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Adjusting steering head bearings

Panama

Forum Website User
VOC Member
I have found no information in any of the usual sources regarding adjustment of the steering head bearings (FF124, FF128 and ball 321). It appears to me that this adjustment is accomplished by tightening the headclip nut (FF23) at the top of the steering tube.

Is the practice to tighten them to the point where play just disappears or should there be a slight 'loading' of the bearings? It seems to me that any looseness here could lead to a 'tank slapper'.

In addition, I would like to know if anyone can explain the purpose of the pad bushings FF41.

Is it necessary to 'slack off' the pad bushings before attempting to adjust the steering head bearings?

How tight should the pad bushings be tightened? It they are tightened too much, is there risk of damaging or deforming the steering tube?

Is there a recommended method for easing off the pad bushings? I have observed that the pad bushings are very tightly set in place, and fear that removing them will require such force that they likely will be damaged.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
FF41 are the clamps that hold the adjustment fixed, so they do have to be loosened. For tightening, it goes back to the other discussions on torque values; make them pretty tight. Due to their curved grip surfaces, I don't think the tube will be crushed. I don't remember if I greased mine in '96 or so when I rebuild the forks, but I hope so.
 

vibrac

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Why dont you just read the riders handbook page 31? it was given away with every new Vincent
Its all been in there for sixty years cost even today under £12.00
a small price to pay against the cost of a Vincent
much more basic information for a newbie than a year on the forum (bless it)
 

davidd

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
I agree with Bruce. I do not use an FF41 as I use lockwire. This should give you the idea that FF41 is merely a locking mechanism and it only need be tight enought to keep the nut from turning. To release FF41 I simply hit it witha soft hammer.

To adjust the bearings, I lift the front wheel off the ground and tighten the nut until there is no play, but not so tight to keep the wheel from flopping to one side or the other. As a result of a mistake, I have run very fast on the track with the nut loose and a lot of play. The bike handled quite well and did not tell me that its bearings were loose. This is not something that I intended, but it follows what I have said in other posts about the Girdraulics. Ill handling Girdraulics have more to do with geometry than condition, but this is no excuse to not to have nicely working forks.

100_0457.jpg


David
 

jim burgess

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
I have found no information in any of the usual sources regarding adjustment of the steering head bearings (FF124, FF128 and ball 321). It appears to me that this adjustment is accomplished by tightening the headclip nut (FF23) at the top of the steering tube.

Is the practice to tighten them to the point where play just disappears or should there be a slight 'loading' of the bearings? It seems to me that any looseness here could lead to a 'tank slapper'.

In addition, I would like to know if anyone can explain the purpose of the pad bushings FF41.

Is it necessary to 'slack off' the pad bushings before attempting to adjust the steering head bearings?

How tight should the pad bushings be tightened? It they are tightened too much, is there risk of damaging or deforming the steering tube?

Is there a recommended method for easing off the pad bushings? I have observed that the pad bushings are very tightly set in place, and fear that removing them will require such force that they likely will be damaged.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Check in advance that none of the steering damper assembly below your steering head is coming into contact with metal. This happened with mine (new parts) and for a long time adjustment was being taken up on anything other than the balls. Check that the pads are not meeting in the middle before hitting the steering column (guess what, new parts) I found this steering set up difficult to get right and I am not sure I fully get it yet. Always make sure your damping (hydraulic and steering)is in good condition, there is a kawasaki damper that can be fitted for steering see "forty years on"
Bon Chance!
Jim Burgess
 

john998

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Hello David,
just a thought some FF1 wear slack on the head stem, perhaps FF41's clamping mechanism will stop this happening. Personally I would not be happy without them even with wire locking on FF23.
On my spare FF1 I have had to insert a thin steel sleeve in the hole where the stem fits to take up wear. A by-product of slackness there is an inability to keep the head bearings in adjustment. No amount of tightening the bolt through the FF41's will stop the FF1 rocking when worn and upsetting the bearing adjustment.
Do you still have the backhoe? I did enjoy my play in it.
Regards John.
 

davidd

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Hello David,
just a thought some FF1 wear slack on the head stem, perhaps FF41's clamping mechanism will stop this happening. Personally I would not be happy without them even with wire locking on FF23.
On my spare FF1 I have had to insert a thin steel sleeve in the hole where the stem fits to take up wear. A by-product of slackness there is an inability to keep the head bearings in adjustment. No amount of tightening the bolt through the FF41's will stop the FF1 rocking when worn and upsetting the bearing adjustment.
Do you still have the backhoe? I did enjoy my play in it.
Regards John.

John,

You pose some interesting questions. I may not know enough to answer sensibly. I have always been unimpressed with the finish and roundness of the steering stem. Because of its crudeness and lack of consistent dimension, I was under the impression that it did not mate with anything in the steering system (which may not be correct.) The lower bearing is mounted on a machined part of the lower casting and the upper bearing is mounted on FF1. I was under the impression that the sleeve of the nut, which is machined, centers in FF1. I did not think that the stem itself was utilized at all in the system. This is most unlike modern taper roller systems that rely on a machined surface on the stem to support the upper and lower bearing. I was not aware that FF1 could wear to the point of uselessness. I have always been surprised that FF1 seems to be sufficiently robust to use a coil-over shock, thus taking all of the pounding that would normally be absobed through the eccentrics.

I no longer have a backhoe (since 2004), but it is one of the tools I miss most!

David
 
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