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Discussion Starter #1
Here's a writeup I did on the tapered bearing install last spring.

Installing the tapered steering stem bearings proved to be a piece of cake. You need three items to do this: 1) a 10” steel or brass drift 2) a 5lb mallet or heavy-duty hammer 3) a foot-long section of 1 ¼” I.D. steel pipe.

Using a nice Harbor Freight 10" hardened steel drift and 5lb mallet, I popped the old races out easy as could be. As you look down the steering neck opening, you will see there are two large opposing notches near the bearing races. These notches provide an ample perch opportunity for your drift. You'll be able to place a large section of the drift directly on the bearing race you’re driving out. The two races popped out with no issues.

Below are the OEM ball bearings after they are removed. The set on the right is the lower bearing; the race on top is what you'll use to drive the new tapered bearings (lower) into place. And the others you'll use to drive the new tapered bearing races into their respective recesses:


View attachment 355

Here's the upper stem tapered bearings on a test fit prior to the grease packing job:


View attachment 356

And here's the first of many grease-packing strokes (<insert gay-ass joke here>... :rolleyes: ) Below, I am using the trusty Mobil One Fully Synthetic Universal Grease to pack these tapered babies:


View attachment 357

On the right you see the three main hand tools needed: 10" drift, 5-lb mallet. 1 1/4" I.D pipe approx 12" long. Using the OEM lower race as a drift, here I have just finished driving the new lower tapered bearings onto the bottom of the steering stem.


View attachment 358

At this point, the steering stem is wiped free of excess grease, and re-inserted into the frame neck. I am happy to find the Blackbird takes the exact same steering torque tool as my old ST1100, so I am blessed with already having the correct tool for the job. The upper brace is torqued the 25 Nm, then worked from stop-to-stop several times, then retorqued to the same setting again. A lock-tab washer is inserted before the final locknut is snugged up and locking tabs aligned.

Here is that spendy-ass Honda Steering Stem Socket p/n: 07916-3710101 seen here sitting atop the steering stem just before I moved it to install the upper triple-tree:

View attachment 359

All done!



View attachment 360
 

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Great post Dale, Thanks.

I just did this last night, so let me add a couple of tips.

1. Removing the lower inner race from the steering stem can be a bit tricky. The Honda manual says to force the race off by prying with a chisel. Tapping a chisel between the race and the stem does work. After I moved the race a few millimeters with a chisel, I used a small drift punch to tap it off the rest of the way. This created a couple small nicks on the steering stem which I smoothed with 400 grit sandpaper.

2. Installing the new races in the frame can also be tricky. Like Dale said, tap the old races against the new ones. Apply light tapping evenly around the old race until the new one is going in straight, then use moderate tapping. The race must go in straight and even. Do not force in a mis-aligned race. Tap down the high side of the race from the other side if it's not going in straight

3. The threads on the top of the steering stem are very, very fine and can be easily damaged. I put the handlebar bridge nut (it's the one with the Gatling gun motif on it) back on to protect the threads while working on it.

4. Install the forks when torquing the handlebar bridge nut. This aligns the upper and lower parts of the triple tree.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Great post Dale, Thanks.

2. Installing the new races in the frame can also be tricky. Like Dale said, tap the old races against the new ones.
I see I failed to mention in my writeup another common tip that was taught to me many years ago:

It is a tremendous help to freeze the bearing races prior to pounding them into the steering neck recesses. Just stick 'em in your freezer for a good couple of hours prior to your installation. Have all your necessary tools right by your steering neck because you want to pound in the races immediately upon removing them from the freezer.

Conversely, you want to stick your (cleaned) steering stem into your freezer (room permitting) several hours before you pound on the lower bearings.
 

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I installed the "ALLBALLS" tapered racing bearing last year on my 99 Bird!!! I have always used tapered steering stem bearings on the old KZ 900/1000's I use to ride and they made a huge difference in the handling.......plus it took me no time at all to get use to the new and improoved handling.

Maybe its just me, but after installing the Allballs racing bearings on my BIRD, it took me a few weeks of riding to really get use to the new handling. The first few days of riding and I was sorta regreting ever putting on the tapered race bearings.....sometimes the steering was too easy and it scared me!!

Has anyone else had a hard time getting use to the all new handling???
 

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Warchild, great post. Could you possibly list the part numbers for the bearings and seals you used for the switch? Are these propritory bearings to Honda or are the available from SKF etc? I believe you mentioned these fit a Goldwing but I do not have a Wing micro-fiche and the local Honda parts dick leaves much to be desired.

Cheers,
Mr. Hemi.
 

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Discussion Starter #6

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i got mine from cbr brearing the bottom bearing is such a tight fit u think it doesnt fit like its wrong one you must freeze the bearing was quite the pain in the ass for a first timer
 

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i got mine from cbr brearing the bottom bearing is such a tight fit u think it doesnt fit like its wrong one you must freeze the bearing was quite the pain in the ass for a first timer
You can either freeze the stem or heat the bearing .. or both ;)

What I want to know is what size is tha allen key slot in the triple tree nut?
 

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25nm is only 18.43 foot lbs. That seems really really low. are you certain?
I would also think the tapered bearings would take a greater torque than the stock sealed bearings, wouldn't they?

I read that the 65 dollar tool p/n 07916-3710101 can be substituted by a 22 dollar socket.... 1 and 11/16ths 12 point.
buying a 5 dollar locking tab washer is not a bad idea either.

Great write up. I just may try this. I will put as heat gun on the neck as well as freeze the bearings and stem. That should help. I have a temp sensor so i wont melt the paint.
 

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Just installed the All Balls bearing. It was as easy as you all described in above threads. Thanks for posting this information and pictures. It game me the confidence that it wasn't a job that would require a lot of special tools. Only item I had to purchase was the 1 11/16 socket, and I borrowed the 1 1/4 pipe. Those tips help a lot.
 

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As an additional idea, if you don't want to/ haven't got time to put things in the freezer, your local tool store/b&q will stock a pipe freezing kit (and possibly a refill freezing spray) from room temp to colder than a witches nobbly bits in seconds
 

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I changed out my stock head bearings on my 99 Bird with 66K miles. I went with the All Balls tapered bearing. It took 3 re-tightening episodes (not hard to do, 30 min start to finish each time) to get them seated just right. Now the steering is much quicker, bike feels lighter at all speeds. I recently rode a 2001 Bird with only 8K on the odometer. My bike simply steers better with the new bearings. I'd suggest this upgrade to anyone who hasn't done it yet.
Barry
 

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If you decide to purchase a 1 11/16" 12 point socket be sure and buy the deep socket type as the steering stem will get in the way if it's not deep enough.
 

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Bumping an old thread here..
Looking at my last two MOT certificates the bike has had an advisory each time " Steering Head Bearings rough" so think this maybe a job that's coming up for me.
 

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Bumping an old thread here..
Looking at my last two MOT certificates the bike has had an advisory each time " Steering Head Bearings rough" so think this maybe a job that's coming up for me.
question is, what mileage have you done since the MOT before those and now?


Just curious :)
 

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...... so think this maybe a job that's coming up for me.
nasty head bearings make for a nasty ride, I would plan that in. Don't forget to get the freezer rev'd up, makes the job so much easier if you throw the bits in the night before ....
 

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Bumping an old thread here..
Looking at my last two MOT certificates the bike has had an advisory each time " Steering Head Bearings rough" so think this maybe a job that's coming up for me.
six thousand.
Same tester, same station.
Sorry doesn't say "Steering head bearing rough " my bad, it actually says " steering slightly notchy" ?
Cant say I've noticed it though ?
 
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