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Discussion Starter #1
Credit to OLD3 for posting his original written guide which this is mostly based upon, forgive my plagiarism.

Jack up the bike, you need to have the wheel, forks and triples out so no race stand. I used a floor jack with a 2x4 under the header and the oil pan. Lift it up just enough to get the front wheel off the ground.


Remove brake caliper, front wheel, fender, handlebars and fork legs. There are some sneaky screw on this bike, make sure things are loose and about to fall off before you try and manhandle them,


Remove the center bolt and the top of the triple tree.


Then the lower retaining nut threaded on the stem, I used a hammer and a punch but you could buy the Kawasaki tool for $40 or so. Now the clamp will drop out the bottom so have a hand under to catch it. I kept the bottom triple connected to the fork legs for this part and put a box under them so I wouldn't have to catch it


Tap out the upper/lower races and toss the balls in the trash, I used a breaker bar with an appropriate sized socket to knock out all races from the stem. be extremely careful not to knock your bike over!


 

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Discussion Starter #2
Remove the lower race from the stem. It took me a while to knock this part off, just take your time and try to tap evenly all around.


Install races by tapping them in, you can use an appropriately sized object just a hair thinner than the outer diameter of the races, I used a schedule 80 pvc pipe. Be absolutely sure the races are 100% seated with no gap at all between the race and the seats in the head. This is the hardest part, because you can't really swing a hammer very far between the fairings up to the lower race. It took me a while to get it in because It kept getting crooked on me.

Pack the bearings with waterproof grease, i used Bel Ray waterproof grease from revzilla with my zilla cash http://www.revzilla.com/product/bel-ray-waterproof-grease, the 16oz tub is probably the last tub of grease I'll ever need. You need to get the grease in all the bearing crevices and spaces, scrape it in by cupping your palm with grease in it and scraping the bearing thru it on the edges, them smear grease all over the top and bottom and also the races. if you have too much you can wipe it off after you re-assemble.

Install lower bearing on stem, I used a new pvc pipe length and made sure it was only touching the inner part of the bearing, otherwise you might bend the bearing cage and ruin them. I'd tap then spin the pipe and also move where I was hitting around the pipe, this one took me the longest out of the whole project because it got stuck a 1/8" from the bottom and wouldn't move, but it eventually seated after a half hour of cursing it.


Re-assemble the triples, you can tighten the upper ring till you feel the bearings get tight while turning the triples back & forth, then just slightly back it off to release the pressure. I used my hammer and punch to tighten mine till it was tight then backed off till they were loose. This is called seating the bearings. my top triple tree started with a 1/8" gap between the top of the stem and the top of the triple, when I finished I had about a 1/4" gap with everything seated.

Reassemble and ride it. I put some grease on everything that wasn't painted especially the axle, it'll save you the trouble of having to smash it out one day when it rusts itself in and you have a flat tire. Make sure to wipe off excess grease so it doesn't drip and end up on your tires and brakes.

Recheck the tension on the bearings after 500-1000 miles, you can just check for play by jacking up the front, grabbing the fork lowers and pulling them to check for play, (click, click) at the head.

After installing these it was a night and day difference in handling capabilities for me. I'm sure everyone will benefit from installing these better head bearings.

Again thanks to OLD3, here is the thread with old3's instructions with a video on how to pack your bearings.
http://www.kawasakininja300.com/forum/12-ninja-300-appearance-modifications/760-steering-wobble-head-bearings-2.html#post32369

Any constructive criticism will be welcome!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Nicely done!

Did you ride it yet? How does it feel now?

Was your bike suffering from the wobble yet?

p.s., might want to edit the first pic in post #2, we can see your balls there.
Oh silly me, I do love to let them hang out. I'll have be more careful in the future :p

It's a night and day difference to me, it feels so loose and controllable now compared to before.
Steering wobble hadn't creeped up on me yet, so I figured I'd get the jump on it since this is my daily commuter.
 

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Thanks for the pics! mine took a turn for the worse this week, at normal speeds ok but cornering the steering is just floppy and gives very wobbly handling. At slow speeds eg stopping at intersections the steering is very notchy and sticks at certain points, steering me towards other traffic! sure i can use a bit more force and turn it but it does catch you out! and also turned out from my driveway onto perfectly flat road and felt like i hit 2 bumps on the road!
just under 5k kms ordering now!
Also thanks old3.
 

