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Steering head damage

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Hello all. I have a new to me 2008 yz250f. Only had the bike a couple months. The first few rides were pretty muddy so i pressure washed it after the rides. The steering locked up while sitting on stand, did brake loose but did not feel right. I removed the triple tree and found the lower bearing on the stem rusted. After removing the bearing race i found some damage on the aluminum seat or lip that the race is seated to. Looks like a punch or something gouged it about 1/8 inch wide almost all the way through the lip. My question is does it need to be welded or can i blend it out smooth. The damage is in the frame. I am afraid the aluminum may crack.This is my first experience with aluminum. Thanks sket.

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I cant get the pic down loaded. Have to wait till wife gets home. Thanks

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2011-11-30_18-10-40_873.jpg

Hopefully here is pic of the damage. Its the grove to the right of pencil Thanks for any input

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Looks like an indexing mark or something to me. Is it square or is that just the picture?

It doesn't look like the metal is bowed under it so if it was a punch mark, the bearing seat has been repaired. It could be that the last guy to remove the bearing race was a little over zealous and punched the aluminum and then either cleaned up the seat or just hammered in the new bearing it straightened out. That area looks a little gouged anyway.

I wouldn't worry about it, just press in the new bearing race and go ride. I don't think that will cause cracks due to it's location.

The reason the bearing rusted in the first place was because when you pressure washed it some water got under the seal. Next time you wash it you should avoid that, and any other sealed area. I know to or not to pressure wash is a hot issue, but if you must then be careful. I just stick with a regular hose, personally.

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Yes the area has been cleaned up some. I cleaned it some with scotch bright. The outer edges are square sort of, the inner area is not as even. defiantly a gouge. I plan on being lighter with the pressure washing. I was a little over zealous with cleaning. First new dirt bike in 30 years. I've been riding a 1972 honda XL 250 (owned since 1976) Thanks

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The area where the bearing race seats doesnt look to bad. I wouldnt worry about that notch. Make sure to pack your bearings with a good grease and take it easy with the pressure washer. I stick the bearing races in the freezer for a couple hours and heat the frame with a good torch being careful not to burn any thing. Th races slide right in with a few taps.

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Another tip on cleaning the bike. I always use a hose and simple green to clean off the heavy stuff then hit the tougher stuff with a pressure washer. When you are done washing the bike spray WD 40 on all moving parts ie foot peg pins, kick starter, rear brake lever, rear suspension linkages, chain, and steering head bearings upper and lower. Then just wipe it down with an old towel. I dont usually have to replace any bearings on the bike unless its just normal wear and if I do its easy to remove because they arent rusted up.

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Don't point the pressure washer at any sealed area, like the steering head, wheel bearings, swingarm pivot, shock linkage.

Save that for the plain ol' plastic stuff like under the fenders, side panels, etc.

Personally, I don't use high pressure just because of what you found out.

I do it the manual labor way:

A bucket of soapy water and a bristle brush as soon as I get the bike home.

I also squirt the bike with Bel-Ray 6-in-1 at the spots I want water to be removed from, like the above mentioned spots as well as the drive chain.

Another thing I've found out the hard way is that the top steering seal on your bike (same design as the steering head of my 2009 WR-250F) doesn't seal quite as well for quite as long as the steel-framed seals before that.

I was able to get some drops of water past the top seal with just (what I felt was) gentle garden hose water pressure.

Now, I actually cover the seal with the palm of my hand whenever I bring the water hose up there, as well as use a very sticky grease made for personal watercraft on the seal, and plenty of it under the seal lips.

With these precautions, so far, so good, and I can go six months between steering bearings greasings.

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Thanks, the new bearing came today. I,ll assemble every thing and ride. After a couple months I'll inspect and repack. Guess i need to check wheel and suspension bearings. Thanks for the help and advise. SKET

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