Steering "notch"
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Hooked
2006 Fly 150
Joined: 13 Jun 2008
Posts: 127
Location: Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Fri Jun 12, 2009 5:18 am quote
I'm going to look at a used 250 that only has 300km on it. I'm worried with such low mileage it could have this bearing issue. Is there any easy way for me to tell without disassembly?

The bike is priced about 1000 less than other listed ones, so it made me a bit worried.
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The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37492
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Fri Jun 12, 2009 5:50 am quote
With that low mileage it won't be a problem. In normal use it seems will rear it's ugly head about 10,000km from new if no pre-emptive action is taken.
Member
mp3 400 lt
Joined: 20 Dec 2008
Posts: 17
Location: holland
Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:46 pm quote
I found an other easy way to lubricate the bearings on the German mp3 forum:


You just have to make this yourself:


I tried it myself and it works great.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Neutrino MP3 492.7 AK, 2013 Moto Guzzi Norge
Joined: 29 Mar 2008
Posts: 21344
Location: Harriman, Tennessee, Tn
Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:46 pm quote
nice find and thanks for posting it. can you tell us the size of that bolt?
Ossessionato
R.I.P. ----K.I.T.T.500, Agent Orange (400)
Joined: 04 Jul 2008
Posts: 2670
Location: Rockford, IL
Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:20 pm quote
That looks like a great solution as the lubricant could be fill/refilled over and over pretty easy...but I have two questions(with add ons):

1. Do you leave the bolt on during riding or is it just put on while you put in new lubricant?

2. So exactly how does that work? Is the bolt hollow or have a tiny hole running through it? It looks(from the picture) as though the nipple is just attached to the top, but there has to be a tiny hole or something in the bolt right?

Thanks!
Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37492
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:24 pm quote
Personally I think (at the moment, it is dark here, I cannot check) that this mod is NOT what is required. This would apply grease to the outside of the bearings, not squeeze grease out from the inside of the steering tubes. The mod for that has been published here already IIRC.

In any case, the 100% thing that has to be done first is to get the elimination of pre-load established.
Member
mp3 400 lt
Joined: 20 Dec 2008
Posts: 17
Location: holland
Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:27 am quote
I agree with JimC that the pre load thing must be solved.
The bold size is M10 and is only used for lubricating.
I drilled a hole all the way through the bolt. Because of the hole in the bold it is not strong enough to stay in place.
Member
Gilera Fuoco 500
Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 43
Location: Ireland
Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:31 pm quote
Steering
Had a look at my Fuoco's steering this evening. Jacked the front end
with the bike on the stand. Removed the covers.
Backed off the nuts and had a look in. Bearings were very dry.
Removed the link. You remove the plastic "spoiler" thats held on with one
cross head screw and remove the exposed nut.
Watch the shims. I would say that they are used for "toe-in"
Checked under the rubber boots on the link knuckles while I was in the area, there was actually grease in there.
Packed as much grease as I could into the bearings with my finger.
It disappeared so I assume it went into the bearing.
With the steering link disconnected, you can turn the wheels around and
get to the backs of the bearings.
Dropped the wheels to the ground and tightened the bottom nut with a drift.
I used a suitable sized screwdriver for my drift.
When the nut tightened, seating the bearing, I backed it off and tightened it again using just the palm of my hand against the screwdriver handle.
I backed it off about 110 degrees and tightened the top nut.
Repeated on the other side.
I jacked the front end again and checked for backlash by grabbing each wheel and pulling and pushing towards the front and back.
I could feel no lash in the bearings so replaced everything went for a spin.
Steering felt a bit freer but felt safe. Horsed her around some roundabouts
and she felt good.
I am going to do the grease nipple conversion. If I have the bearing pressure sorted, this has to be a good thing.
Its only a matter of drilling the bolt and tapping some threads for the grease nipple.
Theres only 2300 Kms on the bike so hopefully I won't have any trouble with the steering now. Those dry bearings would not have lasted,
especially if the preload was wrong.
Thanks to Jim everyone for your input and photos. Thanks mods for this forum too.
Ossessionato
'09 Mp3-500 - Gone Now
Joined: 19 Feb 2009
Posts: 2065
Location: Happy Valley, Oregon
Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:42 pm quote
This thread is freaking me out
I think I've read this thread like three times now and it leaves me way, way concerned. I just got thru with my first service and still not had time to ride much more than to work so I got like maybe 750 miles only on the odo... I know I really, really like this scooter and plan to ride it a long time so I want to be proactive and perform whatever preventative maintenance I can on her. That said, I am quite unsure EXACTLY what steps I should be taking to help ensure I don't get to suffer some 'steering notch' grief.

