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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Noticed a definite front wheel wobble at low speeds, especially with no hands on the bars.

Read some posts about bearings, but had some real basic questions before I start.

1) is it worth just trying to tighten them first and see how it goes? Or should I just replace with a tapered set?

2) is there a full step by step on replacing them anywhere? Do I need any special tools?

3) any ideas on jacking front wheel up without a jack? Don't currently own a jack, but will get one if it's the best way to get the wheel off.

Thanks in advance
(I like pics, so figured others might enjoy thos one)
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It is a good bet that the bearings are due for at least a service of clean and lube, then adjust. most of us take the opportunity while it's apart to just upgrade to the tapered bearings. To raise the front wheel put the bike on the center stand, a bottle jack can be placed under the engine and raise the front wheel for service.
 
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3) any ideas on jacking front wheel up without a jack? Don't currently own a jack, but will get one if it's the best way to get the wheel off.
If you have a car, the car jack can do the job.
 
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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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Put it on the centrestand, have a helper push the rear end down and put anything suitable under the front of the engine to keep the wheel off the ground while you work. I usually use a big block of wood that I keep in the garage for things like that (sometimes with thinner pieces on top to get the right height).

The best instructions for most of the work you will ever need to do on one of these bikes can be found in the Factory Shop Manual. If you didn't download it when I told you to 3 years ago go to the Wiki (link in my signature) and get it now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks all.

@bob - I did scan through the service manual, but didn't immediately see a simplified tear down. Will review again. (I downloaded it the second time you told me to, honest!)

Sometimes it feels like the FSM is written by mechanics, for mechanics (duh) and omits the practical steps that help out fools like me (taking calipers off and hanging them, towel on the tank for the bars etc. etc.) That's why I love this site!
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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Most FSMs are written strictly for professionals (you should see the ones Suzuki publishes) but the ones for these bikes are particularly well written and if you get into the habit of looking there first you can usually save a lot of time waiting for someone to answer ;-)
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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Your wobble might just be a matter of weight distribution. If you're longish in the leg and tend to sit on the back of the seat, try shifting your weight forward to load the front wheel.
 
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I agree with Bob regarding the quality of the CX/GL Factory Service Manuals. I'm also working on a '71 CB100, and its FSM is pretty sparce.
 

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I think all FSMs are the same. The BM ones I’ve had and a Suzuki one were the same, they only deal with certain jobs that might need explaining even to mechanics. At the end of the day, an FSM shouldn’t need to explain the basics. Another reason why I try to have as much literature as possible. With Si, my CX I also added the Haynes manual to the FSM I was lucky enough to get with the bike.

Oh and I’ve just fitted tapered head bearings. More stripping down than any other head job I’ve done.
 

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One thing which could cause the wobble would be if the bike is highly imbalanced in terms of weight distribution between front and rear; too much weight at the back will make the front a bit light and make a front end wobble a bit more likely.
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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The Suzuki FSM I bought has almost no information that is useful to the home mechanic. I have no idea whether there is some other resource from Suzuki that would explain it but it was wasted money to me.

And speaking of other resources, the Honda Common Service Manual is available from the Wiki too and we don't recommend downloading it often enough.
 

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Use an old monitor :)
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I would first try to diagnose the condition of the bearings & races, such as:
1. Elevate the front wheel by having someone push down on the back while on the center stand, then place a block of wood or mile crate as mentioned by others. You'll be able to judge the steering bearing conditions better with the wheel off the ground.
2. Grab the front wheel by the axle, try to jiggle it back& forth. Is there any play? There shouldn't be any. If play, try tightening the bearing nuts a little.
2a.. Turn the handlebars slowly. Do they feel loose? If so, try tightening the bearing nuts a little.
3. Turn hbars again, do you hear any grinding? Is there a notch in the center when the wheel is pointing straight ahead? If so, bearings or races probably need replacement.
 

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An inexpensive atv jack from Northern can be very handy, and very stable because of its wide flat surface. It will also come in handy when you have to drop the motor for stator, timing chain, water pump, and like repairs that are inside the rear motor cover.
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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When I Google Northern ATV jack I find a page at Northern Tool that shows a jack that looks like it is intended to bolt to the floor and a lift table. If I enter motorcycle lift in their search the first result is a fairly typical motorcycle lift that doesn't really work very well for removing engines from these bikes.

Removing an engine is easiest with something that has a caster on each corner so that you can roll it forward to get the engine out from between the frame and then sideways to get it out from under the bike.
I have one of those motorcycle lifts hanging on the wall but I don't use it often because it has casters on the end you pull from and wheels on the other end which makes it impossible to move the engine from between the frame without sliding it and forget about lining it up to go back in.
I much prefer to roll a flat dolly (plywood with 2x4s below for strength and a caster in each corner) under the engine, add blocking between the dolly and the engine and roll it in whatever direction I want.
One day I may get ambitious and replace the wheels on the lift with casters to turn it into something that is actually useful ;-)
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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"Strongway 1500-Lb. Hydraulic Motorcycle Lift/Utility Vehicle Lift". That's the fairly typical motorcycle lift I was talking about. It is almost identical to the one I have that doesn't work well for removing engines from these bikes.
 

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I just use my rolling floor jack.
 
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