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Old 06-25-2013, 08:39 PM   #1
indr OP
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Swerving

What is this caused by?

I do a straight line, and the front wheel wants to turn a certain way, I have to correct it, then it wants to turn the other way. Makes the bike feel very unstable. And this is at low speeds for now -- 30-40kmph (i just got the bike up and running and just did a run down the street).
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:57 PM   #2
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PS: Something I should mention. I just remembered that I made a mistake of leaving the collar out when installed the bearings on the front wheel. I then took out one bearing (after it was installed), and reused it. The inner race seemed fine before I installed it the second time, but could there be damage that would only show up when riding the bike? Could the problem be caused by this?
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indr View Post
PS: Something I should mention. I just remembered that I made a mistake of leaving the collar out when installed the bearings on the front wheel. I then took out one bearing (after it was installed), and reused it. The inner race seemed fine before I installed it the second time, but could there be damage that would only show up when riding the bike? Could the problem be caused by this?
Your problem sounds like bearings that are too tight. There may or may not be damage (either existing, or due to installing them too tight), but there's going to be no way to tell without removal and inspection.

Depending on what you've done, your expertise, and how easy it is for you to get to an industrial bearing supplier, it might be worth simply purchasing all new bearings/races, and doing the work over. At the very least, take everything apart, inspect it, verify proper assembly, installation, and torque, and see where you stand.

Report back with what you find; take pictures often, and annotate them well.
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:35 AM   #4
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Sounds more like steering head bearings that are worn out.

When steering head bearings wear, they get small dents in the races due to the fact that they don't really rotate, just move back and forth a very small amount during normal riding.

Since single-track vehicles are essentially balancing over the contact patch, we are constantly making small corrections to maintain an upright condition. When the small dents develop in the bearings, we have to use more force to move the bearing out of the dent, causing us to make a larger correction than we need to. Of course, the next thing that happens is we have to correct back in the other direction to maintain balance, setting up a weave.

Excessive wheelies will accelerate this phenomemon.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:32 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Motomedic View Post
Sounds more like steering head bearings that are worn out.

When steering head bearings wear, they get small dents in the races due to the fact that they don't really rotate, just move back and forth a very small amount during normal riding.
I had taken the second post to indicate that the SH bearings had just been replaced, though it's not clear whether or not all races were new.

Either way, suspect the bearings, and if all the parts weren't new, get all-new bearings and replace them again.

To expand on something I wrote before, you can often get quality bearings for much less money than OEM/dealer prices, by going to an industrial bearing supplier. It's best to have the old bearings in hand when you go, so the guy at the counter can verify that you're getting the proper replacement.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:41 AM   #6
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Oh. I should have mentioned. It was the front wheel bearings that I pulled out and reused.

The steering head bearings on the bike:
- They have races on the top and bottom and little balls that float around in grease.

~~~

Before I go onto those things though, I should check the tire pressure of both wheels since they've been sitting for a year without being looked at.

Also rear wheel alignment.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:58 AM   #7
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I don't mean to sound like a dick, but I'm sort of a safety first kind of guy.

A qualified mechanic might be a good place to start. Self-wrenching is fantastic, but your posts make me think you might be a bit of a novice.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:07 AM   #8
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Cry

lol. I am.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:25 AM   #9
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I should also tighten my main swing arm bolts, which I never did.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:33 AM   #10
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Now that we know that your tire pressure is probably dangerously low, and know that you haven't touched your SH bearings, that changes the diagnosis.

How about we start this over?

Hi indr! Thanks for posting!

I understand you have a problem with your bike swerving and being difficult to control. We can help you with this!

First, we need some additional information:

-What make/model bike is this?
-What recent work have you done on it? Provide detail.
-Do you have a service manual and all the required tools (particularly a torque wrench and any specialty tools required for bearings)?

Seriously, go ahead and give us a couple of paragraphs explaining what bike you own, and what you've done to it so far. Internet advice is no substitute for an experienced friend/inmate (and by all means check out the regional forum to see if anyone's able to swing by and help out), but we can definitely help make sense of things before you start trying random stuff or spending lots of money.
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Old 06-26-2013, 12:17 PM   #11
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Okay. There was NO pressure in the front tire. The pen type pressure gauge didn't even budge.

Pumped it up to 28 PSI. The back was at 25. Filled it to 32 PSI. Haven't taken it for a ride yet due to some unassembled bits on other parts of the bike, but will post back with the results.

This is most likely the cause of the wobble.

