Big bolt on top of steering column - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods For maintaining, repair or modifications of Generation 1 KLR's. 2007 and earlier.

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post #1 of 18 Old 04-23-2008, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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Big bolt on top of steering column

What the heck does this thing hold in place? It is located in the center of the handlebar just below the cross bar. Mine is loose and I can't seem to tighten it.
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post #2 of 18 Old 04-23-2008, 11:50 PM
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That is what keeps the steering head bearing tight. Very important to retighten it. You will have to take the handle bars off to get to it. This loose nut seems to happen often. Put some blue loctite on it when you tighten it to 29 foot pounds of torque.

2008 DL650 VStrom Yellow and Black
Previous ride was a 2007 KLR Black/Silver, I miss it..
Looking to get back into KLR's sometime soon.

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post #3 of 18 Old 04-24-2008, 12:00 AM
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Are you experiencing any headshake, or front end wobble? If so your bearing retainer nut under the top triple tree plate might have backed off some too, creating a dangerous situation. The big nut is what keeps it all tight and set.

2008 DL650 VStrom Yellow and Black
Previous ride was a 2007 KLR Black/Silver, I miss it..
Looking to get back into KLR's sometime soon.

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post #4 of 18 Old 04-24-2008, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. I got her tightened up and had to add another socket to my metric collection in the process. I had no indication that the bolt was loose from wobbling or handling of any sort. Was washing the bike and noticed the bolt was loose. Now I loc-tite anything in sight.
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post #5 of 18 Old 04-24-2008, 10:12 PM
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Excellent. Just keep an eye out for the wobble. We found my buddies stearing nut had loosened late last year, and last week we had to tighten the bearing nut to get rid of the wobble that had snuck up and happened almost over night. It might happen, and then it might not.

2008 DL650 VStrom Yellow and Black
Previous ride was a 2007 KLR Black/Silver, I miss it..
Looking to get back into KLR's sometime soon.

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post #6 of 18 Old 04-24-2008, 10:18 PM
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It's good practice to check the steering on a regular basis.....
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post #7 of 18 Old 04-24-2008, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M_Tag View Post
Was washing the bike
What is this process you speak of?
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post #8 of 18 Old 04-25-2008, 12:55 PM
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Weird - had the same thing happen on Monday. It's called a Stem Nut - requires 31 ft/lbs of torque...

The Spanner Nut underneath is the tough one, need a special spanner wrench to tighten it...and you need to remove the brace and fairing to check the bearing play... gonna check mine for correct tolerance when I do the progressive springs in the front.

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post #9 of 18 Old 04-25-2008, 01:27 PM
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Actually you don't have to do 'all' that stuff to check the head bearing. Here is the step by step procedure that works like a charm.

Head Bearing Adjustment Procedure
The Patman
KLRWORLD.COM

The upper t-clamp sits on top of the spanner nut that adjusts the bearings.

To do this right, the front wheel should be off the ground, so you can adjust it properly. The spec is: the bars, when pushed with your back of your pinky finger should not flop over to one side or the other, if they do, the bearing is too loose. If you can't push the bars from one side to the other with your eyelid, the bearing is too tight. Now thatís a narrow range.
It's also the difference between headshake, and the ditch. Too loose and you'll ruin the bearings, and be prone to headshake and a crash, and too tight and you'll be prone to the bearings getting hot, swelling up, and not turning...generally this happens exactly when you need too.
So. Ready?
Let's go.
Everyone take a deep breath, and with feet shoulder width...oh...no...wait a minute, that's another training session...


Loosen two right and two left upper t-clamp fork tube pinch bolts.
( the t-clamp wont move down if the fork pinch bolts are tight, it needs to slide down on top of the spanner nut after you adjust it, in order to KEEP it tight ...the steering stem nut is what will pull it down...provided that you loosened the pinch bolts on the fork tubes uppers only of course. The dealer often misses this stem and the bearing adjustment comes loose again in about 450 miles )

Mark the bars down at the clamps so you can put them back to a position that will never feel exactly like they were yesterday.

You may have to loosen or remove the bar clamps and lay the bars down on the tank ( use a big fluffy towel to prevent scratches, and to keep the bars from flopping around )

loosen the top nut a turn or two ( steering stem nut )

Use a brass drift...er...I mean a flat blade screwdriver, and a small mallet, to turn the spanner nut ( under the t-clamp ) to tighten it.

Go a little at a time until a slight resistance is felt when moving the front wheel side to side ( don't screw around and knock the handlebars off the tank ! )

I use one clamp and stick the bars back on for a second to check the bearing tightness.

You should have to push the bars from one side to the other with the bearing at the proper tightness.

But just barely.

In other words, the bars shouldn't FALL from one side to the other when you give them a slight push. If they do, tighten it some more and try again. When it gets to where you have to use the pressure of your pinky finger to push the bars from one side to the other ( I use my eyebrow to push with ) but it wont FLOP over, you've got it.

Note: one side will have enough "cable drag" to make it a little harder to push than the other. I set mine so that NEITHER side ( that is going left or right ) will flop over on it's own. WARNING: If ya get it too tight you WILL crash. Remember JUST TIGHT ENOUGH TO NOT FALL OVER TO THE SIDE BY ITSELF.

At this point use the steering stem nut, to pull the upper t-clamp down on top of the spanner nut and washer assy. ( the washer has two little "teeth" that when squeezed by the upper t-clamp, will hold the bearing adjustment ( spanner nut ) where you put it.)

As you tighten the steering stem nut, tap the two pinch clamps on each side of the t-clamp to help it slide down the fork tubes, and on top of the spanner nut.

Check it again for "not too tight but wont flopedness".

Check it again for "not too tight but wont flopedness".

Check it again for "not too tight but wont flopedness".




If you find it's too tight. loosen the upper steering stem nut a half a turn, use the screwdriver and mallet to knock the spanner nut loose by about one half of one quater of one millionth of an inch... ( an eigth of a turn...or less ) then retighten the steering stem nut to specs and try it again for the "not too tight, but wont flop over" test.

It should WANT TO flop over, but it's just a bit to tight to fall over on it's own.

Tighten the pinch bolts on the fork tubes.

Adjust the bars back to where you think you had them before.

Tighten the bar clamps.

That is all.

2008 DL650 VStrom Yellow and Black
Previous ride was a 2007 KLR Black/Silver, I miss it..
Looking to get back into KLR's sometime soon.

Best Auto/Moto Insurance | Motorcycle Protection Today | FREE Trade-In Quote
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post #10 of 18 Old 08-27-2010, 06:28 PM
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Found my steering head nut loose on my newly aquired 2006 klr, the banging in the headset when i hit bumps told me to take a closer look (the guy i bought it from said it did that since he bought it new)
tightened the spanner nut just right, not to tight or loose (hopefully) and am getting ready to retighten ...31lbs on the head nut??
and how about the tourque fork pinch bolts???
dont have a manual yet.
thanks

p.s have had the bike up to 70mph and luckily no headshakes, seen it happen once and it was scary to watch.
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