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Thread: ST1300 - CBR Steering Head Tapered Bearing installation

  1. #1
    Gus1300's Avatar
    04 1300A
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    ST1300 - CBR Steering Head Tapered Bearing installation

    Recently tore into my '04 with the intention of installing the Race Tech fork kit (valves, adjustable caps, springs) and also consider putting in the tapered steering head bearing set I bought earlier this year from CBR when I also purchased both wheel sets. So far now have installed the rear driven flange bearing but left both front and rear wheel bearings alone as they seemed fine upon inspection while both wheels were off the bike.

    After much reading about people who've been there, done that, I wasn't sure initially how difficult it was going to be to remove the lower bearing from the steering stem and inquired about the special tool kit as a way to get it done. I'm sure the kit would have helped but as it turns out, a little patience goes a long way and I was able to coerce the lower bearing off the stem without too much issue. Both the upper and lower races tap out without any problem and installation was pretty straightforward as well. The pictures are also in my album but will try to 'tell the story here' for clarity as I still haven't figured out yet how to order the pictures in an album since they seem to randomly reorder themselves after uploading. So here goes:

    First of all, get the service manual out. Some places it's not clear, others it's crystal clear, as to the procedures and where on the bike you should be doing what when. Section 15-3 starts the Front Wheel/Suspension/Steering data off with torque values for all the fasteners that need them.

    I hadn't had the handlebar center cover off before, this is what's underneath.

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    I didn't remove either master cylinder, I just removed the handlebars and set them right side up (so the cylinders don't leak!) on the towel covered tank. If you prefer, find a way to secure them so they don't roll off and hit something unintentionally while you're wrenching on the bike. I had to catch them a couple times during the reassembly process because they were just laying there loose and would roll around as I jostled with the bearing nuts. If you want everything nice and clean, you have the option of removing them completely. The socket bolts were on TIGHT. One almost stripped while taking it out and will probably be trash the next time I have to remove it but it went in fine on the reassemble.

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    Once they're gone, the handlebar spacer is underneath; removal is straightforward. For those of you that have risers, I assume this is the part that's 'taller' than stock. Mine is still the original. My forks were already out due to the Race Tech upgrade in progress so the next thing was to unfasten the electrical connection to the ignition switch and remove the front brake hose bracket. I considered doing preventive mx on the ignition switch assembly but put it off until another day. Then the stem nut came off, releasing the top bridge. There were several specific size socket purchases for this project. I elected to get impact wrench sockets so I would have them next time or for other projects.

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    Don't forget to straighten the tabs of the lock washer (two bent down and two bent up) prior to attempting to remove the steering bearing adjusting lock nut and lock washer! Under that is the steering bearing adjusting nut itself, followed by the upper bearing dust cap, race and bearing.

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    Be sure to grab the bottom steering stem as it will fall out once the adjusting nut is removed.

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    There are 4 pages of special tool processes in the manual but if you look carefully down the stem you can see the cutouts at the bottom where a drift can be used to alternately tap out the bottom race, and likewise the upper race for removal.

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    A little patient work with a flat screwdrive on alternating points of leverage around (and behind!) the dust cap and soon you'll see a gap develop as the bearing works its way up the stem. Then you can strike direction against the dust cap/old bearing race. Be careful not to damage the stem! Obviously a replacement required part using this method of removal.

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    The stock races were much shorter in height than the tapered races and the bearing/race is one piece vs the three pieces (lower race/bearing/upper race) in each ball bearing set.

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    This was my going in gameplan to set the new lower tapered bearing - to use the old lower race but in an upside down orientation so as to only put pressure on the inner portion of the new tapered bearing/race assembly. However, it would have been as difficult as it was the first time to remove it from on top of the new bearing, so...

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    I encouraged its removal by grinding out a small section of it. After filing off any sharp edges so as not to damage the stem, this is now my reusable bearing set, along with the Home Depot purchase of a 2 foot section of PVC Sched 40 pipe.

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    CBR helps make it very clear which dust cover is which.

