Steering Damper, Cause of Slow speed instability - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 23 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 10:10 pm Thread Starter
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Steering Damper, Cause of Slow speed instability

I had been pondering the idea of taking my stock steering damper apart to put fluid back in it. Seals are worn out I was just curious how the bike would perform with a working steering damper.

I followed the procedure listed in the archive and much to my surprise found out that my seals seem to be holding up rather well so far. I used Honda 10W fork oil to fill it back up. Since then I have found myself in a predicament a couple of times, I have to back the bike out of the garage and turn abruptly after putting it in gear. This has never been a problem before with the empty non working steering damper. Now that it has fluid I feel I am fighting the resistance of the steering damper to make this turn and I almost joined the club that so many of you have already joined.

I was just sitting here thinking about that tonight, about how its getting colder and now with the cooler weather that fork oil is only going to get thicker as the temp drops making it harder and harder to fight the bike into making the turn that I never had a problem with before.

Just a thought, anyone have opinions to this?

Jeremy
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post #2 of 23 Old Oct 11th, 2007, 1:16 am
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Greetings Jeremy.

We're a patient lot here, we can wait for you to join our special club.

Kindest regards and waiting in anticipation.

Paul Harrington
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post #3 of 23 Old Oct 11th, 2007, 7:23 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jabrown
I had been pondering the idea of taking my stock steering damper apart to put fluid back in it. Seals are worn out I was just curious how the bike would perform with a working steering damper.

I followed the procedure listed in the archive and much to my surprise found out that my seals seem to be holding up rather well so far. I used Honda 10W fork oil to fill it back up. Since then I have found myself in a predicament a couple of times, I have to back the bike out of the garage and turn abruptly after putting it in gear. This has never been a problem before with the empty non working steering damper. Now that it has fluid I feel I am fighting the resistance of the steering damper to make this turn and I almost joined the club that so many of you have already joined.

I was just sitting here thinking about that tonight, about how its getting colder and now with the cooler weather that fork oil is only going to get thicker as the temp drops making it harder and harder to fight the bike into making the turn that I never had a problem with before.

Just a thought, anyone have opinions to this?
Jeremy,
sounds like the dampener is doing it's job a little to well. One option to consider is a little lighter oil like maybe 7.5W oil.

Out of curiosity, did you notice any difference in handling at road speeds? Was having no dampener causing issues of handling at road speeds?

If the answer is no, does your bike need the dampener at this time?

Just a thought form a Northern Illinoyance.

Roy

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post #4 of 23 Old Oct 11th, 2007, 5:23 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbear
Jeremy,
sounds like the dampener is doing it's job a little to well. One option to consider is a little lighter oil like maybe 7.5W oil.

Out of curiosity, did you notice any difference in handling at road speeds? Was having no dampener causing issues of handling at road speeds?

If the answer is no, does your bike need the dampener at this time?

Just a thought form a Northern Illinoyance.

Roy
That was my thought exactly. I didn't need it before, so why do I need it now. I have not noticed any benefit to having it at highway speeds since movements are so minimal that it doesn't do anything. If anything it has hurt my ability at slow speeds. I am sure if I were to buy the Hyperpro damper, it is probably adjustable for that but I am seriously thinking of just taking it off and adding it to the collection of stuff that has been removed from the bike. Canister, spare parts from servicing it, a highly glazed windshield and now a steering damper . Pretty soon I am gonna have a couple hundred pound lighter sport bike with the removal of not needed stuff. Just don't tell my wife.

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post #5 of 23 Old Oct 11th, 2007, 8:32 pm
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Why a steering damper in the first place

Why is there a steering damper in the first place? Is it there to provide stability? I always figured that stability was a function of the bike being in proper order: well aligned, well balanced. The steering damper was there as "insurance" to reduce the severity of oscillation if the bike was not in proper order and things went wrong. But maybe I don't understand these things.

Removing and discarding the steering damper is kind of like discarding your liability insurance; what's it for? I haven't needed it so far....