I sent an inquiry to my dealer/service as to this issue and what they may know about it, but no response as of yet.

I have no fear in getting into the mechanics of the scooter itself and have a good tool set (sans specialty stuff) and I am ready to help me help myself. I have the shop manual (thanks for pointing to it jimc) and have looked at the relatively skimpy info on the steering; not helping me much. So I need to get serious about making sure I have this issue in hand.

I will be installing a Signal Dynamics headlight modulator soon so will have her opened up for that, and that's probably a good time to get into this. But I feel like I lack clear direction on the best path to follow here to check the steering for this problem... my head kinda spins from the back and forth and horror stories on this thread. So if any of you experienced and learned folks have the time to respond with clear steps I could / should take it would be very much appreciated.

BTW, what a great forum. I have learned much here and continue to do so, and hope I can return some of the favor some day.
Ossessionato
'09 Mp3-500 - Gone Now
Joined: 19 Feb 2009
Posts: 2065
Location: Happy Valley, Oregon
Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:44 pm quote
Fast follow up
ironhorse posted same time I did, and gave me insight into some of the procedures to use, thanks for that. Still could use some detail on 'drift' and such...
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Neutrino MP3 492.7 AK, 2013 Moto Guzzi Norge
Joined: 29 Mar 2008
Posts: 21344
Location: Harriman, Tennessee, Tn
Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:56 pm quote
Bravo I believe the 250's have more of a problem then the 500's . I have check mine for looseness every 1000 miles now and have found none. Its due again this week as well as an oil change will let you know what I find out, probably around Fri.
Ossessionato
'09 Mp3-500 - Gone Now
Joined: 19 Feb 2009
Posts: 2065
Location: Happy Valley, Oregon
Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:09 am quote
old as dirt wrote:
Bravo I believe the 250's have more of a problem then the 500's . I have check mine for looseness every 1000 miles now and have found none. Its due again this week as well as an oil change will let you know what I find out, probably around Fri.
Thanks, oad, hopefully you have only good to report. So how is it you check yours? I don't have a stand and am a little reluctant to just have at it without a little more direction, but if that's what it takes to ensure a safe and reliable ride I'll just do it. This thread does provide some good background and I may just learn as I do.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Neutrino MP3 492.7 AK, 2013 Moto Guzzi Norge
Joined: 29 Mar 2008
Posts: 21344
Location: Harriman, Tennessee, Tn
Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:19 pm quote
I have a m/c lift I use under the center of the scoot to take the pressusre off the front end and just check the big nuts on top for looseness. also hit the bearings with some white lithum spray grease.
Ossessionato
'09 Mp3-500 - Gone Now
Joined: 19 Feb 2009
Posts: 2065
Location: Happy Valley, Oregon
Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:39 pm quote
jimc wrote:
The top bearings (that UFO showed) are only a problem if the lower ring has been badly adjusted. The bottom bearings can be a problem anytime if you hit a really sharp deep pothole at the 'wrong speed' - but this is minimised by dropping the steering tube and greasing them properly with a decent grease designed for the job and adjusting the locking rings properly. I don't think a lithium grease is the right one for the bearings themselves. A lithium spray grease is however a good idea to spray over the outside when all done up to stop road-shit getting into the bearings.
jimc seemed to think lithium was not a good choice for the bearings themselves (page 2 of thread). So what would be a good choice? And question 2, I have regular hydraulic floor jack - is there a lift point can be used for just the front end? (In the office still, not home to look)

Got my Diamond Star in the mail today so looks like I will spend part of the holiday tackling Loretta's front end.
Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37492
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:13 pm quote
You need either two bottle jacks or a dual-point scissor jack bearing on the frame tubes beside the petrol tank. One regular car trolley-jack is not much use.

