Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > Tech

Tech ALL bikes: "Generic" tech questions and answers. Maintenance, general discussions etc.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 23 May 2010
HU Australia Meeting Lead Organiser
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 201
Grease nipples for steerinh head bearings

Hello everyone,

I recall reading in a dirt bike magazine about adding a grease nipple to allow easing greasing of the steering head bearings. Has anyone done this and is it worthwhile?

Thanks,

Shane
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 23 May 2010
*Touring Ted*'s Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wirral, England.
Posts: 4,394
Seen it done. Also to the rear suspension linkage.

If it's worth doing, depends on the bike and riding you do.

Headstock bearings on modern bikes are well sealed and the grease doesn't tend to escape or get water and muck in them like wheel bearings. They usually last 20-30,000 miles or more. Keeping them tight is better maintenance than adding more and more grease through a nipple.

Most people think headstock bearings are fit and forget, they aren't !!

Every 10,000 miles, drop the steerer, clean all the old grease out and regrease them then tighten back down so the handlebars will only just move under their own weight while on a centre stand.

Then they may just last a RTW !!

If you ride offroad a lot, love pulling wheelies or ride around without ever tightening your headstock nut, then squirting grease in through a nipple could be helpful.
__________________
www.TouringTed.com
1994 XR650L
2001 NX650 Dominator.

BMW Dealer Technician
Welder/Fabricator

Ushuaia - Colombia 2007/8
UK- South Africa 2010/11
India 2012
Yukon 2012
S.E Asia 2014
U.K - Magadan 2015

Last edited by *Touring Ted*; 24 May 2010 at 07:04.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 23 May 2010
Mickey D's Avatar
Moderated Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: California
Posts: 514
From what I've heard ... and seen, Ted's take is on the money.

In fact my Oil expert neighbor, who sells specialty greases for a living, says packing in too much heavy grease into a bearing is not helpful and will impend its smooth operation. Recommends "just enough".

Ted's suggestion to keep it clean, fresh and most important, adjusted to proper tension is most important.

Some bikes (like Honda XR's) generate a lot of heat into the steering head (this due to oil held in the frame ... gets HOT!) which can heat the grease until it flows out and on down on your front fender. So in this case a nipple would be handy.

Using the right type of grease is important also. Generally use a high quality waterproof grease. Off road riding thousands of miles of rocks and washboard road is hard on head bearings. And riding through lots of stream and rivers or in constant rain will mean your linkage bearings will need service sooner than normal. Many riders neglect these shock linkage bearings.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 24 May 2010
*Touring Ted*'s Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wirral, England.
Posts: 4,394
Micky D reminded me.......

Some bikes (by poor design) have the oil running around the headstock (the F650GS etc)

This cooks the grease out of the bearings. If you're running an F650GS, Dakar or an XR400 etc, nipples could be good idea

Although, high temperature grease may be adequate.
__________________
www.TouringTed.com
1994 XR650L
2001 NX650 Dominator.

BMW Dealer Technician
Welder/Fabricator

Ushuaia - Colombia 2007/8
UK- South Africa 2010/11
India 2012
Yukon 2012
S.E Asia 2014
U.K - Magadan 2015
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 24 May 2010
Steve Pickford's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 1,025
I've seen a grease nipple added to the headstock of a DRZ400S. All it did was fill the rest of the headstock tube with fresh grease. The bearings are generally tapered and once assembled, they're pretty much sealed, there's no way for the grease to get past the cones and lube the bearings. The bearings on this bike eventually failed, the grease nipple was worthless & a waste of grease.

As Ted said, regular dropping of the front end to clean & pack with fresh grease is the way to go.
__________________
My photos: www.possu.smugmug.com
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 24 May 2010
HU Australia Meeting Lead Organiser
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 201
Steering Head Bearings

Thanks for all the advice. The bike is a DR800 and I can see that the best thing to do is to use good quality bearing and check them every 10,000 or so. I don't (can't) pull wheelies etc and am fairly easy on the bike, so this should be fine.

As I have only had the bike for a couple of months I'll order a set of top bearings and replace them at the next service, using quality lithium wheel bearing grease.

Thanks,

Shane
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 24 May 2010
Super Moderator
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,810
Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
Some bikes (by poor design) have the oil running around the headstock (the F650GS etc)
cough....cough... sorry ted - according to BMW, you are mistaken
I was curious at your post as, owning an F650 Dakar, I knew that there was no oil circulating in my headstock. I wanted to check for other F650's. so I telephoned BMW this morning who categorically state that "oil does not run around the headstock on any of our F650GS nor ever has"
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 24 May 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Oxford UK
Posts: 973
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bertrand View Post
cough....cough... sorry ted - according to BMW, you are mistaken
I was curious at your post as, owning an F650 Dakar, I knew that there was no oil circulating in my headstock.

