Installing tapper steering bearings - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Installing tapper steering bearings

Hey,
To anyone that has replaced there ball type steering stem bearings with tapper bearings.
When replacing the ball type steering stem bearings with tapper bearings. Do you torque the stem nut to the same torque value as in the manual for the ball type bearing? Or do you torque it like a wheel bearing tighten it until it binds a little and back off a bit until it moves freely.


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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 11:12 PM
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I just did it to the factory spec. The tapered bearing is tightened by the notched nut under the upper triple clamp. I used a punch and tapped the bearing nut to remove any looseness and then a titch more. You should notice a slight tightness in the handlebar swing. After torqueing the large exterior nut on the top triple clamp, it all feels firm. A bit tighter than a fully rotating wheel bearing. Thats my take.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-27-2019, 03:54 PM
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So I just replace my bearings with Allballs tapered. I torqued the notched stem nut and top nut to the factory specs. On my first test ride, the bike would try to dive left or right in a turn. I had to counter steer hard to keep the bike on track. I'm about to take the faring off again and add more pressure on the notched stem nut. Not sure how much more torque is needed but it will need a higher torque setting than the factory spec.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaBooty View Post
So I just replace my bearings with Allballs tapered. I torqued the notched stem nut and top nut to the factory specs.
If those specs were for a ball bearing then you have just destroyed your new tapered bearing.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stessel View Post
Hey,
To anyone that has replaced there ball type steering stem bearings with tapper bearings.
When replacing the ball type steering stem bearings with tapper bearings. Do you torque the stem nut to the same torque value as in the manual for the ball type bearing? Or do you torque it like a wheel bearing tighten it until it binds a little and back off a bit until it moves freely.
Most back yard mechanics are so ham fisted they destroy their new bearings upon install and don't even know it. If you drop a bearing it is trash. If you beat on a race the bearing is trash. ETC ETC. If you can manage to get a tapered bearing in, then DO NOT tighten the nut to the same torque as the previous ball bearing.

Torque to preload.
Exercise bearing under no load.
remove preload.
Torque to preload again.
Exercise bearing under no load.
remove preload.
Torque to final setting that will allow bump stop of handle bars to bounce back 1" when dropped from center position with wheel off the ground. (The Harley Method)
This torque value is something you will have to play with to get.

Explicit theoretical detail can be found starting on page 14 of this document
https://www.timken.com/wp-content/up...Brochure-1.pdf
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 01:57 PM
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I pulled and checked the bearings and they seem to be good. If I have buy another set i will. One question that has been driving me crazy since I've read a lot of articles and forum posts at this point and I get some contradictory info. When I test drive the bike and turn left or right, the handle bars want to turn hard in that direction. I've added a 1/8 turn a couple of time to the stem nut. Seems like it might be getting better, handle bars still turn smooth and easy. Before I keep putting more turns on that stem nut wanted to see if someone had experience with this and could tell me if the handlebars trying to dive into a turn is a sign that the bearings are too tight or too loose. I've read things now that make me wonder.

Quick note, I backed the pressure off a little and checked for "fall off". It doesn't make since but the lower torque setting fixed the problem with diving handlebars in a turn. Still have some wobble when decelerating between 30 and 40MPH but that might be inherent to this bike.

Last edited by JaBooty; 01-28-2019 at 04:10 PM. Reason: Add additiona info
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 09:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaBooty View Post
I pulled and checked the bearings and they seem to be good. If I have buy another set i will. One question that has been driving me crazy since I've read a lot of articles and forum posts at this point and I get some contradictory info. When I test drive the bike and turn left or right, the handle bars want to turn hard in that direction. I've added a 1/8 turn a couple of time to the stem nut. Seems like it might be getting better, handle bars still turn smooth and easy. Before I keep putting more turns on that stem nut wanted to see if someone had experience with this and could tell me if the handlebars trying to dive into a turn is a sign that the bearings are too tight or too loose. I've read things now that make me wonder.

Quick note, I backed the pressure off a little and checked for "fall off". It doesn't make since but the lower torque setting fixed the problem with diving handlebars in a turn. Still have some wobble when decelerating between 30 and 40MPH but that might be inherent to this bike.
As a final torque setting I would say no more than 3 to 5 ft lbs MAX. I would replace the bearings and start over. You probably have dents in the races that you are "diving" into.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-29-2019, 04:04 PM
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Hey Du-Rron, thanks for the great info. New bearing are on the way. From what I have experienced so far I completely agree with 3 to 5 ft lbs for final set. Do you have a recommendation for a preload torque that will allow proper seating of the bearings? I was planning to turn the spanner nut to apply light pressure then work the triple tree back and forth about 20 time, loosen, snug it up again and repeat. As long as there was no play I would consider them set. From all the reading I have done, this is where there is a huge gap in knowledge of tapered bearings. Lot of sites out there are saying to torque to factory spec to seat the bearings.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-29-2019, 06:38 PM
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Before I changed mine I had the death wobble. When I got the wheel off there was a definite ratchet and it would center. After the change the ratchet was gone, real smooth stop to stop. Still that way some 4000 miles later. When I take my hands off the handle bars, dead straight. I just torqued mine by the book and haven't had any problems and I don't believe for a second that by doing so I "trashed" the bearings. BTW, I didn't take the faring off.
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Last edited by Pilot747; 01-29-2019 at 06:53 PM.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-29-2019, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilot747 View Post
... I just torqued mine by the book and haven't had any problems and I don't believe for a second that by doing so I "trashed" the bearings. BTW, I didn't take the faring off.
I feel the same way, and have done the same thing, much the same way. And on advice from a mechanic I trust, I over-torqued the head nut first to make absolutely sure the bearings were well seated (careful not to turn the bars during that time), before loosening it off and re-torquing to spec: "Torque - Steering Stem Nut: 29 Nm (3.0 kgfm, 22 ftlb)"

My All Balls tapered bearings aren't "destroyed" either. They're perfect, as that brand was on the 1500 Nomad I installed them on previously, and on the bike before that as well.

Paul (Peg) Elliott
New Plymouth, NZ. '10 Voyager 1700
'02 Nomad 1500(sold) '97 VN800B (sold)
2 Honda's, 2 Suzuki's, 1 Yamaha (all dead)

Last edited by Peg; 01-29-2019 at 09:50 PM.
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