How to remove and install new shock arm linkage bearings

Forks, shocks, linkage
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Sandblaster
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How to remove and install new shock arm linkage bearings

Post by Sandblaster » Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:29 pm

How to remove and install new shock arm linkage bearings.
One of the most overlooked area's of most dirt bikes is the linkage bearings and swing arm bearings.
Why?
Probably because they aren't the easiest to get to and many people simply don't even bother with them.
Older bikes use to have Zerk fittings but few if any of the new bikes do.
On top of this it seems the manufactures have decided to vastly reduce the amount of grease they put in their bearings.
It almost appears that they use the grease that comes on the bearings but do not add any of their own.
I have seen some bikes only a year old with ruined linkage bearings.
So just a thought for all you new bike owners, GREASE your bearings before it's too late.

In this article I will show you how to replace your bearings.
In this example we are using a shock arm linkage from a 2000 Kawasaki KX500.
Here is the setup:
Image

NOTE:
I already removed the dust seals on either side of the bearings.
To remove the seals you can use a flat blade screw driver and lightly twist the seals out.
I like to do them a little at a time using a circular pattern so that I do not damage the seals as you may need them at a later time.
This isn't the best picture but the small bearing area is shot!
The bearing literally fell apart when I removed it.
Yet, the hole in the aluminum linkage is not oval-ed out.
Before I removed the bearing I did one of the most important things, I measured the distance from the outside of the link to the outside of the bearing and recorded it for both sides.

Image

If you are replacing the double bearing, then get these measurements recorded before you press the bearings out.:

Image

I did this so that I would know how far to press the new bearing in.
This bearing is fairly easy to replace as it is centered in the hole so all you need to do is get it even on both ends.
The more centered you get it the longer and more even it will wear.
If you have a CLYMER or other manual, please consult it to verify your measurements BEFORE you start.
There is nothing worse then pressing in a new bearing only to find that it is the wrong width and now the seals don't fit.
The easiest way to get the old bearings out and the new ones in is using a press.
As shown below it's an easy set up:

Image

Note that we used two sockets, one on either side of the arm.
The bottom socket is large enough that the bearing can easily fit through it and the socket is deep enough to allow the bearing to fall completely through.
Oh! You don't have a press?
How about a vice?
As long as you have enough jaw travel it will work as shown below:

Image

As you can see, it is the same principal as using the press, it's just a little harder to get everything to line up.
The last method I have used is the "C" Clamp method.

Image

It works just fine once you get it all lined up.
If you have three hands it is easier.
Regardless of the method used you should end up with something that looks like this:

Image

At this point you should clean and inspect the aluminum bearing hole.
Making sure that it is round and not oval-ed out is a good idea before you order a bearing.
Ordering a kit is less expensive then ordering all the bearings one at a time.
If the linkage is oval-ed out you need to order a new one.
You can often find them on ebay such as the ones found here:
http://stores.ebay.com/OEM-CYCLE/_i.htm ... sid=680025
If yours is good I can't emphasize enough how much to clean it up.
If bikes are for kids I'll never grow up.

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Sandblaster
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Re: How to remove and install new shock arm linkage bearings

Post by Sandblaster » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:25 pm

There are several ways to clean it up, steel wool, very fine sand paper, wire wheel, ect.
When your done, make sure there is no debris left behind.
Get it CLEAN!

Image

If you leave anything behind, the bearing can get pushed in and deformed around the debris.
Then when you put the center piece in often it will bind and cause problems, including premature bearing failure.
STOP! Your not ready to press that new bearing in yet!
Take a look at the bearing.
See the lack of grease on the bearing?
GREASE IT!
This picture is of the bearing after it has been greased.

Image

Once it has been greased, wipe the out side of the bearing off so that it does not have excess grease on it.
You don't want the outside of the bearing dry, but just a very fine film of grease will work.
Now your ready to press the bearing in.
To press the bearing in, find a socket outside diameter just barely fits into the bearing hole on the linkage.
The closer the fit, the less chance you will have of damaging the bearing.
So here is what you have, a bearing that needs to go into a hole.
It's a light press fit so you won't be able to put it in by hand.
You must use a press, vice, or "C" clamp.

Image

The bearing needs to be fed in straight!
You do not want it to start at an angle as you will damage your bearings.
Below is a picture of what you don't want to do:

Image

If the bearing is wanting to feed in at an angle, take another look at the arm.
Mark sure it has no burrs or debris.
Also, make sure that the arm is sitting level on the press and that the socket you are using to press the bearing in has no defects on either end of it.
If bikes are for kids I'll never grow up.

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Sandblaster
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Re: How to remove and install new shock arm linkage bearings

Post by Sandblaster » Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:46 am

When you are done pressing in the bearing it should look something like this.

Image

The center insert should spin freely.
If it does not spin freely, press the bearing out, clean some more, and press the bearing back in.
Remember, if the insert does not spin freely DO NOT use it as you will wear out the insert and bearings very quickly.
Make sure that the bearings are aligned using the measurements you took, or by the specs in the book.
When that is done and your satisfied, push in the new seals by hand.
They go in much easier then they come out.
Well, that's it.
As always, please refer to your manual for specs, tips, and tricks.
If something does not feel right or look right it probably isn't so take your time and make sure it's right.
After all it's your butt in the saddle and what's that worth to you :o

If you have any comments, feel free to join in and share.
If bikes are for kids I'll never grow up.

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60something
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Re: How to remove and install new shock arm linkage bearings

Post by 60something » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:57 am

Great tutorial! I will definitely be referring to it when I get to that part of my bike. :)
I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

2006 KDX200 qty-2
1987 KX500
1991 CB750 Nighthawk
1973 H2 750 Triple - gone but not forgotten

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Sandblaster
Posts: 5615
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:50 pm
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Re: How to remove and install new shock arm linkage bearings

Post by Sandblaster » Sat Mar 10, 2018 3:12 pm

You can also use threaded rod with washers and nuts but I don't have any around to take a pic :lol:
If bikes are for kids I'll never grow up.

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