Steering head bearings

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Thread: Steering head bearings

  1. #1
    Fetus Moto
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    Steering head bearings

    First post on the forum, so hello everyone. Got myself an 08 950 SM earlier in the year and love it to bits. But..... lower steering head bearing has gone at 6000 miles. Totally rusty and dry as a nun's chuff! Looking through the threads this seems to be a common problem on a lot of KTM's. Just wondering if KTM have had a recall about this and the guys that have had the bearing replaced, does it need greased regularly, or is it just that KTM don't bother greasing it properly from the factory? It's getting well packed with grease when it's put back together. Hopefully I won't need to be doing it again at 12000 miles!

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  3. #2
    Teenage Moto akaDan's Avatar
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    vosa doesnt list any recalls for a 950sm.

  4. #3
    The "Moto"
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    hello splat.

    it might be worth posting this on the adventure section as well. I would have thought that the adventures would be more prone to this for obvious reasons. my 2006 950 has 10,900 miles on it, and bearings were fine at last mot a few days back - but the bike has never been washed or offroaded and has only really got wet on a ride around scotland. my exc got to over 200 hours / 6,000 miles before the lower bearings needed a clean and regrease, but that was after weekly soakings and pressure washings.

    i redid those bearings with grease meant for doing stuff on outboard motors etc.

    doing the exc was easy and the only problem i can see with doing the 950 is getting the bike off the ground at the front so you can drop the forks.

    Perhaps the previous owner liked to jetwash the bike?

  5. #4
    Back on an RFS again :) KevInYorks's Avatar
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    They need a regular lube, not a big job. The standard grease is a bit thinly applied, I like to use plenty off Silkolene red grease
    Adventure: the pursuit of life. Daniel Roy Wiarda


  6. #5
    The "Moto"
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    your adv got a centre stand?

  7. #6
    Oki
    Oki is offline
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    Yeah you need water proof grease (NOT water resistant), otherwise the grease will be gone really quick, and you need to regrase yearly

    Ask for something like marine grade wheel bearing grease, the stickiest you can find

    I got some bel-ray water proof grease

    2 Bearings from SKF cost me €15 (about £12), same brand KTM uses

    And you need to tighten them to 10-12 Nm, if you over do it, they are fooked, if you run them loose, also fooked
    KTM 450 SMR '08, KTM 690 SM Prestige '07, Ducati 848

  8. #7
    The "Moto"
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevInYorks View Post
    They need a regular lube, not a big job. The standard grease is a bit thinly applied, I like to use plenty off Silkolene red grease
    Another example of KTM's approach to cost savings at the factory? Every ml of grease saved at the factory helps improve their profit margins. Then down the line it creates more work for their dealer's workshops?

    There was an earlier theory on this forum that by having a hot engine and hot radiators so close to the headstock - the grease took a hammering temperature wise and should be checked/regreased regularly.

  9. #8
    Junior Moto iceman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by orangesplat View Post
    But..... lower steering head bearing has gone at 6000 miles. Totally rusty and dry as a nun's chuff! Looking through the threads this seems to be a common problem on a lot of KTM's.


    My '08' 950sm has just done 12330 miles with no trouble with head bearings. Sounds to me as if it has previously been subject to a pressure washer fairly often. Maybe an idea to check and regrease all the other bearings just in case.
    What`s behind doesn`t matter.

  10. #9
    Fetus Moto
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    It's due for a service, so I'll be giving everything a good going over. Cheers for the help.

  11. #10
    The "Moto"
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    ok. who has regreased/renewed the bearings on a 950 sm? an exc is easy because it is light and the adv has to be easy because it has a centre stand? the sm is heavy, has a sidestand only and an exhaust system below - aside from taking off the tank and hanging it from the roof by the frame, how do you do it? hire an engine hoist or get creative with some scaffold??

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