And frankly I wouldn't worry too much unless you notice some symptoms. If the bearings were mal-adjusted in the first place, no amount of checking now will help, they *will* fail at some point. You get plenty of warning as the condition deteriorates.
Ossessionato
'09 Mp3-500 - Gone Now
Joined: 19 Feb 2009
Posts: 2065
Location: Happy Valley, Oregon
Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:40 pm quote
jimc wrote:
You need either two bottle jacks or a dual-point scissor jack bearing on the frame tubes beside the petrol tank. One regular car trolley-jack is not much use.

And frankly I wouldn't worry too much unless you notice some symptoms. If the bearings were mal-adjusted in the first place, no amount of checking now will help, they *will* fail at some point. You get plenty of warning as the condition deteriorates.
Roger that, many thanks. Nonetheless I will perform at least a good visual inspection when I have her top off for the headlight modulator install... I will also look at exactly what is required to fabricate a simple lift adapter for my floor jack (it's a 3 ton so should be rather capable) and maybe fab one up.

Thanks again for your responses here jimc!
Hooked
2009 MP3 250
Joined: 29 Dec 2008
Posts: 245
Location: land of beer and cheese and rain
Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:21 am quote
this topic is the most important topic 2 me..
thank to all that have made input on it.
I hope not to have this but what are the driving warning signs?
I have about 900miles so far.

thank you
Hooked
2008 MP3 400
Joined: 28 Nov 2008
Posts: 369
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Sun Aug 23, 2009 5:27 am quote
The first thing I noticed was a slight front end wobble on long sweeping curves. Then there was a "notch" in the steering at low speeds. There is a resistance to turning left and right, like there is a notch in the center.
If you follow all the suggestions in this thread, avoid any deep potholes, construction plates, and hitting any small curbs or drive lips at any speed, you should be fine.
I think I may have contributed to the problem by riding like I was on a trail bike over things that I should have slowed for.
The irony of this whole thing is that the scoot was out of the shop for only a month and someone hit-skipped it in front of my house. Hit it right in the front wheels. Totaled it.
I am planning on getting another, but haven't decided it I want new or used.
I am not going to buy one from my local dealer, that is for sure.
Hooked
2009 MP3 250
Joined: 29 Dec 2008
Posts: 245
Location: land of beer and cheese and rain
Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:17 pm quote
thanks
I have the 250 but do like some of the features the 500 offers..nice headlights and the tac is easy to read since the miles are white..
I hope all those speed bumps in the parking lot did'nt cause something for me later down the road
Addicted
MP3-250 Tiger 1050 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone
Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 862
Location: Central Coast, California
Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:46 pm quote
My notching issue is getting worse and I'm thinking of doing the replacement myself. I've found the combination of a well worn rear tire and a "notchy" front end makes for very sucky low speed/town riding, they both combine to make direction changes at those speeds quite an effort. Once I'd put on a new rear tire the bike handled better but I still want that notch gone.

I'd think having a bike lift would be a good investment for both my machines and now that I do have another bike the MP3 can be out of service for a bit. My biggest concern on doing it myself is what do I do with the hydraulic hoses that go into the center of the shaft? I'd hate to have to drain the whole system but perhaps that is what is called for, I'll check the manual further. The rest of it seems pretty straight forward to my eye and could be a good learning experience.
Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37492
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Sun Aug 23, 2009 5:43 pm quote
If buying a bike lift - do not buy the cheapest for an MP3/Fuoco - they need the wider more expensive (and far easier to use) ones.

Steering bearing failure is a certainty for any bike. For a BMW you'd be unlucky to have it within 40,000 miles. A Ducati - 6,000 miles - go figure.

These bearings will fail at different milages for different folk - it depends how you ride your bikes. What pisses me off big time is that the failure is built-in to the factory assembly system, and thereafter in the workshop manaul instructions. However - any normal clued-up bike mechanic should be able to replace these in a reasonable time (it gets better with practice) and at a reasonable cost, with a reasonable chance of them lasting 20,000 miles more without a qualm.

I have to add (because other similar things have been brought to my attention tonight) that *if* the US had similar warranty rules as the EU then this whole issue would be a very 'quiet' issue, and would have been sorted completely in the US by now. It's the lack of accountability and *sue me instead* that leads to this confrontation.