~~~

Some background information

1) Bike is a Ninja 250R. 2010 model.

2) Both the front and rear bearings were replaced with new ones. BUT, after I installed the new bearings for the front, I realized that I had forgotten to put the long collar that goes between the bearings. It's the thing that the axle slides through. So, I took out one of the bearings (after it was fully in) by striking the inner race. Once I had the collar in, I inspected the bearing (esp the inner race) to see if there was any grinding and for smooth motion, and since it was OK, I installed it back in. I know this is a no-no but I am not very financially stable ATM. I will definitely replace them as soon as I can, or if they start showing trouble.

3) Here is a pic of the front triple clamp:



What I replaced here was all the balls, and the very bottom race/bearing (92048A if you can read the numbers.)

4) Also, the bike was hanging from a stand I made out of galvanized piping, hanging by two ratchet straps holding the front end up by the frame (very close to the triple clamp).

~~~

Like I said, I'm pretty sure the tire pressure was the problem, but I have yet to confirm it.
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Old 06-26-2013, 12:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indr View Post
Okay. There was NO pressure in the front tire. The pen type pressure gauge didn't even budge.

Pumped it up to 28 PSI. The back was at 25. Filled it to 32 PSI. Haven't taken it for a ride yet due to some unassembled bits on other parts of the bike, but will post back with the results.

This is most likely the cause of the wobble.
I agree. Also, as soon as you get into a better financial position, replace all the bearings and races in your steering head. Replacing the ball bearings without replacing the races doesn't help much, because if there's enough wear to have deformed the balls, there's been enough wear to dent or otherwise deform the races (to match the deformed balls).

There is no need to replace a wheel bearing simply because you've removed it and re-installed it, so long as you did not touch the bearing surface of the race during removal. IF you did strike the bearing surface, replacement of all races and ball bearings is required (again, because the damaged race will deform the bearings, which will damage the other race).

The other lesson here is that one should always check the basics first, and proceed systematically through a troubleshooting process when dealing with maintenance issues.
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Old 06-26-2013, 12:44 PM   #13
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There is no need to replace a wheel bearing simply because you've removed it and re-installed it, so long as you did not touch the bearing surface of the race during removal. IF you did strike the bearing surface, replacement of all races and ball bearings is required (again, because the damaged race will deform the bearings, which will damage the other race).
Is the bearing's surface the plastic bit between the two races? The bearings on the wheels of this bike are the closed type (the internals covered with plastic) Like this:



I should also mention, since I don't have the proper tools for installing the removing bearings, I use a socket to hammer them in (the outer race), and a long screwdriver to hammer them out (the inner race hit with screwdriver through the axle hole).
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:19 PM   #14
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The Ninja 250/300 steering head bearings are garbage. You should replace them with a tapered roller bearing kit from All Balls. I'd be surprised if they give any stability or proper function for more than 1000 miles, if that many.

If you have steering wobble with no hands on the bars at 50 MPH on decal, they are shot. My brand new 2013 300 needed them at 1000 miles.
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indr View Post
Is the bearing's surface the plastic bit between the two races?
It's inside there, yes. The plastic bit is a dust seal on those cartridge bearings.

Quote:
I should also mention, since I don't have the proper tools for installing the removing bearings, I use a socket to hammer them in (the outer race), and a long screwdriver to hammer them out (the inner race hit with screwdriver through the axle hole).
Driving with a socket is SOP. Using a Screwdriver to remove is also SOP, but generally, people aren't worried about whether or not they damage the bearing during removal.

Safety first, then finances, then replace bearings as required.

I won't touch the debate between the 'tapered roller' and 'ball' bearing people, except to say that one should be quite knowledgeable about one's bike, and the properties of the various parts (and tools) in question, before engaging in any sort of maintenance, upgrade, or modification.
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