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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all

I see on my maintenance schedule that it is time for me to lubricate my Steering Stem bearing and Swing arm and pivot bolt bearing on my MY2017 KLR 650

I have never performed these procedures before. I have had a quick look at my Clymer Manual, and to tell you the truth I feel quite apprehensive about it.

Can any one give me any helpful advice about these jobs. Is there anything I can do to make the job easier? Are there any things to watch for that might not be immediately obvious? I have tried to find some videos on youtube but i could not find much.

The manual specifies using water proof grease. Does anyone have a suggestion about what type of grease would be good.

Thank you for any advice or help you can offer

Kind reards

Matthew
 

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I use Bel-Ray waterproof grease but the brand isn't important and any grease is better than no grease. I'm on a tablet so I can't link it but go to Watt-Man's site and then Info and then "how many miles do you have on that KLR" to get a good idea on maintenance intervals and how long things typically last.

The suspension bushings/bearings are known to have little to no grease and I'd advise taking the linkage apart (loosen rear engine bolt), greasing and putting it back together.

The steering head should be done but it's a PITA.....some people have installed grease nipples and filled the steering head with grease rather than taking it all apart...honestly I haven't done mine yet (2001 with 20,000 miles and a 2000 with 3,000 miles) but I have the zerks and when my new shop is finished, I think that's what I'll do.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you Dave for your reply.

As usual, your advice is good. I was going to do the The suspension bushings/bearings any way, I think, are they the UNI trak? they are also due according to the maintenance schedule.

I feel a bit relieved that you have not done your steering stem. that relieves me from the feeling of urgency. However, the lubrication is not actually due for another 900 km (559 mile for the flat Earthers)

My brother recently did his head stem on his Ninja, he told me the job is a PITA, but at least he has done it before, He has a fairly good set up in his garage, so i will probably do it at his place.

Are there any special tools I should get Dave?

Cheers
Matthew
 

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There are lots of special tools you can get, but you can get by with standard tools for the most part; good set of sockets and wrenches and a torque wrench.

The Uni-Trak bearings are usually very light on grease and are low on the bike where they can easily be submerged; the swingarm pivot bolt is particulary prone to corrosion due to the design (many plug the little hole in the bottom of the frame tube with silicone or something similar). The biggest "trick" is to loosen the rear engine mount "through bolt" otherwise getting the Uni-Trak link in and out can be extremely difficult.

I'm not one to suggest skimping on maintenance but the head bearings are a pain to grease and to adjust properly. Honestly, if they had enough grease, I don't think there would be any reason to take the front end apart for the life of the bike for most people (Bill got 104,000 miles out of his head bearings http://watt-man.com/uploads/How_Many_Miles.pdf). corrosion and running them too loose seem to be the most common causes for failure; they don't see anywhere near the stress/use of a wheel bearing (for eg.)

Dave
 

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I use Bel-Ray waterproof grease but the brand isn't important and any grease is better than no grease.


The steering head should be done but it's a PITA.....some people have installed grease nipples and filled the steering head with grease rather than taking it all apart...honestly I haven't done mine yet (2001 with 20,000 miles and a 2000 with 3,000 miles) but I have the zerks and when my new shop is finished, I think that's what I'll do.

Dave
I replaced my 83,000 mile 1987 Gen 1 steering head bearings earlier this winter. I had re-greased them one time before.

I have never felt comfortable about installing a steering head grease zerk on an assembled unit. (Just how many or how big is that last chip of metal as we drill thru, even with a greasy bit and same about tapping the hole as well?)

I cleaned the steering neck after removing the bearing races (Requires Special Tools for removal). Then I covered the bottom of neck with duct tape to catch the drill & tap chips from the interior. There were some.
I should have changed my duct tape between the drilling and the tapping to see which was most responsible for which size of chips.

We have a member / formerly very active member that does steering head grease zerk installation on almost every bike thru his garage doors. Says he has never had a chip get pushed into the lower bearing.

With my steering disassembled for the drilling & tapping, I know I don't have to think about the 'possibility'.
 

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Paul,

How'd your steering bearings look? The possibility of a shaving getting in the bearings is a concern but the steering bearings and grease don't get moved around much.....not sure how much of a risk it really is. Contemplating....

On the suspension bearings, I've avoided the grease nipples - I think you can do a much better job by hand and it doesn't take all that much work......I've done both my Gen1's and due to putting on far less miles than I'd like (life and other stuff getting in the way), I'll probably leave them for a couple years at least. I used to do my race bikes every season.

Cheers,
Dave
 

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My 83,000 mile lower steering bearing race was getting a fairly distinct set of self-centering dimples from all the mileage of steep Rocky Mountain down-hills, pot-holes and hard braking. Primarily at the front & back of the race.

And it could wag the bars a bit at 80mph + because of the dimpling.

