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1988 Yamaha TW200
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fine folks, I wanted to ask something about the interchangeability of OEM Steering Head Bearings throughout the production range of the TW ... are the pre-2001 bearing components interchangeable with the 2001 and later bearing components?

The reason that I am asking is I want to avoid the "issue" of the raised race that happens apparently with all the aftermarket tapered roller bearing replacements out there. The reason that I put "issue" in quotes is because it is my "issue" and my issue alone; OCD sucks what can I say. I just don't want a top race that pokes out proud and a bottom race that isn't tight enough technically. I know these bearings are super slow and just do the chubby-checker their whole time but ...

Anyway, there is a huge difference in price between the pre-2001 OEM parts and the 2001 and later OEM parts. If I got the parts that are specifically spec'd for my 1988, they would run approximately $142.71 because each ball bearing is priced separately and priced outrageously. On the other hand if I got the parts spec'd for a 2001 or later they would run about $47.89. The other big benefit is that the ball bearings are all captive which makes things much easier to work with. I'll post some schematics from Babbits as a reference. Some of the parts are actually the same part number throughout the years so that makes me thing they are interchangeable.

Without getting into the pros and cons of the aftermarket tapered stuff vs. OEM, I'd just like to learn if I can save some money and time and trouble by getting OEM for a 2001 or later? Thanks as always.


 

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Sorry bud I can’t help you with your ocd. I feel it’s a mistake not to go with tapered rollers. Good luck. And no disrespect, just my opinion.
 

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1988 Yamaha TW200
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry bud I can’t help you with your ocd. I feel it’s a mistake not to go with tapered rollers. Good luck. And no disrespect, just my opinion.
No worries whatsoever, I get that perspective too. In theory I totally agree with you; in other words if there was an aftermarket option where the top race didn't protrude out of the frame tube and the bottom race wasn't a little bit too loose to fit tightly like races are really supposed to fit, I would be all over it but since all the aftermarket options seem to have these characteristics I can't do it. And I also definitely don't intend any disrespect to those who have switched to the tapered style; I know they work, I know they work very well, I know it is a slow speed bearing that basically just goes side to side, I've never heard of anyone anywhere having a problem with them. I'm just trying to avoid all that part of this conversation here (because it's been covered very completely elsewhere) and ask about interchangeability of the OEM bearings throughout the production range. Again some of the parts numbers on the two schematics (like some of the races) are the same pre-2001 and then after so I'm assuming the major difference is the captive bearings which make a lot of difference in terms of the price of the parts as well as workability (not having loose ball bearings bouncing all around). Thanks again.
 

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1988 Yamaha TW200
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok, let me ask this another way ... is the triple tree or the "under bracket comp" interchangeable throughout the production range? Are the frames there in that steering tube area all the same specs throughout the production range? Thanks.
 

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I had to replace the head bearings on my '01 years ago and I received the OEM type...even though I hoped for tapered.
I get what you're saying but to me, the OEM's just weren't very "substantial" and in hindsight, I should have put in the tapered style instead.
Even if the bottom race is a bit on the loose side, it's still held in place by the carrier and isn't going anywhere.
 

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1988 Yamaha TW200
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I had to replace the head bearings on my '01 years ago and I received the OEM type...even though I hoped for tapered.
I get what you're saying but to me, the OEM's just weren't very "substantial" and in hindsight, I should have put in the tapered style instead.
Even if the bottom race is a bit on the loose side, it's still held in place by the carrier and isn't going anywhere.
While you were doing that on the 2001, did you notice any difference between that model and earlier models you may have worked on either before or after? I know that the triple tree (aka "under bracket comp") is a different part number technically but that's because of a threaded/tapped area that accommodated something for the front disc brake setup. Other than that I don't know of any dimensional differences between the pre-2001 triple tree and later ones.

Again guys, as respectfully as possible, all the advantages/disadvantages and everything else about tapered vs. stock has already been beat to death all throughout all sorts of sections on this terrific forum ... I'm just trying to answer a super specific question about interchangeability of OEM bearings throughout the production range and if anyone out there knows that info, I'd love to learn it. Thanks again.
 

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i just pulled the stock/OEM steering bearings and races from a 2006 to replace with a tapered roller bearing kit. everything was working fine, just figured i'd swap to tapered while i had the front end apart already. i can confirm that on the new tapered bearing kit the top race does stick up above the top of the steer tube and the bottom race isn't as tight a fit as the top one; not quite loose, though, just not as snug. i used a park steering race remover to extract the original races from the steer tube so they're in good shape. bike has 6000 miles on it and per the previous original owner mostly highway miles.

anyway, you're welcome to the original steering bearings and races if you want to experiment with 2001+ hardware in your 1988, the only part i'm keeping is the little rubber boot that sits at the base of the fork below the bottom bearing.
 