Just wittering...
Molto Verboso
2015 Ducati Monster 821 &'07 GT200 & 2012 Bonneville SE & BMW R Ninet Pure
Joined: 16 Nov 2007
Posts: 1389
Location: LOS ANGELES
Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:49 am quote
Jimc called it. When I was concerned about my tires and an uneven wear on the front right.....it must of been the steering bearings. Because at 9000 miles on my 2007 MP3 250 I now have....."THE NOTCH".

My dealer hasn't come across this problem yet, looks like I'll be the first fix. Jimc I've referred them to this thread with what you said about the fix & the manual.

And yes like Jimc said, I first noticed the problem last night as I was splitting lanes on my ride home. Then I got caught in traffic and was moving very slowly. As you ride and move your handle bars left and right, as you straighten up you can feel it catch in the center. I thought to myself...."this must be the steering notch everyone on MV is talking about". Now it is very disconcerting.

I'm going to try and get it serviced asap, but they need to order the parts. I'm going to try and take it easy but it is my daily commuter.

Do you think I have a week of riding still till the parts come in?
Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37492
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:43 am quote
Oh yes, you can carry on riding it unless it gets really bad. The main thing is that you are aware it's there, so can be more selective in taking lane-splitting opportunities and won't be disconcerted on long fast sweeping bends.
Molto Verboso
2015 Ducati Monster 821 &'07 GT200 & 2012 Bonneville SE & BMW R Ninet Pure
Joined: 16 Nov 2007
Posts: 1389
Location: LOS ANGELES
Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:54 am quote
thanks Jimc !! And I should of listened to you before. bad pam.
Moderatus Rana
MP3 250 (sold) MP3 500 (current)
Joined: 11 Jul 2008
Posts: 21446
Location: Palatka, Florida
Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:27 am quote
Sorry to hear it GP. I am just over 9000 miles but haven't seen any uneven wear on the fronts and have not felt any notch. (knock on tupperware). But I am paying attention.
Molto Verboso
2015 Ducati Monster 821 &'07 GT200 & 2012 Bonneville SE & BMW R Ninet Pure
Joined: 16 Nov 2007
Posts: 1389
Location: LOS ANGELES
Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:59 am quote
stickyfrog wrote:
Sorry to hear it GP. I am just over 9000 miles but haven't seen any uneven wear on the fronts and have not felt any notch. (knock on tupperware). But I am paying attention.
Hopefully it won't get you. I'm sure grateful for this forum because had I not read about it, it might not of clicked in my mind that I had "the notch".

Hooked
Honda CTX700N
Joined: 04 Sep 2008
Posts: 332
Location: New York
Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:21 am quote
Hi Pam, don't forget to report it here when all is said and done. My 500 was in the shop for just under one month because of "The Notch"

It wouldn't be surprising if it is their first time seeing this issue on an MP3.

dk
Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37492
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:36 am quote
Well well, I have the very first wee hint of the notch biting me again, 15,000 miles after the last set went in. Only gives that hint when filtering slowly, and the grundliness of the Dr Pulley sliders compared to the J Costa may be misleading me.

This time I'm going to see if I can drop the tube enough to leave the tapered rollers free, and then turn 1/2 the angle between two rollers, then do up again. This should leave the rollers on a fresh bit of the outer raceway. OK the hint of notch would still be there with the bars off-centre - but that won't matter one bit. Hopefully get another 15,000 miles before it happens again, and then I'll be fitting some higher spec. bearings.

Just need a dry day to be able to do it.
Hooked
2009 Piaggio MP3 400ie
Joined: 20 Aug 2008
Posts: 349
Location: Austin TX
Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:31 pm quote
Standard Spares
jimc wrote:
I am very suspect of places that don't keep most standard spares on the shelf.
Jim,

What do you consider 'standard spares'?

    belt
    oil filter
    rollers
    exhaust bush
    front brake pads
    rear brake pads
    parking brake pads
Did I miss anything?

