Author Topic: Steering Head - How Tight?  (Read 434 times)

Offline Bpreynolds2

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Steering Head - How Tight?
« on: November 27, 2021, 07:43:32 AM »
I just greased and replaced the upper and lower tapered bearings on my ‘03 Stone project.  First time doing this kind of work on any bike and putting it all back together, even after watching vids and trying to research on here, I’m confused as to how tight I should go down on the top spanner nut?  Any advice appreciated here.  I first tightened them down very tight to try and set the bearing, then I backed it off but confused how tight it should be.  Should I feel any resistance when turning the tree?  A little resistance?  None?  Is it splitting hairs?  Thanks. 
2003 California Stone
2010 KTM 990 SMT

Offline Scout63

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Re: Steering Head - How Tight?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2021, 07:46:34 AM »
I tighten the stem until it just starts to bind, then back it off a tiny bit.  You want smooth movement with no fore and aft looseness. 
Ben Zehnder
Orleans, MA USA
1971 BMW R75/5
1972 Norton Commando Combat Interstate
1977 BMW R100S - next up to unload
1978 Yamaha SR500
1979 Moto Guzzi V1000G5 - T3FB mild custom
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Offline Perazzimx14

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Re: Steering Head - How Tight?
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2021, 07:57:30 AM »
I tighten the stem until it just starts to bind, then back it off a tiny bit.  You want smooth movement with no fore and aft looseness.

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Offline yogidozer

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Re: Steering Head - How Tight?
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2021, 08:00:12 AM »

Wildgoose Chase Moto Guzzi

Re: Steering Head - How Tight?
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2021, 08:00:12 AM »

Offline Bpreynolds2

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Re: Steering Head - How Tight?
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2021, 08:06:02 AM »
As usual much thanks guys :boozing:
2003 California Stone
2010 KTM 990 SMT

Offline rodekyll

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Re: Steering Head - How Tight?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2021, 02:39:46 PM »
This can generally be done without disassembling anything.

I start with the front wheel in the air.  I tighten the post nut down tight to be sure the bearings and races are seated.  Then I back it off until the front forks "fall" from center freely -- just to that point, no more.  Once I can set the forks to center and have them fall to either stop with just a slight nudge on the bar or wheel, I grab the wheel and pull straight forward and straight back.  I don't want to feel more than the slightest slop.  Then I test ride.  If it feels bound (turns stiffly) or has a clunky feel I micro-adjust by tapping on a nut flat with a drift and hammer.  Just micro-nudges.

Some people use a feeler gauge with the front wheel planted.  They want to see 0.006" lash at the post nut.  I used to use that method on my loops, but I like my first method better.

Remember that you're using tapered roller bearings in most of the newer bikes.  TR bearings are designed to go round-and-round, not in a shallow arc.  When the rollers go back and forth over the same area of the race, they make notches.  Those notches can affect the "true" bearing adjustment.  In other words, you can set the static feel properly and still have loose/bound areas of travel due to the notching.

Online Huzo

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Re: Steering Head - How Tight?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2021, 03:06:16 PM »
None of the above I think is wrong.
But I’d not use the nut to bed the races by pulling them up “very tight”. It’s a bit cruel to brutally force the inner and outer together with that level of force.
If you freeze the inner and (perhaps) warm the housing, they should fall in. But I do appreciate the need to have them properly seated.
A simple tool can be made in the form of a long bolt and two discs, with the the bolt through the stem and the discs drawing the races together.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2021, 03:09:25 PM by Huzo »

Offline skippy

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Re: Steering Head - How Tight?
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2021, 08:00:03 PM »
None of the above I think is wrong.
But I’d not use the nut to bed the races by pulling them up “very tight”. It’s a bit cruel to brutally force the inner and outer together with that level of force.
If you freeze the inner and (perhaps) warm the housing, they should fall in. But I do appreciate the need to have them properly seated.
A simple tool can be made in the form of a long bolt and two discs, with the the bolt through the stem and the discs drawing the races together.

This is a true statement. You don't want to force the outer race into its fit applying pressure through the inner race and rollers. that will immediately destroy an otherwise good bearing. The term is called brinelling and it will leave you with a dangerous motorcycle to ride.

Use heat and freeze the parts. Like Huzo said.

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Offline rodekyll

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Re: Steering Head - How Tight?
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2021, 08:55:10 PM »
I agree.  You don't want to tighten them until the races deform.  But there's a lot of pds/ft between ensuring the bits are seated and destroying the steering head.  That should go without saying.

