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Thread: steering head bearings /5 replace

  1. #1

    steering head bearings /5 replace

    What parts will be needed to replace the steering head bearings on a 75/5? Are they any old bearings or do you have to use the BMW ones?

  2. #2
    Airmarshal-IL James.A's Avatar
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    With tapered roller bearings, any bearing specialty shop should be able to match up a new set from a single sample. You will want 2 bearings (upper and lower) which should come with matched races.
    1973 R75/5

  3. #3
    It is the same set of tapered roller bearings from the /5's through the K1100 series. Size is 52mm x 28mm x 16mm

    Removing the lower inner race and both outer races is the usual unpleasant job that it always is with steering heads.
    Lee A. Dickinson - Danielsville, GA USA
    Airheads #3480 | Iron Butt Assn. #8914
    1976 R75/6 - 1992 R100RS - 1993 K1100RS - 2013 R1200GS

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by beemerphile View Post
    It is the same set of tapered roller bearings from the /5's through the K1100 series. Size is 52mm x 28mm x 16mm

    Removing the lower inner race and both outer races is the usual unpleasant job that it always is with steering heads.
    +2. Have a good look at the lower before replacing and don't if it's in good shape. Also, make sure it's fully seated if you replace it.
    '61 Clubman's Gold Star, '13 690 Duke, '13 Daytona 675R, '17 1290 GT, '18 Street Triple RS (gone but not forgotten: '76 R75/6, '84 R100, '76 R90S)

  5. #5
    Registered User Anyname's Avatar
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    You'll also need the metal cup that serves as a dust cover for the lower bearing. Looking at Max's fiche, BMW OEM bearings don't look especially expensive.
    BMW R bike rider, horizontally opposed to everything...

  6. #6
    I used these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1. Everything that you need is here.

  7. #7
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clegg View Post
    I used these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1. Everything that you need is here.
    I wonder about this. I used the "Does it fit" feature and the website. Those bearings don't fit my /7 but it says that it would fit a /5. But I checked RealOEM and it seems the bearing part numbers is identical for the /5 and /7.
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  8. #8
    Registered User Anyname's Avatar
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    The first time I replaced a set of steering head bearings, I was told that the cost of the bearing was the smallest part of the job and that the most of the job is dismantling and then reinstalling the front end of the bike. I was advised to replace the bearings even though it was possible that cleaning, lubing and reinstalling them might be adequate. After I had spent several hours doing the work, I could see the wisdom of that advice.
    BMW R bike rider, horizontally opposed to everything...

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Anyname View Post
    The first time I replaced a set of steering head bearings, I was told that the cost of the bearing was the smallest part of the job and that the most of the job is dismantling and then reinstalling the front end of the bike. I was advised to replace the bearings even though it was possible that cleaning, lubing and reinstalling them might be adequate. After I had spent several hours doing the work, I could see the wisdom of that advice.
    Can't agree with that. The bearings are just about all of the cost of the job if you do it yourself. What you describe is "shop logic" where the customer is paying $80+ per hour to get to the bearings and they do not want to risk a dissatisfied customer when for a few bucks of the customer's money they can cinch the outcome. The shop also has the tools and expertise to make the race removal and installation quick and painless.

    For the average home mechanic, it is significantly less work if the races can be left in place (other than the top inner) and the parts simply cleaned and re-greased. If people did this service (and preload adjustment) more often, there would be fewer bearing replacements going on. The key is to determine correctly whether the bearing is good, or bad. It is easy to see brinnelling marks on the races or detect roughness with the cleaned parts that would indicate the need to replace them. I'm not saying to scrimp and re-use bad bearings, only that there is no need to replace good bearings. Save them for next time. If you have the correct mandrels, presses, and pullers (not a hammer and a drift) and you use heat and cold correctly to pre-condition the parts for re-assembly, then the operation goes without too much frustration and profanity. Without these, you can expect a long hard day and actually risk damaging the headstock or the steering shaft.