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    And also which way to install the lower dust cover so the flanges are oriented correctly.

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    After packing the bearings in heavy waterproof (all I could find is resistant) lithium marine grease, the lower bearing set went on easily with a few smacks of a mallet at the top of the PVC tube. The old race slipped off the stem without any issues.

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    The last pictures are feeble attempts to show using the old races to set the new races, first the lower (sort of difficult to hold both pieces aligned and tap upwards from under the front end) and the upper (much easier process). Once the new races are started, alternating around the circumference sets them relatively easily. Just be careful to not notch them if whatever you're using as a 'setting tool' slips and isn't entirely on the intended surface.

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    Once the races were in, it was a simple matter of reversing the disassembly process. The bearing adjustment nut went on okay, but I'm not sure I have the proper 'set' to the bearings. The CBR instructions talk about measuring the amount of torque and several other articles here talk about the difference between how much to set a roller bearing vs a tapered bearing. My steering 'hunts' a bit more than it did before the change, so I will probably go back in at some point and adjust them a little tighter. The notched adjusting nut and lock nut would probably warrant getting, or fabricating, the proper tool next time as the edges of the notches take a bit of abuse when tightening them both. Probably replacement items for my next venture into that part of the bike, but for now, it's back on the road and acceptable. Please feel free to comment/correct/suggest as this site was the place that gave me the encouragement that I could handle this upgrade myself, although I was ready to take the stem to the Honda shop and beg them to remove the lower bearing and press the new. In the end it wasn't required, and I only used everyday tools already in my garage or readily available for purchase on the normal market.
    Last edited by Gus1300; 10-17-2012 at 01:02 PM.

  2. #2
    iride's Avatar
    05 ST 1300
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    Re: ST1300 - CBR Steering Head Tapered Bearing installation

    Thanks for the write up, I had no idea the ST had ball bearings,
    I did this on my GL 1500 and it made the GL feel and handle a lot better, and the bike was almost new...
    Maybe this winter I will get to it..

  3. #3
    Motorcycle "rider"!! JimSTer's Avatar
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    Re: ST1300 - CBR Steering Head Tapered Bearing installation

    Very nice job of writing this up. Great pictures. This is one of those things that's on the near horizan. I did my 1100 a few years ago. So soon it will be time to do the 03 ST1300.

    Thanks again, Jim

  4. #4
    This space for rent... Scooter's Avatar
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    Re: ST1300 - CBR Steering Head Tapered Bearing installation

    See my thread here about how to fabricate an inexpensive steering stem nut tool.

    Steering Stem Adjusting Nut Torque Settings

    I have to say, one of the most time wasting parts to this whole job was trying to find a definitive answer to how much torque was required to tighten the adjusting nut on the steering stem. Answers ranged anywhere from 1.5 to 2 lbf-ft to well over 30 lbf-ft or to adjusting it by "feel". The bearings used in our machines are also used on almost all of Honda's other bikes so you can find that this topic has been hashed to death out there. I'm also quite familiar to using feel to adjust bicycle stems but I find that there is a lot of trial and error to that method and I didn't want to waste time taking apart the stem assembly multiple times on order to get the setting correct.

    I did manage to find one website that posted the following instructions that made some sense to me. Apparently, Honda has produced some bikes using a tapered head bearing and the service manual instructions stated the following:

    Honda factory service manual for my XR650R that has tapered bearings on the steering stem from the factory says:

    Tighten the steering head adjustment nut with the steering stem socket.

    Torque 29 N.m (3.0 kgf-m, 22 lbf-ft)

    Turn the steering stem lock-to-lock enough times to seat the bearings.

    Loosen the adjusting nut to torque of 0 N.m, and retighten to the specified torque.

    Torque: 8 N.m (0.8 kgf-m, 5.8 lbf-ft)

    Install the top bridge and washer.
    Loosely install the stemp nut.
    Insert the fork legs.

    Tighten the stem nut to the specified torque.

