Play in linkage YZ250

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8/18/2017 6:49 PM

Hey guys, I noticed some free play in my linkage the other day, when the bike is on the stand I can grab the rear wheel and can move it up and down so I pulled it all apart and replaced all the linkage bearings, put it all back together and there is still play in it.

The play seems to be in the part that is attached by a bolt through the swingarm. I am guessing that either the housing where the bolt goes through is worn or the bolt itself is worn. Is there anything else it could be?


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8/18/2017 10:48 PM

All my bikes get play in the linkage eventually. I think the swingarm mounting hole gets out of round. It will be interested to hear if there's a fix...

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8/19/2017 3:48 PM

Most bikes have a bit of play. When my KTM was brand new it was tight. 20 some odd hours later and it moves as much as my 250....with 200 hours (albeit fresh bearings)

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Tomac and/or Anderson for 2020.....

8/19/2017 4:08 PM

That's the same symptoms of bad swingarm bearings

Additionally, has your shock been serviced recently?

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8/20/2017 3:36 AM

I went into the shed and pulled my wife's linkage or of her yz125 and put into my bike and it still had play where it had none in hers. Figured it must have been the hole in the swingarm so i pulled it back out and put it back in her bike. When i did hers all up it had play in it. I figured it was something i was doing wrong. I loosened it off and made sure the bolt through the swingarm was really pushed all the way through, did it up and no play.
I put mine back together making sure the bolt was in properly and the end result was a tiny little bit of play. From the comments above this sounds normal.
Both bikes have around 60 hours on them, the difference is I'm 198 lbs and not afraid of jumps, she's 120 and a real novice

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8/20/2017 6:14 AM

Yea pretty sure this is normal. Every bike Ive had eventually starts having some play, even with all new bearings.

I mean theres what, 6 connections between the shock, swingarm, and frame? A tiny amount of play in each of those adds up

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8/20/2017 9:39 PM

Did you replace the small needle bearing at the lower shock mount? That is the one that usually gets the most noticeable play.

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Powerband in every gear !

8/21/2017 7:13 AM

When you torque the bolt is the bike on a stand or wheels on the ground?

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8/21/2017 7:16 AM

FGR01 wrote:

Did you replace the small needle bearing at the lower shock mount? That is the one that usually gets the most noticeable play.

Agree with this. Also, I stand the bike on the ground under it's own weight to torque everything to spec, not fully extended up on a stand.

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8/21/2017 12:26 PM

You will always have a little bit of play. Its mainly going to be from the top shock bearing. I think its called a thrust bearing?

But even brand new it will have a small amount of play.

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8/22/2017 9:25 AM

I seem to go through the needle bearing at the bottom of the shock quite often on my YZ. And if your bike has been off road a bunch, the hole that bearing fits into can actually get out of round too from hitting trees and rocks. I'd suspect you'll find your problem there.

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8/22/2017 1:52 PM

Upper shock bushing (spherical bearing) is usually the culprit on my YZ250. I have an old dinner plate with linkage remnants about 9" high covered with cling wrap from my YZ racing days, it gets muddy in the PNW!

The primary lessons that are learned back in those days when full linkage bearing replacement was at least a twice per season deal:

1.) Riding mud is the quickest way to wear out link bearings.
2.) OEM stuff is as good as it gets and usually worth the extra cost.
3.) Molybdenum grease is your best option for longevity, the green marine greases get washed out pretty easy.

My .02

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8/23/2017 4:53 AM

FGR01 wrote:

Did you replace the small needle bearing at the lower shock mount? That is the one that usually gets the most noticeable play.

yep, did the whole lot

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8/23/2017 4:54 AM

Junior467 wrote:

When you torque the bolt is the bike on a stand or wheels on the ground?

on the stand, will redo on the ground

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8/23/2017 5:23 AM

Junior467 wrote:

When you torque the bolt is the bike on a stand or wheels on the ground?

chump6784 wrote:

on the stand, will redo on the ground


Did you replace the swingarm bearings, They often have excessive play and require frequent regreasing too. Also noticed the bottom shock bearing wears quickly.
On a side note my Steering head bearings also wear quickly. I think it's a bad design, keen to hear what others have done to alleviate the problem.
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8/30/2017 1:19 PM

hassbeen wrote:
Did you replace the swingarm bearings, They often have excessive play and require frequent regreasing too. Also noticed the bottom shock bearing wears quickly.
On a side note my Steering head bearings also wear quickly. I think it's a bad design, keen to hear what others have done to alleviate the problem.

Been through a few steering bearings too. I used the moly grease last time mine was apart and it seemed to have helped keep it from getting worse. I think they just don't seal very well, and a lot of care has to be taken to make sure the seal is in the right place.

Idk if its because of the moly grease, but I've had mine loosen up a number of times. If your bike ever gets really twitchy, this may be the cause lol.

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8/30/2017 7:00 PM

+1 on ground. once bearings are good.

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If I'm healthy enough to complain. I shouldn't be complaining.

8/31/2017 12:23 PM
Edited Date/Time: 8/31/2017 12:27 PM

IceMan446 wrote:

You will always have a little bit of play. Its mainly going to be from the top shock bearing. I think its called a thrust bearing?

But even brand new it will have a small amount of play.

Spherical bearing, IIRC...

Good call. All the energy culminates on that little bastard fulcrum. It takes a beating, and many overlook it.

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8/31/2017 12:38 PM

Skerby wrote:

Been through a few steering bearings too. I used the moly grease last time mine was apart and it seemed to have helped keep it from getting worse. I think they just don't seal very well, and a lot of care has to be taken to make sure the seal is in the right place.

Idk if its because of the moly grease, but I've had mine loosen up a number of times. If your bike ever gets really twitchy, this may be the cause lol.

Ya know what?

I have thought of tapping a zerk into the lower yoke and a relief valve into the upper yoke. Fill that biznatch with calcium sulfonate grease until it comes out of the relief valve.

Just don't quite have the nads to do it yet.

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