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Old 08-05-2009, 01:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Clicking noise from steering/frame area

I'm sorry if this has been discussed before but I wasn't able to find anything pertaining this matter...anyway

When I first bought my bike (4-5 month ago) it rode fine and free of any noise. To get to a high confidence level of riding such a bike (05' ZX-6R) I attempted to do stunts such as stoppies and wheelies (better and better everytime without abuse...meaning, not pushing it too much). Anyway, after a while I notice a *clicking* noise coming from the steering area.

If I have the bike on the kickstand, while I'm sitting on it and put pressure on the footstand, and at the same time steering the wheel left and right, this *clicking* sound is heard. Also, everytime I ride the bike, I can hear it while stopping and braking...this lead me to belive that it was the steering wheel bearings due to the stunts.

Before I could come to a conclusion that it was the steering bearings, I strip the bike from all the plastics including the fuel tank, and the noise was still there (did the same thing again from third paragraph minus riding for abvious reasons). Check the frame for cracks (I bought it from someone who had dropped it...not too bad, just fairing damage, but still intact) and no frame damage.

So, I changed the steering bearings (3 piece set x 2 for top and bottom) and the noise is still there...So now, I'm not sure what to look for anymore.
I have no problem in doing things myself (although, I have never really messed with bikes)

My mechanical skills/knowledge for bikes is 2 or 3 out of 10.
On a car however, I'm probably an 8 or 9 out of 10.
In other words, I'm not afraid to strip this bike down to the frame if I have to.

Any input is much appreciated...thanks
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Old 08-05-2009, 05:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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when you installed the new steering stem bearings(not steering wheel bearings) did you properly torque the steering stem nut to seat the bearings, back it off, then retighten to the final torque spec. did you properly drive the lower bearing onto the stem? properly grease everything?

have you checked cables for binding when you turn the bars?

all cables/lines/wiring properly routed?

have you checked your wheel bearings themselves?

do you have any fork oil leaks?

any missing fasteners anywhere?

any vibration associated with this noise?

do you have a service manual?
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goingtoscotland View Post
when you installed the new steering stem bearings(not steering wheel bearings) did you properly torque the steering stem nut to seat the bearings, back it off, then retighten to the final torque spec. did you properly drive the lower bearing onto the stem? properly grease everything?

have you checked cables for binding when you turn the bars?

all cables/lines/wiring properly routed?

have you checked your wheel bearings themselves?

do you have any fork oil leaks?

any missing fasteners anywhere?

any vibration associated with this noise?

do you have a service manual?


The way I installed the steering stem bearings, I installed the baskets (I think they’re called baskets…it’s the part that actually goes on the frame for top and bottom) onto the frame first with the assistance of a socket of the same size with out damaging the basket. I made sure they were lined up perfectly (by visual and touching it seemed like they were the same way like the old ones).

I did ride the race (again I think that is what is called. It’s the part that goes in the center portion of a 3 piece set of the steering stem bearing). It set flush with the lower crown just like the old one did. And believe me; the bearings got plenty of grease.

I DID NOT back it off and retightened. I did not do that for fear of damaging the bearings. That’s why I did it the other method. The way I determine the final torque was by judging it like before I took it off for the first time (not too tight and not too soft. It’s as tight as a water pump bolt from a car—sort of).

All cables seem ok, no bending and such. Everything seems to be routed where it suppose to be. I can’t imagine being the wheel bearings as for it does *click* when bike is not in motion. I can even rule out the brakes as well for the same reason. When I changed my front tire about 1 month ago, I did not notice any play or weird sound coming from the wheel bearings. No fork oil leaks, the only missing fasteners are from the fairing which is irrelevant to the issue, and there is NO vibration with this issue. I do not have a service manual. That would be a good start I suppose.

