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2.2 Steering System

Information Method of Inspection Reason for rejection
A modification to steering geometry is not
in itself a reason for rejection.

Before failing a machine for excessively stiff steering, check that any adjustable steering damper is released. The tester may at his discretion consider that a road test is necessary to establish whether stability or control is adversely affected. If the damper is released during the test the vehicle presenter must be informed (Reference Introduction Item 5).

It is important to distinguish between play in the head bearings and that in the forks, it may be necessary to use the assistant to apply the brake whilst the machine is pushed so that a proper assessment can be made by hand and eye.
Check that the steering head bearings are adjusted correctly and are in good condition as follows:

1. Inspect for tightness and roughness by turning the steering from lock to lock
a. with the front wheel on the ground for on a turning plate) to check the lower bearing, and

b. with the machine raised so that the front wheel is clear of the ground to check the upper bearing.

2. Inspect for free play as follows;
a. apply the front brake and push the handlebars forward, or

b. for lightweight machines, with the aid of an assistant raise the front wheel clear of the ground, apply the front brake, and lift the front of the front wheel, it may be necessary to support the centre of the machine if it does not have a suitable stand).

c. for machines with centre hub steering:
with the front wheel held between your legs rock the steering side to side taking up the play. Assess the free play in the linkage.
I. Steering movement excessively stiff, 'notchy' or rough (see information column).

a. with weight on the lower bearing,

b. with the wheel raised.

2. Excessive free play in the head bearings or any steering linkage (see information column).
Issue Date June 2002
Reproduced from the MOT Inspection Manual by kind permission of THE VEHICLE INSPECTORATE.

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