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Sportster Motorcycle Suspension, Frame, Forks, Handlebars, Fuel Tank, Oil Tank, Fenders Discuss Sportster Motorcycle Suspension, Frame, Forks, Handlebars, Fuel Tank, Oil Tank, Fenders problems, advice, and/or how tos.

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  #1  
Old 22nd October 2006
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Default Adjusting the steering head bearings on the 1K service?

I'm working through my marathon 1K service (a little late ). Got most of it done, but am at the point of adjusting the Steering Head Bearings (Section 1.18 in the service manual).

I haven't seen any posts about this procedure and I wonder (for those of you who've done your own) if this is something that most people skip as a don't-fix-it-if-it-ain't-broke item.

For those of you who've adjusted the head bearings, though, here's my question -- when you raise the front wheel, do you level the bike fore and aft and side to side or just raise the front and leave the rear wheel on the ground? The procedure calls for measuring the fall-off distance of the steering from the centerline, and I get about 4 inches, which is out of spec -- but here's the thing -- depending on how the front is raised, that distance can change. It makes sense if you think about it as you're changing the rake degree with respect to the plumb line.

Getting the bike on a lift is hard enough -- getting it perfectly level there has got to be near impossible! Appreciate any help.
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Old 22nd October 2006
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All the manual says is to raise the front wheel a few inches off the ground. It doesn't say anything about leveling it. However it does say that if the cables are inhibiting "fall away", then disconnect them.

I wouldn't think your steering head bearings would need adjusting at only 1K. When I did my new front end install, I checked it with the frame level and no cables attached. Didn't really plan it that way, just hadn't put the cables on yet. You might look at it with the cables disconnected and see what you get for a "fall away".
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Old 22nd October 2006
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I wouldn't think it would need adjustment at this point either, but there it is in the service manual for 1K. I plan to do some front end work over the winter, so I may just let it go until then.
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Old 22nd October 2006
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The service manual says to inspect them not adjust them. Note that their is an "I" in the corresponding square and not an "A". "I" meaning inspect and "A" meaning adjust. Of course mine is a '99, but I doubt HD would change something like this.
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Old 22nd October 2006
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They actually have an "x" in the adjust row for the steering head bearings in the 1K service column according to the 06 service manual.
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Old 22nd October 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjburr
They actually have an "x" in the adjust row for the steering head bearings in the 1K service column according to the 06 service manual.
Yes, adjust at 1K and no other service (Lubricate) until 20K...(sorry for the crappy cell phone pic)....
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  #7  
Old 22nd October 2006
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dagsportster, it may just be my warped reasoning but I can't see something like steering head bearings going out of adjustment to the "too tight" side of things. You would think that if they had worn, they would be on the "too loose" end of the spectrum.

If you can't get any wobble out of them and the bike feels like it's steering o.k., I think it might be safe to assume that the cables are dragging enough to cause the difference you are seeing.

Of course you know all about "assuming" something, so it's really up to you as to what you are comfortable with.

Best of luck with whatever course you choose, Chris
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Old 22nd October 2006
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I would leave well enough alone, if the bike don't wobble and it tracks straight at all speeds then all is fine. Although it don't hurt to check in most cases.

BTW- 1000 miles since June? whats up with that?
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Old 22nd October 2006
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I checked mine 2000 miles after installing new head brgs, had loosened up a little. I leveled mine and took cables out of their clamps. I used the manual but, bought a copy of Fix My Hog, Sportster Edition. That walks you thru a lot of procedures really well, the head bearing section is exceptional. Money well spent, in my opinion.
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  #10  
Old 22nd October 2006
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Unless you really feel something is wrong, I would verify the cables are not binding/kinked, check the tire pressure and RIDE!
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