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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm wanting to tighten the steering head nut on my '09 400. From posts, I found I could 1) purchase the Suzuki special tools for around $160, 2) use the "tap it with a hammer and drift/screwdriver method or 3) make my own tools. I chose door number 3. I was able to mock them up using an adjustment nut and a lock nut I happened to have (borrowed them off a front fork/steering stem assembly sitting in my living room, awaiting additional parts and installation on my wife's bike...another story :roll: ). I had to use slightly different approaches for the two sockets. For starters, I found square drift pins ( $0.80 each) at the local Ace Hardware that fit the notches in the nuts nicely. For the adjustment nut, I found a 1 3/16" deep socket at a pawn shop ($1) that had an O.D. right at the I.D. of the notches in the nut. I placed four pins around the socket, temporarily held in place with a hose clamp and aligned using the nut. The pins were wire-welded in place, the nut and hose clamp removed, and things cleaned up a bit for a slide-on fit. The lock nut is smaller diameter, and I could not find a socket thin enough to have an O.D. as mentioned above and still have an internal opening larger than the steering stem. So, instead of welding the drift pins to the outside, I welded them in appropriately ground notches around the perimeter of the end of a similarly purchased 1 1/16" deep socket (I happened to have a grinding wheel for my drill only slightly narrower than the drift pins). I used drift pins fitted and hose clamped to the lock nut to mark the notch points. Once welded I popped off the lock nut and again, cleaned things up. I placed the nuts on the handy steering stem and torqued them to spec to make sure they would take it :cheers: Here's some pics:

[attachment=1:39k9094n]DIY steering adjustment sockets (1).jpg[/attachment:39k9094n]

[attachment=0:39k9094n]DIY steering adjustment sockets (2).jpg[/attachment:39k9094n]

Now, what I'd really like to see is someone do something similar but, use JB Weld instead to see if it holds up to the somewhat modest torque load (21 ft-lb) (clean the old sockets well, and roughen up the surfaces). If so, it would simplify fabrication and open it up to folks with limited equipment :thumbup: In the case of the lock nut socket, I'd use a socket large enough to allow the pins to be inserted in the inside of the scavenged socket without having to cut notches. This wasn't practical with welding, as it would have been difficult to work the welder through the inside of the nut without damaging it. A person could go so far as purchasing both the nuts for less than $10 apiece (through Shopzilla or other discount OEM supplier) and have it a done deal for around $30 (I suppose, could even then return the nuts).

One last thing...It seems to me the nuts can be accessed by removing the handle bar cover, the handle bar assembly, then the handle bar clamp. Does anyone know differently?
 

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Nice job. I've found ways to make most of the "special tools" I have needed to work on my bikes at cost much less than buying them from the manufacture.
 

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Looks great. I used the hammer and screw driver method then used a pull scale until the recommended pull weight was achieved then locked everything down. My original plan was to sacrifice a couple of sockets that were big enough, mark them up then grind away the material that was not needed because I don't have access to welding equipment but I never made to that point.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So, my question remains… What is the minimum I have to remove in order to get to these nuts to adjust them?
 

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You have to remove the tupperware on the bars then remove the bars. I recently had to change out the upper and lower bearings and races, boy what fun that was.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
InfernoST said:
You have to remove the tupperware on the bars then remove the bars. I recently had to change out the upper and lower bearings and races, boy what fun that was.
Thanks, Keith :cheers: That is the info I needed and what I thought. I think I'll tackle it tomorrow :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Now, having gone through the process I understand it better. The manual says to torque nut to 21 ft-lbs, then back it off 1/4 to 1/2 a turn, checking for smooth operation. This is described in a section which would assume the bike's front end is pretty torn down. Anyway, I used this method, put everything back together and still found the front end to be what I considered "loose", with death wobbles hands off under 50mph. Later in the manual, there is a description of adjusting the front end to get it to feel right. As it did not describe exactly how to carry out the task, with the handle bars back on, I used the "tap with a hammer and screwdriver" method to tighten things up until there was an appropriate amount of resistance to turning with the wheel off the ground, measured with a spring scale attached to the handlebar. What I would recommend is taking some length measurements from steering centerline to the point where the scale hooks to the handlebars, then convert the resulting foot-pounds to what it should be if the spring scale were attached somewhere on the wheel or forks. That way, the handlebars could be left off until after final adjustments were made with the subject special tools (which, are much kinder to the nut and locknut than the tapping with a screwdriver method.
 
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