Adding zerk grease fitings to Relay Arm

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Snowflake
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Adding zerk grease fitings to Relay Arm

Post by Snowflake » Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:25 pm

Here's the finish product. Its reasonably easy to do if you have the tools and patience. There are a lot of steps so it takes some time to get done.
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After the second time I serviced the relay arm on my 2005, I convinced myself that there must be a better way. Suspending the bike and removing the centerstand to grease one bearing seemed ridiculous.

The primary reason for my mod is to allow greasing of the front(pivot) bearing without having to remove the Relay Arm from the bike. This means finding a way to get the grease into the bearing (and out) without access to the needle bearings. So I came up with a way to create an internal passage way into the needle bearings. And added a spout to direct the displaced grease at service time out of the bearing.

The tough part is cutting the slots into the bearing outer race so that the line up with the small passageways added to the relay arm itself. This is done AFTER removing the needles from the bearing. You have to pick out that waxy oily crud around the needles. After slotting the bearing and removing any burrs from the slot, use your best sticky grease to pack the needle bearings back in place. Be careful not to loose them; they're slippery little buggers.

The grease path is created though the relay arm with a 3/32" diameter hole through the center of the pivot end of the arm. This connects to the tapped hole (1/4-28 UNF)added for the grease fitting. That fitting is installed into the thin web (low stress area) of the relay arm.

Hear are some photos showing various steps.
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The grease vent (Fred calls it the 'Turkish tea spout) is made from a short piece of brass tubing and a slightly larger 1/8" diameter piece of stainless steel. That whole thing is held in place with JB Weld.

The zerk fitting for the dog bone bearings isn't really that necessary. it's more of a convenience. it allows you to grease each of the DB bearings individually by sliding the inner sleeve to one side then the other and pumping fresh grease from inside to out.

The shock mount bearing is done the way you always do it. Remove the sleeve, clean the needle bearings and seal. Regrease, reassemble.

All of this can be done with the bike on the centerstand. Remove the two bolts holding the dogbones in and remove the shock mount bolt. Let the relay arm swing down to give access to the zerk(s). Pretty easy..

Here's my 2014ES getting fresh grease in the pivot (front) bearing.
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Installation note: The pressure caused by flushing the bearing tends to push out the seals. To resist that I install a Teflon washer to each side of the relay arm up against the seals and inside the bikes frame mount. You can see a little bit of one in photo above.

I think another benefit of this mod is that now that bearing is packed solid with grease thereby allowing no space for air or water. Don't know for sure but seems reasonable to me.
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jwilly
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Re: Adding zerk grease fitings to Relay Arm

Post by jwilly » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:11 pm

Nice work, you should buy a few extras and offer a part swap mail order business.
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tominca
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Re: Adding zerk grease fitings to Relay Arm

Post by tominca » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:59 pm

The relay arm is a pain in the ass, especially due to the way the retaining bolts interfere until after the first replacement/service. This looks like a solution in search of a problem. It's beautiful, but seriously we have FJRs that have gone way over 100K miles and never touched the arm. They tend to be dry from the factory, and the bearings can suck, but I have not seen these serviced even at the tech meets.
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Re: Adding zerk grease fitings to Relay Arm

Post by Hppants » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:06 am

So for the front relay arm hole, you drilled the zerk hole from one side, took the needles out, and cross drilled through the bearing race (twice) and into the arm until you found the zerk hole?

As I understand it, there are two bearings for the middle hole. So did you put a zerk on both sides of the middle hole? Again, drilled through the bearing race? How do you "flush" or relieve the grease pressure for the middle hole?
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Snowflake
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Re: Adding zerk grease fitings to Relay Arm

Post by Snowflake » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:28 pm

Tom, We all get to decide what level of risk to take on regarding bike maintenance. For me it is worth it to do this mod for the piece of mind of having these bearings serviced regularly. I do it every spring when I do the rear brake lever pivot (also a zerk), the shift lever, the clutch lever and front brake lever. I've rebuilt enough FJR relay arms to know that the inner sleeves can get trashed. I have no record of the maintenance on those trashed ones.

Pants,

First question, yes. Although I think I drilled the 3/32 'passageway' hole first, then drilled and tapped the zerk fitting hole. The bearing race slots are put in with a .025" thick grinding wheel, not a drill.

I'll try to explain the DogBone sleeve greasing a little better:

The cavity in the relay arm for the two dog bone sleeve bearings is slightly bigger than the sleeve. The hole I drill for the zerk fitting goes into the middle part of the relay arm between the two bearings. There is only one zerk fitting for the middle bearings. I make no modifications to the middle bearings.

To grease the middle bearings, first push the inner sleeve to one side about 1/16" inboard of the bearing seal. Then pump grease into the zerk until you see grease coming out around outside of the sleeve and inside of the bearing seal. The entire inside of the bearing just got new grease. Then push the inner sleeve back through that just greased seal to expose the seal on the other end. Repeat the pumping to fill that bearing with grease. Push the inner sleeve back flush with the relay arm faces. That entire volume around the inner sleeve should be full of grease now.

Hope that makes sense. It may sound complicated, but it isn't. Greasing the two middle bearings takes about 1 minute after you get the dog bones off.

Russ
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Re: Adding zerk grease fitings to Relay Arm

Post by Snowflake » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:32 pm

jwilly wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:11 pm
Nice work, you should buy a few extras and offer a part swap mail order business.
I have an A model Relay Arm in the shop now that I picked up on Ebay. I haven't pulled the bearings out yet for evaluation.
I should get around to modding it this summer and will offer it up for a swap.

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