Apr 26, 2000
Hi Jeremy,
I just finished greasing my steering head on my 426 and was wondering what the best way to tighten the nut that secures the lower triple clamp and stem into the steering head ( before the top clamp is put on). I believe the manual say 5ftlbs of torque is required.

Solid State

Mar 9, 2001
I'm not Jeremy, but here's my two cents worth. The manual calls for a very specific 'ring nut wrench'. It will even list a part number for it. It probably says to tighten to a specific torque, then loosen and then tighten to a light torque. Pretty much the same as how I usually do wheel bearings, except you need this funky wrench to grab hold of the ring nut. The wrench looks like a small spanner wrench with a 3/8th drive adaptor for a torque wrench.

When faced with the same situation as yourself, I decided to just order the wrench to get it right. Well, the shop can't order the wrench because tools don't show up on their computer. I've looked around the net for this ring nut wrench and haven't found one yet. So therefore, I haven't regreased the streering head bearings yet.

I did do all the re-greasing for a new bike - swingarm bearings and pivots and both axles/bearings, shock, and to my surprise all had plenty of gease, but this is not the usual case.

Some people have suggested to just use a punch and hammer to set the ring nut, but I dont like that idea. How did you get the ring nut off in the first place? How much grease was on the bearings?

Sorry for the long and generally useless response, perhaps some will find merit in it. Please report how you solve it, I'd sure like to know.
Apr 26, 2000
Hi Solid, I went through my bike same as you. My bearings had little to no grease on them from the factory. I gave my nut a tap with a puch to loosen and what I ended up doing is modifying a old shock preload wrench to fit the nut and torque. I to went looking for the Yamaha tool but the dealer could not find it to order.


May 3, 2001
I used a spanner wrench to both loosen and tighten mine. At least the Kawasaki owner's manual specifies the means to make sure they're not too tight nor too loose, which has to do with putting the bike on a crate and checking play at the bottom of the fork (to make sure they're tight enough) and then how easily the bars swing to one side (to make sure they're not too tight). It works out to be about the same as wheel bearings on a car. I was told by a motorcycle mechanic there is no torque spec for this and my owner's manual appears to back that up.

To my horror I found that my lower bearing was completely rusted up and had to be replaced. This required removing the lower triple clamp, putting it in a vice, then 5 heat cycles with an acetylene torch, each followed by hitting it with a chisel to get it off (they're press fit on). The dealer I bought the new bearing from pressed it on for me at no extra charge. I also ended up replacing the upper one since it was pretty badly pitted and I was in there.

The problem is they come with little grease from the factory, which coupled with power washing, completely wipes them out. As you can imagine most of the water collects in the lower one, hence I'm told it's common for them to rust like this. Take the trouble and grease them -- it'll save you $80 and a lot of hassle!

Jeremy Wilkey

Owner, MX-Tech
Jan 28, 2000
I don't actually use a torque wrench but I do use a spaner for the tensioning nut.. I tighten tillI can just fell the resistance at the bar..
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