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Steering head bearings... You're kidding me?

6558 Views 14 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Mike
How much life do you think this lower bearing had left? Believe it or not, it came out of an 04 ST3 leftover I recently purchased (794 miles). I only discovered the problem as a result of my swapping out the front forks and upper triple with ST4s versions. Anybody know what size socket I can use to press a new race into the lower stem? Needless to say, the bearing did a nice job on the plating on the one that's currently in there.

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MCD;
The dealer just replaced the bushings and bearings on my 2004 ST3 at the 6000 mi service. The bike had about 5200 mi. at the time and the tec asked me if I had any vibration under hard braking. When I replied that I did, but thought it was just dust build-up in the disc pads, he told me the bearing for the triple trees was just about shot. I guess Ducati got a shipment of bad bearings or someone forgot to put enough grease, or over tightened the nut.
My repair was covered under warranty. Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
hmmmm...

... guess misery luvs company, Rob. Anyway, I figured... what the hell? I already have the front end off... might as well install a set of roller bearings. If nothing else, for the peace of mind.
 

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hmmm II

mcd said:
... guess misery luvs company, Rob. Anyway, I figured... what the hell? I already have the front end off... might as well install a set of roller bearings. If nothing else, for the peace of mind.
I'm due for my 24k service still under warranty so I'll be sure to have mine checked out. I appreciate the heads up.
 

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Vibrations under hard braking....damn

bebopdontstop said:
MCD;
The dealer just replaced the bushings and bearings on my 2004 ST3 at the 6000 mi service. The bike had about 5200 mi. at the time and the tec asked me if I had any vibration under hard braking. When I replied that I did, but thought it was just dust build-up in the disc pads, he told me the bearing for the triple trees was just about shot. I guess Ducati got a shipment of bad bearings or someone forgot to put enough grease, or over tightened the nut.
My repair was covered under warranty. Rob
Maybe I've been chasing the wrong solution. New sintered brake pads. Cleaned rotors? Installed new organic brake pads [not ridden yet]. Ordered new banjo bolt.

Head bearings?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ducati23 & ExtraPilot

That's exactly what I ordered today. Thanks for the input.

Marc,

Looking at the pitting and overall deterioration in the balls and the lower race, that may create enough play in this high load area of the front end to cause one to surmise... somethin just ain't right here.
 

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I recall some discussions on the Yahoo ST owners group about Ducati being remiss at times about adequately lubricating the steering head bearings before the bikes leave the factory.
 

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I agree with others that Ducati are a bit stingy with the grease. In my 2003 ST4s, I found that there was very little grease in the steering stem bearings. Should any of you replace your bearings with the tapered ones, please tell us how the new bearings feel.

Dave Harhay
 

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There was also a lot of talk and documentation about this on the ST4s.com website about this. I would seem most folks that checked the bearings found them dry and rusty.
 

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Bearings. . .who needs them?

scott said:
There was also a lot of talk and documentation about this on the ST4s.com website about this. I would seem most folks that checked the bearings found them dry and rusty.
I have 17K on my bike, recently tore down the front end for work and lo and behold - the most nasty, rusted, non-bearing-like set of bearings and races I have ever had on a piece of equipment that I owned. I replaced those with same make, greased the snot outta them, but am interested in the response on the tapered. . .
 

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Duc4S said:
I have 17K on my bike, recently tore down the front end for work and lo and behold - the most nasty, rusted, non-bearing-like set of bearings and races I have ever had on a piece of equipment that I owned.
It's just luck of the draw. I disassembled my steering head at 18,000 miles for the first time and found them full of clean, translucent grease. The bearings had no visible wear.
 
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