Well it certainly does in my XR600 (and in my CCM 600) so Ted was at least half right

Even with this setup I've never had any real problem with oil heat melting the grease. It must be 7-8 yrs since I last packed the XR head bearings and when I had a mini stripdown at the weekend they were still lubed and in good nick.

I'm not sure that packing the headstock with 2kg of grease (even if you could get it to go into the bearings rather than just leak past) would make a significant improvement in bearing life beyond just lubing the rollers with something appropriate. Most of it is just going to sit there surrounding the spindle. If it does migrate downwards that's a lot of lube to leak onto the engine.

Even if there is a marginal improvement in bearing life the cost of the grease would go a fair way towards their replacements.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 24 May 2010
Dodger's Avatar
Large Golden Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 1,098
Roller bearings don't need much grease ,but will always fail when they are not sealed properly and there is an ingress of dirt and water .
A grease nipple will allow you to pack the bearing from the inside and a couple of pumps from a grease gun [ on a regular basis] will keep the muck out .Synthetic grease or a high melting point wheel bearing grease will take care of any heat provided by oil in frame lubricant .The weight of the grease is insignificant .
Taper roller bearings are open and will allow grease to flow through [think of a trailer wheel bearing ].
Double sided rubber sealed ball bearings are fitted to some bikes , you can remove the inner seal or change to a single sided rubber seal bearing and pump grease in from a nipple .

A couple of pumps with a grease gun is much quicker and convenient than stripping the front end to repack the bearings .
__________________
Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light. - Spike Milligan
"When you come to a fork in the road ,take it ! When you come to a spoon in the road ,take that also ."
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 24 May 2010
*Touring Ted*'s Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wirral, England.
Posts: 4,394
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bertrand View Post
cough....cough... sorry ted - according to BMW, you are mistaken
I was curious at your post as, owning an F650 Dakar, I knew that there was no oil circulating in my headstock. I wanted to check for other F650's. so I telephoned BMW this morning who categorically state that "oil does not run around the headstock on any of our F650GS nor ever has"

Maybe i'm thining of the F650 funduros... I'm 99.9% it was one of the F650 models that had the oil running around the head bearings.

Well, not around the actual bearings (that would be daft) but very close to the outer shell of the bearings, making the grease "melt" and degrade faster than it would of a wet sump bike.


I'm going to have to look this up now. As much as I enjoy BMW bashing, I'd at like to be accurate about it.

Comprende ?
__________________
www.TouringTed.com
1994 XR650L
2001 NX650 Dominator.

BMW Dealer Technician
Welder/Fabricator

Ushuaia - Colombia 2007/8
UK- South Africa 2010/11
India 2012
Yukon 2012
S.E Asia 2014
U.K - Magadan 2015
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 24 May 2010
*Touring Ted*'s Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wirral, England.
Posts: 4,394
More info here

Yet another steering-head bearing failure. - Page 3 - BMW F650 Forums

I don't think anyone knows for sure what the issue is with the bearings. They just seem to wear very quickly. I was always led to believe it was the heat of the oil in the frame. The flow being too close to the bearings. Others think it's poor quality bearings, although they use the same ones in other models without issue. Maybe it's poor assembly at the factory.

Many riders seem to have to change them every 15,000 miles or so from what I've read. I remember them always being an issue on the second hand F650's coming in and out of our dealership and also at Dakar Motos.

Anyway, lets not get off topic here !!

Grease nipples was it ??????????????
__________________
www.TouringTed.com
1994 XR650L
2001 NX650 Dominator.

BMW Dealer Technician
Welder/Fabricator

Ushuaia - Colombia 2007/8
UK- South Africa 2010/11
India 2012
Yukon 2012
S.E Asia 2014
U.K - Magadan 2015
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 24 May 2010
Big Yellow Tractor's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: England
Posts: 594
I fitted a nipple to my Dr. Zed when I got it and work on the theory that if I pump grease in until the black, mucky, emulsified crap is replaced with clean grease, it must be a good thing.

If you do a lot of hard trail riding in all weathers then water and muck will get in. Add to that some dropping in rivers and jet washing. Also, as mentioned, the oil in the frame does warm the grease enough for it to seep out past the lower seal. I'd rather give it a few pumps after every ride than strip it out. A lb of grease lasts a long time and only costs a few quid.
__________________
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Stuck Steering Head Bearings Bugz-101 Yamaha Tech 7 21 Jun 2009 22:42
head bearings xtz660 futronix Yamaha Tech 1 1 Jul 2006 00:03
Air head rocker-arm bearings oldbaldrick BMW Tech 1 18 Apr 2005 05:39
driveshaft grease nipples mavis cruet BMW Tech 1 20 Nov 2004 02:02
Clicking Head Bearings ??? Tony Robson Yamaha Tech 5 16 Jun 2003 23:30

 
 


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 21:28.