My take on things is that the steering damper is not there to provide stability, rather, it is there to reduce the consequences if you happen to experience insability. So, before you chuck the damper, consider why it is there in the first place. I'm keeping mine.

Just trying to provide food for thought.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Jabrown
That was my thought exactly. I didn't need it before, so why do I need it now. I have not noticed any benefit to having it at highway speeds since movements are so minimal that it doesn't do anything. If anything it has hurt my ability at slow speeds. I am sure if I were to buy the Hyperpro damper, it is probably adjustable for that but I am seriously thinking of just taking it off and adding it to the collection of stuff that has been removed from the bike. Canister, spare parts from servicing it, a highly glazed windshield and now a steering damper . Pretty soon I am gonna have a couple hundred pound lighter sport bike with the removal of not needed stuff. Just don't tell my wife.
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post #6 of 23 Old Oct 11th, 2007, 9:47 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieVT
---------------------------------------------
My take on things is that the steering damper is not there to provide stability, rather, it is there to reduce the consequences if you happen to experience insability. So, before you chuck the damper, consider why it is there in the first place. I'm keeping mine.

Just trying to provide food for thought.
You are absolutely correct. If everything is smooth and normal, the damper does exactly NOTHING! It is there ONLY to damp out any oscillations that start at the systems natural frequency and start to progress into larger oscillations. All systems have a natural frequency that when exited at that frequency can progress to larger and larger amplitude. The damper is there to stop or at least reduce them if this happens.

If you weight down the rear of the bike when it is on the centerstand, then move the handle bars slowly side to side you will feel little to no resistance from the damper. If you move them rapidly though, after a couple inches movement at the bar ends you will feel the damper kick in and resist movement. The faster the movement, the more the damper resists it.

If the damper did not have this amount of free play in it, it would affect bar turning at normal handling movements, so it does nothing until some amount of movement has taken place, and then only if moved rather quickly.

Riding without a damper will not likely be noticed by the rider, but if hitting something like a pothole or debris on the road when riding at a speed that will cause the wheel to be deflected at the natural frequency (usually around 35-45 MPH on most bikes) you can get the oscillation that can progress to a "tank slapper" without the damper in place to damp it out.

By the way everyone, it is DAMPER, not DAMPENER. You damp vibrations to stop them, not dampen them. The vibration or oscillation will continue unabated if you throw water on it.

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post #7 of 23 Old Oct 12th, 2007, 1:36 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
By the way everyone, it is DAMPER, not DAMPENER. You damp vibrations to stop them, not dampen them. The vibration or oscillation will continue unabated if you throw water on it.
I agree with what you said, but as I have been riding it for 5 days now with the damper doing its job, its really starting to irritate me that I can't react fast enough because that stupid thing is resisting me. I have ridden sport bikes that really needed the damper, but up until 5 days ago i was riding a bike that had one that was not working at all because it didn't have fluid in it. I am just noticing that there is quite a difference in the way I ride now, and I don't like it.

Oh and I completely agree...its DAMPER...look back at mine you will notice I didn't screw that up. I don't think

Jeremy
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post #8 of 23 Old Oct 12th, 2007, 4:04 am
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David, you mean like this ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx5cTDGCdm4
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post #9 of 23 Old Oct 15th, 2007, 11:44 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simoncharles
David, you mean like this ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx5cTDGCdm4

I would have jumped off long before he got thrown off. That stuff hurts. Of course I don't race the LT, Or do I???

Jeremy
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post #10 of 23 Old Oct 16th, 2007, 10:57 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
Riding without a damper will not likely be noticed by the rider, but if hitting something like a pothole or debris on the road when riding at a speed that will cause the wheel to be deflected at the natural frequency (usually around 35-45 MPH on most bikes) you can get the oscillation that can progress to a "tank slapper" without the damper in place to damp it out.

By the way everyone, it is DAMPER, not DAMPENER. You damp vibrations to stop them, not dampen them. The vibration or oscillation will continue unabated if you throw water on it.
Ditto what Dave said.

