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Thread: '68 R60 steering problem

  1. #1
    Dewayne
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    '68 R60 steering problem

    Hi All,
    It's been a while since I've been on here. That can be a good thing because I usually am too busy to get on the computer unless I have a problem..

    I've noticed that my R60 has an unnerving sway that gets worse with speed and in the wind. It's almost like riding on ballbearings... the verticle stabilty is funky. I've experienced worn steering head 'tankslapper' before, and believe me this isn't the same feeling. Plus the steering head bearings are replaced and adjusted. I have also replaced the wheel bearings, front and rear. Now I'm wondering if the shocks may be suspect. Or tires? Wheels?
    I know it's impossible to diagnose without riding the bike but hopefully someone will have a thought that will send me in the right direction. By the way it is an Earles Fork frontend....

  2. #2
    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    I would first confirm that the steering stem preload is properly set. I've used this before on my /7 and R69S. Get the front tire off the ground. First be sure you have no notch in the straight ahead position...slowly move the handelbars left and right around the straight ahead direction. You should feel very smooth movement through the center. If not, then you may have a notch or dented race...this will need to be fixed.

    Second, with the front tire still off the ground, I nudge the handlebars to the left. The bars should easily travel to the left stop...not accelerate and bounce off the stop or feel very tight and stay where you put it. Try the same thing to the right. It's a feel thing...but it should easily go to the stop.

    Is the Earles fork set up for the non-sidecar position? There is a setting for sidecar which steepens the angle of the forks...not good for non-sidecar usage.

    Be sure that the Earles fork is solid and that the lower bearings are not loose.

    After that, ensure that the tire pressures are set right, probably something like 32/36 F/R (those are my numbers for solo riding). Be sure that the rear swingarm is properly set up, no side-to-side movement, and centered in the frame. After that, you're looking at the shocks, both front and rear.
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  3. #3
    Dewayne
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    Thanks.. I'll give those suggestions a try... I'm pretty sure I'll be ok on the Steering preload is ok, but will double check. On the earles sidecar setting... what do I look at/for? Tire pressure? I usually run 26#... I'll try 32 and see what happens.

  4. #4
    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewayne View Post
    On the earles sidecar setting... what do I look at/for? Tire pressure? I usually run 26#... I'll try 32 and see what happens.
    Check page 28 of this manual:

    http://bmwdean.com/1966-owners-manual.htm

    I think 26 psi is a bit low. Get up over 30 and see if things are better.

    Recently, I was having a slight weave on my R69S when running through some favorite turns near my house. Not really pusing it, 55-60 or so, but the bike was leaned over. Probably some pavement uneveness due to centerline striping, etc. I never could figure it out and was slightly concerned. Got a new rear tire since it was due...weave is gone. It was the rear tire!
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  5. #5
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    You might want to check out your swingarm bearings and the setting of the swingarm pivots.
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

  6. #6
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    US or Earles fork???

    Check the friction material on your steering damper and make sure its not coming apart, the assembly is loose or the damper is tightened up a little. I run all my /2 tires at 32 psi. Check your shocks to make sure they are not binding or loose, I found a loose shock on two of mine so it can happen. Check for any play or sloppiness in your new wheel bearings as well as the steering head bearings. I would also have a look at your seat mount bolts because you can get a pretty weird sensation from a loose or worn seat mount. If its a US front end then I would make sure you have the correct weight fork oil and the correct amount.

  7. #7
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    What you're describing sounds like the pre-load on the steering head bearing is just a bit tight.

  8. #8
    longridgebuilder
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    Me thinks tire pressure !

  9. #9
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    "Plus the steering head bearings are replaced and adjusted"
    ============================================
    If this was the last thing done before present weird condition showed up then bearings are
    too tight

    Or steering damper is too tight

    Causes a wandering or hunting sensation - like drunk if you have ever been there
    Bike takes a line and then seems to overcompensate for small steering inputs.

  10. #10
    BMW MOA co-founder bmwdean's Avatar
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    If you still have the original races and balls, get tapered steering head bearings from Vech and replace the races and balls with these.

    Then it is a question of adjusting the pressure on the bearings. After a while you will need to readjust it as they settle in.
    Jeff Dean − Tucson, Arizona − BMW MOA Co-founder (1972)
    http://bmwdean.com/2014-r1200rt.htm − MSF Chief Instructor (1994)
    Friend of the Marque (1999) − Prof. Gerhard Knochlein BMW Classic Award (2013)
    2014 & 2007 R1200RTs, R60/2s, R67/3, R51/3 ↔ 1949 R24

  11. #11
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    my $0.02 worth on instability

    This is a little late, but what was the last thing you did before the instability issue began? My story: I always ran Metzeler 77's but there came a time in the mid-90's when they were hard to find. I installed Cheng Shin 906 & 907 tires at the recommendation of a cheapskate friend who ran them on his Earles fork BMW with no problem. I installed them and got immediate weaves and instability over about 45 mph. At the recommendation of other /2 owners, I cleaned/inspected/lubed/adjusted the front and rear swingarm and wheel bearings, as well as the tapered steering head bearings; went thru the friction damper to make sure it was right; replaced the front and rear suspension dampers; and did everything short of killing a sacrificial animal and sprinkling its blood on the bike. Finally I remembered the first lesson of Troubleshooting 101, and I asked myself, "What was the last thing I did before the problem started?" So I replaced the Cheng Shins with Bridgestone Battlax tires, and the problem was solved. I have never re-installed the Cheng Shins, and the problem has never recurred. I have run Bridgestones, Metzelers, and a mix of both with no problems.
    Last edited by 63044; 11-25-2012 at 01:17 AM. Reason: clarity

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