How to replace your front wheel bearings


Step-by-step tutorials on how to maintain and fix your GL1100
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WingAdmin
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How to replace your front wheel bearings

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:46 pm



Wheel bearings do not last forever. In particular, the factory Honda bearings, which are not sealed, can lose grease over time and dry out, causing them to fail. A good practice is to change the wheel bearings every time you change your tire. Wheel bearings are inexpensive - your wheel takes two of them, and I bought mine from Partsnmore.com for $10 apiece. The front wheel uses two identical bearings.

1. Remove your front wheel. Read How to remove and reinstall your front wheel for detailed instructions on this process.

Note: 1983 model Goldwings do not have a bearing retainer ring. For 1983 Goldwings, skip to step 5.

2. Before removing the bearing retainer ring, using a 3/32" drill, drill out the previous stake. This is an indentation between the ring and the wheel made with a drift punch or screwdriver and a hammer. It serves to prevent the retainer ring from backing out after it is tightened. If it is not drilled out, it may damage the threads when the ring is removed. Only the tiniest bit needs to be drilled out - just enough to keep it from intruding upon the threads.

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3. Remove the bearing retainer ring. This ring has four indentations. You can try the old standby of sitting a pair of needlenose pliers into the holes, then grabbing the pliers with a large set of pliers (i.e. ChannelLock pliers), and while pressing down (to keep the needlenose ends from popping out of the holes), rotate the whole thing counterclockwise to loosen it:

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However, there is some chance that the pliers will break, the ends will pop out of the holes, or you will damage or gouge the ring. A much better option is to build a tool out of a large 1 1/4 inch socket. Mark on the side of the socket where the holes in the retainer ring will fit, and grind away the remainder with an angle or bench grinder.

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The result is a tool that will remove the bearing retainer ring for both front and rear wheels on your motorcycle:

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Seat the pins on your modified socket into the holes on the bearing retainer ring, apply downward pressure, and remove the ring. The ring will likely be stiff to move at first - I ended up using an impact wrench rather than fight with it for a long period of time.

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4. Remove the bearing retainer ring, and clean the dirt and grease remaining on the seal.

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5. Another custom tool: Purchase a 6 inch, 3/4" diameter threaded bolt. Do not get a high-strength "grade 8" bolt - the cheapest zinc/alloy coated bolt you can buy will work best.

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6. Using a hacksaw, cut a 1 1/2 to 2 inch long slot down the threaded end of the bolt.

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7. Push the bolt through from the left side of the wheel, until the slotted end is just below the top of the bearing.

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8. Push a large flat head screwdriver into the slot.

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9. With the head of the bolt on the floor, use a sledgehammer to pound the screwdriver into the slot until it jams. This will secure the threads of the bolt securely against the inner race of the bearing.

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10. Use the sledgehammer to pound on the head of the bolt on the other side of the wheel. You may want to hold the screwdriver in place to make sure it isn't bumped out of the slot. The bearing should work its way out of the wheel rim as you hit the bolt. Be careful not to hit the wheel with the hammer! This may take several tries before the bearing comes completely out.

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11. Remove the center spacer from the hub of the wheel.

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12. Use a large screwdriver to gently pry the bearing seal out of the left side of the wheel. Fit the screwdriver into the gap in the seal where the speedometer driver tabs fit, rest the screwdriver on the opposite side of the hub, and push down.

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13. Remove the bearing seal.

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14. Remove the speedometer driver from the wheel hub.

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15. Insert the bolt into the wheel, so that the head of the bolt rests against the inner edge of the bearing.

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16. Insert a bar into the wheel against the bolt head, and rap sharply with a sledgehammer to drive the left side bearing out. This is to avoid hammering on the split end of the bolt, which may bend or fracture.

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17. Remove the bolt and the bearing from the wheel.

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18. You should be able to see clear through the center of the wheel hub. Check the hub for damage.

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19. Clean the bearing seat extremely well, to ensure there is no dirt or residue remaining.

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20. Gently push the replacement bearing into the hub. If the bearing is not completely sealed, make sure you pack the bearing with grease first, and ensure the open side faces the inside of the wheel.

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21. Press the bearing into the hub. I use a large socket and a sledgehammer to do this. It is VERY important that the bearing go in flat, so ensure you don't push one side in, then the other - do it evently. Make sure you are using the outside race only - do not apply pressure to the inner bearing race, or the plastic seal in between the races.

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22. When the bearing is fully seated, there should be no gap between the bearing and the hub. It is critical that the bearing is absolutely flush with the wheel hub, so that it rotates true with the wheel. If it is not fully pressed in on one side, and wobbles as the wheel turns, it will fail in short order after the motorcycle is ridden.

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23. Clean the remaining bearing seat extremely well, ensuring no dirt or residue remains.

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24. Clean and lightly grease the center spacer, then insert it into the hub. Don't forget this step, it's too late after you've installed the second bearing!

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25. Seat the second bearing by hand.

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26. Press the bearing into the hub the same way you did the first bearing.

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27. Ensure the bearing is fully seated and is flush with the wheel hub. Don't pound it in as hard as you can get it! You want the spacer in the wheel hub to be able to rotate freely. If the spacer is binding up when you turn it, you have pounded in the bearing too far. This is a problem: by doing so, you are side loading the bearings, which will cause early failure. On the other hand, you don't want the spacer to rattle around - if this is the case, the bearing isn't in far enough. Seat it gently, checking the movement of the spacer frequently.

