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I just installed the tapered steering head bearings and I am trying to figure out exactly where I should torque the bearings down to. I have already put about 3000 miles on since the install so it should be pretty well settled by now. The specs from the kit says 40 ft lbs. I have talked to a few people who say 15 to 20 is about right. Can anyone give me something better for numbers or is this something that is more trial and error till I find what is comfortable for me?

TIA
 

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I ended up at 20 lbs, anything more effected the steering in a negative way. I know the torque spec for the standard ball bearings is higher, can't remember what it is right now, but the All Balls tapered bearings just wouldn't work with that much torque.
 

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Or maybe they do know what torque should work, since they manufacture the bearings!
To the OP, am interested in knowing why you switched to the tapered bearings?
 

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I switched because the original had over 130k on them and the ride was getting rough; slow speed steering wobble, no tension. I went with the tapered because I had talked to a few people and heard that they work better and last longer than the stock ball set up.

To the other part of your post, for most things I agree and tend to go with the manufacturers specs but I have heard from too many people that their their specs are too high and cause too many problems.
 

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If you go read torque specs on a bearing mfgs website, such as Timken, you will find that tapered roller bearings require almost zero torque; only enough for the retainer washer/bolt to hold the bearing in position. Not sure what type/brand of bearings you purchased but All-balls is not a bearing mfg. as far as I know.
 

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If you go read torque specs on a bearing mfgs website, such as Timken, you will find that tapered roller bearings require almost zero torque; only enough for the retainer washer/bolt to hold the bearing in position. Not sure what type/brand of bearings you purchased but All-balls is not a bearing mfg. as far as I know.
:popcorn:
 

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If you go read torque specs on a bearing mfgs website, such as Timken, you will find that tapered roller bearings require almost zero torque; only enough for the retainer washer/bolt to hold the bearing in position. Not sure what type/brand of bearings you purchased but All-balls is not a bearing mfg. as far as I know.
That is true for most applications, like car wheel bearings. They have large side loads and turn 100s of rpm.

The steering head bearings don't make a full revolution and the loading is along the axis of the bearing.
 

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Or maybe they do know what torque should work, since they manufacture the bearings!
To the OP, am interested in knowing why you switched to the tapered bearings?
If he bought them from All Balls, they are not a manufacturer. They are a small retailer. Their specs did not come from the manufacturer. they made them up all by themselves.

If a manufacturer were ever told how hard the sellers of these stem bearings were telling people to crank them down, they would laugh at them. (and probably cringe a little too.)

Every bearing manufacturer will tell you to tighten them according to mfr specs. And when those specs aren't available, the procedure is to tighten them to the point where free play is eliminated without restricting rotation. Since their aren't any mfr specs for a roller bearing on a GL1800, you have to follow method number 2 is you want to install them according to the bearing mfr specs.

Edit: Sorry for duplicating Richard's comments. I read over the posts too fast.
 
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I just installed the tapered steering head bearings and I am trying to figure out exactly where I should torque the bearings down to. I have already put about 3000 miles on since the install so it should be pretty well settled by now. The specs from the kit says 40 ft lbs. I have talked to a few people who say 15 to 20 is about right. Can anyone give me something better for numbers or is this something that is more trial and error till I find what is comfortable for me?

TIA

Proper way is not to use torque as a preset. Typically you use handlebar resistance as the measure. Tighten the bearings until the handlebars will remain in a neutral position and not instantly swing to the side. It's a good idea to tap the bottom and top tripple tree with a brass hammer once the preload is set to settle the bearings in for sure. Then check again.
I am not sure where the torque deal came from but that is not the normally method and can lead to over-tightening the bearings and premature failure.
 

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Storm, there actually is a viable reason for using preset torque values. On the assembly line, it takes too long to use the traditional method of torquing by freeplay, and can lead to inconsistencies in manufacturing due to line operator error.

Machining accuracies today are to the point where manufacturers can test and determine torque values that are consistent enough to be within spec from bike to bike. It isn't quite as accurate as the freeplay method if it is done carefully, but it is close enough. And by calibrating assembly equipment and tools, manufacturers have a greater control over quality.

