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Discussion Starter #1
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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Discussion Starter #3
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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Discussion Starter #4
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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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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Discussion Starter #6
I might talk to the friendly neighborhood motorcycle shop down the street. Perhaps they can rent me a tool.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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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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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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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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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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.
Agree, two or three weld beads on the ID of the race and it will practically fall out.

Jason
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Welding a couple of beads to the ID of the race doesn’t sound too daunting. I’ll let you know if it works.

Thanks for the tip.
 

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I've done this job at least a couple doz times. I have the OEM tool...mostly worthless. I have the aftermarket tool previously mentioned...it takes some grinding and filing to get it to work and it works most of the time without too much cussing. Welding method...super easy. I put three quick ugly beads on the race and it will either fall out or I can pull it out with a gloved hand. Worse case you can now tap on the three beads from above to remove...I've never had to.

For the upper race as an FYI...I use a tool from a primarily mountain bike tool supplier. They offer two versions based on size. Tool works perfectly every time. parktool dot com
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That’s encouraging. I’ll check that mountain bike tool out.

I probably won’t try to get the races out until Saturday. By the time I get back from work it’s dark and cold outside.

In the meantime I’m removing some rust I found on the handlebars and painting them gloss black. I hope it looks badass.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The top race I was able to tap out with a screwdriver and a hammer. The bottom race I put three beads of weld on and it won't move.

I don't like welding down there. Between the time the welding hood drops down and I strike the arc, some movement seems to always occur. I got an old style hood. I'm afraid of welding the race to the frame.

I tried cutting it out with a dremel, but that didn't seem to get me anywhere either.

I'll guess I'll give welding another go.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Yeah. This welding thing is more than my equipment or my skill level can handle. It's a mess up there and I've already done some damage to the tube, what with mis-striking the arc, trying to use a chisel to knock it out, and clumsy dremel handling.

I stupidly had the ground clamped to the top of the tube where the top race goes in. It was a crappy ground so I got a little damage up there also.

I'm at a loss what to do.
 

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I feel for you. I've had exactly the same hassle. Welding has for me never resulted in the easy removal others describe.

Solutions that have worked for me over the years are:
- welding a piece of scrap steel across the race so that I then have something ready to drift against. Easy to say but hard to hold it in place to get the initial weld to hold it.
- Dremel to cut through the race at one point. This is very slow, takes care, but does work.

My new favourite method is to drill two 4mm holes approximately 180 apart near vertically through the frame at the top of the lower bearing housing such that they land on top of the race. Through these then use a pin punch to drift the bearing down the first few mm's. After that a long drift will work down through the steering head. After you finish fill the holes with a sealer and they are there ready for next time.

Good luck


Sent from my Moto G (5S) Plus using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Wow. That's a great idea. I'm on the fence between trying that and buying the OTC puller mentioned above. I couldn't find one in my town and they're $40 on Amazon. There's nothing on fleabay.

The advantage of the drill idea is I could do it right away and it would be almost free, (I don't know if I got a 4mm drill bit). Thanks for the idea. I'll let you know how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hey, thanks awayonmybike! It worked! It wasn't easy. I toasted 3 drill bits drilling through the hard metal. Even then that little s.o.b hung on tight unto the last millimeter. The butchery on my bike shouldn't affect the structural integrity and I know that I'll never have to struggle with it again. The holes are in place for next time.

Now onto removing the bearing race from the steering stem.
 
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