Neck or steering head bearing questions - Harley Davidson Forums: Harley Davidson Motorcycle Forum
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Neck or steering head bearing questions

I'm looking at buying a 2001 Wide Glide and the seller said it needs a "neck bearing" adjustment. Is a "neck bearing" the same thing as a "steering head bearing"? Is it an easy procedure to adjust them? Is it possible the bearing might need to be replaced if an adjustment wasn't enough? How expensive/involved of a job is that? And is this a common issue on Wide Glides?

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Old 01-12-2010, 11:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Im thinkin the seller could do that. before he lays it on you.
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Old 01-13-2010, 04:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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If I were looking to buy a used car that I noticed had one tire going flat, I would prefer to either get it fixed or fix it myself, rather than the seller just filling it full of "Slime" to get it sold.

The steering head and neck bearings are different terms for the same thing. To adjust the head pressure on the bearings is not a big deal. It should not be to expensive for a dealer or indy to adjust, probably an hour labor. If you are well equipped with tools and a jack, its something you can do yourself.

Basically, you have an adjustment nut which determines how much pressure is on the two bearings. The upper tree seats on top of this adjustment nut. Then there is a steering head nut which is torqued and keeps it all together. A "Fall-Away" test is performed to achieve proper adjustment.

If the bearings need replacement, its more involved because of the removal and replacement of the bearing races. This is probably not something the average owner has the tools to perform.

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Old 01-13-2010, 05:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ken4ahog View Post
I'm looking at buying a 2001 Wide Glide and the seller said it needs a "neck bearing" adjustment. Is a "neck bearing" the same thing as a "steering head bearing"? Is it an easy procedure to adjust them? Is it possible the bearing might need to be replaced if an adjustment wasn't enough? How expensive/involved of a job is that? And is this a common issue on Wide Glides?

Ken
It's a common issue on most cycles . A maintenance thing .
Like was said , a shop would charge about an hour labor , no parts .
When doing the fallaway test the tech will " feel " the condition of the bearings . With the cycle off the floor and level the tech will turn the forks both ways to feel for a notch or hook in the bearings . If that's felt then neck bearing replacement is imminent .
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'll throw this out as well for debate:
How safe is the bike to test ride with this 'condition'?

Send it to the dealer for a once over before you buy, and have them render an opinion. Ours charge 1-hour for labor for the look.

If you're happy with the ride, have the dealer make the adjustment.
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Old 01-13-2010, 07:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by kpolak View Post
I'll throw this out as well for debate:
How safe is the bike to test ride with this 'condition'?

Send it to the dealer for a once over before you buy, and have them render an opinion. Ours charge 1-hour for labor for the look.

If you're happy with the ride, have the dealer make the adjustment.
In all reality, nothing should happen. It'll make noise over hard bumps, and you'll feel it through the handlebars. At this juncture, I'd probably want the bearings replaced, rather then just adjusted, if they've been ridden on, unadjusted. They are likely in need of being lubed, rather then JUST adjusted as well. If there's no grease fitting on the neck, that's going to be costly, as removal of the steering stem from the frame is required. If that's going to be done, then have them replaced. $25 for a neck bearing kit is nothing compared to the 2-3 hours labor to replace them.
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Old 01-13-2010, 07:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the helpful replies and good information (and the parts diagram too - awesome!). The posters who commented that, 'if the seller knows this is an issue, why doesn't he just take care of it before selling it,' have a good point. It may be worth mentioning that the guy selling this bike is the service manager of a Harley dealership. He said he bought this bike (cheap) not to ride it himself, but to turn around and sell it for a profit. In fairness to him, he did offer to do the adjustment if I decide to buy the bike.
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If he is the service manager of the dealership it should be easy for him to do the adjustment for you. In all reality they are not that hard to replace yourself if you have a way to lift the bike. A couple of wrenches a hammer and a long drift is all you really need. If that is the only issue it would not keep me from buying a bike.
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