Bike is a wideline featherbed '59 ES2. I've pushed the outer races into the steering head so the edge of the races are flush with the ends of the steering head tube. I think they are seated down in the bottom of the bearing housing counterbore. However upon assembling the fork yokes (triple trees I think you American chaps call them), into the steering head with the inner races on them, the cover at the top and the lower yoke at the bottom are significantly proud of the steering head. Plenty of space for grease to get out and muck to get in - I can even see the rollers. What do you think? Is that the way its supposed to be?
The norton's up to the commando had balls and races. The tapered roller bearings is what people convince them selves they need. Yet I have almost never heard of anyone bothering to install an inner tube and shim the inner column for correct bearing preload. The inner column (nut)is then tightened to exceed the highest possible dynamic load. That way the parts are not chaffing thmselves to death on bumpy roads or when crashing down from wheelies. The sealed ball bearing such as the commando might as well be enough of an upgrade from the individual balls, and not allow the dirt to get in unless you engineer a suitable seal to finish the job. I perceive this tapered roller bearing mod as a "race only" mod and therefore dirt exclusion and long life are not essential.
dynodave BSA 3 1961-1963 Ducati 3 1992-2002 Norton many 1951-1975 87 Serv-Equip 100HP MC brake dynamometer,
Thanks for that, Dave. I managed to push the outer races right down further into the steering head so they are definitely seating at the bottom of the counterbores now, so hopefully it wont be so bad. There was no inner tube when I took the forks apart, presumably the nut is usually locked with the top nut on the steering column shaft? I'm thinking it would be good to give it just a bit of preload by taking up all the slack then putting maybe another 45 degrees of nut movement in, before locking the whole thing up.
Steverat, Not sure if this applies but I have a BMW R90 and the factory manual says to adjust the tapered roller head bearings until the forks just fall to one side on their own when off-centered (with the front wheel off the ground). As these bearings don't actually spin I suspect that pre-load is not desirable.
And then on some Hondas preload is said to help handling problems. It can give a small dampening effect. I have also seen a couple of conversions of neck bearings that required a person to make sealing surfaces because the new rollers are thicker that the stock balls. I had to do this on an early Goldwing by fitting cups made to hold the seals. The results were very good but I think next time I'd just go stock or to All Balls company which give you seals if needed, rollers, spacers, and directions. I imagine those are only available for common bikes.
Happy to say everything is fitted up now and looks great. A tip for UK residents who are thinking about fitting taper rollers into a featherbed frame - B&Q do a misc orings pack for about £2, and one of the orings in the pack is a perfect fit as dust excluder top or bottom. So you need to buy two packs, but still a cheap way of finishing the job.