    Torque: 98 N.m (10.0 kgf-m, 72 lbf-ft)

    This procedure is very similar to what is called out for in the ST1300 manual except that the adjusting nut is torqued is 5.8 lbf-ft instead of 22 lbf-ft and the steering stem nut is tightened to 76 lbf-ft instead of 72 lbf-ft. After performing the procedure and assembling the components, I next took a fish scale and measured the steering head bearing pre-load and was very happy to find that I was within the range specified by the manual, measuring about 4 lbf (range is 3.5 to 4.6). Hopefully, this information will be of use to some others.

    I have to say that the tool worked wonderfully. It could easily handle the torque required to perform the job. The total cost is very reasonable. I'm sure that one could pick up a 32mm socket from Harbor Freight for a small price and I suppose you could easily weld the angle bar to the socket for a more permanent solution. Another possible solution is to pick up a socket large enough so that all you need to do is grind out the top of the socket leaving yourself the four prongs required.

    Now I suppose the proof is in the pudding and trying to get out and actually ride the bike to see how it feels. That will have to wait until the salt gets off the roads...

    "When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity." Albert Einstein

  5. #5
    Mark Kunath/ST 1800 Bigmak96's Avatar
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    Re: ST1300 - CBR Steering Head Tapered Bearing installation

    If the size is the same as the GL1800, I have a tool I would loan.
    If someone wants to give me the measurements, I will compare them and let you know.
    STOC # 7910
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  6. #6
    Pete in PA's Avatar
    2006 ST1300
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    Re: ST1300 - CBR Steering Head Tapered Bearing installation

    I'd say if your straight ahead steering hunts it's too tight, not too loose.
    Got my new 2006 ST1300 4/29/08! 50K miles 11/4/2015.
    Red 2015 Yamaha FZ-07. 7/22/2016
    Previous bikes: All Hondas! 98 CBR1100XX, 97 XR650L, 93 XR650L, 85 V65 Sabre, 83 650 Nighthawk.

  7. #7
    Mike Brown 970mike's Avatar
    07 ST1300A-Yamaha ST
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    Re: ST1300 - CBR Steering Head Tapered Bearing installation

    Hey just wanted to give you a big thumbs up for posting this as I just installed these CBR bearings on my steering head. Never done this before on any bike I have had as I have never put this many miles on one bike. One thing that was a pain was getting the pressed off lower bearing to move. It took a lot. I did like you and cut a notch in the old inside race and used a metal pipe to seat the new one. Started to put the steering head back on and it did not look right. Well I came back in here and read your post again and looked at the service manual and found I forgot to remove the old outside races. No big deal to do that and now the head is back together.

    Thank you for posting this. If anyone else is thinking about doing this job it is not to bad just take your time and make sure that you don't miss a step like me!!
    Last edited by 970mike; 04-25-2014 at 07:36 AM.
    R.I.P. Terry 'ACL' Hammond ___ R.I.P. Bob Donaldson

  8. #8
    billo's Avatar
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    Re: ST1300 - CBR Steering Head Tapered Bearing installation

    When researching for another bike I came across a trick for removing the lower race from the steering stem. Use a dremel with a cutting wheel and cut about 90% of the way through the race. You'll hear a ping! when the race cracks. It then is very easy to remove. It worked great on my Suzuki and took only a couple minutes to do.

    Update: I just finished installing tapered bearings. The stem nut is confirmed 30mm (US model). The special tool "steering stem socket" referred to in the shop manual for the adjusting and locking nuts is available on Ebay as aGL1800 tool. It's a perfect fit (US ST1300). $35.

    Last edited by billo; 05-10-2014 at 08:44 AM.
    '64 Hon cub 50, '67 Hon trail 90, '68 Yam 180 twin, '66 Hon 305 dream, '71 Yam 175 enduro, '73 Yam tx500, '70 Hon sl100, '75 Hon xl250, '79 Yam sr500, '95 Kaw en500, '98 Hon cb750, '02 Yam fz1, '06 Suz dl650, '07 Hon ST1300

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