chris
Hooked
2016 MP3 500cc Sport ABS
Joined: 01 Dec 2009
Posts: 301
Location: Lombard, Il
Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:03 pm quote
I'm new in the MP3 world....I have only had Kymco scooters before and I have always been able to do all the services and repairs by myself. I have just bought a used 2007 MP3 (250cc) with 2700 miles on it. I have to say, I'm a little scared by what I'm reading about those bearings. This scooter is very unusual and I'm not familiar with its mechanic yet.
I would like to grease those bearings but I did not quiet understood all the process and I was wondering if someone has ever post a video on you.tube on how to do it instead of pictures....
Thank you
Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37492
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:02 am quote
Re: Standard Spares
onsiteaudio wrote:
Jim,

What do you consider 'standard spares'?

    belt
    oil filter
    rollers
    exhaust bush
    front brake pads
    rear brake pads
    parking brake pads
Did I miss anything?
All those except perhaps for the parking brake pads, which normally shouldn't wear at all.
Hooked
'09 Piaggio MP3 400
Joined: 10 Nov 2009
Posts: 184
Location: Richmond, Indiana
Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:15 pm quote
Has Piaggio learned it's lesson...fixed it's problems?
In England, I see that the Piaggio dealers are fixing the notch problems under warranty. After having to do this for a while, it looks like the manufacturer would make sure that the problem was headed off and eliminated at the factory, in order to stem the flow of warranty repairs it had to eat.

My question is, I purchased my MP3 400 Aug 5th, '09. It was an '09 and I bought it before it had even been totally unpacked/preped. What are the chances that my scoot was made after they corrected the problem at the factory? (Is this something I will have to look forward to?)

Thanks,
Bill
Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37492
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:22 pm quote
There's no guarantee that they have corrected the problems at the factory yet, even if they know about the problem. Luigi may just not be taking in the new instructions, even if they have been issued. It took 4 years to get them to get the X9's right - and even then a few failed at the original 18,000 mile mark.

However the new manuals for the LT version do at least now contain a 90 degree back-off on the lower ring - but that has been proven to be not enough.
Member
MP3 400
Joined: 10 Dec 2009
Posts: 17
Location: Windsor, CT
Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:45 pm quote
Do I need to pull the front panels in order to set preload?
I just bought a 2008 MP3 400 with 2700 miles on the clock. I rode it once, and then the snow hit, so I moved it downstairs and began cleaning it up and performing maintenance. I'm new to this forum; however, I have read about the "steering notch" and am anxious to avoid it.

Do I have to pull the front covers to get at the locking rings, or can I simply raise one wheel and lower the other one? Will moving the wheels in this manner provide enough clearance to do the job? Shall I just support the bottom of the scooter, remove both front wheels, and manipulate the suspension so that one side goes down? If not, I presume I will have to remove the front panels. Is there a thread on how to do this? Once I overcome this, adjusting the preload and/or greasing the lower bearing doesn't seem so hard. Thanks to all.
Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37492
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:50 pm quote
You need to remove all front panels.
Member
MP3 400
Joined: 10 Dec 2009
Posts: 17
Location: Windsor, CT
Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:01 pm quote
Front panel removal
Is there a thread (hopefully with photos) on how to do this? Thanks.
Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37492
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:20 pm quote
It's pretty well covered in the user and workshop manuals.
See the www link in this post.
Member
MP3 400
Joined: 10 Dec 2009
Posts: 17
Location: Windsor, CT
Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:29 pm quote
OK. Thanks.
Member
MP3 400
Joined: 10 Dec 2009
Posts: 17
Location: Windsor, CT
Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:34 am quote
Service manual unclear on panel removal
I downloaded the service manual. I always thought of myself as mechanically inclined. However, I found the descriptions on front panel removal to be obtuse at best. Has anyone here done this? Would you be willing to provide a step-by-step thread, perhaps even with a picture or two? All I am interested in is removing enough body work to gain access to the suspension. Thanks.
Member
MP3 400
Joined: 10 Dec 2009
Posts: 17
Location: Windsor, CT
Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:13 pm quote
Got it!
Amazing what intuition can do. Figured it all out. The cover is now off, and I have a clear view of the steering bearings. I think you mentioned that I should disconnect the rod that steers the wheels back and forth. Where should I disconnect the rod (middle, ends)? Does this affect the alignment of the front wheels? Thanks.
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