never touch mine because in 37 years of riding, I've never had a steering stem bearing fail.

You never grease the steering head???? C'mon man... not even when you change fork oil???

Then again, I use a pressure washer and by default I go thru grease. No, I don't zero in on bearing areas, but I ain't no stupid and know that HP H2O still gets in.

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I ain't no stupid and know that HP H2O still gets in.

Momma said the pressure washer is the devil.

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You never grease the steering head???? C'mon man... not even when you change fork oil???

Then again, I use a pressure washer and by default I go thru grease. No, I don't zero in on bearing areas, but I ain't no stupid and know that HP H2O still gets in.

Seriously, I never grease the steering head or the shock linkage bearings on any of my bikes. Every time I've ever gone to the trouble of looking at the bearings, they've looked like new and had plenty of grease. The only time I've ever had to replace a steering head bearing was on a new '90 KX250 that had a rough spot when turning the bars right off the showroom floor. It turned out to have some metal shavings from the frame when the bearing race was incorrectly pressed into the frame at the factory.

I also use a pressure washer but I'm very careful around all the seals and I use Shout which makes the getting the bike clean a snap without over blasting the bike with water.

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Cam,

How should Shout be used? Spray it on a dry bike, wait and then wash? I am looking to ease my efforts in the cleaning department...

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Cam,

How should Shout be used? Spray it on a dry bike, wait and then wash? I am looking to ease my efforts in the cleaning department...

Shout is great stuff and very inexpensive. A 32oz jug is only $1.99 at walmart. I water it down 50:50 to extend the product and improve the spray pattern because it's pretty thick before it is watered down.

What I do is hose all the accumulated dirt off the bike to the point that all that's left are dirt stains. After allowing the bike to drip dry for a few minutes, I spray the entire bike with the Shout and allow it to work for about 10 minutes before I pressure wash the bike. The result will be a spotless bike unless you missed any spots when spraying the Shout.

The great thing about Shout is that no matter how long you leave it on the bike, it will never etch any aluminum parts like caustic cleaners such as Simple Green, Purple Power and White Lightning. It also cleans better than those products for less money.

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Sweet. So you don't need to scrub??? Double sweet!

My wife just called me on the way to bringing her Mother to WalMart. Now, along with the cheap Mobil-1 5w-30 for my cars she always gets me, she's gonna grab that big Shout container. My luck; they won't have it in stock...

Simple Green simply sucks at cleaning and smells like rotten anise, and I hate the smell of anise.

Thanks!

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Sweet. So you don't need to scrub??? Double sweet!

If you wash your bike within 24 hours of riding, you typically don't have to scrub when using the Shout, especially if you use a power washer. Just remember that some soils are very caustic and in that case you want to wash your bike as soon as possible after riding to prevent permanent stains on your aluminum surfaces.

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I lube my steering head bearings once a year or so.

The last time I lubed them was when the steering started to feel notchy.

I pulled everything apart and lubed the bearings with Bel Ray grease, slapped it all back together and it felt fine. That was 6 or 8 months ago.

I just noticed that the steering is starting to feel notchy again, I'll probably end up replacing the bearings in the near future.

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