Author Topic: Head Bearing Removal (conando1)  (Read 5282 times)

Offline George R. Young

  • Moderator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 586
  • Country: ca
    • Concours 2001 Farkles
Head Bearing Removal (conando1)
« on: June 02, 2011, 11:48:21 am »
Concours home made steering bearing tools.

I recently put new steering stem bearings in my 2000 Concours with 40,000 miles on it using an assortment of metal products which can be readily purchased. The existing bearing had notched into the center position so I decided to tackle the job. I assumed that someone previously had over tightened the bearing. There was still plenty of grease, and no rust on the old bearings. Not wanting to buy the expensive Kawasaki tools I figured I could shape some metal to do the job based on other information I have gleaned from the forum. I had not yet read Rich’s fine article in the last Concourier.

In order to create the tools you need a hammer, vise, and a bench grinder (tools no mechanic can live without).

For metal I bought:
1. 2’ of ¾”x ¾” angle iron
2. 2’ of 1 ¼” I.D. steel pipe (1.5” O.D. and 1.27” I.D.)
3. 4’ of ½” threaded rod and several nuts to go with it.
4. 1 washer - 2” O.D.

Total cost for the above items should be $15 to $20 (Canadian in my case). You’ll pay more if you don’t have other assorted washers which I had on hand. Extra washers help to spread the load out from the threaded rod to the steering head tube.

See pictures here: Linky no good - a pox on webshots

After disassembling the bike down to the point of removing the outer bearing races from the steering head tube (not a small job itself) I used the 2” pipe by itself to pound out the upper outside bearing race (about 5 or 6 hits). The pipe is just the perfect size for this job.

To remove the lower outside bearing race I shaped a 2” O.D. washer I had on hand with the bench grinder to an oblong shape (see pictures). Insert the washer up the steering head tube and down again until one edge of the washer makes contact with the upper face of the lower bearing race. The washer will sit up at about a 45 to 60 degree angle in the tube. Insert the 2” pipe down from the top and slam the pipe down on the washer until the bearing starts to move and then reposition the washer a few times around the bearing race and pound down with the pipe until the bearing race is knocked out (about 10 to 15 hits in all). This hammering with the pipe didn’t damage the frame tube or the oblong washer.

Now to remove the lower bearing from the steering stem cut the ¾”x ¾” angle iron into two 12” pieces and then grind curves into one leg of both pieces (see pictures). Thin out the curved area to allow a thinner edge, which you’ll need to get under the bearing and over the dust seal. Thin from the bottom so when in place the flat side is up. You’ll know when it’s right when you can just angle the pieces into position between the bearing and the steering stop nubs. Grind the back side of the angle iron to allow the angle iron pieces to spread out from a “V” shape when installed. Place the steering stem and angle iron pieces in the vice as shown in the pictures and hammer down on the steering stem with a heavy hammer. Use a piece of scrap metal between the steering stem and the hammer to prevent damage to the steering stem threads. This operation totally destroys the bearing but leaves the dust seal in perfectly reusable condition. Initially the angle iron just grabs the lower edge of the rollers and after the bearing moves up a bit the angle iron pieces grab completely under the inner race. A few more whacks and the bearing will pop off. Pad your vise below for when the steering stem drops onto the lower part of the vise.

To put the new inner bearing part on the steering stem you need to grind a taper onto the end of the 2’ pipe so that when in place you’ll only be applying pressure to the inner race of the bearing. Freeze the steering stem overnight. Liberally apply grease to the bearing (I used waterproof marine grease). Slide the new bearing over the steering stem and place the tapered end of the 2’ pipe onto the inner race of the bearing and use a hammer on the other end of the pipe to drive the bearing home. Another person to align the pipe on the bearing helps a lot.

Use the threaded rod and washers to press the outer races into the steering head tube. I had on hand a washer just the perfect size for pressing against the outer races. Put some grease on the threaded rod where the nuts will be applying the greatest forces. Great care must be taken so the races do not tilt into the head tube, so go slowly, and do one at a time. Mine all worked out very well in the end, but it did take some time. I found that freezing the outer races was a waste of time, since by the time I was setup they were unfrozen.

After assembly, I used an old Koni/Hagon shock absorber adjusting tool (again ground to the correct shape) to adjust the bearings.

It took me about two days worth of thinking, going out and buying metal, grinding, and doing the rest of the job associated with it. In the end I saved many dollars and had the satisfaction on knowing it was done right.

« Last Edit: May 11, 2016, 01:37:15 pm by George R. Young »
65 CB160 (67-69), 69 350GTR (69-72), 72 R5, 73 RD350 (73-84), 82 XZ550 Vision (84-03), 01 Concours C10 (03-19), 89 EX250 (11-14), 00 SV650S (14-16), 03 SV650S (19-)