Steering Head out of Wack - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-01-2010, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Steering Head out of Wack

Hello All,

Yesterday, after doing my pre-ride inspection I got on the bike and started down the street to notice that the front tire was no longer aligned with the handlebars. In other words, in order for me to go straight, I needed to hold the handlebars pulled all the way to the right. I immediately stopped and parked the bike.

The vn750 is my first bike and I believe that while the bike was parked on the street over night it was either vandalized, or someone tried to steal it by breaking the handlebar locking mechanism by trying to force over the handlebars into the straight position so they could wheel my bike away (although I had a disc break on which would prevent this, but unfortunately I live in a bad part of town so the vandal or thief may have been "on" something, or it could have been just a couple kids).

My first response was to take it to the mechanic, but then I thought of you guys.

There is no physical damage whatsoever to the bike, so I do not think it was hit by a car, knocked over, and then that un-aligned the steering head. So, is it a quick fix, to loosen up some screws, realign the handlebars to the wheel, and then I'm good to go having spared myself the 80/hr mechanics fee? Or, should I take the bike in, and is this a job for a professional since perhaps some steering head bearings could have been injured/ruined by whatever #@$%#[email protected] person messed with my bike.

I'm broke, so looking for the least expensive route. Thanks to all.

John

PS: I have a lightweight, portable bike cover (cheap) in the mail. Will hopefully prevent this from happening again.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-01-2010, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeWheel View Post
Hello All,

Yesterday, after doing my pre-ride inspection I got on the bike and started down the street to notice that the front tire was no longer aligned with the handlebars. In other words, in order for me to go straight, I needed to hold the handlebars pulled all the way to the right. I immediately stopped and parked the bike.

The vn750 is my first bike and I believe that while the bike was parked on the street over night it was either vandalized, or someone tried to steal it by breaking the handlebar locking mechanism by trying to force over the handlebars into the straight position so they could wheel my bike away (although I had a disc break on which would prevent this, but unfortunately I live in a bad part of town so the vandal or thief may have been "on" something, or it could have been just a couple kids).

My first response was to take it to the mechanic, but then I thought of you guys.

There is no physical damage whatsoever to the bike, so I do not think it was hit by a car, knocked over, and then that un-aligned the steering head. So, is it a quick fix, to loosen up some screws, realign the handlebars to the wheel, and then I'm good to go having spared myself the 80/hr mechanics fee? Or, should I take the bike in, and is this a job for a professional since perhaps some steering head bearings could have been injured/ruined by whatever #@$%#[email protected] person messed with my bike.

I'm broke, so looking for the least expensive route. Thanks to all.

John

PS: I have a lightweight, portable bike cover (cheap) in the mail. Will hopefully prevent this from happening again.
Hope I don't get flack over this, but my first fix would be to push the bike up to a solid (tree, corner of block or brick Bldg., you get the picture) and sitting or standing on the bike with the side of the tire that is leading off almost against the object, give'r a good hard whacking twist and see if that don't get you on your way to a good steight bar and wheel relationship, play with it till its right...
Then if that won't move it, loosen the triple tree bolts a very little bit and try again... Either way after all is well go over the triple tree bolts and axle nuts & bolts and put them to the proper torque...
Thats dirt (bike) cheap...lol... Or even like you would do a bicycle...
Worth a shot...
PS-Sorry but I have an emergency, its 71* and my bike is in the shed, I have to get it on the road NOW...lol...
Have a good one...Old Dog...

Southern Central Tennessee.......
Now on the Dark Side......
Girl's Bike 09 Sporty xl 1200 Custom...33k + & clickin......
Sportster Owner/Rider since age 72...lol... Rider since Simplex...???
09-xl1200 "C" Vivid Black, Cast wheels w/19" Frt., SE-Stage 1+, X14iEDs...
MicroTach +, Higher wider H-bars, GPS Mt., Mustach bar Hwy. pegs...
Viking Shock cutout Saddlebags, Rear Mt. Signal Lt. Kit, Fork Brace...
RoadKing Air Shocks, Mustang Seat, Progressive Fork Springs...

Last edited by Old Dog; 11-01-2010 at 03:11 PM.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-01-2010, 05:54 PM
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What he said..^

But I would alter one thing there " with the side of the tire that is leading off almost against the object"

You should have the side of the tire firmly against the tree to start with...You don't want to scape up your tire or wheel, you just want to shove the bars back to where they belong.

It is easier if you loosen the upper and lower bolts holding the forks...just don't strip them out re-tightening them.
Grab the bars and just use as much ooomph as you can muster and twist them the direction they need to go to line back up.

I would look at the upper forks very carefully before riding the bike, even if the above fix seemed to do the trick. The would be thief might have used a long piece of wood or pipe to lever between the forks to break the lock.

Look for scratches, dents or cuts in the upper fork tubes. A light dent or scratch can cause you to leak fork oil and wear out your fork seals.....or if they place the lever higher, it might impead the spring if dented badly.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-11-2010, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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And then,,, the fork

Figured it was time to give a very belated update:

I put the front tire in between two metal bars in a metal fence that went along a tiny lawn in front of an apartment building and hossed the handle bars in line with the front tire. I played with it a bit, and then got the bike going along fine.

Since then I've torqued down the front suspension bolts according to the Clymer's specs and had hoped to wash my hands of the issue.

I do now notice, though, that a ring of grime accumulates on one of the fork tubes, meaning I must have a leaky fork seal that was either there before I started paying attention to the forks per Knifemaker's suggestion, or the leak was caused by a dent put there by my would-be-thief.

So far, I've done a fair amount of reading about changing out the fork seals on this forum and it does not appear to me to be a reasonable job for me to take on: a novice wrench, with no garage, and new england temps dropping making work outside a touch uncomfortable.

Perhaps this belongs in its own thread but I thought I'd ask here anyways:

If my fork seal isn't overtly leaking oil, but just causing a little road grime to ring around the tube, does this repair require some immediacy, or can I sit tight and watch to see if the leak becomes more serious than a black ring around one tube. I'm afraid I know the answer, I'm just strapped for cash as usual.

Thanks as ever, this site is my motorcycle's savior and mecca. All best -

Wheel
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-12-2010, 06:41 AM
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Well I'm not sure, but it seems minor the way you talk, anyway I have had new forks that would leave a slight ring, and then seem to settle in after a bit, I believe I would leave it alone as long as it didn't get any worse...
But if it gets worse and there is oil running down on the slider, I would consider serious inspection and doing the seal job... Just my opinion...
Have a good one...Old Dog...

Southern Central Tennessee.......
Now on the Dark Side......
Girl's Bike 09 Sporty xl 1200 Custom...33k + & clickin......
Sportster Owner/Rider since age 72...lol... Rider since Simplex...???
09-xl1200 "C" Vivid Black, Cast wheels w/19" Frt., SE-Stage 1+, X14iEDs...
MicroTach +, Higher wider H-bars, GPS Mt., Mustach bar Hwy. pegs...
Viking Shock cutout Saddlebags, Rear Mt. Signal Lt. Kit, Fork Brace...
RoadKing Air Shocks, Mustang Seat, Progressive Fork Springs...
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