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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my bike is at 15k and it needs seems to need headstock bearing adjustment. I got proper tool from dealer and getting ready to do it... Few questions to those who had done it:

- is the top nut 36 or 38 mm? I don't see any special tool to remove it, so how prevent socket from marring it hopelessly?

- I have read that lubing bearings periodically might be a good idea, especially that Triumph does not use generous amount of grease. Can I just do it taking off top tree, locknut/adjuster nut and sliding stem down, then lubing lower race this way, and upper from top? Should I take the wheel off to relieve strain? I would prefer not to remove fork legs... is that possible?

Never done this before, so any enlightened advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Can't do bottom without pulling the tree;
First thing is that you have to get front end off the ground with no weight on the front end at all - that means traditional lifts from fork legs, bottom triple etc won't work.
Don't know if you have frame sliders, but what I ususally do is use my triple tree lift to get bike in air, then place jack stands under the frame sliders and lower bike back down onto those. Use some wooden blocks or similar if your axle stands aren't tall enough.
If you don't have frame sliders, you can get a piece of metal rod at the hardware store, slide it under your frame top-rail and use that in similar manner. Simple, cheap & effective. (All of this should be done with rear supported by an axle stand of course)

Here's pic of the SV to demonstrate - same on most bikes, incl the Triumph
This is it up on the triple tree lift, axle stands in place ready to be lowered onto them.




And lowered onto the axle stands, lift removed



.

Bike is super stable like this so nothing to worry about - again, make sure rear is on stand first however - never us a front lift wthout having the rear end supported/stabilized.

If you leave the forks and wheel connected then the weight will drop the tree out as soon as you undo the stems nuts and it will be too heavy /awkward to control.

So definitely pull the wheel. Then you should probably place a block under the bottom of the fork legs, to stop entire tree falling out when you remove the stem nuts - nothing too substantial needed - closed carboard box or something. Once you have the stem nuts off, you can then safely lower the tree. If you don't want to remove it completely, then just have a shorter box at hand, so you can drop the tree partially to access the bearing adequately . Another method would be to slip the axle back in and use a jack to support the weight of the forks - then you can just lower the jack the desired amount, lube it up and then pull the forks back up and spin on the first nut.

Then follow procedure in manual for adjusting the bearing load and re-assemble your top end.
 

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Very good idea to do this.

I went in to lube the headstock bearings on my T509 last week at 23K while I was already most of the way in there changing the fork oil. I had assumed the headstock bearings had been done at 12K by the previous owner's shop. Probably not. The lower bearing race is toast (pretty badly scored) and the lower tapered bearing isn't much better. Both were mostly dry. Upper sealed bearing still had some lube in it after I tapped it out and disassembled it. It might have made another 10K miles, but wasn't the smoothest turning bearing I've seen, either.

Now my bike is hanging from my hoist, waiting on replacement bearings from Hermy's. Makes me glad I have a spare...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, DEcosse. You have outlined the exact procedure that I had in my mind, so this makes me feel better.
I have just bought Pitbull jack stands for this purpose - I have sliders, so I'll support bike on them. Rear stand lifts bike a little low, so my plan was to put it on rear stand, lift under engine (with car jack) and lower bike on Pitbull jack stands.

I'll try to provide pics of the bike on jacks - I think these are the only reasonable ones for front support, both other types - under the fork legs and triple tree lift - seem unstable and of limited use. Pitbull jacks could be also used to lift rear (under footpegs) to remove swingarm etc.
 

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....jacks - I think these are the only reasonable ones for front support, both other types - under the fork legs and triple tree lift - seem unstable and of limited use. ....
The problem with these (stands) is that you have to use something else to lift the bike to lower onto them, - you mentioned the others being unstable, but car jack under the motor is not the best option re stability!
I have the triple lift and it is perfect for most operations - wheel/tire removal; the only thing it is limited in, is if you have to remove the triple tree; (not a frequent operation!) but still makes short work of getting the bike up so you can lower back down again.
I think those stands are nice Bohdan, but for my money I would have invested in a triple lift first (you'll use it much more frequently - an easily) and the stands as an accessory.

The bike is super-stable on the triple tree lift incidentally, when used in conjunction with the rear stand (which is a MUST for any front end lift.

Here's another method you'll get a kick out of!

 

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Interesting Bohdan

I'm curious as to what issue you are experiencing with the bearings?

The reason is, because when I was checking out the Racetech fix, I was told I'd need to replace the head bearings as they were crap and mechanically lock before the correct tension can be applied.
 

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The reason is, because when I was checking out the Racetech fix, I was told I'd need to replace the head bearings as they were crap and mechanically lock before the correct tension can be applied.
Told by who? Similar top bearing setups are pretty common among sportbikes. It is true that the top bearing is not ideal for tensioning or keeping it's tension through long mileage, but if the shop manual tensioning guide (preload to 40Nm, loosen again, torque to 15Nm) is followed they have worked OK for me.

The "mechanically lock" part sounds like someone has tried to tension the bearings by feel with a normal C-spanner, and not from the top with a torque wrench.
 

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Told by who? Similar top bearing setups are pretty common among sportbikes. It is true that the top bearing is not ideal for tensioning or keeping it's tension through long mileage, but if the shop manual tensioning guide (preload to 40Nm, loosen again, torque to 15Nm) is followed they have worked OK for me.

