Another f800gsa 2014 steering bearing issue - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
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    Hello, I am feeling a the notching on my handlebar only when the wheel is on the ground. If I lift the bike on the center stand and press down on the back in order to free the front wheel, the steering is flawless, but as soon a the front wheel touches the ground I feel the center notching.

    Any suggestions??

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  3. #2
    bmwroadsterca's Avatar
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    Replace tne lower steering head bearing. It bears the weight of the bike. Insure that the stem is tightened to spec when you are done.

    Sent from my SM-T813 using Tapatalk

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  5. #3
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    When I did mine I bought a "pair" of bearings ... but the top bearing does essentially no work and will last forever unless it runs out of grease or something.
    So +1 on what @bmwroadsterca said... just replace the bottom on...

    There are several threads around on the details of doing that...
    Blue 2009 F650GS - H-B crash bars, TT luggage rack, Pelican top case, BMW Vario Panniers & bash plate, 20mm handlebar risers, LED voltmeter, Sargent seat, MudSling, a few other trinkets ... I may be just about at the end of the farkle train  

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  7. #4
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    Not sure where you are located but I used Napa Auto Parts. Part # BR32
    It is an SKF bearing for 1/2 the price of the BMW OEM
    Blue 2009 F650GS - H-B crash bars, TT luggage rack, Pelican top case, BMW Vario Panniers & bash plate, 20mm handlebar risers, LED voltmeter, Sargent seat, MudSling, a few other trinkets ... I may be just about at the end of the farkle train  

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  9. #5
    Richard230's Avatar
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    I have only had a "notchy" steering bearing issue three times in 60 years of owning and riding motorcycles. Once it was on my 1997 BMW Funduro and also with my 2009 F650GS. Both steering bearings became notchy after around 10K miles and both were replaced by my dealer without cost, when they discovered that the factory had apparently did not grease the bearings properly. In the case of the Funduro, which contained its oil in the frame, the grease was not a heat-resistant type and it ran out of the bearing due to the heat in the frame, according to my dealer. I don't know what the issue was on my GS, but the BMW parts replacement bearing was made in Bulgaria and had a listed price of only $5.50 according to the work order, so that might give you a clue as to the source of the failure.

    The other time I had this problem was with my 1993 Honda 750 Nighthawk. After 50K miles the steering became notchy, so I took it to my dealer to have new $100 Honda bearings installed. I also asked for the old bearings that were replaced to be returned to me. When I inspected the parts, I discovered that the grease had hardened and that was what was causing the notchy feeling. After I cleaned out the old hard, dried out grease the bearing looked to be in perfect condition. So I really didn't need new bearings, after all. In all cases I just needed new (and likely better) grease.
    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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  11. #6
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    You've done well there in that time frame Richard. Agree about the Funduro. Had the same issue with the heat around the headstock on mine.

    My previous F8GT had two replacement sets in the first 40,000 miles before I swapped her. Thought it might have bean heat related as well, this time from the radiator but I've not got any proof of that.

    Never had to change them on an oil head boxer and only a handful of times on Airheads and then only once they'd gone around the clock or near to it.

    I've always swapped both bearings when it got notchy, bearings being relatively cheap, especially from a factor, and not wanting to have to do the job twice.


    Sent from my moto g(8) power lite using Tapatalk

  12. #7
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    So a question... what's the harm in a notchy steering bearing?

    Like the OP, I feel it when there's weight on the front end, and only if I'm at walking speed. Once up to speed, I don't feel anything.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

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  13. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daboo View Post
    So a question... what's the harm in a notchy steering bearing?

    Like the OP, I feel it when there's weight on the front end, and only if I'm at walking speed. Once up to speed, I don't feel anything.

    Chris


    Well for one, it is very difficult no maneuver the bike at low speeds, lets say in between cars and or trees, and on the other hand, when you are cornering at 60 or 70mph on the twisties it is hard to fine tune your counter steering or your turn in into the curve, or correct trajectory during a long curve.....

  14. #9
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    Thanks for replying, Apaulcb. Where I've noticed it, is when I'm in stop-n-go backups ...especially those going over our passes in Washington State that are miles long. I'm barely moving and the front wheel is moving back and forth as I keep my balance at a crawl, at best. It's irritating, probably mostly because I am anal about my vehicles working perfectly.

    But I don't feel anything once I'm above 3-5 mph. Steering corrections are smooth and I feel nothing amiss.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

  15. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daboo View Post
    ....... It's irritating, probably mostly because I am anal about my vehicles working perfectly.

