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Author Topic: Please help me fix handling/steering woes!  (Read 2896 times)

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Offline spinalator

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Please help me fix handling/steering woes!
« on: May 28, 2014, 04:38:17 PM »
My 10 year old project is coming to a close, but I need to sort out the steering on my XJ750. I swapped out the ball bearings for tapers in the steering, new bearings in the front wheel. The bike seems a little skittish and twitchy. It does have the mega skinny 1980's tires, but they were never this bad. I can ride it, but it is just not a comfy and easy cruise. The front does clunk a bit over big bumps, but it has spaghetti forks and I am 240 so I had dismissed this.

I took the front wheel off, re-torqued the wheel and pinch bolts, did the wiggly wiggly and jumped it up and dow a few times before final tightening.

Tires are installed properly, and only have 100 km on them.

I have rechecked the order of spacers and washers.

I am suspicious I have the steering bearing nuts too loose/tight, but I am open to ideas!

Offline bomber

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Re: Please help me fix handling/steering woes!
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2014, 04:57:16 PM »
handling issues often feel like they are coming from the opposite end of the vehicle . . . . . .

but, experiment with the steering bearing adjustment, a little . . . . . make sure you didn't slide the forks into the triples too far, and then check out the swingarm bearings  and rear wheel bearings . . . .

(tire pressures, too)
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Offline Jim

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Re: Please help me fix handling/steering woes!
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2014, 05:10:36 PM »
Consider jacking (or hanging the frame) so that the front wheel is off of the ground. You'll be more able to wiggle the front end and to detect slop (or excessively tight head bearings).
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Offline spinalator

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Re: Please help me fix handling/steering woes!
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2014, 05:45:33 PM »
I def. will check bearing slack and need to recheck the tops of the fork tubes. I have been so focussed on bearings I have not really looked at them recently

Thanks for the replies!  8)

Offline M.Brane

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Re: Please help me fix handling/steering woes!
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2014, 09:00:35 PM »
Tapered head bearings require much less torque than ball bearings due to the additional surface contact area. If they are too tight the bike will resist the minute counter-steering action required to make it go "straight", and it will tend to wander or follow grooves in the pavement especially with bias ply tires.

 I don't even use a wrench to tighten tapered head bearings. Finger tight just to the point of no slack is good. You can actually crack an aluminum frame head if you torque tapers to ball specs.

Offline Veefer800canuck

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Re: Please help me fix handling/steering woes!
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2014, 11:52:38 PM »
Terry, you should be at about 3-5 foot pounds of torque on the head bearings.

As MBrane said, a LOT less than round rollers.

Not sure about your XJ, but my VFR specs 18 Ft/lbs for the head bearings, and if I torqued them to that setting, it has a wicked low speed weave.

Torque them to the original XJ spec, rotate the triple trees left/right/left several times, torque to the spec again, rotate, etc, THEN back them off and torque to 3 ft/lbs.

Maybe try 5 ft/lbs if that seems too loose.
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Offline chornbe

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Re: Please help me fix handling/steering woes!
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2014, 09:02:19 AM »
Terry, you should be at about 3-5 foot pounds of torque on the head bearings.

As MBrane said, a LOT less than round rollers.

Not sure about your XJ, but my VFR specs 18 Ft/lbs for the head bearings, and if I torqued them to that setting, it has a wicked low speed weave.

Torque them to the original XJ spec, rotate the triple trees left/right/left several times, torque to the spec again, rotate, etc, THEN back them off and torque to 3 ft/lbs.

Maybe try 5 ft/lbs if that seems too loose.

+1

But honestly, I'd go back to ball bearings; I've had way better road feel with them in the steering head than the tapers when the bikes have originally had ball type.

$.02/YMMV :shrug:
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Offline chornbe

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Re: Please help me fix handling/steering woes!
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2014, 09:05:13 AM »
Also, stupid question, but being a diagnostician at heart, I like to cover all the bases. Show us the tool you're using for torquing and describe how you're doing it. For instance, the hook-type wrench is meant to be used with torque specs only if the ratchet/bar is 90* off of the radius.
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Offline spinalator

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Re: Please help me fix handling/steering woes!
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2014, 11:39:42 AM »
I appreciate the answers here, I had to borrow the tool as the 2 nuts look like this, I honestly can not recall the torque but I can guarantee it was higher than 3 ft/lbs.

This is very good advice, none of which is in my Jen-u-ine 1981 service manual!


Offline chornbe

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Re: Please help me fix handling/steering woes!
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2014, 12:46:21 PM »
To be fair, the dark ages of the 80s, tapered roller bearings were the things of far away legends and wicked fantasy.
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Offline vfrrider

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Re: Please help me fix handling/steering woes!
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2014, 07:57:00 PM »
You have addressed the mechanical issues. Maybe the issue is too little rake making it steering skittish. This can be from the forks being too far up the triples, or the rear end too high.

Just a thought.

Larry
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Offline spinalator

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Re: Please help me fix handling/steering woes!
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2014, 11:46:50 PM »
I loosened off the bearings, and it improved, but then someone came and bought the bike tonight, so I never got to see it perfected. Oh well, I actually thought I would have it all summer for sale, I guess it is good not to get too attached.

Offline bomber

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Re: Please help me fix handling/steering woes!
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2014, 10:31:00 AM »
You can't do that to us! We DESERVE to know the entire story, aLLLLLLLLLL the way to the end!

In penance, go get a stick on digital clock!
We had two bags of grass, 75 pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a saltshaker half-full of cocaine, a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers... Also, a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.