Steering Head Bearing Race Removal - 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.

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post #1 of 19 Old 12-01-2019, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Steering Head Bearing Race Removal

I was going to pack my steering head bearings with new grease but I see slight galling on the bottom race. It's ever so slight. I can just feel it by dragging my fingernail across the surface, but not with my fingertip. I assume if there's anything even the slightest bit wrong with either one of them they both got to go. I ordered a new set top and bottom.

Is there a good way to get the races out without special tools? Or is there a tool that doesn't cost too much? Is there anything to watch out for? I was just going to use a screwdriver and very carefully tap them out, but I thought I should check in with you guys before I charge blindly ahead.
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post #2 of 19 Old 12-01-2019, 12:46 PM
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It's a problem. Most folks find that there is little to nothing for a standard drift to catch on to drive the races out.

@Hardyreels did some sort of modification to a driver https://www.klrforum.com/1987-2007-w...html#post43991.

He hasn't been a regular here for a while but has dropped in occasionally. Perhaps he would respond to a PM asking about the modified tool.

Other than that, most folks resort to using a welder to get them out.

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post #3 of 19 Old 12-01-2019, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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A welder? That's the solution? Man. That's really what most people do?

So, I guess the trick is to stick a welding rod (or two) to the race and then wiggle it out using the rods. It sounds like a dicey proposition. Time to break out the old HF arc welder with the included mask on a stick. I haven't tried to use that thing in years.
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post #4 of 19 Old 12-01-2019, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Okay. I read the post you linked to. Apparently the procedure is to weld a piece metal through the middle of the race and use that to wiggle it out. Nothing like arc welding a tiny piece of metal to a delicate machined part--upside down, yet.

Thank you Kawasaki for not putting a couple of convenient notches in the steering head tube.
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post #5 of 19 Old 12-01-2019, 01:27 PM
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I believe that if you pop a couple or three blobs onto the bearing surface of the race that the race will pretty much fall out.

I have heard tell of people trying to cut them out, pound them out, pry them out, and wish them out. Distorting and shrinking them out seems to work best.

Me, I just Zerked the head tube and figure that when grease stops running out the bottom in hot weather that it needs more.

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post #6 of 19 Old 12-01-2019, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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I might talk to the friendly neighborhood motorcycle shop down the street. Perhaps they can rent me a tool.
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post #7 of 19 Old 12-01-2019, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post
Me, I just Zerked the head tube and figure that when grease stops running out the bottom in hot weather that it needs more.
Eventually though, the bearing will go bad and you'll be in the same boat.

You mean you have that whole tube packed with grease? Maybe the bearing would never go out.
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post #8 of 19 Old 12-01-2019, 01:40 PM
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The tool I had already was the OTC 4796 puller. Its available in a ton of places for $35 average. You can order from your local NAPA even I believe so no shipping. For the KLR lower race I had to take a flapper wheel and shave it down a bit on top to fit as you can see. If you want a tool inexpensively you can keep this is an option.
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post #9 of 19 Old 12-01-2019, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skook View Post
Eventually though, the bearing will go bad and you'll be in the same boat.

You mean you have that whole tube packed with grease? Maybe the bearing would never go out.
Yeah, I have a grease fitting near the top of the tub and another near the bottom. I gave it a few good squirts until grease began to come out of the gaps at the to and bottom.

I figure having plenty of grease may be messy but it's better than the scant amount of grease that the factory puts in.

Of course, this is not a proper substitute for taking things apart, properly greasing them, and then reassembly with correct bearing preload. I did that once. I'll do it again if the forks are off for some other reason.

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post #10 of 19 Old 12-01-2019, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flexiflyer View Post
The tool I had already was the OTC 4796 puller. Its available in a ton of places for $35 average. You can order from your local NAPA even I believe so no shipping. For the KLR lower race I had to take a flapper wheel and shave it down a bit on top to fit as you can see. If you want a tool inexpensively you can keep this is an option.
That is pretty much a copy of the OEM Kawasaki Special Tool used on numerous bikes, shown in the OEM service manuals.

Then use a Large hardwood dowel or Brass Drift to hammer on the jaws.
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