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Is this the issue when slowing at lights for example its hard to keep the thing straight? Confused now what to look out for as mine wobbles when crawling and I know its not my balance.

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Nope, for the same reason I swapped the shock, the brake caliper, brake lines, etc...

If they did fix it, they will just replace them with stock, crap parts. The performance level of loose ball bearings is very, very low. For under $50 you have it set up for life.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Is this the issue when slowing at lights for example its hard to keep the thing straight? Confused now what to look out for as mine wobbles when crawling and I know its not my balance.

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A deceleration wobble from about 50mph is what most people complain about. Carefully release your grip on the handlebars while letting off the throttle and it will slap back and fourth, shouldn't do that with good bearings.

Hard steering at a low speed is definitely a sign that their usable life is gone though. Consider buying the new bearings from Hardracing and fix this before it gets you into an accident.
 

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Some one posted a strategy for having kawi fix the stalling problem; taking to to the dealer and documenting it every time a stall happens. Couldn't the same strategy work for getting kawi to fix the head bearing problem with good bearing? If hundreds of people were taking their bikes in on the warranty for bearing replacements wouldn't kawi have to start fixing them with better bearings?

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Anyone think of complaining to kawasaki yet. It's far to early to be changing anything but oil on these bikeshttp://www.motorcycle.com/mobile

im sure there was another thread about this and was asked the same question, someone chimed in and said that they tried to get kwaka to replace the bearings and kwaka said they wouldn’t cos its not under warranty, it might be the thread by old3 where it was posted
 

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i just had my head stem bearings replaced today and it totally fixed the problem 100%, i want to get hold of Kawasaki Australia to voice my opinion and to tell them that i am very disappointed in the fact that i have just had to fork out $317.10 on a bike that i have not long bought brand new. How can i get into contact with them??? Please pm me
 

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i just had my head stem bearings replaced today and it totally fixed the problem 100%, i want to get hold of Kawasaki Australia to voice my opinion and to tell them that i am very disappointed in the fact that i have just had to fork out $317.10 on a bike that i have not long bought brand new. How can i get into contact with them??? Please pm me

easy mate, open up your owners manual, towards the back is their address. it also states the bike must be inspected by the dealer first.

dont be surprised if kwaka tell you that this bearing is *NOT* covered under warranty


the other way to contact Kwaka Australia is via their web page here

http://www.kawasaki.com.au/company/support

scroll to the bottom
 

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had major dramas with the dealer they didn't want to look at it, they tried telling me that all bikes do it and that's when i just realized that they never had any intentions of doing anything so just left, just disappointed that you spend so much on the bike then get treated like this and have to pay out of the tooth to fix it to how it should be off the showroom floor
 

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Just business as usual for the "Big Green". They have been using these old style bearings forever in cost cutting bikes. Complaining to them can make you feel better (or not), but bottom line this is a cheap bike for them with very little profit room. If they used premium parts for all the little things the cost would be higher for them to produce and less sales. Low end sales are all about volume for profit to occur. One of the reasons why Japanese manufacturers sell these types of machines; large volume sales. You won't be seeing a $5000 BMW motorcycle, at least not these days.
 

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Just business as usual for the "Big Green". They have been using these old style bearings forever in cost cutting bikes. Complaining to them can make you feel better (or not), but bottom line this is a cheap bike for them with very little profit room. If they used premium parts for all the little things the cost would be higher for them to produce and less sales. Low end sales are all about volume for profit to occur. One of the reasons why Japanese manufacturers sell these types of machines; large volume sales. You won't be seeing a $5000 BMW motorcycle, at least not these days.
Interesting point. I would be open to a BMW motorcycle if they're cars weren't driven by so many douche bags and jerks.
The ultimate driving machine slogan implies that it's the best vehicle ever built. We all know BMWs are not the best vehicles ever built.
 

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A deceleration wobble from about 50mph is what most people complain about. Carefully release your grip on the handlebars while letting off the throttle and it will slap back and fourth, shouldn't do that with good bearings.

Hard steering at a low speed is definitely a sign that their usable life is gone though. Consider buying the new bearings from Hardracing and fix this before it gets you into an accident.
Adam JH. Can you give me a part number for the bearings so I can try and source one from the UK
 
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