    ...
    As the wear in the bearing at "dead ahead" position increased the tendency to self centre becomes greater and it gets beyond an annoyance and ends up at the point Apaulcb describes. In the UK your bike would fail the annual vehicle check for it's head bearings I suppose the idea is to not let the owner decide when it gone form annoyance to dangerous but require it to be fixed before hand.
    Last edited by MGD109; 5 Days Ago at 06:37 AM.
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  17. #11
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    In Ontario, and I suspect most places, a bike with a detectable notch will not pass a safety inspection.

  18. #12
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    I still recall the good old days when many motorcycles had a big knob over the steering stem that you would crank down to put tension on the steering to make it more stable while riding at high speeds on the highway. (That was before the days of the hydraulic steering damper.) But it was easy to forget to loosen it up when coming to a corner or when getting off the freeway and into a sharp off-ramp curve. Then it was pucker time as you fought the steering and tried to loosen the knob at the same time. Notchy steering kind of reminds me of that feeling of not being in full control of your motorcycle.
    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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  20. #13
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    Thanks, guys.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

  21. #14
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    As others have replied Chris, it's a safety issue. Once they get notchy, they'll not get better no matter how much grease/ adjustment you do and the steering will get progressively worse.

    There a very generous American gent called Duane Ausherman who has a lot of good information, mostly on old and vintage BMW's, published on his web site. While most of his resources are BMW specific, things like steering bearing adjustment and identifying when it's needed is pretty genetic. His site is well worth a read.

    In addition, should you decide that you want to have a crack at replacement yourself, I believe that Delboy has a few videos of how he does things. He's never been BMW specific but again a lot of this process would be common to most motorcycles.

    Ride safety.

    Sent from my moto g(8) power lite using Tapatalk

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  23. #15
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    I did the bearings on my 800gs at about 40k miles (+/-). Easy enough to do with minimal investment in new tools. A good drift for knocking the lower race off through the holes in the lower crown, and a bearing setting tool from harbor freight. It was a pretty simple job that i did in my garage on a Saturday morning.
    The improvement in how light and responsive the steering became was dispositional to how much the notch bothered me. What i mean by that is i didn't think it was bad and would have had no problem living with it, but the improvement was more than noticable. Totally worth the <$100 it cost me.

  24. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcb78 View Post
    I did the bearings on my 800gs at about 40k miles (+/-). Easy enough to do with minimal investment in new tools. A good drift for knocking the lower race off through the holes in the lower crown, and a bearing setting tool from harbor freight. It was a pretty simple job that i did in my garage on a Saturday morning.
    The improvement in how light and responsive the steering became was dispositional to how much the notch bothered me. What i mean by that is i didn't think it was bad and would have had no problem living with it, but the improvement was more than noticable. Totally worth the <$100 it cost me.
    Thanks @rcb78 I had issues getting the lower race out ... very snug and there is a "lip" in the bottom of the frame... which I initially missed...........

    What is the bearing setting tool of which you speak?

    My lower bearing was a VERY tight fit on the spindle ... a real bitch to get off and back on ............. sheez.............
    I'm guessing bad tolerance stack-up ... there's no reason it should have been that hard..........
    Blue 2009 F650GS - H-B crash bars, TT luggage rack, Pelican top case, BMW Vario Panniers & bash plate, 20mm handlebar risers, LED voltmeter, Sargent seat, MudSling, a few other trinkets ... I may be just about at the end of the farkle train  

  25. #17
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    The lower crown has holes drilled through to the underside of the bearing race so you can walk it off with a drift. It takes some good hits but it'll come off. Putting it back on, heat it first and it'll be much easier. I set it with a crown race setter (bicycle tool) but a piece of pipe would work too, just grab a size that doesn't touch the actual bearing race. To set the bearing, just google "bearing driver set", it's a bunch of round mandrels with a center handle that you hit with a hammer. The fits are tight on purpose, it's not a one-off and they are all like that.

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  27. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcb78 View Post
    The lower crown has holes drilled through to the underside of the bearing race so you can walk it off with a drift. It takes some good hits but it'll come off. Putting it back on, heat it first and it'll be much easier. I set it with a crown race setter (bicycle tool) but a piece of pipe would work too, just grab a size that doesn't touch the actual bearing race. To set the bearing, just google "bearing driver set", it's a bunch of round mandrels with a center handle that you hit with a hammer. The fits are tight on purpose, it's not a one-off and they are all like that.
    It was certainly a bitch ... I had the drift used heat+cold still not so much fun...

    I've done headset bearings on four or five other bikes (all various Japanese bikes ... FWIW) and this was by far the most difficult.
    Blue 2009 F650GS - H-B crash bars, TT luggage rack, Pelican top case, BMW Vario Panniers & bash plate, 20mm handlebar risers, LED voltmeter, Sargent seat, MudSling, a few other trinkets ... I may be just about at the end of the farkle train  

  28. #19
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    I had to replace mine on my ST at about 20K miles. It was an easy fix and really improved its handling.
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