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Steering Bearing Removal & Installation

K1100 Steering Bearing Removal

By Garry Campbell
January 2001

What you will need to make, have or find;

  1. 1 large steel flat washer 76mm OD X 35mm ID (3″ OD X 1 3/8″ ID)
  2. 2 Flat type “C” clips (one as spare only) 30mm ID (1 3/16″)
  3. Good wire cutters (for cutting bearing cage)
  4. 2 legged adjustable gear puller with a reach of 185mm (7″)
  5. 1 tube type socket or solid bar with an OD no greater than 27 1/2mm (13/32″)
  6. 1 tube type socket or strong walled pipe with an I.D of about 22mm (7/8″) and a depth of no less than 38mm (1 1/2″). If using pipe you will need something to cap one end.
  7. Electrical tape for thread protection while working on lower triple clamp.

Note: Both sockets are only used in conjunction with gear puller so anything that is strong enough and resembles a socket will suffice.

Steps to take presuming you have the triple clamp removed from your machine;

Removal of bearing inner cone from knurled nut:

  1. Wash grease from old bearings so you have something clean to work with.
  2. Wrap electrical tape around fine thread on shaft to prevent damage.
  3. Cut bearing cages away with wire cutters.
  4. Take knurled nut in your hot little hand and place the large steel flat washer over bearing proper.
  5. Assuming the washer has dropped down far enough, place the “C” clip in front of the washer and behind the lip on the bearing proper.
  6. Place the socket or solid bar in the center of the bearing.
  7. Using the gear puller with short leg setting, place the center bolt of the puller on the socket or solid bar and the hooks behind the large steel flat washer then begin to apply pressure.

Removal of bearing inner cone from bottom triple clamp:

  1. Extend legs on gear puller to enable it to reach from the top of the shaft to the bearing to be removed.
  2. Place the large steel flat washer and “C” Clip on bearing proper as done previously.
  3. Place the socket or strong walled pipe over the threaded end of the shaft so it rests on the section of shaft where it steps to the larger size.
  4. Place the puller over the shaft with center bolt resting on the socket or strong walled pipe and the hooks behind the washer as described before then begin to apply pressure.

Note: For stubborn bearings gentle heat may be required to get them moving but to date I haven’t had to resort to that method.

Removal of bearing outer cones from frame:

The bottom one can be easily removed by placing a drift down through the neck until it makes contact with the edge of the cone. Using gentle taps work your way around the cone to ensure it slides out evenly.

On the K1100 the top one is a little more difficult as there is no edge to make contact with the drift, if you take a close look you will see there is a small groove below the bottom of the cone.

In my tool kit I found I had a rod with a small washer welded on one end, by placing the rod up though the bottom, the washer fitted nicely into the groove and I was able to gently tap the cone out, again working my way around to ensure it came out evenly.

A slide hammer with an end small enough to fit into the groove should also do the trick.

The new bearing can be tapped into place on the knurled nut by using a socket or tube the correct size to fit on the inner cone., on the bottom triple clamp you will need a strong walled pipe just large enough to slide over the shaft and make contact with the inner cone of the bearing.

Note: Ensure all tools are clean and free from grit when you start working with the new bearings.


Steering Bearing Removal

By Peter Rihoy
June 2001

Dear Tom,

‘just read a couple of articles regarding steering head bearing tension. Mention is made of the difficulty in removing the inner bearing from the lower triple clamp for replacement, the following worked for me.

Select two lengths of studding (threaded bar) about 1/4″ diameter, being an inch or so longer than the steering stem,

After cutting or grinding the cage & removing it & the rollers from the lower bearing, grind the ends of the studding so that, when they are placed parallel to the stem and resting on the bearing surfaces they mate (more or less) with the bearing surfaces (an extra pair of hands is useful at this stage). Then Arc or Mig weld the studding to the bearing surface.

Take a piece of 1″ x 1/4″ flat stock bar and drill it (a little oversize is best) to slide over the studding, so that the centre rests on the threaded end of the steering stem. Then install two nuts on the ends of the studding.

You now have a puller attached directly to the lower bearing.

Tighten both nuts evenly and the bearing will pull off neatly.

If you prepare all parts in advance (so that you are able to assemble and begin pulling immediately after the welding) the residual heat will make the process even easier.

Pete Rihoy
Guernsey, Channel Isles, U.K.

Steering Head Bearing Replacement Tips

By: Ralph Catanese
April 2003

I just replaced the steering head bearings on my K11RS and would like to share a couple of tricks I used:

  1. I slid a screwdriver under the upper race, cut a broomstick and put it through the steering head from the bottom and tapped it with a hammer. That’s a three handed job, since I only have two, I drilled a hole through the broomstick, pushed it through the steering head, then put the screwdriver through the hole in the broomstick and under the upper race. I couldn’t get that upper race to budge, until I heated the steering head with a hair drier. Then it came right out.
  2. I cut away the lower bearing retainer and removed the bearings as you described, then used a dremel to cut a slot in the inner bearing cone. Wedged a screwdriver in the slot and tapped it lightly. The bearing cone cracked and slid right off the steering stem.
  3. When installing the new bearing, put the steering stem (with triple clamp attached) in the freezer and put the bearings in the oven at 180 degrees F. The bearing will drop right on, but you probably still need a pipe to push the bearing on straight. I found that a drain tube for a kitchen sink fit perfectly. DON’T FORGET TO PUT THE DUST CAP ON BEFORE THE BEARING. You’ll never get the bearing back off without damaging it.

K-Bike Headset R&I Tool

By Jim Normandeau
April 1998

I followed the Haynes manual up to the point where you need to remove the races. The manual says you need a special puller, others suggested a custom tool. This is what I found to work on my ’85 K100RS:

I bought the following to remove and install the races:
(Note that these are basic nuts and bolts found in any hardware store.)

1 – 5/8″ x 8″ bolt
2 – 5/8″ nuts
2 – 1.75″ diameter washer (standard size for above bolt)
2 – 2.5″ diameter washer (standard size for 1′ bolts)

– Shave two sides of the 1.75″ diameter washer just enough to allow it to slide sideways through the bottom race.
– Once inside the tube, turn it so that it rests flat on the bottom race.
– Using the bolt with one of the nuts screwed on to it place it through the washer and then screw on the other bolt to holt it in place on the bolt.
– Now “gently” tap out the race. It worked like a charm for me. You may need to use a bigger hammer and two washers to get out the sticky ones.

Use the two larger washers and bolt to press the new races (one at a time) into place by slowly tightening the bolts with one washer at each end.


Addendum on Headset Bearing Tool

By: Stash Zdanuk
November 2000

I tried to send a note to Jim Normandeau letting him know that I used his Steering Head Bearing Race removal tool and it worked quite well. Unfortunately the e-mail address is no longer valid. I have one suggestion….

After pressing the new races into the tube with the big washers, they’ll be flush with the ends of the tube. The top race, when fully seated, is recessed a very small amount below the tube. The lower race is recessed 1/8″ or so. Once I got each race flush, I placed one of the old races between the new race and the large washer and tightened little more. This fully seated the race. Make sure the old race is lined up with the new one to avoid damaging the tube when tightening.

Great information on the site. I check it whenever I’ve got something to do on my ’85 K.

Stash Zdanuk
Portland, CT

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