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 Should we grease all the bearings on a 2016 used wr?

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PostSubject: Should we grease all the bearings on a 2016 used wr?   Fri Mar 23, 2018 10:18 pm

Hi, I just picked up a 2016 WR250R used with 1500 miles on it. I was planning on taking out the steering head bearings to clean and grease them. I was also going to grease the wheel bearings, swing arm bearings and linkage bearings. I've had several yamahas throughout the years and the seal on the steering column is not great and those bearings tend to go bad and then you have to replace the upper and lower bearing and race. Is it a good idea to take this bike apart to grease all the bearings? Or is there a reason I would be better off leaving it alone? I don't think the MFG puts enough grease on these bearings which is why I was going to do it. Thanks.
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PostSubject: Re: Should we grease all the bearings on a 2016 used wr?   Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:57 am

This is a subject often tossed around with riders, and you'll get as many different opinions as grains of sand on a beach.
In my opinion and experience, the vast majority of motorcycle riders are similar in machine knowledge as the guy you just bought your WR250R from:
I don't know everything, but what I do know I had to learn from experience myself.

Myself, I always grease the chassis bearing after taking a used bike home with me.
The reason is the most obvious one:
Even if your used bike looks mint, it was still in somebody else's care for the time they owned it, and that will bring a bit of doubt and speculation into the situation.
By greasing these parts and getting it over with, I KNOW what condition they are in.

After that is done, I will regrease the swingarm pivot and shock linkage bearings every three months of weekend riding, regrease the steering head bearings once a year, and grease the wheel axles, wheel spacers, and the seals the wheel spacers sit in several times per year since I'll typically have the wheels off several times per year.

Speaking about wheel axles, swingarm pivot shafts, suspension linkage bolts, and spacers/collars and seals, these parts need grease applied to them, too.
The lips of the seals are designed to have a film of grease applied to them upon assembly, and applying grease to the bolts and shafts and spacers and collars keeps water and dirt out and resists rust and corrosion.
Ever see a swingarm pivot bolt that seems welded in place?
That's because it was never removed for periodic lubrication, and it rusted in place.

As for the wheel bearings, themselves:

Some bearings are sealed on both sides via seals that are part of the bearing, and it is not possible to get grease into the bearing without trying to pry the seal off the bearing, something I don't do, myself.
So, if the bearing has a built-in seal, I don't bother trying to pry it off to grease the balls of the bearing.
If the bearing has no seal on at least one side, then I will put some grease into the balls of the bearing.
The whole trick is to not allow a known good bearing to become contaminated with water and dirt.

As for brand-new bikes:

If the bike were brand-new, it would be able to go a while without having to grease the bearings, even though lots of riders claim you must do this immediately after getting the new bike home.
It seems to me that riders expect there to be tons of grease oozing out of the steering head, swingarm pivot, and shock linkage bearings when disassembling a brand-new bike, but reality is that those relatively small needle bearings and tapered roller bearings will hold only so much grease.
On every one of my brand-new Yamaha motorcycles, these bearings were sufficiently greased, in my opinion.
The trick is not to completely neglect them.
If you were to immediately grease those parts with a new bike, no harm done, and you have the benefit of knowing first-hand their condition.
That seems the No. 1 reason to do this, to me.

As for the upper steering head bearing seal on Yamaha motorcycles:

I agree that water can get in through the top seal if either the seal is not greased upon assembly, or if a power washer is pointed directly at it, or if the seal is dry and simply worn-out.
I found that if I don't point a garden hose (I don't have a power washer) directly at it, it lasts for my year between grease intervals.

Also, don't neglect your air filter when riding off-road, and certainly don't go for 6 months of off-road use between air filter service.
On my WR250R (I used to own a 2008 model), I'd service the air filter after every weekend.
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PostSubject: Re: Should we grease all the bearings on a 2016 used wr?   Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:39 am

Thanks. Makes sense. I planned to use Lucas oil tacky red on the steering stem and linkage bearings - it is a soap based lithium grease. Then i’ll Use maxima mono di.... bendum.... something grease for the wheels, axles and spacers. Sound good? Thanks
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PostSubject: Re: Should we grease all the bearings on a 2016 used wr?   Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:54 am

jamiemm18 wrote:
I don't think the MFG puts enough grease on these bearings which is why I was going to do it.

They don't. First thing I did when I bought my 2017 was take it apart and grease everything. Was that necessary? No, I'm sure there are lots of riders here who can testify to riding for years without doing it. But wrenchers like to know what's what. I can confirm there's not a lot of grease from the factory, but it's not like they are dry and doomed to fail. For me there's peace in seeing and knowing. Later, for not much money, you can get a bearing puller and driver and start servicing and/or replacing bearings, on some interval that makes sense for the riding you do.

Or not. I can easily argue the other side. If you aren't going out on longer adventure-style rides/trips and don't ride a lot in abusive conditions, and you pay attention to the bike for signs of problems--noise, wheel not spinning freely, steering starting to feel a bit stiff, etc., you can likely deal with the issues as they present themselves.

There are a lot of opinions on these things because it comes down to each rider's knowledge, preferences and experience. Do what makes you feel confident when you're out riding. Oh, and enjoy the bike!

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PostSubject: Re: Should we grease all the bearings on a 2016 used wr?   Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:48 am

I forgot to mention that there's no need to pull or remove the needle and tapered roller bearings from the rear suspension and steering head in order to grease them.
Just remove the spacers and collars in order to access the needles/rollers, wipe them clean, and use your finger to work some new grease into them.
Smear grease over the spacers/collars and seal lips and bolts that go through the spacers/collars upon reassembly.
Pretty simple.

As for the sealed radial ball bearings used in motorcycle wheel hubs, the only time I will remove one of these bearings is if it needs to be replaced, and it's been decades since I've had to do that (probably back in the 1980s and 1990s when I had a hobby of buying beat-up dirt bikes, repairing them, and then riding them for a while).
If your wheel bearings are good to start with and you keep up with the maintenance of the wheel axles and spacers and seals, the bearings will never be contaminated with water and dirt and will last the time you own the bike.

If you never do this re-lube maintenance, then you can count on having to replace these bearings eventually if you keep the bike long enough.
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PostSubject: Re: Should we grease all the bearings on a 2016 used wr?   Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:11 pm

Ok, thanks. I’ll pull the wheels off and clean / dry all surfaces, axle, covers, etc. I’ll rub some grease over the surface of the wheel bearings that I can see or touch and douse everything in grease. I usually way overdo the grease and am wiping it off the bike for a week. I do try to remove the excess grease because it attracts dirt. But when I put my bike on a stand and spin the wheels, they spin as long as anyone’s. I’ve never done suspension bearings before so I’ll watch a video or two to figure out what you mean by needles and rollers. Since the bike is a 2016, I don’t want to cause any damage by trying to be proactive. I don’t want to disturb needles or cause the bearing to fall apart just because I’m being a good bike owner so I will be very gentle. I have done the steering before and figure I’ll get the bike on a stand and then let the forks wheel and lower clamp all drop as one unit. That will expose the bottom bearing and I can work in some grease: the top bearing will just come right out at That point so I’ll clean that and the washer and then wipe the race down, grease and reassemble. Thanks for the help and let me know if I’m forgetting something please.
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