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Note: 1983 model Goldwings do not have a bearing retainer ring. For 1983 Goldwings, skip to step 32.

28. On the right side of the wheel, gently start to thread the bearing retainer ring into the hub.

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29. Using your custom tool, tighten the bearing retainer ring.

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30. Using a drift punch (or a philips screwdriver) and a hammer, stake the edge of the bearing retainer ring.

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31. The staked edge prevents the bearing retainer ring from backing out.

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32. On the left side of the wheel, install the speedometer driver. Make sure the tabs fit into the hub correctly.

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33. Gently press in the seal into the hub, ensuring the tabs of the speedometer driver fit into the gaps in the seal.

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34. Gently tap the seal into the hub.

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35. Notice that the OEM bearings are not sealed: The sealed side is on the outside, and the inside is where the grease is packed in.

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36. Reinstall your front wheel. Read How to remove and reinstall your front wheel for detailed instructions on this process.



hunter27h
Posts: 67
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Motorcycle: 1 1985 Honda Goldwings ltd trike
1989 GL1500
1991 GL1500 SE

Re: How to replace your front wheel bearings

Postby hunter27h » Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:36 am

Thanks, excellent tutorial

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littlebeaver
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Re: How to replace your front wheel bearings

Postby littlebeaver » Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:37 pm

Yes this thread is most helpful, I am changing my wheel bearings out this weekend, thanks again.. :D

Charlemagne
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Location: Paris, Ile-De-France, France
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Re: How to replace your front wheel bearings

Postby Charlemagne » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:52 am

Thanks a lot for extraction tool explanations. Two hours and the work was made on my GL1500.
Rémy. :) France

tubamanz
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Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100

Re: How to replace your front wheel bearings

Postby tubamanz » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:47 pm

WingAdmin,

Your instructions for replacing the rear wheel bearings call for a 6" 3/4" diameter threaded bolt. For the front wheel bearings you specified a 6" 1/2" diameter threaded bolt. Is this correct? (the difference in diameter)

Thanks.

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WingAdmin
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Re: How to replace your front wheel bearings

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:42 pm

tubamanz wrote:WingAdmin,

Your instructions for replacing the rear wheel bearings call for a 6" 3/4" diameter threaded bolt. For the front wheel bearings you specified a 6" 1/2" diameter threaded bolt. Is this correct? (the difference in diameter)

Thanks.


No....because I used the same bolt for both (and also for my 1500!).

OK, I went down and checked. It's a 3/4" diameter bolt. I'll change my instructions.

tubamanz
Posts: 27
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Location: Mantorville
Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100

Re: How to replace your front wheel bearings

Postby tubamanz » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:04 pm

Thanks for verifying. Pivot Works bearing and seal kits ordered from Amazon (hadn't even thought to check there - Google turned them up). Decided to do these (and the brake pads) as long as I was putting new tires on. Should be an interesting project. And just in time here in MN. The snow has almost melted....

tomos
Posts: 82
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suzuki gs400e 82

Re: How to replace your front wheel bearings

Postby tomos » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:46 am

Hi from Ontario, Canada,
snow has melted and the bikes are out except my own 82A.
Just got front wheel of for installation of the bearings and realize that on the right side bearing is not as flash with a hub as it's on the left side. Tube inside the hub just move a bit so appear to me that l should install new bearings as originally installed ones.l am shore that no one has ever attempted to replace bearings on this bike.
What is your opinion on this meter?
Thanks for your help
Zoran

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WingAdmin
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Posts: 17046
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: How to replace your front wheel bearings

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Apr 21, 2014 12:39 pm

tomos wrote:Hi from Ontario, Canada,
snow has melted and the bikes are out except my own 82A.
Just got front wheel of for installation of the bearings and realize that on the right side bearing is not as flash with a hub as it's on the left side. Tube inside the hub just move a bit so appear to me that l should install new bearings as originally installed ones.l am shore that no one has ever attempted to replace bearings on this bike.
What is your opinion on this meter?
Thanks for your help
Zoran


I think it sounds like a prudent thing to do.

Mikeinnh
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:54 pm
Location: New Durham, New Hampshire
Motorcycle: 1977 GL1000

Re: How to replace your front wheel bearings

Postby Mikeinnh » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:48 am

I'm a little confused. (a regular occurrence) I'm not sure on the 1100, but on the 1000, I'm pretty sure the inside bearing diameter is 15mm, which is about .59 inches, but you say to use a 3/4" (.75") diameter bolt for bearing removal. What am I missing?

rkmason
Posts: 67
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Location: Austin, TX
Motorcycle: 1981 GL1100 Interstate

Re: How to replace your front wheel bearings

Postby rkmason » Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:17 pm

FYI, for anyone removing GL1100 wheel brgs I have one possible update to this fine DIY How-To article by WingAdmin. I just removed my front wheel brgs following the directions in this How-To with one deviation; to get ahold of the wheel brg inner race and drive the brgs out of the wheel hub I used a blind hole puller tool available from AutoZone as PN #27128 in their Loan-a-Tool program. The tool kit includes four expanding mandrels that will fit the ID of both GL1100 front and rear wheel brgs, and a slide hammer. I could not generate enough impact force using the slide hammer to get the brgs to move so I drove the brgs out from the backside using the long 1/2" dia bolt that WingAdmin suggests and a hand sledge after installing the mandrel in each brg id.




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