Offline Bpreynolds2

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Re: Steering Head - How Tight?
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2021, 06:53:44 AM »
Appreciate all the responses.  I wound up doing a little of both in a way.  My spanner wrench curved as such that it won’t let me get a perfect grip so I could really only go down so tight per se, then backed off to a bit of resistance. 
2003 California Stone
2010 KTM 990 SMT

Offline Scout63

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Re: Steering Head - How Tight?
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2021, 07:29:27 AM »
IIRC the nut is 35 or 36 mm. You can buy a stamped thin open end wrench (spanner) on line that fits right in there.

Nice work doing the bearing maintenance that 9 out of 10 bikes never get.
Ben Zehnder
Orleans, MA USA
1971 BMW R75/5
1972 Norton Commando Combat Interstate
1977 BMW R100S - next up to unload
1978 Yamaha SR500
1979 Moto Guzzi V1000G5 - T3FB mild custom
1979 Moto Guzzi V1000SP - on the lift

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Re: Steering Head - How Tight?
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2021, 07:41:24 AM »
 My experience is it depends on the bike...Some like a slight preload to dampen the movement, some don't..For instance with the front wheel removed and no binding from cables or brake lines, about a two pound pull on upper fork tube to get it moving  is a slight preload...A fishing scale is the measuring tool. Or the Harley type adjustment where it takes a slight push to move the forks off center and they they fall to the side on their own..
  Some newer bikes have gone back to roller bearings, caged not loose...
 What Rodekyll said, tapered rollers can handle stiff preloads in constant rotation ....

Online Mike Tashjian

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Re: Steering Head - How Tight?
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2021, 08:16:51 AM »
I had a 2001 Roadglide and the manual had very detailed directions for adjusting the steering head.  Once set properly the fully equipped bikes front end in the air, should rotate from lock to lock and settle after releasing.  I can't remember exactly but it was like back and forth one and three quarters turns. Anyways I would set up with no play but no tightness either.  The steering damper on your Stone can then be used if additional tension is needed for high speed driving. 

Offline Perazzimx14

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Re: Steering Head - How Tight?
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2021, 09:26:04 AM »
None of the above I think is wrong.
But I’d not use the nut to bed the races by pulling them up “very tight”. It’s a bit cruel to brutally force the inner and outer together with that level of force.
If you freeze the inner and (perhaps) warm the housing, they should fall in. But I do appreciate the need to have them properly seated.
A simple tool can be made in the form of a long bolt and two discs, with the bolt through the stem and the discs drawing the races together.

Or you could just buy the right tool for the job a bearing/seal driver and gently tap them into place. Also works a treat for other bearings and saves you sockets from getting beaten to death with a hammer.



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Online Moparnut72

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Re: Steering Head - How Tight?
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2021, 10:14:16 AM »
My former Audace was always a bit notchy, especially at slower speeds.  I was having more and more trouble riding it as I got older and more feeble. I decided to check the steering even though it was a low mileage bike. So I pulled out the service station manual to see what it had to say. It gave a ridiculously high value to torque the nut so I set it up using the Harley method. Mucho betta.
kk
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Online guzziart

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Re: Steering Head - How Tight?
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2021, 04:06:33 PM »
I just greased and replaced the upper and lower tapered bearings on my ‘03 Stone project.  First time doing this kind of work on any bike and putting it all back together, even after watching vids and trying to research on here, I’m confused as to how tight I should go down on the top spanner nut?  Any advice appreciated here.  I first tightened them down very tight to try and set the bearing, then I backed it off but confused how tight it should be.  Should I feel any resistance when turning the tree?  A little resistance?  None?  Is it splitting hairs?  Thanks.

If it was my Stone and I had no specs….
-Gradually torque lower spanner to 20-25 lbft
-Back off lower spanner ¼ to ½ turn
-Torque locking spanner to 30 to 45 lbft
-Install top clamp & torque nut to 50-70 lbft
-Loosely install forks & frt wheel
-Attach a cheap fish scale to a fork leg just below the lower clamp.  The amount of force to pull through lock to lock should be 3 to 5 lbs. 
If the force is required is less than 3 lbs, the lower spanner needs to be snugged a bit...remember you loosened it ¼ to ½  of a turn so, to snug rotate clockwise maybe an 1/8 turn, reassemble with lock spanner & top nut and recheck for 3-5 lbs. 
If the force is required is more than 5 lbs, the lower spanner needs to be loosened a bit...remember you loosened it ¼ to ½  of a turn so, to loosen, rotate counter clockwise maybe an 1/8, reassemble with lock spanner & top nut and recheck for 3-5 lbs. 

IMO, the 3-5 lbs of force is more important than the overall torque of the locking spanner & top nut.  Once the 3-5 lb spec is achieved, continue reassembling front end.

Good luck & hope this helps.

 

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