free website stats program Steering head maint | Harley Davidson Forums

Steering head maint


Junior Member
I am getting ready to do my 5k service and was wondering something. It says in the manual to check and grease my steering head bearings. I put the bike up on the lift and there is no play in the steering stem . Do i need to take the bearings out and repack them or will greasing the stem with the Zerk fitting what HD wants me to do? Any help would be appreciated.

Using the zerk will grease the both steering head bearings. It takes a bit of grease to get it to ooze out both top and bottom. Don't be surprised if you use 1/2 tube or better. In the hot weather, you may get a drip from the steering head on the left fork tube so don't be alarmed if it drips.

If you check the front end with the fall away method or if you hear/feel a clunk when breaking, then it's loose and needs adjustment.
Re: Steering head maint/fall away adjustment

Ok, I'm kind of disgusted by the approach in the manual for my '07 Super Glide. I'm doing the 1,000 mile service.

I removed the clutch cable from the perch on the lever, and there seems to be a little drag caused by the throttle cables, but not a lot. The manual says to loosen the fork stem nut, and the lower tree clamp bolts. Then you adjust the bearing preload with the star nut to get 2-4 inches of fall away measurement..

I'm not sure how to tighten or loosen the star nut since it is under the top tree. I'm thinking using a screw driver or a punch, and a hammer to tap/spin it. You can't remove the top tree since it is holding the fork tubes. I don't understand why you wouldn't just loosen the top tube clamps while adjusting the preload and let the bottom clamps hold the tubes. Then you could get the top tree out of the way and allow access to the star nut.

I don't understand why they don't use a bearing preload method such as an auto front hub with a castle style nut lock and cotter pin which would be much easier.
I've used a very thin punch to get under the tree and move the star nut taping it very lightly with a small hammer. It doesn't take very much movement to get the right adjustment. We're not even talking one tooth on the star nut will usually give you more than you need. It's a trial and error thing here to get the right fall away.

After you lock down the top nut, check the fall away again as it usually changes.
Thanks Glider. I am thinking of using a nail set, and a hammer.

My '04 Sportster was very easy. Torquing to set the bearings, loosening and retorquing to the lower value resulted in perfect fall away. I think it was 15 ft-lbs, and 84 in-lbs.

Update: I did have a slight clunk so I loosened the stem nut, and lower pinch crews. Then gave a slight tap to budge the star washer - it was the 1000 mile service and I wanted to snug it up a wee bit. Then I torqued up the stem nut to 75 ft-lbs, and the lower pinch screws to 32.5 ft-lbs.

The fat end of the nail set worked great for flattening the nut lock washer against the tree and then back against the stem nut.
Last edited: