Steering Stem Inquiries - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions For repair, maintaining or modifying discussions related to the newly updated 2008 and beyond, Generation 2 KLR650 Motorcycle.

 4Likes
  • 2 Post By pdwestman
  • 1 Post By DPelletier
  • 1 Post By Skook
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 6 Old 11-11-2019, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
1st Gear
 
Skook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Willamette Valley
Posts: 51
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.
Skook is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 6 Old 11-11-2019, 02:48 PM
OverDrive
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lander, Wyoming
Posts: 5,702
I believe that you are miss reading your manual.
Break-In Maintenance at 600 miles, check every nut, bolt & screw which can be accessed with-out disassembly. Next check is every 7,500 miles.

I believe that the Manual is causing confusion of Steering Bearing Adjustment spanner nut with Steering Stem Head Nut. No need to check bearing adjustment nut at 600 miles, it can't loosen if the top Head Nut is holding the triple clamp down tightly. (I used to torque the Head Nut before installing the handlebars when un-crating new bikes)

But with 11,000+ miles on an '08 that the factory skimped on assembly grease it probably needs to be disassembled, inspected & regreased if not yet rusty. (Hopefully not rusty, because replacing with-out proper tools is near impossible.) Some people install a grease zerk on the RH side of steering neck while disassembled.

With no fork legs in the lower triple clamp, turn adjustment nut as tight as possible with bare hand while turning lower triple to & fro. Stop a full Right steering lock. Temporarily Insert one fork leg and snug lower clamping bolts (Do NOT allow the steering to turn left!). Install claw washer. Install top triple and Head Nut. Torque Head Nut to 36 ft lbs. If one turns the lower triple to the Left without the top triple secured with the head nut, the adjustment nut will loosen slightly, every Time.
The 36 ft lbs of torque on the top Head Nut will add a little tension to the adjustment nut (because of minuet clearance in its threads).

Remove the fork leg & feel for smooth sweep of the steering assembly.
DPelletier and insan3guy like this.

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
pdwestman is offline  
post #3 of 6 Old 11-12-2019, 10:55 AM
4th Gear
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
Posts: 2,453
Paul's got you covered; you are confusing the two nuts as he said and you need to take the manual with a grain of salt anyhow IMO. This might give you an idea of the ultimate longevity of certain components; http://watt-man.com/uploads/How_Many_Miles.pdf

While I'm not saying my solution is ideal; once properly greased and checked I wouldn't concern myself with the head bearings other than by a manual check of feel/condition and periodic checking of the top nut for tightness........41 motorcycles so far without issue.

Dave
roadrash83 likes this.
DPelletier is online now  
 
post #4 of 6 Old 11-12-2019, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
1st Gear
 
Skook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Willamette Valley
Posts: 51
Hey guys, thanks for the replies and the good advice. I hadn't realized I was getting those two nuts confused. Sometimes things don't become clear to me until I actually disassemble the machine. Things always seem harder and more complicated to me before I actually do them. I definitely need to get in there and grease those bearings. Maybe after that I will do it every couple of years or so.

My goal with this neglected motorcycle was to do every Periodic Maintenance item in the service manual. Once I complete this little job and rebuilding the brake calipers, I will have done that. I did a bunch of other stuff like the Thermobob and the Doohickey too. I'm pretty pleased with myself.

On another note, pdwestman, in a previous post I mentioned that I was going grease the Swingarm Pivot Bolt because I heard they rust easily, and you said the Rocker Arm Pivot Bolt was more prone to rust. I can report that the Swingarm Bolt was completely rust-free but the Rocker Arm Bolt had a good layer of rust on it.

Thanks again for your advice gentlemen.
pdwestman likes this.
Skook is offline  
post #5 of 6 Old 11-12-2019, 08:03 PM
OverDrive
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lander, Wyoming
Posts: 5,702
I hope that you RTV'ed those '2 Stoopid Holes'?

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
pdwestman is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 11-13-2019, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
1st Gear
 
Skook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Willamette Valley
Posts: 51
crap.
Skook is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome