'89 BMW R100 GS/ Steering bearing replacement / upgrade

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by Trials/Rider, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    Those bearings are shot. They should be replaced. It will be noticeable if you reuse those bearings.

    I understand you don't have a welder and no friends with welders and the welding trick to pull the bearing race, although a neat trick, is impossible with out a welder.

    You could punch the races out with a punch if you could get behind the races. The construction is such that anything put into the tube misses the race. There is a way to get the races out with a screwdriver. Buy a large round shank screwdriver, flat tip. Bend the tip, it's helpful to have a vice for this. Bend the tip enough so that when placed in the tube the tip of the screwdriver reaches the back side of the race. Bang with large hammer. The screwdriver sometimes bends more as you bang the race out. Usually there is enough use from one screwdriver to get two races out. Sometimes you will need several screwdrivers. If you have the ones with hardened tips they will not work as well because they break.

    Use the old races as driver to install the new bearing races. One race is flush and the other is slightly recessed. The one that is recessed can still be installed and when the race installer gets stuck bang it out by beating sideways.

    What I have described is crude work. You take the chance of doing damage using a big hammer and chisels in this operation. The tools sold by Cycle Works will do a neater job with less chance of damage.
    #21
  2. Trials/Rider

    Trials/Rider Adventurer

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    I knew you would say that....:D
    I'll swing by the bearing shop and pick up a set. Is the upper and lower the same? (I didn't remove the bearing from the lower stem yet).

    Also,I discovered moments ago, (and why I had to drive the stem down for removal) is the stem is very tight so that the bearing will not slip-fit over the stem/seat.
    At first I was thinking it was form the pounding or something that caused a burr. But a light sanding with some emery paper and it's still a NO GO!

    I'm thinking it's supposed to be like a wheel spindle and be a slip fit? I don't know why this is so thight, but I believe this is the reason the steering tube was so tight. When it was assembled (factory? since it's 33K miles) it was torqued (or whatever method they used to tighten) and after the initial preload it doesn't back off? (how could it).
    I'll wait until I get the new bearings before I worry too much about it. But I'm thinking it needs to be able to slide with only slight pressure.
    #22
  3. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    Tap tap tap...races on the ground or in my case "carpet". Tool is just an old westward wrench modified with hacksaw and bench grinder. Been used a few times. Hammer is from great grandpa's farm.:wink:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Removing the bearing from the stem, cut the cage. Then should be enough room to push that race out with a chisel at the lip. Parts may need heat to facilitate removal.

    [​IMG]

    As found...not that long ago. Darn POs/mechanics.:eek1

    [​IMG]
    #23
  4. Trials/Rider

    Trials/Rider Adventurer

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    #24
  5. Warin

    Warin Retired

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    Replace!

    The bearing faces are shot - if you have them correctly tightened at one point, you'll feel those lines in the faces as the bars are turned side to side.

    The bearings are cheap .. considering your time in taking things apart. And reassembling.
    #25
  6. WooPig

    WooPig Gravel Traveler

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    You'll be surprised how much those little lines in the races hurt the handling of the bike.
    They're a pain to knock out with with rough tools - had to wail on 'em pretty hard - but well worth the effort.
    #26
  7. ConKdeKello

    ConKdeKello n00b

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    #27
  8. brittrunyon

    brittrunyon R 100 GS F 650 GS

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    Good luck on the removal/installation of the bearings & races. Remember, heat/cold can be your friend.

    I did mine a few years ago & used the above mentioned Cycle Works tool, it made it a breeze.
    When it's all back together here's the link for proper "steering head adjustment" http://www.largiader.com/bearings/
    #28
  9. Beemerboff

    Beemerboff Long timer

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    If you are buying from a bearing shop get Timkin's and make certain there is M in the reference code.

    The M denotes a bearing which can take an impact impact, and is a must .

    Not all OEM BMW bearings are the correct grade, so no guarantee that matching OEM will get you the correct bearing. DAHIK.
    #29
  10. Rucksta

    Rucksta SS Blowhard

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    Cold was mentioned earlier as your friend.

    Cut through one side of the old shell to make an installation tool.

    Remove new shell from freezer and insert into headstock by hand.
    Tap the shell home with installation tool and hammer.

    Install tool removes easily.
    #30
  11. Trials/Rider

    Trials/Rider Adventurer

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    All great tips, and thanks for the suggestions. Thanks for pointing out the M on the bearing code! Calling now to see what I find. :clap
    #31
  12. garthg

    garthg Been here awhile

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    The right tool is the Kukko puller, as shown in the factory manual:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The tool is available from Samstag sales. It's pricey, but still a lot cheaper than factory labor. And you won't mess up your frame.
    #32
  13. Bulldust

    Bulldust Bulldust

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    I agree, quality bearings are cheap insurance.
    #33
  14. Trials/Rider

    Trials/Rider Adventurer

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    I'm not able to find that puller in the lower picture... I've looked at the links below and can't find it?
    #34
  15. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    Baum Tools.
    #35
  16. garthg

    garthg Been here awhile

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    The lower picture is attachment 21/6 (37 to 46mm) for the Counterstay, which is 22/2.

    $160 for the attachment, and same for the Counterstay. Considering that a dealer would charge at least 3 hours labor to replace the head bearings, it pays for itself the first time. And you've gained the satisfaction of learning how to do the job right.

    Here's some screenshots:

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    [​IMG]
    #36
  17. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Adios Mexico

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    The $30 Ed Korn / cyclewerks puller works every bit as well as the Kukko (I've used both) and has the added bonus of not costing $320.
    #37
  18. Optimusglen

    Optimusglen Adventurer

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    Has anyone tried to use one of these?

    [​IMG]
    #38
  19. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    Two things about the Kukko pullers. They are nice and they are expensive. The part that costs $160 is a "blind hole" puller. For the price of that one piece you could buy a complete set of OTC pullers. The threaded part with arms is available from other manufactures also. OTC makes excellent tools. But I bet the threads of the Kukko parts are metric so you couldn't use the OTC blind hole puller on the Kukko arms? What a waste. It's one thing to keep everything on your bike metric. I'm in favor of that, I do not use SAE fasteners on my bike. But I think having to use metric pullers is too much. :lol3

    Oh, I see now. Each part is $160 so this one tool will cost you $320.
    #39
  20. Mugwest

    Mugwest .

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    Huh. Didn't know what that was so i dropped the pic into Google Images: Park Steering Stem Race Remover.

    Pretty slick:

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/aar8ji9EZvA" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="420"></iframe>


    Not bad for around $30
    #40