Front End Wobble...???? - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old May 29th, 2008, 10:04 pm Thread Starter
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Front End Wobble...????

My bike has nearly 20K on it, and has been developing a front end wobble over the last few months that has gotten to be kinda severe lately. At high speeds (100mph+) my handle bars will really get to wobbling, almost like a mini tank slapper. Also, sometimes at lower speeds, in corners and engine braking it will happen, or sometimes just for fun out of the blue. I took it to my mechanic and he of course couldn't duplicate the problem. My husband took it for a spin and he found what I found, plus he thought it steered hard under 50mph or so. Sooo, all that to ask, do you gurus have any ideas? This is the second set of tires, so that's not it, steering damper seems ok too. TIA!

Deb and Dean Sauer
Golden, CO

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2008, 3:57 am
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Wobbling in some of the Goldwings was due to steering head bearings (Honda fails to acknowledge it, but those who have changed their bearings report luck. In Harleys, they found a loose swing-arm bearing to the cause.

Just some thoughts.

Mack
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2008, 4:49 am
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These bikes don't wobble and the steering damper is only there for a serious tank slapper, so something must be up.

Suggest steering head bearings, but also check for swingarm bearings or drive shaft play as above. I've never heard reports of the front wheel axle bearing giving problems- but check that to.

Lift the front and rear wheels each in turn and check the rims and tires are running true. When you replaced tires did you have the wheel balanced?



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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2008, 10:13 am
 
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Could be your suspension is weakening. Steering damper also may need replacement.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2008, 1:41 pm
 
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Have someone who knows what they are doing check the steering head bearings.
They should have just a bit of pre-load on them.
At 20k they should not need replacing or repacking w/grease, an adjustment should do.
Depending on how much stuff is in the way an adjustment should take no more than an hour.
After adjusting there should be no tight spots or notchie-ness as the front tire is swung side to side w/it off the ground (on the center-stand).

Google steering head bearings for pictars and tutorials.

Over the years I have had several Nipponese bikes develope head shakes.
Replacing the stock ball bearings w/tapered roller bearings made everybody happy.
Your BMW has tapered roller bearing fitted as stock. They should not really need adjusting at 20k imho.
So...maybe the factory did not do that good a job pre-loading them at build or the front-end has been dropped to the ground many times as it came down from frightening wheelies. Old GSXRs have this issue.

I replaced the steering head bearing in my "new to me" "91 K75S w/67k on it. They were due for change out.

This head shake could be cause by other things, like swing arm bearings but I personally doubt it.

Post again in this thread when there has been a resolution to this VERY unsafe issue.

STOP RIDING UNTIL THIS IS RESOLVED.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2008, 2:12 pm
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There is no steering head bearings in a Gen. 1 K1200 RS/GT/LT. There are ball joints on the upper triple clamp and lower control arm that can loosen or wear.
I would jack up the front end and with both of you working as a team check every pivot point for looseness and the steering damper.

You might even push the brake pads away from the discs and see if the wheel bearings are loose. This is doubtful with only 20K mi..

Bruce C
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2008, 10:21 pm
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My 2004 started to wobble at about 2200 miles and I did a lot of thinks. then I change the shocks and I loved it No more wobble and it handled better that ever.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old May 31st, 2008, 9:18 pm
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Deb,

Is it a 2003 or 2004? 2003 bikes had the aforementioned issue with the ball joint, leading to complaints of hard steering. Warranty item but you're past that.
Also, when the tires are changed, is anyone truing the front wheel before tightening the pinch bolts?
Two ways to do this...with the axle bolt tightened and the pinch bolts loose, vigorously bounce the front suspension 4 or 5 times, then tighten the pinch bolts. Or, get the front wheel up in the air, spin it, and apply the front brake (again, 4 of 5 times). Centers the front wheel for you.



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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old Jun 1st, 2008, 9:49 am
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Could it be that one of your tires is beginning to have a ply separate from the carcass??

Bruce C
'04 K1200RS Capri Blue(totaled)
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Jun 1st, 2008, 7:45 pm Thread Starter
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Took her out today after my mechanic tightened one of the swing arm bolts and everything seemed to be fine... hallelujah! Once in a while I would get a slight feeling like it was about to go into the wobble but it never did. Soo, voxmagna, looks like you were right on the money. I also think I'm pretty much done with Avons - the Azaros were so awesome, but these Storms aren't nearly as good of a tire, imo. We do our own tires and this is my second set of the Storms and I'm not impressed.

I REALLY appreciate all your helpful advice! Thanks to all who responded. Beer's on me at Paonia! Well, one each, anyway.

Deb and Dean Sauer
Golden, CO

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