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Thread: R65 head shake

  1. #1
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    R65 head shake

    I have a 1983 R65 with 55000 miles on it that has developed a serious head shake when I take my hands off the handlebars. I know I'm not supposed to do that but I would like to try and resolve the issue. I want to start by saying that when I first got this motorcycle It was very hard to steer. I was like an overtight friction damper. Since it has no friction damper I started to look for a grease fitting. Not finding a grease fitting, I found I small hole in the front of the steering neck into which I injected some PB Blaster penetrating oil. WOW. This loosened things up immediately, almost too much I think because now I have the wobble. I should say that Bob's BMW in Jessup MD went over this bike before I put it on the road and replaced the rear wheel bearings. They told me everything else looked pretty good. They never mentioned the tight steering and I never noticed it until I put the bike on the center stand and rotated the handlebars. I am now trying to loosen the big allen head nut on top of the triple clamps so I can adjust the bearing tightness to see if that helps. I cannot break this bolt free. I use penetrating oil and a lot of leverage but I'm leery of going to far and breaking something. Is this bolt reverse rotation by chance or just stuck? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    With the PB Blaster sprayed in there, I'm afraid you're now facing a complete rebuild of the front forks. Most likely, the bearings were tight but now you've diluted the grease...you need the grease. The penetrant has also liquified debris inside the headstock, bringing it to the lower bearings...this will hasten their wear.

    The general check for bearing tightness is to put the bike on the center stand, front wheel off the ground. Point the wheel straight ahead and then nudge the handlebar to either direction. If the handlebar stops and doesn't move...too tight. If it speeds up and prangs off the stop...too loose. The bars should gently drift towards the stop, depending on any drag in cables, etc.

    The big nut is on pretty tight. But you have to loosen the fork tube pinch bolts if you're going to make any changes. If you don't loosen the pinch bolts, you'll do nothing but bend the top plate, creating more problems. You should have one or more service books to work with...Haynes or Clymers. Better yet, you should hook up with some local Airheads and get some help sorting this out.
    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
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    front fork rebuild? only if there's an issue there.
    steering head bearing R&R? absolutely. once you squirted the PB Blaster in there, adjustment became a non-issue. you need to go all the way to new races and bearings.

    as Kurt suggested, get a manual, do the job correctly, and/or find your local airhead group to assist you.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  4. #4
    Registered User donbmw's Avatar
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    If you had not said you sprayed PBS Blaster I would has said loose steering head. I will agree you may need to replace the bearing or clean and relube. But for all the work I would replace them. I have used a 3/8 breaker bar with a 3 foot cheater bar to break the head bolt on my R65. And you are not going to bend the steering head on a R65. It does not have a stamp steel plate as all the models. As long as they are 79 to 84 models.
    1975 R90/6, 1980 and 1982 R65, !959 TR3A Triumph Car

  5. #5
    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donbmw View Post
    And you are not going to bend the steering head on a R65. It does not have a stamp steel plate as all the models. As long as they are 79 to 84 models.
    Right...I remembered that it was stouter than others. Still, not the thing to do by just cranking down on it. Adjust the bearing pressure the right way.
    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!

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