From: HardWorkingDog on
(this is also at
if you'd like to see it with photos embedded)

I was desperate to go riding. My main bike has been in pieces waiting
patiently for me to put it back together, and patience is definitely
called for. The 'Pup was going to be here for a few days on spring
break, and he was just as desperate to go riding as well. The 125 was
rideable, but the youngest of our 2-strokes had been showing signs of
a bad steering head bearing for the last few months. The last time it
was ridden was in the gloppiest thickest stickiest deepest mud I've
ever witnessed at Carnegie and it was almost unrideable between the
poor steering action and the wrong front tire.

I put it up on the stand to see if it could last one more ride, and it
was almost completely locked up. No riding until the steering head was
examined. Friday morning I pulled the forks, fender and handlebar.
Without the leverage of the bar I couldn't even rotate the steering
tree. Got the upper crown off, dropped the lower fully expecting to
see the bottom bearing full of rust and no grease, but it looked
fine--plenty of nice white lithium grease, shiny metal, although there
was some grit and dirt around, it was in good condition. The upper
bearing must be the problem. I could see some dirt and signs of
corrosion along the top of the bearing but I couldn't get it to come
off the race. Weird. Was there some kind of retaining ring or
something? I checked all the parts diagrams and the manual but nothing
seemed obvious. OK, I threaded a punch up through the bottom of the
steering head and gently tried beating on the bearing from below.
Nothing. A harder whack and suddenly the bearing flew through the air
and bounced a couple times on the garage slab. There was so much
corrosion in it the rollers had been fused to the upper race. The
inner race of the bearing wouldn't even turn, the rollers were frozen
with dirt and grit and rust. The photograph is after I cleaned it up.

The bearing and race were garbage.

google found me a few instances where owners of 06 and 07 YZ's had
premature upper steering head bearing failure. This bike is just over
3 years old and hasn't been ridden much at all; apparently the dust
seal doesn't sufficiently work with the new aluminum steering head
introduced in 05. I also found the lip on the seal was split in 2
places. Yamaha has since replaced the standard tapered roller bearing
with a sealed bearing. Original bearing on right, new redesigned
bearing on left.

Good ol' Mach 1 Motorsports had the bearing in stock, and I made the
trek over the Benicia Bridge to pick it up. Drove out the old race,
cleaned up the head, and drove in the new race using a little heat on
the head and a few hours in the freezer for the race. They didn't have
a dust seal, but when that shows up I'll replace it as well.

The lower race and bearing looked good enough. I washed the lower
bearing thoroughly, and checked the lower race for pitting and
scratches. The trauma of replacing it seemed worse than keeping it in

The manual calls for greasing the threads and the flat part just below
the lower threads.

I dropped in the upper bearing after packing it and made sure there
was plenty of grease around the new seal area.

Torqued the crown nut per specs. and it now turned like butter. At
least on the stand...

We drove to Hollister where the 'Pup would have a good head start for
the drive back to school down 101 at the end of the day, while I
returned home with the bikes.

We had a glorious day of riding. The sky was blue, the wind was calm,
the temp. was about 70�F.�After�warming up on the vintage track�we had
a couple of loops up Ridge trail and along Peat's Path. The first time
I led. The 'Pup kept trying to see how close he could keep his front
tire to my back tire. If he'd had a Baja air horn I'd be deaf already.
I let him go first for the second round.

I'd wanted to show him some of the new trails that Baxter had
introduced me to, but I wasn't sure I could find them. We rode around
for a bit finally came to the Renz property addition. It was opened in
May 2008 and has some impressively designed tight 2-wheel only trails.
The wild grasses and sage and clover and mustard flower were 3-4 feet
tall along the single track. We rode out to the north end on Old Ranch
Road to 4 Corners to Go Between, and did a continuous loop of Fence
Line-Southwoods-Beehive-Tiger-San Andreas Drop. It was so much fun we
did it again. �We never stopped riding--it was just too much fun. I
had a camera in the camelbak, but it seemed to much trouble to take it
out so I never got any photos. Thought about it once when the flock of
tom turkeys gobbled across our path, but no.

We were exhausted by then, so we packed up and headed back toward the
city of Hollister where 'Pup headed west, and I kept going north.

The wrenching was worth it.

'99 YZ250
From: sturd on
HardWorkingDog reports:

> The wrenching was worth it.

No kidding. Sounds like a most excellent time.

Go fast. Take chances.
Mike S.
From: Wudsracer on
Thanks for sharing. The wrenching report was excellent, and the
ride report was a joy to read. I'm glad that ya'll had a good time.


Wudsracer/Jim Cook
Smackover Racing
'06 Gas Gas DE300
'82 Husqvarna XC250

From: WoodsChick on
Nice report, Charles! Was this just a couple of days ago?

Say "hi" to the Pup for us, will ya?

From: HardWorkingDog on
In article
WoodsChick <TamiRowell(a)> wrote:

> Nice report, Charles! Was this just a couple of days ago?

Yup--Sunday the 28th--were you down there with your Husky???
> Say "hi" to the Pup for us, will ya?

Sure, will do. I did let him know about your new love. And I'm not
referring to Tiago, either :)