Steering-head bearings as maintenance - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
    OFOAM's Avatar
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    The maintenance schedules I have (obtained from some forum postings) calls for steering-head bearing adj. Why should that be regular maintenance? Does in contribute to bearing longevity? Anyone have an idea? BTW, I've got a '17 F700GS.

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    In my experience, they tend to loosen up over time. That can cause stability problems and greater wear on the bearings. I would recommend adjusting the bearings every 12K miles and they should probably be re-greased every 24 or 36K miles.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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    OFOAM's Avatar
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    Richard,
    12,000 miles makes more sense than every service that the schedules call for. An adjustment to me means a corrective action for an item that has fallen out of spec. I couldn't see the need to adjust bearings that seem to be working properly. Barring any issues that may come up, I'll wait till the 12K service to do the "adjustment". Thanks for the input.

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    I'd suggest checking them every so often and the 12k is probably reasonable. I just replaced the lower bearing on the wife's 2013, due to pretty severe notchiness at center. The bearing was fairly well greased (NTN OEM original) but was rough to turn. The race itself didn't appear grooved but was discoloured. On my 2014 which I checked at the same time the bearings were fine, zero notchiness but I did snug them just a little, mostly because I suspect that is what may have caused the 2013's issue to develop.

    It's remarkably easy to access and re-torque the steering bearings to 11nm, so don't be put off by the idea that it's a big job. I think it took me less than 10 min to snug the 2014.
    /Greg

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    Quote Originally Posted by anjelli View Post
    It's remarkably easy to access and re-torque the steering bearings to 11nm, so don't be put off by the idea that it's a big job. I think it took me less than 10 min to snug the 2014.
    /Greg
    I don't understand how it's possible to snug the steering bearings in "less than 10 minutes." Could you elaborate with a stepwise procedure?

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    https://f800riders.org/forum/showthr...-head-bearings
    Post #19 says it best! The manual I referenced states 11 nm to the center hex bolt that preloads the bearings.
    It might sound like a project but once you get a clear understanding it's not hard to do in 10 min +/- 10%!
    If this extends the life of the lower bearing it is highly advised maintenance item, changin the wife's bearings was a bit of work. I suspect that improperly preloaded bearings likely caused early failure on her bike.

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    I just did mine again last week because things felt "loose" when I hit bumps. I replaced mine a few years ago and now seem to have to tighten them at least once a year. A few times a year I jack the front end up and give the forks a push/pull. If there's any play then I re tighten them.

    It literally takes less than 5 min. Loosen the top yoke on both sides, loosen the stearing head bolt, then torque the bearing with a big Allen key. I have found that the prescribed tighten, loosen 1/6 a turn, tighten again to a lower torque, isn't enough. Maybe because my bearings aren't new anymore so the grease is already settled. Either way, I keep tightening a little at a time until I get no play when I push/pull the forks. Then re tighten the stearing head and both sides of the top yolk. Done!

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  11. #8
    Ware, Herts, UK Pat H is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    I find removing one end of the steering damper helps feel for notches as you turn the bars. The damper tends to dampen out any roughness.
    If you find they need regular nipping up its possible the replacement bearings weren't hammered home as tight as they could have been.
    There should be no wear on them due to mileage because there is no real rotation on them.
    Hit a few hard pot holes and you can start to dent the bearing faces and that will cause a looser part of the turn as the rollers falls in and out of the dents.
    Flame red F800s as of Nov 2006. Watch for me around North London.


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