Steering bearings work

Jeffrey Walker walkerjl at
Fri Jul 8 17:17:59 PDT 2011

If you've never worked on this before, then I'd say that the grease has
dried up and the bearings are worn.  Everyone else is saying to replace the
bearings, and ordinarily I'd agree, but you could inspect them and the races
first to see... take them out, clean everything out with a solvent, soak the
bearings in solvent to get all that grease out, then take a good look at
them.  If they don't have any obvious pitting or grooves in the races or on
the bearings, then you could just re-grease everything up, replace the
bottom seal and put it all back together and readjust the stem.

However, if it was me and there is a PITA factor involved, I'd just plan on
replacing everything, including the fork seals since you'll have them off
to.  It's something to plan for and would take the better part of a weekend.
In the meanwhile, you could just tighten up the steering stem bearing
adjustment nut and locknut and keep riding while you're accumulating all the
parts and tools you'll need.

I made a stand for doing work like this out of steel pipes.  With the bike
up on the centerstand, I support the front frame with some ratchet straps
hanging off of my home made frame.

Good luck.

Message: 1
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2011 19:31:33 +0200
From: Alexander Finger <af at>
Subject: Steering Stem(?)
To: Kawasaki GPZ1100 discussion <gpzlist at>
	<CAKO=xBsv8ZyccieqHzt=_VZ9EKhGmWL=8uYsKiC4s+MPv6kZYw at>
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Hey List,

this morning I wanted to go to work with the bike (after four days in Bern I
had a Geneva day yesterday and wanted to benefit .. and take the bike..) but
did not. Here's why. When I'm taking off I sometimes test the brakes. Once
the back one to the point where the wheel blocks, then, less often, the
front brake until it blocks, too. Both to check the brakes and to make me
aware of how the bike reacts. The rear brake test went fine, but the front
brake test sucked: When the wheel hit the blocking point, the steering
slammed back and forth, just a little bit. I tried three times in a row just
to make sure it was not an illusion, stopped and tested while standing: When
I hit the front brake, I can move the whole column back and forth a few mm.

Here's how the stem looks:

Based on my brief understanding there can't really be anything broken *that*
badly in the steering, so I assume that loosening the steering (T1 on p13-2
of the shop manual), tightening the stem and fixing it again should do the


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