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post #11 of 23 Old Oct 16th, 2007, 11:10 am
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What about the RT ?

I traded my LT in, a few months ago, on an '07 RT. One of the first things I noticed is that there is no steering damper on an RT. I posted the question as to why on the RT forum, but I didn't really get a satisfactory answer. If it is necessary on the LT, why wouldn't it be on an RT ? Should I have one put on ? And can you put one on if it wasn't designed to have one ? My Rt, so far, seems very stable at speed and I have no complaints. But, years ago, I crashed from a tank slapper and I have no desire to ever go through that again. Tank slappers are a very sensitive topic with me and I would like to do whatever I can to avoid them. The biggest reason I traded my LT in was that I couldn't get rid of the handle bar wobble with no hands. I know everyone is going to say, just keep your hands on the bars. But it just drove me nuts that it was there. And if you don't feel confident in your bike, get a different one.

Roy
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post #12 of 23 Old Oct 16th, 2007, 7:46 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by royal
I traded my LT in, a few months ago, on an '07 RT. One of the first things I noticed is that there is no steering damper on an RT. I posted the question as to why on the RT forum, but I didn't really get a satisfactory answer. If it is necessary on the LT, why wouldn't it be on an RT ? Should I have one put on ? And can you put one on if it wasn't designed to have one ? My Rt, so far, seems very stable at speed and I have no complaints. But, years ago, I crashed from a tank slapper and I have no desire to ever go through that again. Tank slappers are a very sensitive topic with me and I would like to do whatever I can to avoid them. The biggest reason I traded my LT in was that I couldn't get rid of the handle bar wobble with no hands. I know everyone is going to say, just keep your hands on the bars. But it just drove me nuts that it was there. And if you don't feel confident in your bike, get a different one.

Roy
From my short riding history, as I don't have as much experience with motorcycles as some, I have ridden motorcycles with and without a steering damper. From what I have gathered, a lot of the time when a steering damper is added to sport bikes, like the one I owned (2000 Suzuki TL 1000S ) they put a steering damper on as a solution to a front end that was prone to tank slap. So instead of spending a lot of money on R&D they just added a steering damper and there you go a more stable less prone to tank slap front end. However all of my other bikes did not have them. (kawasaki eliminator 250cc , Honda St1100, and some other suzuki that is slipping my mind right now). This may not be the reason for why the LT has it but I would assume since the bike does tend to want to tank slap, that BMW knew about the issue and that was the solution. If the RT doesn't have a problem I would not worry about.

Jeremy
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post #13 of 23 Old Oct 16th, 2007, 8:06 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jabrown
--------------Oh and I completely agree...its DAMPER...look back at mine you will notice I didn't screw that up. I don't think
You were correct, but I threw that in for general information to everyone, as so many seem to mess it up.

Being an engineer, that always gets my attention, along with "Breaks", when they really mean "Brakes".

I am reading a really popular author now, and several times in the latest book I am reading he mentioned the "water break" at the end of an aircraft carrier catapult shot, when it should be "water brake".

Kinda takes a little out of reading when supposedly knowledgeable people make such elemental mistakes.

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post #14 of 23 Old Oct 17th, 2007, 2:48 am
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Same with me when I read "tires" instead of "tyres".
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post #15 of 23 Old Oct 17th, 2007, 10:16 am
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Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by simoncharles
Same with me when I read "tires" instead of "tyres".
There is a difference. Using Break where it should be Brake is incorrect anywhere. Tires is correct in some English speaking countries, Tyers in others. Kinda like Bonnet and Boot, versus Hood and Trunk. Regionally dependent.

Of course to me driving on the left side of the road is incorrect anywhere!

