A Harley-Davidson Springer is a unique model in the fact that the owner must lubricate the front end differently than any other Harley-Davidson model. The Springer front end is a custom design by Harley-Davidson and any modifications to it may nullify the warranty. It is imperative that you maintain and lubricate your Springer front end — particularly the steering head bearings and rocker bearings — according to the service manual. The scheduled maintenance intervals for this process are at 500 miles, 2,500 miles and every 20,000 miles thereafter.
1. Adjust the steering head bearing “fall away.” To do this, lift the motorcycle off the floor with a motorcycle lift or jack so that the front and rear wheels are an equal distance off the ground. Remove the acorn nut and washer holding the upper triple clamp in place with a wrench — located above the forks. Loosen the bolt holding the upper triple clamp in place, but do not remove completely. Turn the motorcycle forks completely to the left. Hook a piece of string through the hole in the rear of the front fender. Tie a plum bob to the string. Lay a ruler under the plum bob, with the plum bob pointed at the ‘0’. Insert a hex bearing retainer tool — a specialty motorcycle tool — into the holes for the upper triple clamp and hex bearing retainer — just below and in the center of the upper triple clamp. Center the front tire and wheel on the jack. Tap the front wheel until it begins to “fall away” to the right. Adjust the hex bearing retainer with the retainer tool until the distance between having the forks turned all the way to the left and “fall away” right is four to six inches. The direction you turn the hex bearing retainer depends on the distance of “fall away”. Retighten the bolt holding the upper triple clamp in place to 25 to 30 foot-pounds with a torque wrench. Re-install the rubber washer and acorn nut and tighten to 30 to 35 inch-pounds.
2. Adjust the rocker bearings. Use plastic ties to tie the spring fork legs and the rigid fork legs together — on each side. Loosen the bearing retainer jam nuts and bearing retainers — both located on the outside of the bottom of the forks — with a wrench. Remove the acorn nuts and washers from each stud by loosening the spring fork pivot studs — the part that holds the rocker to the fork. Tighten the bearing retainers to 25 to 35 inch-pounds with a torque wrench. Tighten the jam nuts while holding the bearing retainer in place with the hex driver to 95 to 105 foot-pounds. Remove the pivot studs. With a torque wrench rotate the rigid fork pivot studs and rockers 180 degrees. Reinstall the pivot studs, washers and acorn nuts, tightening them to 45 to 50 foot-pounds.
3. Sit on the motorcycle and be sure that you restore the front end and handlebars to their original position. Once you have replaced all of the parts, lower the motorcycle lift or jack and slowly test-drive the motorcycle.