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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got 2005 VTX1300 s. It's been sitting in the garage for 2 yrs. Regular maintenance done as it's at 10100 miles.
Biggest problem I had was this bobbing sensation between 30-40 mph. I thought it was a flat spot in the tires.
Reaction, new tires.
Solution still bobbing.
Reaction, new wheel bearings
Solution, still boobing
Reaction, new steering bearings
New problems : leaning hard right, uncomfortable breaking pull to left, tracking like I'm drunk and wont track straight. Steering moves smoth on the jack but tight while riding.Inconsistent cornering. Still bobbing.
I had taken the cap off the left fork. The oil is a dark grey it doesn't seem to be level.
I'm new to motorcycle maintenance.
Thanks in advance
 

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Same road you are testing on? I have a couple place around my house that are like riding a bucking bull at certain speeds. Sort of a harmonic bouncing that gets bigger as you go unless I slow way down there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Funny I avoided the smoothest roads because it became more noticeable and I wanted to ignore it to ride longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Same road you are testing on? I have a couple place around my house that are like riding a bucking bull at certain speeds. Sort of a harmonic bouncing that gets bigger as you go unless I slow way down there.
Funny I avoided the smoothest roads because it became more noticeable and I wanted to ignore it to ride longer.
 

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Did you properly torque everything when you put the steering column back together after putting in the new steering bearings? There is an excellent how to on doing that work on this forum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Did you properly torque everything when you put the steering column back together after putting in the new steering bearings? There is an excellent how to on doing that work on this forum.
No I did it by feel. I'm taking it all apart and putting it back together.
 

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You've done so much there could be multiple problems. I bought one that was off the road for a long time and l had some vibration until the carburetor was all cleaned up. It also tracked poorly on curves especially if the road was rough. It would also bottom going over bumps. When I went through the front end, the fork oil was 3/4" low on the left side and 1/4" low on the right. The fork oil corrected all my tracking and bottoming problems. I'm thinking you may have miss assigned your forks or axle, or if you did the fork oil, not blead it properly, so the oil is unbalanced. Any out of alignment on the front end work would amplify the vibration problem which is still unresolved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You've done so much there could be multiple problems. I bought one that was off the road for a long time and l had some vibration until the carburetor was all cleaned up. It also tracked poorly on curves especially if the road was rough. It would also bottom going over bumps. When I went through the front end, the fork oil was 3/4" low on the left side and 1/4" low on the right. The fork oil corrected all my tracking and bottoming problems. I'm thinking you may have miss assigned your forks or axle, or if you did the fork oil, not blead it properly, so the oil is unbalanced. Any out of alignment on the front end work would amplify the vibration problem which is still unresolved.
I drained the fork oil and put 15.5 oz of fork oil in each. It's tracking better at high speeds but all over the place around 25. Also when breaking it feels like a clunk in the steering bearings. I don't have a spanner wrench so I'm not sure if I have the lock nut torqued right.
 

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There are three nuts atop the steering column. One is the castle nut which gets tightened to a specific torque. The value of this torque depends on if you have the stock ball bearings or the vastly superior roller/needle bearings. With the latter, there is still some controversy but that is another topic. The second nut is what I would call the "lock" nut which is held in place by a lock tab washer. This "lock" nut is tightened by hand and then tightened just enough further to allow the tabs of the lock washer to align with a set of grooves in the "lock" nut. The third nut is the chrome nut that goes on top of the top triple tree brace and this is tightened to a pretty high torque of 76 ft-lbs as I recall. Not positive of this number but it is a high torque.

What new steering stem bearings did you use? Hopefully it was the All Balls roller/needle bearings. If so, the castle nut should be torqued to 25 ft-lbs, the bars should be rotated from full left to full right lock ~10 times and then the castle nut should be tightened again to 25 ft-lbs. A very few people claim that this castle nut should be tightened to only 15 ft-lbs but I have done many dozens of steering stem bearing changes, have set all of them to 25 ft-lbs, and had great results with 100% of them.
 