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post #16 of 23 Old Oct 17th, 2007, 12:45 pm
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Tyers ? is that Texan ?.
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post #17 of 23 Old Oct 17th, 2007, 12:55 pm
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Po-tay-to, po-tah-to

Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
By the way everyone, it is DAMPER, not DAMPENER. You damp vibrations to stop them, not dampen them. The vibration or oscillation will continue unabated if you throw water on it.
When we were developing the assembly processes & equipment for the vibration-reduction material now applied to the insides of most H-D rear fenders, I took on the same challenge in attempting to educate everyone that it was not "fender dampening" material, but "fender damping" material. I was soon overruled by someone who pulled out a dictionary and pointed out that "dampen" (and the "dampening" variant) is now generally accepted to mean to deaden, restrain, depress, or reduce amplitude.

I guess when enough people make the same mistake, it becomes acceptable. Two wrongs don't make a right, unless they are well-published.

Same thing happened to "preventive" when it became "preventative" and "orient" when it became "orientate". Next I think we'll see "supposably" in the dictionary.

Bugs the snot outta me.

Dave

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post #18 of 23 Old Oct 17th, 2007, 1:04 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schweintechnik
When we were developing the assembly processes & equipment for the vibration-reduction material now applied to the insides of most H-D rear fenders, I took on the same challenge in attempting to educate everyone that it was not "fender dampening" material, but "fender damping" material. I was soon overruled by someone who pulled out a dictionary and pointed out that "dampen" (and the "dampening" variant) is now generally accepted to mean to deaden, restrain, depress, or reduce amplitude.

I guess when enough people make the same mistake, it becomes acceptable. Two wrongs don't make a right, unless they are well-published.

Same thing happened to "preventive" when it became "preventative" and "orient" when it became "orientate". Next I think we'll see "supposably" in the dictionary.

Bugs the snot outta me.
I am old enough to remember when "Gay" had a totally different meaning.

Another term that has seemingly changed because of long time misuse is
Tire "Cupping". The phenomonen that we almost always see on motorcycle tires, where the tread blocks are individually worn tapered, is really "Feathering". It really bugs me when people call this cupping. Even worse, a couple of the motorcycle tire manufactures have now given up and started using the term "cupping". You would think they would keep using the correct term instead of bastardizing the language further.

It is a bit disheartening that we allow rampant misuse of a word in English to cause us to change the definition.

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David Shealey
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IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
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post #19 of 23 Old Oct 18th, 2007, 7:19 am
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David,

Bill Bryson explains it all in this book

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/boo...80715435&itm=5

Simon
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post #20 of 23 Old Oct 18th, 2007, 8:47 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simoncharles
David,

Bill Bryson explains it all in this book

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/boo...80715435&itm=5

Simon
I will have to get that one. Looks like a fun read. Thanks.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
No bike now, but maybe in the future.
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post #21 of 23 Old Oct 18th, 2007, 8:53 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schweintechnik
When we were developing the assembly processes & equipment for the vibration-reduction material now applied to the insides of most H-D rear fenders, I took on the same challenge in attempting to educate everyone that it was not "fender dampening" material, but "fender damping" material. I was soon overruled by someone who pulled out a dictionary and pointed out that "dampen" (and the "dampening" variant) is now generally accepted to mean to deaden, restrain, depress, or reduce amplitude.

I guess when enough people make the same mistake, it becomes acceptable. Two wrongs don't make a right, unless they are well-published.

Same thing happened to "preventive" when it became "preventative" and "orient" when it became "orientate". Next I think we'll see "supposably" in the dictionary.

Bugs the snot outta me.
My absolute favorite is "dead body". What would happen if someone ever found a "live body"?


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post #22 of 23 Old Oct 18th, 2007, 12:18 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simoncharles
David,

Bill Bryson explains it all in this book

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/boo...80715435&itm=5

Simon
Looks interesting. I also like Richard Lederer's book, Crazy English.

Thanks for the tip!

Dave

'03 K1200LT-C Dark Graphite
'96 Triumph Sprint 900 British Racing Green (traded)
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post #23 of 23 Old Oct 18th, 2007, 1:55 pm
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David / Dave,

You are welcome.

If you order online, this one is by the same author and is a fascinating and extremely educational read. I think it should be compulsory reading for school children of any age.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/boo...8184&pwb=1&z=y

Simon
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