The problem is that the torque values being specified by these retailers has not been determined through extensive testing by manufacturers or qualified engineers. And worse yet, they are not determining values based on an optimal bearing setting, but rather a setting that creates a steering damper, a function that bearings were never intended to do.

I have no problem with owners over-torquing roller bearings. But before doing so they should be aware of where those values came from, the reasons for it, and what the potential side effects are.
 

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I just installed the tapered steering head bearings and I am trying to figure out exactly where I should torque the bearings down to. I have already put about 3000 miles on since the install so it should be pretty well settled by now. The specs from the kit says 40 ft lbs. I have talked to a few people who say 15 to 20 is about right. Can anyone give me something better for numbers or is this something that is more trial and error till I find what is comfortable for me?

TIA
JWOO.I have installed many sets of All Balls.I make sure the upper/lower races are bottomed out and set the torque to 30 ft pounds.
Then release them a bit.rock the fork stop to stop and reset the torque to 22-24 ft pounds.(depending on bikes feel).I have never had to retorque any I installed this way.
 

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130K with STOCK bearings and your changing to a non standard bearing set?
I guess I don't understand unless your trying to eliminate a wobble. :shrug:
 
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130K with STOCK bearings and your changing to a non standard bearing set?
I guess I don't understand unless your trying to eliminate a wobble. :shrug:
Head bearings - all bikes, tend to degrade due to use and shock load. Changing is just part of the 100k cycle like changing fork oil and leaking seals.
 
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I have no problem with owners over-torquing roller bearings. But before doing so they should be aware of where those values came from, the reasons for it, and what the potential side effects are.
Side effect can be quite serious. General handling can become unpredictable and short bearing life also a consequence. In general the normal thinking is - tighter is always better, just like a little stabil is good so a lot must be better.
Torque is still much less accurate than resistance setting but again the average person will just tighten them down with the idea more is better and it acts like a steering damper.
This is just poor judgment and improper thinking.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I would like to thank everyone for all the replies and helpful information. I wasn't sure what the deal was with all balls as that is the bearings that I got.

Danmac, the stock bearings should have been replaced a long, long time ago however I am still a fairly new rider and still learning all the feels that come with a bike that actually works properly. I have known there were some issues when riding but trying to narrow them down to specific issues is something that I am still working on. I went with the tapered because of talking to others who use them and they tell me how much they prefer them over stock ball bearings.

Storm, I am trying not to be like the average person and over torque them thinking that is better. That is why I am trying to get the information so I can do them up properly.

Rocky, are you a mechanic or just a shade tree mechanic? I have read a few other posts by you in relation to work that you do. I currently have them torqued to about 24 and with the tire up that seems to be where the handlebars don't want to move around on there own.

Thanks.
 
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Just for the record I am not a mechanic now however spend some 40 years in the MC field as a mechanic and engineer.
Rocky is more shade tree at best than anything in my opinion
 

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Stu wrote and article for WW about this and he suggested using the method for setting the GL1500 stering head bearings if tapered bearings are used in the GL1800. I personally find anything above 10 ft.lb too tight.
 

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Just for the record I am not a mechanic now however spend some 40 years in the MC field as a mechanic and engineer.
Rocky is more shade tree at best than anything in my opinion
:popcorn::popcorn::popcorn::eek:4:
 

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JWOO, there certainly isn't anything wrong with replacing your bearings with rolllers. The only thing I ever object to is the overzealous claims attributed to them, and the recommended torque.

With all due respect to the members here, I recommend doing a Google search for motorcycle stem bearing adjustment, or something similar. There are numerous articles on the Net for the freeplay adjustment method, which was the common method years ago, before fixed torque settings were used. I recommend this method because since you are using a non Honda type bearing, you can't use Honda specs. Stu Oltman did a great article years ago, but I can't locate it on my computer right now. You really don't even have to use a fish scale either. It is pretty easy to get a feel for when the steering pivot is starting to tighten up.

I suspect you are going to find that the 24 lb.ft. you are set at is pretty close, but probably a little tight. Once you are armed with the information you need, you can decide for yourself what amount of torque is best for you. The nice thing about roller bearings is that you can slightly overtorque them without damaging the bearings. You won't get away with that with ball bearings.
 
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