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There was a post on here detailing this but i can't find it now. The races are the same between 19xx and 20xx bikes. The only difference is the ball bearings have a cage for this century. Upgrade away!
 

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The races are compatible, although the balls have been upgraded as above

Feel free to mix and match - although you will have the same problem as before in around 5k miles

The only reason we accept the height incompatibility is to avoid doing this over and over again, (plus the height incompatibility does not affect operation or longevity)

One of those answers your question, one of then answers ours - your bike, your choice ......
 

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i just pulled the stock/OEM steering bearings and races from a 2006 to replace with a tapered roller bearing kit. everything was working fine, just figured i'd swap to tapered while i had the front end apart already. i can confirm that on the new tapered bearing kit the top race does stick up above the top of the steer tube and the bottom race isn't as tight a fit as the top one; not quite loose, though, just not as snug. i used a park steering race remover to extract the original races from the steer tube so they're in good shape. bike has 6000 miles on it and per the previous original owner mostly highway miles.

anyway, you're welcome to the original steering bearings and races if you want to experiment with 2001+ hardware in your 1988, the only part i'm keeping is the little rubber boot that sits at the base of the fork below the bottom bearing.
My Googling shows that TW200 bearings are:
(ID x OD x height, in mm)

Upper: 25 x 43 x 11
Lower: 30 x 48 x 12

But I'm unsure if this is tapered roller bearings or the cup and cone ball bearings (OEM).

Could you measure the stack height (dry, no grease) of your removed OEM bearings?
 

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Your putting too much thought into it. They will interchange. If there was any difference in thickness or ball size the races would have a different part number. From another ocd sufferer.
 

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1988 Yamaha TW200
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
i just pulled the stock/OEM steering bearings and races from a 2006 to replace with a tapered roller bearing kit. everything was working fine, just figured i'd swap to tapered while i had the front end apart already. i can confirm that on the new tapered bearing kit the top race does stick up above the top of the steer tube and the bottom race isn't as tight a fit as the top one; not quite loose, though, just not as snug. i used a park steering race remover to extract the original races from the steer tube so they're in good shape. bike has 6000 miles on it and per the previous original owner mostly highway miles.

anyway, you're welcome to the original steering bearings and races if you want to experiment with 2001+ hardware in your 1988, the only part i'm keeping is the little rubber boot that sits at the base of the fork below the bottom bearing.
Thank you that's very kind of you. I think with the below answers given I'll get them new but thanks again that's awesome!


There was a post on here detailing this but i can't find it now. The races are the same between 19xx and 20xx bikes. The only difference is the ball bearings have a cage for this century. Upgrade away!
AhHa! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I really appreciate that and I also looked all over for the answer already given somewhere by someone but couldn't find it. Thank You Again!


The races are compatible, although the balls have been upgraded as above

Feel free to mix and match - although you will have the same problem as before in around 5k miles

The only reason we accept the height incompatibility is to avoid doing this over and over again, (plus the height incompatibility does not affect operation or longevity)

One of those answers your question, one of then answers ours - your bike, your choice ......
Understood and thanks also. If I get 5K out of these I'll totally be happy but I have a "theory" that all the reported inconsistencies of how the factory torqued down the area there and also how the factory sometimes failed to fully grease the area there could have contributed to that low average mileage of 5K on a set of stock bearings. In other words, has anybody here actually replaced with OEM, assembled, greased and torqued everything down correctly and then still replaced some 5K later or is that just the average life before people take out the old OEM and goto aftermarket? Hmmm. Anyway, thanks again for all the information.
 

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I installed OEM bearings in mine at around 6K. I've got over 16k now and the bearings are doing fine. Note there is some banging around Tennessee miles too.
 

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1988 Yamaha TW200
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I installed OEM bearings in mine at around 6K. I've got over 16k now and the bearings are doing fine. Note there is some banging around Tennessee miles too.
Year is an 03 and I used Bel-Ray water proof grease.
AhHa! See this is what I am thinking about !!! ... thank you for your experience !!! ... I'm sure you paid proper attention to assembling everything appropriately and greasing and torquing, etc. and look how long yours have lasted. There is such a wide range of reported mileages prior to people having problems with the stock bearings and trying to account for all the different types of riders, terrain and everything else it still doesn't seem to make sense why some original bearings wear out so prematurely (mine are actually at a lot less than 5K now with some significant indentation and I know for a fact that the three previous owners babied the bike and basically just took it up and down dirt roads for about 3800 miles). So, if everything is expertly assembled I'm thinking the stock ones have the potential to last for many more miles than the 5K we are all almost accepting as normal now. Anyway, thanks again for sharing your experience I really appreciate it and hopefully I will get that type of mileage out of my replacement OEM bearings! Thanks Again.
 
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