Now, If I need to tighten and back it off and retighten to torque spec, that would make sense…since there may be a probability of the basket not sitting all the way in like it suppose to. Where would I find such a socket to tighten the stem bolt? And to how many lbs torque does it require? Better yet, where could I get a service manual for this matter?
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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the first tool you should have procured for this project was a service manual. as for torquing things "about right" or "what it was before" doesn't cut it. obviously you're trying to solve a problem. when replacing bearings, you want to do it per manual and not "like they came out" because they may have been in there wrong in the first place

the stem nut needs to be torqued to 41ftlbs. loosen it till it turns lightly, retorque to final spec of 15ftlbs. the reason it is so tight initially is to fully seat the bearings in their races.(the ZX-6R uses caged ball bearings). your "other method" was approximating the final torque of the stem nut. this isn't one of the 3 methods used by any of the manufacturers(tighten-loosen-tighten, scale, or fall away)

when you took it apart did you check the play/action on the stem with and without the forks in the triple clamps? did you inspect the bearings and their races or just replace them? if it doesn't make the sound then the problem may be with somethinf you already took off the bike.

you would be surprised what sounds a couple missing fairing bolts will produce. depending on where they are a cable or hose could be pressing lightly on the fairing, that fastener not being there can let the fairing move.

special tools required to do the job correctly at a minimum:
pin spanner wrench or stem nut spanner socket
torque wrench
something to seat the upper bearing outer race. basically something to press the race into the neck
race driver(something so evenly press the lower bearing outer race without damaging said race)

you need to get a manual somewhere(hell try google) and make sure you have the proper cable routing. if you can't find it on google(hint: it's there) try your local dealer, or cyclegear etc and they can order you one. or you can order one online.

FYI, the metal parts the bearings ride in are called races. the thing that holds the bearings themselves is the cage

Last edited by goingtoscotland; 08-05-2009 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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gointtoscoland, I should have known better. I should have used (like you said) at a very minimum a service manual. It just seemed to easy to even bother with a manual. As you can see, this is my first attempt to fix a bike...and I'm going wrong about it. If it was a car and I wasn't sure, I would have used a manual for sure.

I will disassemble and inspect the whole thing again and go per specs by a service manual and hopefully it was something that was not torque correctly. I'm really confident that is from the front assembly area such as forks, stem, bearings, clams, ect.

I don't understand one thing though from what you said:
"when you took it apart did you check the play/action on the stem with and without the forks in the triple clamps?"

I guess the stem is the huge bolt that goes from crown to crown, right?
I did not check for play...

what about the triple clamps?
I check and tightened the bolts on the clamps throughout the fork when I replaced the bearings (if that's what you meant?)

Damn, I really feel like a newb here... It is much more complicated then cars. Again, I'll definitely buy a service manual as for I need to know the name of certain parts at minimum.

Thanks for your input...
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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hey bro if you have checked evrything else may just be from fairings being tight. my bike made the clicking noise and it was just that my fairings needed to be readjusted. try doing that
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by sbrider23 View Post
hey bro if you have checked evrything else may just be from fairings being tight. my bike made the clicking noise and it was just that my fairings needed to be readjusted. try doing that
I tried it without my fairings and gas tank, it still did it. But I'll be doing that again before I disassemble the fork assembly for a second inspection. Thanks
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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what i meant by checking the stem was once you have everything but the forks removed, turn the forks and pull on them. see if there's any play(front to back/side to side) within the steering stem. the steering stem is the part connected to the lower clamp permanently that goes through the steering head/neck. if it doesn't make the noise without the wheels etc on it probably isn't the bearings, unless it's only doing it under load. if it still does it with the forks on there, take them off too. if it still does it with just the clamps it is probably the bearings OR a bent steering stem from when the previous owner went down.

if you just can't figure it out it'll be time to take it to the stealership.

good luck.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goingtoscotland View Post
what i meant by checking the stem was once you have everything but the forks removed, turn the forks and pull on them. see if there's any play(front to back/side to side) within the steering stem. the steering stem is the part connected to the lower clamp permanently that goes through the steering head/neck. if it doesn't make the noise without the wheels etc on it probably isn't the bearings, unless it's only doing it under load. if it still does it with the forks on there, take them off too. if it still does it with just the clamps it is probably the bearings OR a bent steering stem from when the previous owner went down.

if you just can't figure it out it'll be time to take it to the stealership.

good luck.
It does it under load only. If I were to have the front wheel in the air, there would be no *clicking noise* I will double check, pull everything apart and inspect piece by piece until I find that bad piece that is causing all the problems. Of course, I would have a manual with me next time. Thanks..
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Just a shot in the dark...but I had the EXACT same symptoms and it turned out to be a loose engine bolt mount (where the frame slide bolts in, wasn't attached properly)
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