    I'm not a fan of the All Balls brand, and not surprised that they can't properly assemble a fitment chart. They use lower quality parts sourced from this or that Chinese source as economics and availability indicate. Tolerances are not as big a deal with a headstock bearing because they move slowly, and not even a full turn. So in this application they would probably work fine. The advantage with them is they kit everything together and put the name of your bike on the ordering sheet. I'd rather have brand name bearings and buy the dust seal from BMW.
    Last edited by beemerphile; 10-28-2018 at 12:24 PM.
    Lee A. Dickinson - Danielsville, GA USA
    Airheads #3480 | Iron Butt Assn. #8914
    1976 R75/6 - 1992 R100RS - 1993 K1100RS - 2013 R1200GS

  10. #10
    John D'oh
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    In 1977 a thin metal stamped cup was added under the bearing fit to the lower position on the steering stem. This helps keep splash water and dirt from reaching the bottom bearing and helps keep grease in. I put one of these on the /5 too. Bearings are cheap. If you wind up doing a replacement yourself, this might help - match mark the stem and underside of the bottom triple clamp so you can continue to use your steering lock later. Warm up the bottom clamp and drive the stem through to expose about 1/4 inch of the lower seating area of the stem. I always use a press to do this but, heat is your friend if you haven't got a press in your garage. While the bottom tripple clamp is still warm, drive the stem back through the clamp to seat it with match marks aligned. You will find the lower bearing race is now 1/4 inch above its seat on the lower clamp and can be reached by any dime store long jaw bearing puller. Protect the threads on the other end of the stem. Also, a section of an old fork tube fits right over the steering stem and shoulders the inner race perfectly and can be used to press/drive the lower bearing into position against the bottom tripple clamp.

    this is it. I'm outta here. I need to ride more and type less.
    John D'oh

  11. #11
    Registered User Anyname's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beemerphile View Post
    Can't agree with that. The bearings are just about all of the cost of the job if you do it yourself. What you describe is "shop logic" where the customer is paying $80+ per hour to get to the bearings and they do not want to risk a dissatisfied customer when for a few bucks of the customer's money they can cinch the outcome. The shop also has the tools and expertise to make the race removal and installation quick and painless.

    For the average home mechanic, it is significantly less work if the races can be left in place (other than the top inner) and the parts simply cleaned and re-greased. If people did this service (and preload adjustment) more often, there would be fewer bearing replacements going on. The key is to determine correctly whether the bearing is good, or bad. It is easy to see brinnelling marks on the races or detect roughness with the cleaned parts that would indicate the need to replace them. I'm not saying to scrimp and re-use bad bearings, only that there is no need to replace good bearings. Save them for next time. If you have the correct mandrels, presses, and pullers (not a hammer and a drift) and you use heat and cold correctly to pre-condition the parts for re-assembly, then the operation goes without too much frustration and profanity. Without these, you can expect a long hard day and actually risk damaging the headstock or the steering shaft.

    I'm not a fan of the All Balls brand, and not surprised that they can't properly assemble a fitment chart. They use lower quality parts sourced from this or that Chinese source as economics and availability indicate. Tolerances are not as big a deal with a headstock bearing because they move slowly, and not even a full turn. So in this application they would probably work fine. The advantage with them is they kit everything together and put the name of your bike on the ordering sheet. I'd rather have brand name bearings and buy the dust seal from BMW.
    You pays yer money and you takes your chances. I personally don't like dismantling the front end enough to risk doing it twice in a row.
    BMW R bike rider, horizontally opposed to everything...

  12. #12
    Rally Rat 1074's Avatar
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    Proper service

    Quote Originally Posted by ccolwell View Post
    +2. Have a good look at the lower before replacing and don't if it's in good shape. Also, make sure it's fully seated if you replace it.
    I hold no value in just replacing either the upper or lower bearing by itself. There have been plenty of threads about removing the old bearings and races with and without the Cycle Tech tool so there's plenty of guidance out there.
    Boxerbruce

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by 1074 View Post
    I hold no value in just replacing either the upper or lower bearing by itself.
    The value is in avoiding extra work and expense if there is no need. Like the pre-1985 wheel bearings, these can be lifetime bearings if they receive proper pre-load adjustment (check at each major service) and fresh grease every 40-50K miles or 6-8 years. The re-greasing times align well with a general fork refurbish that includes dismantling, solvent cleaning, and new seals/bumpers. Most people only undertake steering head maintenance when there is a performance symptom - at which time replacement will usu. be the only cure. Sometimes, even then, hardened grease is the cause of the problem. First man out is usually the bottom bearing, which is most of the work. If I had ridden a bike until symptoms developed and found that the lower bearing needed to be replaced, I would replace both. However, if I had dismantled it for routine maintenance and found the bearings to be in good shape, I'd clean and re-grease them. Nothing is gained by replacing good parts.
    Lee A. Dickinson - Danielsville, GA USA
    Airheads #3480 | Iron Butt Assn. #8914
    1976 R75/6 - 1992 R100RS - 1993 K1100RS - 2013 R1200GS

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