Fitting Taper Roller Head Bearing to early models

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Old Fogey
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Fitting Taper Roller Head Bearing to early models

Post #1 by Old Fogey » Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:08 pm

If you are fitting roller bearings to the steering on early models that were originally fitted with cup and ball type head races it is necessary to fit the grease retainer 53223-371-010 under the top bearing ( this fits all 75 -77 ) and to have a dust seal/grease retainer at the bottom.

Otherwise you lose the grease from the bearings ( remember, roller bearing by their very nature are open at the bottom and will not retain grease in the way the cup and ball bearing does ) and risk dirt getting in at the bottom.

The problem I came up against is that the seal shown here http://www.cmsnl.com/products/seal-head ... 214371010/
will only fit the bottom of the headstock on late '76 upwards. It is too big in outside diameter to fit the early'76 and '75s.
The original rubber oil seal will not do the job because its inner diameter is too big and does not seal the bearing.

My solution, after muuuuuuuuch thought, turned out to be easy and cheap.
First, make a large circle of thinnish alloy or steel sheet the diameter of the outside diameter of the headstock with a hole just big enough to slide all the way down the stem. As I had already bought the seal I just used that turned upside down.
Next goes on the original spacer washer and then the inner bottom bearing. Two 44.5x3 mm 'O' rings are then slipped over the bearing and around the spacer on top of one another. This is just enough to fill up the gap both in diameter and height without causing drag when the steering is turned.

Grease up the bearings and the 'O' rings, offer up the stem to the headstock, slip on the grease retainer with the channel side up, fill the channel with grease, fit the top bearing and adjuster nut and the top yoke (or bridge or triple clamp Wink ) and locknut

Job's a good 'un!

Please note that all Wings originally fitted with taper rollers OEM are fitted with the above part numbers right up to the last 1200.

One more tip. Don't use Molybdenum grease as use in CV joints. I had been greasing up the swing arm bearings with this so it was to hand, but it is too heavy for the steering bearings and causes a lot of drag.
I had to wash the bearings out, it was that bad!
I used a mixture of plain old LM grease and some graphite and it feels sooooo smooth and light to turn.
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Re: Fitting Taper Roller Head Bearing to early models

Post #2 by SMLE » Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:00 am

So I have an early '76 that had ball bearings. I got the triple tree from a '77 that had roller bearings. I got everything except the cups or outer races. The '77 stem has the bottom cone bearing and all the bits that go below it. If I just get the outer races that go into the steering head am I good to go?
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Re: Fitting Taper Roller Head Bearing to early models

Post #3 by AussieGold » Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:42 am

i have looked at all the posts i could find on this conversion, have emailed allballs and seen the need to have things machined to fit taper rollers,
have seen other info on this from pyramid parts and i have decided to replace mine with the original set up.
i am not convinced that i would be happy with a conversion that is just cobbled together. so, it is back to stock for me.
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Re: Fitting Taper Roller Head Bearing to early models

Post #4 by J4BPX » Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:43 am

Have just replaced a pair of roller bearings in my 77 as part of a rebuild. It had obviously had the original ball bearings replaced by a dealer but they had a notch at straight ahead so needed replacing.
Getting the old races out was a pain especially the lower as it does not sit proud of the internal radius of the steering head tube (its internal radius is the same as the tube). I managed to shift it a mm by hammering a screwdriver head in between the top of the race where it sit against the head tube. I then took a steel ruler, which was part of adjustable right angle square and therefore very stiff, and bent one end over by 90 degrees about 3-4 mm from the end. This little 'lip' would slip into the gap I'd created between the race and the tube, and the ruler was then stiff enough and long enough for me to hammer out the race, slightly rotating the ruler in the tube between blows to keep the race squarish. The top race can be hammered out the same way but is easier to drive because it is proud of steering tube (its radius is smaller than the tube).
The top race goes back in easily because even when seated the top of the race sits above the top of the tube. Just use a block of wood when hammering to distribute the force and it stays straight. The bottom race is recessed so needs to be driven using a socket as a driver. I didn't have a socket big enough so I used the old race, wider side against the new race, so that once it's driven in you can pop the old race back out using the rule trick.
Some differences I noticed between versions that had the ball bearing instead of the taper bearings. If replacing a ball bearing version with taper - you need a thick washer (approx 5 mm) under the bottom taper bearing to get the correct spacing between the top and bottom taper bearings so that they sit correctly in the races when it is all tightened up. I don't know if this washer was a feature of the original ball bearing set up or was placed there when they were originally replaced on my bike. But it doesn't feature on my 80 donor bike..
Interestingly to drive the bottom taper bearing squarely down onto the top of the washer against the bottom part of the triple tree I found that the pump arm from my engine lift jack was the perfect diameter.
One last point to note. The grease seal that comes with the pyramid parts bearings needs to go below the washer and the taper bearings to seal the steering tube..
Enjoy
Last edited by J4BPX on Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:27 am, edited 2 times in total.
A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation - Saki

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Re: Fitting Taper Roller Head Bearing to early models

Post #5 by SMLE » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:00 am

FWIW; I used the All Balls set and it was a drop in conversion. No modification or additional parts needed. It has been in since September and works fine.
"Like a rich armour worn in heat of day that scalds with safety..." ATGATT.
"If you can park it and walk away without looking back to admire it, you bought the wrong bike."
1976 GL1000 "Irma".

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Re: Fitting Taper Roller Head Bearing to early models

Post #6 by J4BPX » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:46 am

The observation on the thicker washer was made because I suspect that Honda changed the distance between the upper and lower race seating points in the steering tubes on later Gl1000 bikes. (I'm guessing this would not only simplify but the increased distance would increase the rigidity of the front forks(?)). Therefore the observation was that if you replace the bearings on an earlier bike you need the washer for the correct spacing. Later bikes may not need the washer. My parts list diagrams shows the extra washer / spacer under the taper bearings, and two washers under the ball bearings - but my 80 donor bike doesn't appear to have that washer and the taper bearings seem to be seated correctly.
Can any of the more knowledgeable members confirm this?
A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation - Saki

1976 UK GL1000 K1 'Trog' restored.
What's next?

The restoration at http://www.aeromount.com

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Re: Fitting Taper Roller Head Bearing to early models

Post #7 by calif wingnut » Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:08 am

You'll find your sizes needed here for all wings less 77-79 for some reason but they are All Balls 22-1020 which fits all 1100-1200-1500 and I believe 1800 ?

http://www.customfighters.com/forums/sh ... hp?t=22068

1977 was the first year for tapered bearings.
Last edited by calif wingnut on Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:27 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Fitting Taper Roller Head Bearing to early models

Post #8 by calif wingnut » Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:38 am

SMLE wrote:So I have an early '76 that had ball bearings. I got the triple tree from a '77 that had roller bearings. I got everything except the cups or outer races. The '77 stem has the bottom cone bearing and all the bits that go below it. If I just get the outer races that go into the steering head am I good to go?


75-76 stem races are 1 15/16" OD while 77-79 are 2 3/16" OD so the 77 bearings/races will not work in a 75-76.

First pic is a 75 -2nd a 77.
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