Steering Head Free Play


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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fnickel
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:59 pm
Location: Campbellville, ON, Canada
Motorcycle: 1992 GL1500SE

Steering Head Free Play

Post by fnickel »



I have a '92 GL1500SE, with 100,000 miles. Have noticed for the last half year a bit of play at the front wheel due to play in the steering head bearings. I just went through the procedure of trying to torque the adjustment nut at the top of the stem to remove the play. Going through Wingadmin's How-to procedure and torqueing it to the right values would not remove the play. So I tried further tightening the nut until the steering would start to bind a bit when turning right to left, and then backing it off just until the steering turned relatively freely. This improved it, but still did not remove all free play of the steering head at the front wheel. There is still just a bit of movement. Is this normal? There is no notchiness in the bearing when turning the steering right to left.

There have been no handling issues with the bike, and I have had it only for the last 6 years, so I don't know if these are the original bearings in the steering head. Does this require new improved tapered bearing sets to fix that? Maybe I'll schedule that for over the winter. For now, I think I will button it up and continue riding. Let me know what your suggestions are.



TwoTone Trike
Posts: 232
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:52 am
Location: Mt. Sterling Kentucky
Motorcycle: 1999 Honda GoldWing 1500se/2012 Hannigan Trike, 1953 Panhead, 1973 Electra Glide sold

Re: Steering Head Free Play

Post by TwoTone Trike »

I'm no expert but it sounds like it's time for new bearings.

fnickel
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:59 pm
Location: Campbellville, ON, Canada
Motorcycle: 1992 GL1500SE

Re: Steering Head Free Play

Post by fnickel »

Update! After doing the previous work and going out for a ride, I noticed a difference immediately. For the worse. If any of you have ridden a bike with a steering damper set too tight, that’s what it felt like. The bike tended to wander and was twitchy, especially at lower and medium speeds. High speed was OK. So, I went back and did the job over again, this time torquing the steering head bearings to recommended values. Rode it again this morning, and it’s A1-OK. Also, the free play at the wheel is reasonable. And, the job went much quicker second time around.

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CrystalPistol
Posts: 1398
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:07 pm
Location: Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
Motorcycle: 1997 GL1500SE/'98 Lehman Trike

Re: Steering Head Free Play

Post by CrystalPistol »

GL1500s all had tapered stem bearings, good thing too as they'll take some tighter settings without denting races or flatting balls. As I recall, 14 ft lbs on the stem nut sounds right? Many trike manufacturers recommended double so I used 28 on my EZ Steer. 1800s have ball stem bearings OEM.

Glad you got it "back".


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