Harley Davidson motorcycle repairs can cost a lot of money, especially when you have a newer model. But that’s not true for small parts.
The steering head bearings , for example, are inexpensive and easy to replace. The bearing set costs between $30 to $50 and the replacement job takes maximum 1.5 to 2 hours.
The total sum you pay depends on the labor charges and that matters from state to state. But, no matter where you get your work done, the total cost will not exceed $450.
Dealership Vs. Local Indy
When it comes to Harley repairs, you have two choices:
You can expect to pay the maximum amount of money for the repairs at a HD dealership. They only install OEM parts on to your bike and charge a very high rate for the manual labor. So, at an official dealership, you can expect to pay at the high-end of the spectrum i.e $450.
One thing you must keep in mind is that the dealership won’t necessarily do a brilliant job in replacing the steering head bearings. Yes, they are official suppliers of the motorcycles but they don’t always have the best mechanics.
Most of the time their focus is on replacing a broken part rather than repairing it. So, they won’t spend too much time on problem solving. They will find the easiest way out and replace the part.
Indy Repair Shop
Indy repair shops have been around for ages and they are mostly run by Harley Davidson aficionados. These guys love to work on Harley Davidson bikes and are arguably quite good at repair jobs.
If you want to save money and you trust their skills, you should go to an indy. Here, the steering head bearing replacement will put you back by only $150. That’s less than half of the price a dealership would charge for the same job.
Interestingly, replacing steering head bearings isn’t a difficult job if you have the proper tools. For guidance, you can always head on over to YouTube and look at some of the tutorials made by Harley lovers and enthusiasts.
Apart from the usual wrench, you will need specialized tools for this repair. First, you will need to invest in a long bearing puller and then one puller for the throttle. The lower triple has to be removed as well, but that is something you can go to an indy for. Once that is removed, replacing the bearings is easy.
On the other hand, you can use a welder and torch to pull out the bearings, but this requires expertise and creativity which isn’t easy to master.
Alternatively, a bearing removal tool set costs around $160. It’s a one time investment but it will save you lots of money in the future.
|1||How to test motorcycle steering head bearings?|
|You can do an easy test at home, but you’ll need a scissor jack or a sturdy jack stand to keep the bike stable and off the ground.
Once the front end of the motorcycle is in the air, twist the steering from right to left and vice versa. The steering should feel smooth and there should be no friction in the movement.
If you feel there’s a bit of play, while the tires are pointing straight ahead, then the steering head bearing is either loose or malfunctioned.
|2||What happens if steering head bearings too tight?|
|The first thing you’ll notice is an increased difficulty in steering the motorbike. It will take a lot more effort to turn into and out of corners.
But most importantly, riding ins straight line will become extremely difficult. You will need to make countless corrections to balance the motorcycle and steer it in the right direction.
|3||How tight should the steering head bearings be?|
|The steering should be tight enough that there is no notchy feeling in the middle of when turning. In other words, there should be no evidence of play when the tire is pointing straight ahead.
But it should also not be too tight that steering becomes difficult. You have to find the sweet spot in between the two conditions, which often depends on your personal preference.
Harley Davidson motorcycles are difficult to repair but if you or in the work yourself, you can soon become well-versed in dealing with their problems. Just make sure you have the right tools, a stable internet connection for YouTube, and the will to spoil your hands with some grease.