The "mechanically lock" part sounds like someone has tried to tension the bearings by feel with a normal C-spanner, and not from the top with a torque wrench.
I don't really want to name names Martin, but I did find the original part of the quote.

"And RE the Speed Tripple, it is also VERY VERY important to change the stearing head bearings at the same time, standard are CRAP!!!!!! they basically mechanicall lock before the correct amount of tension has been applied to set the front end up for NZ roads, ie bumpy bumpy causing a lot of head shake and harshness"

Please excuse the spelling! His credentials cover bikes, suspension, racing (former "Isle of Man" winner) etc.
Hence why I'm curious as to Bohdan's issue, as he's had the Racetech upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm curious as to what issue you are experiencing with the bearings?
None whatsoever. I just had it on my 12k service checklist, so I'm doing it now at 15k, having all proper tools (including Triumph special one for lock/adjuster nut). I read some horror stories about Triumph factory lubrication so try to rectify it before I have any problem (rear wheel and linkage is next).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
DEcosse,
when I was saying unstable I meant - to set bike for work on these, be able to pull and tug on wrenches w/o fear of toppling the bike. Car jack is just to lift it and lower on jacks, not to leave bike supported on it.
I have to admit that up to now I was using rear stand and jack under engine when I needed to take wheel of, but every time it gave me bad feeling about what might happen. So I decided to invest in jacks - these work for any kind of front (and rear too) job, including jobs covered by triple tree lift.
I have lift in plans as a track tool, but for garage work prefer jacks.
 

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None whatsoever. I just had it on my 12k service checklist, so I'm doing it now at 15k, having all proper tools (including Triumph special one for lock/adjuster nut). I read some horror stories about Triumph factory lubrication so try to rectify it before I have any problem (rear wheel and linkage is next).
Ok cheers for that Bohdan!

My bearings weren't checked on that service and there was a reason. I just can't remember, but it will be done at 30,000km.
My hub was done and yes, very dry.
 

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I don't know that I would agree with your racer friend on the bearings Ferris:

Triumph selects a Tapered Roller for the bottom bearing - this is an excellent choice for this application, with good load-bearing capability in both the radial and axial planes - pretty much ideal for a lower steering bearing.
- versus Suzuki for example who use ball races as OEM, even in their GSXRs.
A tapered roller bearing will endure higher loads than a spherical bearing.


So I think they actually did a pretty good job of slecting good performance parts.

I use tapered rollers top & bottom myself.

I'm not sure what his objection is on the statement about mechanically locking before max torque is applied - well, duuuhhh - yeahhh!!!! ANY Tapered roller bearing will lock if you apply compressive (and its compressive guys, not tension) force to it.
It sounds like he might be old-school and used to ball races. :confused:

The method of 'torquing' tapered roller bearings is very precise - the initial torque is ONLY to ensure the bearing and race are fully seated - it should not be over-torqued in this step either.
Then it is backed off - note that 15Nm is ONLY 11 ft-lb which is not much at all.
Rather than set the final load by torque, I prefer to do that by 'feel' - the nut should be backed off from the initial loading to get a smooth rotation with no notching.
Then torque down the lock nut while holding the adjuster nut.
 

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Now my bike is hanging from my hoist, waiting on replacement bearings from Hermy's. Makes me glad I have a spare...
I got a tapered replacement from Timkin for $12 bucks over the counter at Autozone. Search this section for Headstock and the thread should show up that has the exact part number.
 

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Thanks for the tip, CDickey. I'd prefer a taper bearing up top to the caged ball bearing that comes stock. And there is even an Autozone in my little town! I'll go looking...
 

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Thanks for the "heads up" DEcosse! By the way, I've never met the racer, but everyone here knows his reputation.

I just had no reason to disbelieve what I was told, but I'd be checking with my mechanic before forking out any coin.
 

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I wasn't able to find the numbers for a tapered bearing and race to use in the top of my '97 Speed Triple headstock using the search function on this site. But I took the stock caged bearing in to one of the local shops here, and had it cross-referenced. The equivalent tapered bearing and race can be obtained from most any bearing supply shop using the following two numbers, one for the bearing and one for the race: 07097 and 07204. Around here, less than 15 bucks and only a couple of days delivery time. Should fit any Speed Triple (and I'd guess T595) from 97-01. Whether the bearing is the same for later speed triples, I don't know.
 

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Interesting, DECosse. Does the Allballs kit include an upper ball bearing or an upper tapered bearing and race? The description says at the site says "one ball bearing" and "two steering bearings" are in the kit. I wonder if that means one upper ball bearing and a two piece lower tapered bearing? In any case, I like the idea of getting away from the upper caged ball bearing and having tapered roller bearings top and bottom. The parts numbers I referenced above will get one a tapered bearing and race of the same size as the stock caged ball bearing.
 

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Apologies - I see that now Cave1 - that is a little confusing, worth a call to find out I guess.
I don't actually order that kit precisely, but get a kit which includes a TR for the upper bearing, but has a different ID for the Suzuki stem. I had perhaps wrongly assumed the std kit had a TR top also.
But the description might indeed point to that it is the ball bearing.
They don't typically point to two parts for a complete Taper Roller though in their other kits however.

.
 

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Lift Needed

So I don't have frame sliders and looking to get the weight off the front to lube the headstock. Any ideas or stories of success? I was thinking pulling the tank and airbox as I have to clean the filter and then wrap some straps around the frame and support it from the rafters.

Any other ideas as I am not sure how stable this will be.
 
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