I have noticed a slight amount of play in the steering head of my 1966 triumph Bonneville. I think I may need to replace the steering head ball bearings. Anyone had any experience using new tapered roller bearings?
I have used tapered roller bearings on many bikes and generally believe they last longer. That is, they don't seem to dig in as readily as the ball bearings are often wont to do. My opinion only of course. Someone will be along shortly with the opposite view.
I've been installing these kits for over 20 years in every bike I work on and own. First off, they've always been way cheaper than the stock ones, and I'm a bit of a cheapskate. Secondly, I noticed right away a more secure feeling on the road with them. I would ignore the advice given in certain manuals to "Shock" the bearing with a large hammer, when installing. Yikes...
Hammers and bearings......don't do it.
Bikes 1974 Commando 1985 Honda Nighthawk 650 1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger" Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
When I did mine I just replaced the ball bearings. Races were fine. They held up for 50 years. I don’t think I’ll be around in another 50.
Exactly how I feel..
Mostly the bearings need to be replaced
As far as installing.. I made a 2 piece drift on my lathe. Top section is threaded, and the bottom piece is the pilot which centers in the frame both with the race installed or not. Then i thread on my nut (on the road) and begin to tighten the nut. The drift will insert the race into the frame. Very clean
John- Did you try adjusting the bearings? You can do this as long as the bars swing freely with the front wheel clear of the ground when the clearance is taken out. If you centralise them they should fall to each stop under their own weight when you give them a gentle push. Loosen the bottom yoke stanchion bolts as well as the clamp behind the adjuster when you adjust. Also, slacken the steering damper off.