Worn Out Wheel Bearing Symptoms

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Arclite, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. Arclite

    Arclite Been here awhile

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    What does it feel like when the front wheel bearing go out?

    I lift front of the bike on the center stand and there's no side-to-side play in the front; however, when turning and going over any road imperfection (tar snake, crack, pebble), the front becomes noticeably upset.

    This symptom wasn't present before.

    If its not the wheel bearings, what else may it be?

    Bike feels stable in sweeper turns, and off-road I'm not noticing anything too different.

    Just a weird unsteady bobble/feedback in slow turns where there's a crack or something.

    Thanks
    #1
  2. GPHusky250

    GPHusky250 Been here awhile

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    Bring it over to my house an put it on my lift, remove the front tire and let's check it.
    #2
  3. Motoriley

    Motoriley Still riding like crap after all these years.

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    Steering bearings?
    #3
  4. socially stunted

    socially stunted Mind astray

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    Worn or loose steering head bearings can make it feel a touch squirley and less planted over even minor anomalies in the road.
    #4
  5. Motoriley

    Motoriley Still riding like crap after all these years.

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    Lots if folks seem to change them on these bikes frequently. Mine were done at 20,000 kms.
    #5
  6. indylead

    indylead Adventurer

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    This. I was getting exactly this for a few weeks before my local tyre place pointed out the notch you could feel when turning the steering. Replaced the steering bearings (SDK from the bearing boys in the UK) and the problem has gone (unfortunately, I didn't get to check the old ones for wear, they were pretty much destroyed on removal). Work done after 34,000 miles.

    I do find, however, that my f800GS can be fussy about tyre pressures. As the front pressure drops from 2.4 to 2.1 bar the handling on the road also becomes a little squirrely (but not as bad as it was with the dubious state of the steering bearings)
    #6
  7. Arclite

    Arclite Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the feed back.

    I forgot to add, I may have caused this by doing 2x daily wheelies going to and coming home from work for the past few months.

    Several were not smooth as the height of the wheelie exceeded my comfort level and slammed down.
    #7
  8. Mollygrubber

    Mollygrubber Eschew obfuscation

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    I wouldn't blame the wheelies, I've replaced my steering head bearings 3 times now, and wheelies were definitely not the cause. I'd be more inclined to believe riding in a straight line is the issue. That and CRAP, under-lubricated factory bearings.
    #8
  9. El Pacifico

    El Pacifico Long timer

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    I had my steering bearings replaced less than 2,000 miles ago and I feel this every now and then. When the squirley happens, I start looking at other things rather than the bearings, such as wind, am I gripping too hard, riding position etc. I was not thinking it could be loose bearings. Might be worthwhile to look into.
    #9
  10. soyanarchisto

    soyanarchisto Long timer Supporter

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    +1

    When my pressure is low the front end bumps along like I am constantly hitting rode imperfections.
    #10
  11. Arclite

    Arclite Been here awhile

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    TP is at 30psi/2.068bar, so that's ruled out...unless you guys are running something different than that.

    I'm probably just being a hypochondriac...
    #11
  12. soyanarchisto

    soyanarchisto Long timer Supporter

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    I run my front at 34psi
    #12
  13. indylead

    indylead Adventurer

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    If I've been getting squirrelly handling and check the pressures, it'll usually be lower than 2.1 bar on the front - put them up to 2.4 bar (34/35 psi) and the handling usually goes back to being okay. My manual says 2.2 for one-up, 2.5 for 2-up or luggage.

    I'm not claiming to be an expert in any way, but I've had a couple of cars plus the GS over the years and could usually feel when the tyre pressures needed checking from the handling change - a few psi low and there was definitely a change to the road ride.

    It maybe wouldn't hurt to up the pressure slightly and see if it makes a difference - at the very least it eliminates something if nothing else.

    I'd still be interested to hear what wheel bearings feel like when they are on the way out...after my steering bearing experiences and reading up on here about BMW bearings in general, I've ordered wheel bearings just in case!
    #13
  14. Arclite

    Arclite Been here awhile

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    I'm happy to report, my issue was tire pressure.

    I've been using a cheap gauge from Harbor Freight that was telling me 30psi/2.0bar...I used a higher quality gauge that showed I was actually running around 23psi/1.6bar.

    I upped the pressure to 35psi/2.4bar and the wobbly, non-confidence inspiring feeling I was experiencing is gone!

    I should've known better, as I somewhat experienced this at a more extreme level when I unknowingly rode on a flat front tire for 30mi....

    My tire pressure knowledge is stuck on supermoto tire pressure...I'm used to running 22/24psi F/R for the street, and 20/22 for track day/races.

    In all my reading trying to sort myself out, I found that for off-roading the F800, many leave their pressure at 35psi/2.4bar. Last time I took my F800 off-road (Mt. Thomas/Cleveland Nat'l Forest), I brought the tires down to 25psi...I probably forgot to pump them back up. Mt. Thomas is easy fire road stuff so there's little big rock pinch flat concerns, but running 35/2.4 seems really high to me. Guess I gotta realize something that's nearly 500lbs needs more psi than something that's ~300lbs.

    Thanks for all the feedback and suggestions...sometimes my motorbike common sense isn't so common!
    #14