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Steering head bearings keep clunking

Started by balky1, August 04, 2022, 04:18:51 AM

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Hi everyone, long time no hear from you!
On my 1100 I have the following problem. I had a dealer replace the steering head bearings. After some 1000 km I had to retorque them. I have to repeat the process every now and then, with interval ranging from 500 - 1000 km. I thought that new bearings just need some time to seat properly, but i had the same issue with old (original) bearings that also kept loosening (that was the only reason I replaced them). New ones are Koyo.
Since I'm starting to get sick of constantly dismantling everything, do you have any suggestions or similar experience?

FJ 1100, 1985, sold
FJR 1300, 2009



I know that on the later versions of this bike (the FJR), the stock steering head ball bearings are not really doing the job.  (I have both the FJ, and the FJR.)  FJR owners are often replacing these bearings with tapered roller bearings, for a one-and-done solid fix.  Roller bearings are much more robust.  High quality roller bearings are made by SKF and Timken.  A company ironically named All Balls will have roller bearings to sell, also.  A good company representative can help you with the Part Numbers that you will need, if you decide to try this option.  You will need to know the Inside Diameter of the steering head tube on the frame, and the Outside Diameter of the of the triple-clamp steering head tube.  A Dial Caliper is the right tool for making these measurements.

It is quite possible that somebody here knows the information you need for this conversion to roller bearings for the steering head; maybe they will join in for you.

P.S. Life is too short, and health is too valuable, to ride on cheap parade-duty tires.


Doesn't FJ have tapered bearings as stock?
Like I've said, new ones are in. Koyo. As far as I know, that was the original brand in FJs.
Bearings are not the problem. The old ones and new ones had no problems. My problem is, like I said in the first post, I need to keep tightening them every now and then. Every time I do it, I follow GYSM instructions. Even tried to tighten them to 6 Nm (manual says 3 Nm) and it happens again. Why 6? Because that's tightest I managed to go without influencing the steering.

FJ 1100, 1985, sold
FJR 1300, 2009

Old Rider

I guess you have alreadyy remembered to losen the pinch bolts to the forks in the tripletree then tighten the nut to 50 Nm then losen it and tighten to 3 NM then use the 2 thin
locknuts to lock then it is a washer with taps on that hold then together.When checking the bearing rise the front of bike (you can do that by just sitting far back on the seat when bike is on centerstand ) then place the handlebars straight.Then push lightly on the
handlebar and let go of it . it should fall to the side on it self without bounsing when it reach end of the same to the other side.


Yeah, I've been doing all that all the time. When I tighten them, all is great for some time, then it keeps happening again.
Seems no one experienced this.... Ah well, I will just keep tightening them.  :flag_of_truce:

FJ 1100, 1985, sold
FJR 1300, 2009


If the bearing races didn't get fully seated, then can move when hitting a bump or pot hole.

Especially, the lower race.

Also, when torquing the head stem must be unloaded. The weight of the bike needs to be supported under the engine. If not, the stem is loaded and the bearings never really set into the taper race properly.

Randy -RPM

Randy - RPM


Aha, we might be onto something here, thank you! I torqued them always with the wheel on the ground.

FJ 1100, 1985, sold
FJR 1300, 2009