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Discussion Starter #1
My '06 950 SM has started steering slightly weirdly.
Most noticeable when slowing from about 20mph to 0, I can feel the steering is inclined to want to stay set straight ahead. If I try and make steering adjustments at this speed I notice a little resistance; I have to push harder than you'd expect to turn the bars off the straight line.
At higher speeds I find the bike dips too fast and suddenly into turns; presumably as the bars turn past the central 'notch' line. It doesn't feel good, but not dangerous yet.

Any ideas?
My first thought is steering head bearings, but they were adjusted (tightened I think) by dealer 2 months ago at MOT. Anything else it could be? I've tested the head bearings by taking weight off front wheel and moving forks/bars in all directions, and felt no play or notchiness.
 

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Notchy steering can definitely be down to the head bearings being over tightened. I haven't ever had this on my bike but have heard of friends experiencing this on theirs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I wouldn't say it's an actual notchiness, more a vague disinclination to let the bars turn left or right off the centre, like it's happier running straight on than turning.
 

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I had exactly the same problem, couldnt see something wrong when examined with the forks in the air, but when braking to a stop felt wierd. the lower bearing was fubar

Lower bearing dies first due to traped water, it cost me 9 quid for 2 of them, available by most bearing manufacturers. Absolutely no point buying oem bearings (on mine it was SKF, replaced it with a koyo)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Lawks...that might be it.
Though it's a bit of a coincidence this happening coupla months after mechanic tightened the head bearing for MOT...?
So if it is the lower bearing, is it a lot of work to get to it?
 

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Don't check the steering head bearings when the front is in the air! ...the weight of the forks and wheel makes the front end hang on the top bearing giving a false feeling...

the weight of the bike is mostly on the bottom bearing so i'd suspect the bottom bearing to have flat spots in the straight ahead position ...for the cost of a few £ for the set i'd whip em out and fit new ones.

A great (and cheap!) place for them is here.....

http://simplybearings.co.uk/shop/index.php

;)
 

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I got a 690 and replaced them without help, If your got a double stand it should be really easy.

1) remove fender, calipers, wheel, tacho sensor, other bits on the forks
2) loosen clamps and remove forks (good time to service them)
3) remove whatever is needed to remove the clamps (might be possible to leave the bars on the top clamp)
4) use a press to remove steering shaft from lower clamp, and use a hammer to remove caps
5) use old caps and bearings to fit the new ones
 

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i had this on my 06 640 last year. deffo head bearings, when changed it was like a new bike
 

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100% head bearings

Had same on my 950 smr , lower's were f**ked beyond belief due to top seal failure and holding water when bike not used everyday over winter .

mine was just out of warrenty and ktm wouldn't honour it , again 1000 miles after service(6.5k) , but steering felt perefctly normal unless you rode it and even then it didn't always feel odd.

Cost me about £150 for dealer to sort.

steve
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks everyone for your input, really useful stuff there.
Will look into whether I've got the tools to do it, don't fancy a £150 hit right now.
It looks do-able from the 950 service manual, except for this bit:
"Pull the lower steering head bearing 9 off of the steering stem with a
suitable puller and remove the seal 10."
-I don't have a puller; is it the sort of operation you can do improvising with other more common tools? You also need a special to remove the 'outer rings' 11 and 12 from the steering head. I'm guessing these might be damaged if the bearing's going?
 

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New bearings come as a set with caps (the outer rings) just use a hammer and somthing long to reach them, a big screw driver or something

The bearing from the bottom clamp will be the only thing you need something special to take it off, but you could take it to a garage or something and they will have something suitable.
 

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Do not use a screwdriver with a non rubberised handle. Those plastic handles can shatter into hundreds of razor sharp shards that go straight into the hand wrapped around them. A short block of hardwood can make an excellent drift.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I have no stand, thought I could improvise but looking at the underside of the bike now Im not so sure. I suppose resting the bike on a block with the weight of the bike on the exhaust would be a bad idea...
 

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I have no stand, thought I could improvise but looking at the underside of the bike now Im not so sure. I suppose resting the bike on a block with the weight of the bike on the exhaust would be a bad idea...
If you don't have the correct equipment (including bearing presses and extractors) do yourself a favour and take the bike to a competent workshop.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks folks, yeh sounds like I'd better put it into a shop; don't have the right tools.

Oki or motooka, do either of you remember the size / spec of the replacement bearings you ordered from the 3rd party supplier? It's £40 to get them from KTM, and they don't tell you the spec ;)
 
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