KX450 steering stem bearings

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3/2/2021 8:08 PM

So I ride KX450s. I currently have a 2021 KX450, I’ve also had this same problem on the 19 & 20. The steering stem bearings last about a weekend (exaggerating) but they wear out super quickly.

Anybody have any tips or tricks on how to avoid this issue moving forward?

& for the love of God, yes I grease them for all the vitards that are going to ask.

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3/2/2021 8:26 PM

Hoping for an answer too. Go thru bearings way too fast.

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3/2/2021 8:35 PM

How can you tell when they go bad? Honest question

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3/2/2021 8:48 PM

I’m at 82 hours and they are fine. I did grease them and try my best not to direct spray the freaking thing

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3/2/2021 9:37 PM

Genuine question: did you ride it as is or grease everything up on delivery? And did you for sure flush everything up?

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3/2/2021 10:07 PM

36hrs on my 17 and 19 are both sets are perfectly fine???

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3/3/2021 4:41 AM

I think it is caused by water from power washing. Must get through the seal at the top , I wonder if can put some silicone around the seal at the top.

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3/3/2021 5:08 AM

Get some of that motorex long term 2000 grease, have had good luck with it.

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3/3/2021 5:35 AM


38 hours on my 2019 and using Maxima grease without any issues.

And FWIW, I don't use a pressure washer, just Mr. Clean Multi-Purpose cleaner and one of those fire hydrant style garden hose nozzles.
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Do It In The Dirt!

3/3/2021 6:54 AM

put two sets in my 17 each at 35 hrs, greased when new obviously, my 20 has 50 hrs greased them again at 25hrs probably change them before this season starts,
be glad you dont have a yamaha they burn threw fork seals, front wheel bearings and steering bearings

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3/3/2021 12:19 PM

Mine have lasted just as long as my old yz450, I seem to get about 1.5 years out of them. I do try and limit pressure washing that area and that seems to help. Its always the lower bearing since water will pool in that area after a wash.

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3/3/2021 12:24 PM

Be sure the races are good before just a bearing swap. Bad races will ruin bearings in a day.

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3/3/2021 12:28 PM

hititpind wrote:

How can you tell when they go bad? Honest question

Was wondering the same thing? Maybe these guys have freakish attention to detail?

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3/3/2021 12:36 PM

hititpind wrote:

How can you tell when they go bad? Honest question

zehn wrote:

Was wondering the same thing? Maybe these guys have freakish attention to detail?

move bars side to side on stand easiest way to tell, will be notchy feeling or even sum play when moving front forks back & forward. most wont notice when you are riding though

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3/3/2021 4:33 PM

I think these frames hold water or moisture. If you don’t have the bottom skid plate on there’s open holes. I greased my 19 and let it sit in the garage for a few weeks. Took the clamps off to put my xtrigs back on and there was moisture on the stem. Didn’t ride or wash it at all. I’m in Florida so it worst case probably but still... also water tends to leak out of the frame when I load it up to a certain angle.

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3/3/2021 5:25 PM

pete24 wrote:

put two sets in my 17 each at 35 hrs, greased when new obviously, my 20 has 50 hrs greased them again at 25hrs probably change ...more

Stock fork seals on my yzfx only lasted 25 hours, so I'll give you that. Wheel bearings have over 50 hours on them and just greased for the 1st time. I've never had to replace steering stem bearings, and I've had 5 Yamaha's in the last 20 years.

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I work to provide for my family, I ride to keep my sanity.

3/3/2021 6:42 PM

ALL new bikes come with only about half a thimble of grease in the stem bearings, wheel bearings and rear suspension links. First thing when purchasibng a NEW bike is GREASE the hell out of it!

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3/3/2021 6:43 PM

I have ridden kx since 1982 and own a 2020 Kx450f I have never had to replace steering bearings in any bike.

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3/4/2021 5:46 AM

Myself and 3 friends owed 2019 KX450s new. I know every one of us has had multiple steering stem bearing rusting issues. I personally did 4 sets in 2 seasons on my bike.

My first sign of rust on these bikes is when you take the bike off the stand after it sits for a few days the bars will be locked straight until you break them free. It's downhill quickly after that and they get extremely notchy, to the point where it can be pretty scary to ride, especially on rutted straights. I was surprised it would feel it while riding to be honest!

It looks to me like there is not an adequate seal between the upper inner race and the steering stem, so water runs down and rusts the lower bearing. I've also seen water run out of the bottom of the frame, even after the bike has sat for a week, so maybe that could be causing it too? Either way, no amount of grease will protect against that.

Side note... How come the guys who brag about not using a pressure washing are always from California? whistling

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3/4/2021 10:34 AM

neysbo wrote:

I think it is caused by water from power washing. Must get through the seal at the top , I wonder if can put some silicone ...more

How bad is your mud that you need to pressure wash behind the number plate? I use a hose and wash as much as I can first then Shout laundry pre-treater to get the rest of it. I only used a low power pressure washer when things here are really bad or after riding a clay track that dries like mortar on the bike.
I heard just recently that Yamahas (?) have a thicker seal on their bearings. Maybe research that.

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The older I get, the faster I was.

3/4/2021 11:00 AM

neysbo wrote:

I think it is caused by water from power washing. Must get through the seal at the top , I wonder if can put some silicone ...more

captmoto wrote:

How bad is your mud that you need to pressure wash behind the number plate? I use a hose and wash as much as I can first then ...more

I purposely avoid the stem area and still have the issue.

This was my first race on my 2021 😬
Photo

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