GTS Steering Head Bearings
Periodically, all Vespa's steering heads need to be adjusted. To get to the adjusting ring nuts, several parts have to be removed. This is how I go about it on my GTS. (Note: To loosen and tighten the ring nuts, special tool 020055Y is called for. Also, a torque wrench is necessary).

Remove rear view mirrors, after loosening the brake reservoir covers.

Remove horn cover by removing screw under Piaggio badge. (Carefully prise badge off with small screwdriver.)
Remove screw under headlight.

Remove two screws on either side of handlebar cover.

The front cover can now be removed. This can take some wiggling and persuading!
Unplug the headlight connections and set the cover aside.

Locate and remove the 4 screws holding the rear cover on as well as the small nut and bolt at the bottom of the instrument housing.

Unscrew the speedo cable from the instrument panel.

The cover can then be moved out of the way. (It is still attached by the wiring harness).
Remove the handlebar clamp bolt. (It's a tight bugger!)
The handlebars can now be pulled off the steering stem and carefully hung behind the legshield. Use a shop rag to prevent scratches to the paintwork.

Lift off the black plastic cover and finally get to see the steering head ring nuts, spacer washer and bearings!
Remove the top ring nut with the special tool, then the spacer.
Torque the lower ring nut to 12-14Nm.
Replace the spacer and locking ring nut, torquing it to 35-40Nm.

That's it! All that remains is to reassemble the whole mess in the reverse order. The handlebar clamp bolt should be torqued to 45-50Nm. refitting the handlebar covers is a royal pain, but with a bit of patience and wiggling it can be done. Make sure the locating tabs are in the right places. I recommend stuffing a shop rag down the open tunnel below the steering assembly early in the proceedings, to prevent nuts, bolts and screws from disappearing down there! I also test that the speedometer cable is properly connected by raising the front end of the bike and spinning the front wheel by hand and checking the speedometer needle for movement. This requires a helper!
At this point I have a confession to make - I don't have the special tool to remove the ring nuts, so I have to improvise. Because I don't advise this procedure, I won't describe it, other than to say that it involves a hammer and screwdriver! The important thing to remember is that the handlebars should turn freely and smoothly, with no binding. On the other hand, there should be no play in the steering head at all. This can be checked by raising the front end and pulling on the wheel.
Although the whole procedure sounds tedious, and it is, it only takes me about an hour from start to finish. I hope this is of some help to those wanting to give it a try. I heartily encourage any corrections or additional information that anyone might want to offer.



This article originally contributed by Burgerbob

FYI: If you feel "notches" or other inconsistencies in the steering, it is most likely the lower bearings that have failed, as they are the ones bearing the weight of the chassis and rider.

FYI contributed by Drewteague
Last Updated Mon May 31, 2010 4:47 pm

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