Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Willamette Valley
Steering Stem Inquiries
If the faithful will turn in their hymnals (the Kawasaki KLR650 Motorcycle Service Manual) to page 2-4 at the bottom of the page where it states that the bolts and nuts tightness inspection is to be performed every 600 miles. Several lines above that it states that the lubrication of the steering stem bearings is to be performed every 2 years.
Now, refer to page 2-47 wherein a list is provided of "Bolt, Nut and Fastener to be checked". Located towards the bottom is "Steering Stem Head Nut". So the Steering Stem Head Nut should be checked every 600 miles. Quickly over to page 14-6 the procedure for getting to the Steering Steam Head Nut is revealed. It includes removing the Upper Fairing, Lower Fairing, Front Fender, Handlebar, Front Wheel, the Brake Hose Clamp Bracket, Upper Fairing Under Cover, Upper Fork Clamp Bolts, Clamps, to finally arrive at the Steering Stem Head Nut and Washer; which requires a special tool (Steering Stem Nut Wrench) to remove.
I realize that the Periodic Maintenance Schedule is a set of guidelines provided by the manufacturer for ideal world conditions. Perhaps it doesn't reflect what people actually do, or what realistically needs to be done. So I am left with certain questions.
Considering how many things have to be removed to access said nut, 600 miles seems onerously frequent. What would be a good interval to check the tightness of this nut: 6 months? 1 year? Whenever I grease the Steering Stem Bearings? Only when I notice a problem?
Does lubricating the Steering Stem Bearing every 2 years seem reasonable? Should it be done more or less frequently? Full disclosure: My 2008 with 11,000+ miles on it has never had the Steering Stem Bearings greased.
On ebay I see plenty of Steering Stem Nut Wrenches of various sizes for sale. Does anyone know the exact size of the nut wrench I would need?
Referring back to the Service Manual page 14-8, it states that the nut in question needs to be tightened to 43 in-lb (1,806 barleycorn-stone), but how in the world do set the torque using a Steering Stem Nut Wrench? Do you just estimate and then loosen or tighten it based on the feel of the steering?
I know some these questions might sound stupid, but remember there are no stupid questions, only stupid people. I just don't have enough experience to know what is truly necessary and what is Kawasaki covering their ass. Also, there might be little mechanic's tricks or pearls of wisdom that I'm not aware of. If anyone would like to chime in with an opinion I would love to hear it.
Last edited by Skook; 11-11-2019 at 01:24 PM.