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2001 VStar 650 Classic
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Discussion Starter #1
Last week on my way to work I noticed a clunk noise coming from the steering neck area when I go over bumps / entering a driveways. The noise is also present when coming to a full stop, let's say a red light or stop, and there's a small dip on the pavement, but no wobble. Riding home I took my hands off the bar looking for vibration but there isn't any. I ride the 650 3 or 4 days a week, she's awesome on city traffic stop-n-go. Since I got the bike I already have 6K miles so I know there clunk was not there before.

Yesterday when I got home after riding my other bike I decided to jack up the bike until the front wheel was off the ground. Facing the bike I grabbed the front forks from the wheel area with both hands, pushed the forks back and forth looking for some wiggle but I didn't noticed anything unusual. I also checked the 27mm steering stem nut on the triple tree but that turned out to be another dead end.

When I turn the handle bar from left / right I don't feel any roughness, meaning doesn't point to a bad steering neck bearing but I could be wrong. I've heard horror stories about replacing the upper and bottom bearings in the steering neck areas.

Any ideas,
 
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Last week on my way to work I noticed a clunk noise coming from the steering neck area when I go over bumps / entering a driveways. The noise is also present when coming to a full stop, let's say a red light or stop, and there's a small dip on the pavement, but no wobble. Riding home I took my hands off the bar looking for vibration but there isn't any. I ride the 650 3 or 4 days a week, she's awesome on city traffic stop-n-go. Since I got the bike I already have 6K miles so I know there clunk was not there before.

Yesterday when I got home after riding my other bike I decided to jack up the bike until the front wheel was off the ground. Facing the bike I grabbed the front forks from the wheel area with both hands, pushed the forks back and forth looking for some wiggle but I didn't noticed anything unusual. I also checked the 27mm steering stem nut on the triple tree but that turned out to be another dead end.

When I turn the handle bar from left / right I don't feel any roughness, meaning doesn't point to a bad steering neck bearing but I could be wrong. I've heard horror stories about replacing the upper and bottom bearings in the steering neck areas.

Any ideas,
Hey @robbyk, I had that on my SVTC. It did in my case turn out to be the steering head nut was loose.
I see you have a different bike, but the question then is how many miles do you have on it? It’s possible it’s normal wear and tear and just time to replace them. It’s not difficult which is a good thing. 👍
 

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I replaced the bearings a month ago. Not a hard job, took about 2 hours of playing around.
Just remember to protect your tank when you lay the bars on your tank. I left myself with a good scratch I had to fix or my OCD wouldn't let me sleep.
But check the steering head nut is torqued properly as your first step.
 

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2001 Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar Classic and 1999 Honda NT650V Deauville
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Clunking can come from slack in the steering head, which is the most common, or excessive wear in rhe fork bushings.
 

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Not sure if related but I replaced my front wheel bearings for a clunking noise issue that only occurred slow speed during deceleration. I have the 950 with stock exhaust, so there are a lot of little noises to get used to. That one was not normal though.


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Discussion Starter #6
Not sure if related but I replaced my front wheel bearings for a clunking noise issue that only occurred slow speed during deceleration.
The clunking noise on my 650 is only in the steering neck area, I don't feel it or hear it at the wheel level. But I will check everything to make sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I replaced the bearings a month ago. Not a hard job, took about 2 hours of playing around.
Just remember to protect your tank when you lay the bars on your tank. I left myself with a good scratch I had to fix or my OCD wouldn't let me sleep.
In order to replace the bearings in the neck area I thought it requires to remove the front wheel, disconnect the electrical cables that connect to the main harness under the gas tank area, and completely separate the entire handle bar - forks from the bike.
 

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Pretty much. But I have I have done the job on a bunch of bikes so I just remove things till I get to the bearings.
Just take your time and remember the order you took it apart.
Remember to use your torque wrench when you put it back together.
 

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The bearing may just need adjustment, replacement could perhaps wait.
 

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In order to replace the bearings in the neck area I thought it requires to remove the front wheel, disconnect the electrical cables that connect to the main harness under the gas tank area, and completely separate the entire handle bar - forks from the bike.
I would think you can just take the bars off of the riser and carefully lay back on tank protected with towel mat or something like that. That would cut out a lot of work
 

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Deeks that is ok if you are just tightening up but you gotta remove a lot more than that if you are replacing the bearings. I did mine last off season on the roadstar not too difficult couple of hours work.
 

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I did mine last summer and just laid the bars on the tank. Not a bad job. The hardest part was getting the old races out. I couldn't feel any movement in mine when I checked them but if I took my hands off the bars it went into a bad speed wobble and it just felt strange, jerky at low speed turns, like when turning when pulling away from a stop sign. When I took it apart there was a deep groove in the lower race where one of the bearings had seized up.

Another test is with the front wheel off the ground turn the bars all the way to one side then give them a gentle push to the other side. They should move smoothly all the way. If they stop part way or hang up at all that's a sign that they're getting worn.
 

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Misread your post Deeks you are right all you need to do with the bars is remove and lay them across tank. I protected my tank by laying a couple blankets across it. No need to disconnect anything from the bars.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I am going to give that a try, it's been way too hot in the last few days.
 
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