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I've yet to get into steering head bearings, which will be my first time. I feel very comfortable with the reply from Vinish, he obviously has lots of experience and knowledge. As you work through bearing torque you might to cycle the bearings and see how they feel . With the bike on a lift you shouldn't be able to move the front forks around and the bearings should be smooth across full rotation. If the forks move before you torque them, but don't after you torque them, you've obviously done well. Also I think I remember you said the bearings felt bad with the weight of the bike on them only. Than could indicate both an issue with the lower bearing and an Issue of insufficient torque. It maybe the rotation is really smooth when the load is hanging on the upper bearing (assuming tappered roller bearings), but rough when the weight is resting on the lower bearing. Maybe a lower race is bad through installation. As stated above I have little experience with steering head bearings, but I would think they need very little free play as compared to wheel bearings as the design temperature is much lower. Base on my understanding freeplay setup is completely different - ball vs tappered. Ball freeplay is factory determined when the bearings and races are machined. Tappered freeplay is determined by you when you torque the bearing, so if your handlebars don"t turn easily you would need to reduce torque. Anyway, follow the torqueing instruction and try to see if any other things don't seem right as you go. There should be some videos on you tube on checking steering bearings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've yet to get into steering head bearings, which will be my first time. I feel very comfortable with the reply from Vinish, he obviously has lots of experience and knowledge. As you work through bearing torque you might to cycle the bearings and see how they feel . With the bike on a lift you shouldn't be able to move the front forks around and the bearings should be smooth across full rotation. If the forks move before you torque them, but don't after you torque them, you've obviously done well. Also I think I remember you said the bearings felt bad with the weight of the bike on them only. Than could indicate both an issue with the lower bearing and an Issue of insufficient torque. It maybe the rotation is really smooth when the load is hanging on the upper bearing (assuming tappered roller bearings), but rough when the weight is resting on the lower bearing. Maybe a lower race is bad through installation. As stated above I have little experience with steering head bearings, but I would think they need very little free play as compared to wheel bearings as the design temperature is much lower. Base on my understanding freeplay setup is completely different - ball vs tappered. Ball freeplay is factory determined when the bearings and races are machined. Tappered freeplay is determined by you when you torque the bearing, so if your handlebars don"t turn easily you would need to reduce torque. Anyway, follow the torqueing instruction and try to see if any other things don't seem right as you go. There should be some videos on you tube on checking steering bearings.
I finished the new steering bearings. The steering is tight i have to be very aware at low speeds. Is this normal? Is there like a break in period? Also replace Fork bearings and oil. They seem fine. Also I want to express gratitude for all who commented in this thread. Thanks
 

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I have never heard anyone describe the steering on a VTX1300 as "tight" at slow speeds after a steering bearing change. Did you use the All Balls roller/needle bearings? To what torque did you adjust the castle nut on the top of the steering column? Note that there are three nuts on the steering column. They are the castle nut which actually provides the pressure on the steering bearings. There is the lock nut which is held in place by a lock-tab washer. Lastly, there is the chrome nut on the top of the column above the top triple tree brace. I am talking about only the first of these - the castle nut.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have never heard anyone describe the steering on a VTX1300 as "tight" at slow speeds after a steering bearing change. Did you use the All Balls roller/needle bearings? To what torque did you adjust the castle nut on the top of the steering column? Note that there are three nuts on the steering column. They are the castle nut which actually provides the pressure on the steering bearings. There is the lock nut which is held in place by a lock-tab washer. Lastly, there is the chrome nut on the top of the column above the top triple tree brace. I am talking about only the first of these - the castle nut.
I've tighten it to hand tight. I don't have a torque wrench so I'm not sure the torque is. A friend with more XP rode it and he said it was tight but other than that it rode fine. He said he didn't feel the wobble I described and thinks it a resonance with the rpm which he feels is normal.
 

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When you say "hand tight" do you really mean that you tightened it with just your hand? That is not enough torque. The target torque is 25 ft-lbs although this figure has some controversy. With a very large pair of channel locs, snug it up is the best I can tell you without having the special socket needed and a torque wrench.
 

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When you're maneuvering at low speed, say 4 to 5 mph you should be able to turn the handle bars to full lock easily. Also similar starting from a stop on a sharp right turn. The bike should come right around really tight. If not there's still something wrong. If the handle bars turn easily when you're going really slow, I'm not sure why they would be tight at 20 mph.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
When you're maneuvering at low speed, say 4 to 5 mph you should be able to turn the handle bars to full lock easily. Also similar starting from a stop on a sharp right turn. The bike should come right around really tight. If not there's still something wrong. If the handle bars turn easily when you're going really slow, I'm not sure why they would be tight at 20 mph.
Its not so much the speed. Its from start till about 50 were it feels like on the creast of the road at all times. I'm bitting the wallet and taking it to a mech cause I must admit I don't have the skill. I appreciate your and everyone's help. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
When you say "hand tight" do you really mean that you tightened it with just your hand? That is not enough torque. The target torque is 25 ft-lbs although this figure has some controversy. With a very large pair of channel locs, snug it up is the best I can tell you without having the special socket needed and a torque wrench.
I've tighten it with the spanner wrench to as lose as possible without being able to undo it by hand.
 

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One more thought. I just ride my bike, self taught, I have trouble understanding professional road bike instructors. That being said, theoretically 20 mph is around the speed you should change from handle bar steering to counter steering. You may be inadvertently fighting the steering by trying to turn the handle bars when you should be counter steering. I really don't understand any of it. Fortunately my bike knows what to do.
 

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Before you go to a mechanic, try this. When you lean the bike into the turn also try to lean on the hard grip on that same side. So if you lean right press down and maybe a little forward with your right hand, opposite for left turn. That may feel much better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Before you go to a mechanic, try this. When you lean the bike into the turn also try to lean on the hard grip on that same side. So if you lean right press down and maybe a little forward with your right hand, opposite for left turn. That may feel much better.
I've had trouble at first with counter steering but not I've got that down. I'll give it a try though.
 
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