A piece of pipe was cut and then used to tap down onto the race as shown below. The tapered roller bearing and the dust seal slid down into their intended place at the bottom of the steering stem.
To press the tapered roller bearing races into the frame, you can make a homemade tool out of some all thread. This ensures that the bearing races enter the frame head straight.
Note: Use one of your old bearing races that have been removed previously to complete tapping the new races all the way into the frame neck.
Note: I used a bearing driver set to install both races in a similar fashion as shown below:
However it is much safer to use the all thread tool instead of tapping them in as I did. Thus the risk of inserting the races crooked is eliminated.
Note: The above 2 pics are not mine. They were “borrowed” from the web because I was unable to do selfies.
Apply grease to top and bottom outer races.
Push the steering stem up into the steering head pipe.
Install the upper tapered roller bearing.
Install the upper dust seal.
Install the steering stem cap along with the steering stem nut (bearing adjustment nut).
Tapered roller bearings require less torque than ball bearings.
Tapered roller bearings are often overtorqued because people tend to rely on their service manuals for the torque specs. 99% of the time relying on the service manual is great!
However in this case the torque specs in the manual are wrong because these specs are intended to be used for roller bearings (not tapered roller bearings).
DO NOT USE THE TORQUE SPECS SHOWN IN THE VERSYS SERVICE MANUAL FOR YOUR NEW TAPERED ROLLER BEARINGS.
The specs that I have used were taken from service manuals of my previous few motorcycles. These already had tapered roller bearings installed at the manufacture.
Tighten the stem bearing adjustment nut as follows:
Tighten the stem bearing adjustment nut to torque 40 N-m (4.1 kgf-m, 30 Ibf-ft)
To make myself a stem bearing adjustment nut tool, I asked a machinist to modify a 1 ½ inch socket for me. This is the result.
The “new” DIY steering stem socket functions as well as expected.
Move the steering stem right and left, lock-to-lock, five times to seat the bearings.
Make sure that the steering stem moves smoothly, without play or binding; then loosen the bearing adjustment nut.
Retighten the bearing adjustment nut to torque 17 N-m (1.7 kgf-m, '12 Ibf-ft)
Move the steering stem right and left, lock-to-lock, five times to seat the bearings and then retighten the adjustment nut to torque 17 N-m (1.7 kgf-m, '12 Ibf-ft).
Repeat the above last step.
Make sure that the steering stem moves smoothly, without play or binding.
Install the new lock washer onto the steering stem.
Align the tabs of the lock washer with the grooves in the adjustment nut and bend two opposite tabs (shorter) down into the adjustment nut groove.
Install and finger tighten the stem bearing adjustment lock nut.
Hold the adjustment nut and further tighten the lock nut within 1 /4 turn (90') enough to align its grooves with the lock washer tabs.
Bend the lock washer tabs up into the lock nut groove.
Continue with instructions shown on page 14-9 of your service manual
to install the steering stem head, the front forks, the handlebar, the front wheel, the fender, etc.
To inspect the steering play as shown on page 2-54 of your Versys 650 service manual:
Raise the front wheel off the ground.
With the front wheel pointing straight ahead, alternately tap each end of the handlebars. The front wheel should swing fully left and right from the force of gravity until the fork hits the stop.
If the wheel binds or catches before the stop, the steering is too tight.
Feel for steering looseness by pushing and pulling [A] the forks.
If you feel looseness, the steering is too loose.
If the steering is too tight, loosen the stem nut [B] 1/8 of a turn.
If the steering is too loose, tighten the stem nut 1/8 of a turn.
Are they too loose or too tight?
With newly installed tapered roller bearings, undesirable steering stem symptoms will soon show up if they are too loose or too tight.
Note: A common sign for both of these situations is when you notice that your arms tend to become more tired than usual after long rides.
- - Wobble (shimmy) on deceleration
- - Bike falls into turns too fast (with very little countersteering). Rider needs to work hard to keep standing the bike.
- - The bike will tend to “hunt” (weave/wander) when trying to go straight on the highway at a constant speed. To keep going in a straight line, the bike requires several steering inputs.
- - The steering is “heavy”. Constant efforts to countersteer in long sweepers are required because the bike wants to stand up.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, you will need to either loosen or tighten your steering stem bearing adjustment nut (no more than 1/8th of a turn at a time).
In the past I have needed to do these corrections on a few bikes. Fortunately, after installing tapered roller bearings in the steering head, everything tested fine on my Versys. On the highway, while going in a straight line, the bike follows its line without needing any steering inputs. That was my goal!
Part 2 of 2