Steering head bearings - Page 2 - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
Air Cooled Twins Technical Talk Technical Talk for Hinckley Triumph Twins: Bonneville, Bobber, T100, Speedmaster, America, Thruxton, and Scrambler.


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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-26-2015, 10:11 PM
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Replacing the steerer bearings with tapered roller bearings is not for the faint of heart. But I am on the side of them making an improvement over even pristine, brandy new ball bearings.

The stock setup is barely adequate for just riding around. But if you are planning on placing increased chassis dynamics into the mix with upgrades to the suspension, tires, engine, then I think the upgrade to roller bearings is a must do.

The limited contact area of caged ball bearings is the downfall of the design. Under heavy dynamic loads, they will allow the fork assembly to shift and oscillate. It's one of the main reasons steering dampers are such a popular accessory for our bikes.

A properly installed and adjusted set of tapered roller bearings, coupled with a stout fork brace and upgraded fork internals really plants the front end.

Prior to installing the upgraded front end on my Bonnie Lass, hitting potholes or pavement irregularities would induce a wobble at speed. This in a brand new, properly balanced, low milage T100. Any excursions to the ton or more were really tests of intestinal fortitude.

Post upgrades, the bike is stable as the Rock of Gibraltar.

No steering damper required.

Of course the bearings were part of an overall upgrade, but I think the connection of the front end to the chassis on any motorcycle is a critical piece that needs to be addressed. I can see the bean counters nixing any excess expenses. With the original intent of our bikes being really nothing more than whimsical fashion statements to a bygone era of motorcycling, the engineers couldn't argue for the more than triple the cost of proper bearings in our steerers.

Its not an easy task, and requires specialized tools, but the end result, with the smoothness and stability are worth the effort.

YMMV

Cheers,

RD
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'13 T100, Corbin Smuggler, D&D 2-2, Ohlins 36PL shocks, Andreani cartridges/Ohlins springs, BC AEK, O2 and SAI delete, DNA Pods, TTP Remote Tune, NH "M" Bars, roller bearing headset, NH fork brace, Maund Lucas FEK, MAS Alu Fr. Fender, misc farkle.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-28-2015, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
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Triumph should be flogged for the upper bearing race.

As so many OEM's they had no intention whatsoever of having that changed out and further insult is Haynes saying just to drive it out.
I spent about 20 minutes back & forth modifying a drift to no avail and another 45 minutes on the lathe and mill machining an expanding arbor...pfff!
"Your puny efforts are futile mortal!"
If the bike was in the garage and not the cellar I'd just run a TIG bead around the race and it would leave of it's own accord!

Dremel to the rescue as junipero's post indicated but I HATE doing that sort of disassembly.
I used the smallest radius cutoff disc so as not to cut too far into the steering head tube but it won't really hurt if you do anyway.

Once I'm done with this it's new headlight brackets.

Len

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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-28-2015, 11:08 PM
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Somewhere on this forum I thought someone posted about a bearing drift that would actually work on our Bonnies. I really hated using a Dremel too.

It's been many miles and a few years since I installed those tapered bearings. Much happier now.

"The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my employer's position or opinion."


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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-01-2015, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Please allow me to apologize.
After reading your response I'm dismayed that it sounded like I thought you were endorsing "Dremel mechanics"!
Your discomfort with that was obvious by your well reasoned approach and execution.

Yes, I think I saw the post for the tool as well but, judging from the angle on the tools in the photograph, I'm at a loss to explain how they could fit into the steering head.
Good for him if it worked!

Len

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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-01-2015, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QSIMDO View Post
Please allow me to apologize.

After reading your response I'm dismayed that it sounded like I thought you were endorsing "Dremel mechanics"!

Your discomfort with that was obvious by your well reasoned approach and execution.



Yes, I think I saw the post for the tool as well but, judging from the angle on the tools in the photograph, I'm at a loss to explain how they could fit into the steering head.

Good for him if it worked!

QSIMDO. I didn't think that at all. No need for an apology.

Cheers!

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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 09:52 AM
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Ive just wasted the best part of the whole weekend trying to get the top bearing race out. Like QSIMDO said above, Triumph ought to be flogged for creating that crap setup.

So after failed attempts at using a modified drift and cutting with the dremel, I've decided to give the welding a bead option a go. Although I've got all the gear I just don't trust my skills with the welder for fear of making a now damaged race permanently fixed to the head stock. Luckily I have a few mates who are professional welders so might have to ask a favour.
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 12:12 PM
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I replaced mine last fall at 32K miles. The OEM were not yet loose, but on inspection the grooves in the races could be seen so I decided that once I was in so far to go ahead and replace with the tapered rollers. Like has been said, one look turned into many looks and trying to figure out how to make a tool to remove the upper race. A dealer friend who is a Triump mechanic sent me his tools for removing them; however, they wouldn't work because of the Triumph design (installation easy, but removal difficult to impossile without a dremel tool). I did make a slide hammer that I could use to remove the lower race; however, the upper was removed using the dremel. Glad that task is behind me...the tapered rollers should last the rest of my life.

Larry
2003 T-100 (790cc), NARK, NH Togas, 8100 rpm rev limiter, 158 main jets, 42 pilot jets (less than 1 turn out on pilot screws), stock needles--no shims. 13 A/F ratio from 1100 rpm to 4000 rpm; 12 A/F ratio from 4000 rpm to 6000 rpm; 13 A/F from 6000 rpm to 8100 rpm.:D
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 03:18 PM
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I used the head race drift after seeing a link posted. It was about 14. Quick and easy....5 minutes tops. Recommended. Rob
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 03:29 PM
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-27-2017, 02:27 PM
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I used that tool when I upgraded my bearings last year. It worked, but I still had to beat on it ferociously.
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