Steering head service - Road Glide Forums
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  • 1 Post By bigtex1946
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Steering head service

I have a 2017 HD Roadglide with 22400 miles on it and I am being told that at 25k the steering head bearings need to be inspected and repacked. I know the HD service manual states to service the head bearings at 25K and totally replace the bearings at 50K. However, in doing some research I found that the lower set of bearings on the steering head is pressed on so how would they clean and repack that bearing? And if you remove that bearing it may be compromised so you would have to replace both bearings at that time and then again at 50K? I have also been advised that whenever you tear apart the steering head you should replace the bearings as well. Difference here is if I have to replace them at 50K then why mess with these bearings at 25K? I'm headed out on a long tour in June this year and want to be safe but don't want to make a large dent in my travel pocketbook either for basically unneeded repairs and service! Any thoughts on this subject folks?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 08:54 PM
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I just occasionally greased and checked adjustment on my SG for over 100k, still working fine. Don't overthink this...
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks,trying not to get all wired up over this but I just get tired of all the BS from Harley dealers over stuff that they mostly know nothing about but want to scare as much $$ out of your pocket as possible. Think I'll just ride till a problem arises, then worry about it.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 09:26 AM
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Yeah, don't stress over it, but do lube the zerk on the neck till a little grease begins to squeeze out. If it hasn't been done it can take quite a bit of grease to fill the cavity till it starts coming out. Downside is it will tend to continue to ooze out and make a mess.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 09:47 AM
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At my current riding rate I should hit 25,000 in 5 more years.

If it were my bike I would go ahead and pull the front end apart and service the forks (and upgrade the internals) at the same time as doing the head bearings. Might as well do the wheel bearings and brakes since you are in there.

A bike is more like an airplane than a car. Waiting until you have a problem can really be a problem!


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 11:04 AM
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I have a 2017 HD Roadglide with 22400 miles on it and I am being told that at 25k the steering head bearings need to be inspected and repacked. I know the HD service manual states to service the head bearings at 25K and totally replace the bearings at 50K. However, in doing some research I found that the lower set of bearings on the steering head is pressed on so how would they clean and repack that bearing? And if you remove that bearing it may be compromised so you would have to replace both bearings at that time and then again at 50K? I have also been advised that whenever you tear apart the steering head you should replace the bearings as well. Difference here is if I have to replace them at 50K then why mess with these bearings at 25K? I'm headed out on a long tour in June this year and want to be safe but don't want to make a large dent in my travel pocketbook either for basically unneeded repairs and service! Any thoughts on this subject folks?
On the repack, they just fill the head with grease, through the zerk fitting. Bend you over for it. Prolly the same thing happens at 50K. And then on some scooters the grease leaks out----forever.

Now I gotta ask were you saw a schedule that said to clean and repack, then later to replace the bearings. All I've ever seen is to check and lube and then later to check and adjust. And I've got piles of Harley service manuals here on my desk. If you saw that on a printed piece of paper, ask the dealer who made it up, then put your bullshlt filters on. It used to be grease on the 10's and adjust on the 25's. On the Rushmores its just lube and adjust on the 25's

Those bearings are front wheel bearings from back when cars weighed 2 tons. The amount of wear they get on a scooter is nothing. Only ones I ever saw go bad were on scooters that sat out in the rain and snow, especially under plastic. Or on scooter where people made them their own and left the ground bridge off, forced them to ground through the bearing.

IMSAO, if a dealer's service rep told you that you needed to have those bearings pulled and repacked with grease, tell him to use lots and lots of grease, cause you're about to get fuked.

Back to the serious side, if you do happen to have the need to repack those bearings, or the desire to pump two pounds of grease into the steering head, that grease the boat yard sells for trailer bearings is the way to go. Way cheaper than what the MoCo says to use, and prolly the exact same grease.


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 11:37 AM
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Does the neck even have a zerk anymore? I don't think they do. Maybe check the fall away first and make a judgement call based on how far out of adjustment it might be. Just a thought.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 12:22 PM
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Does the neck even have a zerk anymore? I don't think they do. Maybe check the fall away first and make a judgement call based on how far out of adjustment it might be. Just a thought.
Nope, they no longer have a zerk. You just need to check the adjustment and when it's time for grease you have to pull it all apart to visually inspect and repack. They did away with the zerk fitting on the neck starting in 2014 on the touring bikes.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 01:24 PM
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Yep, the grease fitting has been deleted.

The new procedure is to drop the stem until the bearing rollers are visible, then to apply new grease to them. Not pack, but wipe new grease onto them. To be done every 25K miles.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-27-2019, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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On Page 2.4 of my service manual for my 2017 FLTRX (no S with it, just FLTRX a plain jane model) for the maintenance schedule it states about halfway down on the check list to "quote: Inspect, lubricate and adjust steering head bearings" at the 25K mark, it also states the same thing at 50K the mark. The Harley dealers here in southern AZ are adamant about this service. Also there is no zerk fitting on the Rushmore models (2014 to current), a convenient little money making item Harley came up with in 2014. No zerk fittings, so then you are compelled (most folks anyway) to go to the dealer for a simple lube job. Bottom line for me, my bike passes the fall away test and the steering neck has no knock, no wobble, no loose play and functions very smooth. So I'll wait till the 50K mark and then do head bearings along with fork seals. Hate to spend hard earned dollars for nothing.
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