There was no rusting of any of the needles or races tho, because there was not an 'Asian Grease Shortage' back in October 1986. ;)
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for all the replies guys

Dave, I have a decent set of spanners and torque wrench and the normal tools. I was wondering if there are any specialized tools. I have had a bit of a closer look at the Clymer manual, and I suppose the only special tool is a Stem Nut wrench. I was thinking of buying a DRC STEERING STEM WRENCH, but I am not sure if it will fit. Has anyone used one on a later model KLR? Dave, I will take your advice on the Bel-Ray water proof grease. Is Bel Ray OK for both the steering stem and the swing arm etc.?

Paul, I have to agree with you. I would not feel comfortable if I did not grease the Steering stem. Greasing the stem allows for inspection of the parts as well as adding lubricant. I think will not add Zerks. They are a good idea, but i would worry that grease is not getting everywhere that it should. Also, greasing in the conventional way allows for inspection of the parts.

I apologize if I seem to be slow to reply. I live up here at the top of the world in Australia, I'm asleep while you guys are online, and I dare say visa versa

Thanks again for your help guys

Kind Regards

Matthew
 

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Matthew, Take note that the steering stem adjustment nut Torque is Only 43 inch pounds / 4.9N-m. That is barely tighter than your bare fingers can twist it. So basically any pair of pliers will easily give the adjustment nut "just a hair more" torque than your fingers did.
If your bike is like mine was, the adjustment nut will tend to re-loosen when swinging back & forth thru the arc when the top yoke, fork legs and top nut aren't installed.

So I've found it kind of worked best for me to torque/snug the adjustment nut up with the lower triple turned to the right. Insert RH leg and snug the lower bolt. Install the top clamp & top nut. Slip the LH leg in and snug the lower bolt, without allowing the steering to turn. Then torque the top nut. This takes a 'hair more' slack out of the adjustment nut threads & LOCKS the adjustment nut into position. Then you can swing it back & forth to confirm that it is not too snug with-out the adjustment nut self-loosening.
 
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Bel Ray is fine for both. I've never bothered with the special steering nut wrench; as Paul said it doesn't need much force

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks again for the advice guys. I believe it will certainly help. that sort of info it not in the Clymer Manual, only experience can give you

Thanks guys
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hello again guys

I have a possibly stupid question. Perhaps more stupid if some of the replies to this post are taken into account.

My question is: How risky is it to postpone the head stem and swing arm lubrication to about 1200 miles beyond the scheduled mileage?


The reason i am thinking of postponing the lubrication of these parts is to align it with the Easter long weekend. My bike is a daily ride, and I ride it to work everyday. I am worried that it may take more than a weekend to complete the work, for me anyway. I don't own a car. I could borrow a car from one of my sons.

I ride about 125 miles per week. My ride is a suburban commute.

What do you think guys?

Thanks again.
 

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I postponed doing mine for 35,000 miles/58,000 km and it doesn't seem to have hurt anything.
 
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not a concern; for some people 1200 miles is a days ride. .......I'd wager that the vast majority of KLR's NEVER have the head bearings serviced.....I'm not saying that's a good thing, but I bet it's true.


Dave
 

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I postponed doing mine for 35,000 miles/58,000 km and it doesn't seem to have hurt anything.
Well, other than that lower suspension rocker shaft bolt being even a little harder to Remove, eh Tom?

timberfoot, May I suggest that you inject a very liberal dosing of penetrating oil/knocker loose thru those 2 stupid holes in the lower frame pipe now and allow it to start doing its job.
Another 1200 miles is of zero consequence in the grand scheme of things.
 

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I did exaggerate some. The swingarm pivot came out at about 15K miles, got lubed, went back in, and came out again at 30K miles. It was corroded, but not badly.

The whole suspension dealio got swapped for a Gen 1 set-up at about 20K miles and lubed and came out again at 30K miles for another lube and zerks. The head bearings were at 35K.

I'm guessing @timberfoot is at 15K miles. Good advice to shoot something into the two stupid holes.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hello Guys

Tom, your are right, I am at 15000 Miles.

I know that you guys are experienced and knowledgeable people, certainly more so than me. However, I have to ask, if I squirt some stuff into those holes, that I only just found out existed, will it dissolve the grease that is already in there?

Thanks again again guys

Cheers

Matthew
 

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Matthew, That is only a hollow cavity and being as the holes are Not On the bottoms they collect some water. Air them out, squirt some knocker loose in & put a blob of RTV over the holes.

The potentially rusty portion of the bolt must pass thru the bearing sleeve in the center rocker. The needle bearings ride on the outside of the sleeve, not the bolt itself.

ps, I personally do Not fill those 2 cavities full of grease when reassembling. I only grease the needle bearings, sleeves, seals & bolts. And plug those 2 stupid holes to keep any water from getting in on the bolt.
 
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