Steering Stem Bearing Replacement - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-28-2009, 07:05 AM Thread Starter
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Steering Stem Bearing Replacement

Has anyone greased or replaced them yet? Its been two years, a lot of miles and A LOT of rain so I know I am due to grease them up, add into the fact that Kawi is known for lack of grease in these areas and I feel an urgent need to check them.

Looking at the service manual it seems the V has ball bearing and not roller bearings, is this true? Amazing, I mean, even my KLX has roller bearings.

I ordered up a set of tapered bearings from All Balls, but just checking to see if anyone has swapped them out yet and if they ran into any snags I should be aware of? I figure if I am going to do all that work just to grease the bearings, I may as well slap in a set of quality bearings and quality grease so I do not need to revisit them for a while.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-28-2009, 08:29 AM
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Given my years of riding old motorcycles, this is one of the most neglected parts. You are correct in going for the tapered rollers, and I have spent a fortune at All Balls over the last 15 years. I will be interest to see what you find after two years of damp riding. I retorqued and greased mine, and they looked OK at 6 months, but it's dry here, and the bike isn't seeing a lot of rain. BTW, your wheel bearings holding up, also? That's always on the list.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-28-2009, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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Wheel bearings seem fine, just had the wheels off and they had nice action, no slop or sticking. The bearings will be here Friday, I'll probably wait another month for the riding season to get too cold and then dig into them. Hoping the races come out without much trouble.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-28-2009, 09:19 AM
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I notched a wooden broom stick on the last job, and they came out fairly well on a BMW. Had to make a few repeat cut to keep a sharp edge, but it worked and the risk of damaging the seat was minimal with wood. Of course, when I was done, the broomstick looked like a pile of toothpicks!

Still can be an irritating, knuckle racking job. Make sure you're in the mood for it!
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-28-2009, 10:35 AM
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My 1300 VTX cruiser from Honda has factory ball bearings. You HAVE to replace those at 11,000 miles because the bike develops a nasty wobble on decel at 45mph. You notice this when you are comming off the freeway and take your left hand off the handlebar to adjust your visor. When you hit 45 mph and the wobble starts - it is a scary situation.

I replaced those with all-balls tapers. Have not done it on the Versys - but it was a 2.5 hour job on the VTX.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-28-2009, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marc11 View Post
Looking at the service manual it seems the V has ball bearing and not roller bearings, is this true? Amazing, I mean, even my KLX has roller bearings.
I can't remember a Japanese street bike that didn't have ball bearing in the steering head. Seems pretty standard practice with the Japanese manufacturers.

I agree, it needs to be checked, but if they are in good condition, I am not sure you have to replace them. If you keep them well maintained, they will last more than a 20K miles.

Gustavo


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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-28-2009, 12:59 PM
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The steering stem ball bearings had been properly greased when I checked them at 2600 miles.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-28-2009, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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My KLX250 had tapered roller bearings so did my ZX6. My Versys has over 17k and has seen A LOT of rain, just yesterday in fact, if I am going to check them now, no reason NOT to replace them for the $45 the better set up costs I would think.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-28-2009, 06:30 PM
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Even at over 50000 miles, others never had any steering stem bearing issues, and never mentioned any maintenance done to them. They are properly greased and sealed to protect from rain and dust... How does your steering feel? You can check, inspect, clean, grease and adjust referring to pages 2-35 and 2-36 of the free 2007 repair manual download.

I would recommend checking your swingarm needle bearing assembly. I found that the swingarm's inner bearing bushing (inner bearing race) was nearly seized in the needle bearings, and wearing in on the mount bolt and within the frame already at only 2600 miles on the Versys. No rust or lack of grease, just too tight to allow normal operation. The inner bushing is supposed to stay put with the mount bolt in the frame, with the needle bearings rotating around it with the swingarm... I smoothed down the bushing with wet 1500 grit silicon-carbide waterproof sandpaper, then polishing compound, wiped it all clean and re-packed with synthetic grease. The bushing fits a bit loosely within the frame which has to be torqued down on it, so I secured it back at 90 ft-lbs instead of 80. It's rotating nice and smoothly now, and I don't get that strange feedback in sharps bumps like I used to.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2009, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Nice tool, an adjustable spanner wrench, I just ordered one and a race remover, these will make life easier and eliminate the guess work in torquing the stem nut. Thanks for the tip!

Last edited by onewizard; 12-24-2016 at 11:07 PM.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2009, 11:13 AM
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3/4" brass round stock works great for a punch, too. an oak dowel might also do it. have part #s on the bearings?
yea, I should really check the swingarm, damn you Invader for reminding me about that...
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2009, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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Here you go:

http://www.goallballs.com/SHOP/shope...rom=Ret&id=603

Yeah, I know you can use some brass round stock or a dowel but for $20 to get an adjustable race remover that I can pound on without worry seemed to be worth it, plus both tools came from the same supplier.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2009, 05:53 PM
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I wouldn't worry about using a soft drift because you're going to toss that outside race out anyway. A steel drift won't mark a race because the race is way too hard. For installation, use a proper driver. I just turn one up from aluminum round stock for each bike.

10 Duc Streetfighter S (black)
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marc11 View Post
Nice tool, I just ordered one and a race remover, these will make life easier and eliminate the guess work in torquing the stem nut. Thanks for the tip!
Marc, where did you order those items from? I'm especially interested in the adjustable spanner for the lock nuts on the steering head. Thanks,

Doug
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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ebay, company called Pit Posse they sell them, in fact I used it this weekend, works well.
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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-09-2010, 05:31 PM
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Has anyone switched to tapered roller bearings on the steering stem yet? Ball bearings are actually used for lighter steering qualities...
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-27-2010, 06:57 AM
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Garage
All Balls Tapered Bearings

Just put in the All Balls Tapered Bearings in my Gold Wing (replacing the ball bearing type from the factory) This helps the nasty wobble in the handlebars that Gold Wing has on deceleration. I have had bicycles with better looking bearings than the Wing!

While I am on a roll ....thinking of doing the Versys.....
https://www.allballsracing.com/index.php/22-1039.html This is a good link December 2016
Has to be a lot easier then the Gold Wing!!!

Has anyone else done this on the Versys....yet?

Torque value for the tapered bearings?

Spanner size?
(I made one for the wing out 1 1/2" steel pipe...hoping will fit Versys)

Thanks

----
Eric
2018 Versys 650

Last edited by onewizard; 12-24-2016 at 11:11 PM.
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-27-2010, 01:45 PM
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I just used a large flat screwdriver and hammer... It was pretty easy.
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-27-2010, 03:16 PM
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Balls are better quality, for feel, less stiction. Relatively large contact surface area top and bottom with rollers.
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-30-2011, 12:36 PM
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Switch to new tapered roller bearings (Koyo) has just been completed at home and it took me more than 4 hours to do it following the instructions from the service manual. The most difficult part was to secure motorcycle so as to work safety and It was not so hard to replace factory fitted ball bearings with the new ones.






Last edited by costas_; 04-30-2011 at 03:28 PM.
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