Honda CRF450R Swingarm Bearings Replacement
As part of our CRF450R complete rebuild, we installed new swing arm bearings to the Honda motorcycle, a 2005 model that needed a serious overhaul.
Watch the video above and follow the steps below to do a swingarm bearing replacement on a Honda CRF450R.
NOTE: We used an aftermarket swingarm bearing kit from Pivot Works. The comprehensive kit comes with all the washers, swingarm bearings, needle bearings, spacers, grease and seals needed to get the job done. You can use OEM Honda CRF450 parts for this project if you prefer.
CRF450 Swingarm Bearings Replacement Steps
Step 1. Use a 17mm socket and wrench to remove the nuts and bolts that hold the shock in place.
NOTE: We also removed both the pivot and the dog bone as part of the larger rebuild project, but it’s not required to do this particular project.
Step 2. Remove the rear axle nut and the axle, then lift off the braking system and the rear tire.
PRO TIP: You can use a regular number 2 screwdriver most of the time, but if the screws are really tight, you run the risk of stripping them out because most Japanese machines use a different standard. A JIS standard screwdriver set is recommended if you're serious about working on Japanese bikes.
Step 4. Remove the swingarm bolt and the swingarm itself and clean it up.
Step 5. Remove the outer washer, the pivot collar, the thrust bearing, the inner washer, and the seal on the other side of each side of both swingarm cavities.
PRO TIP: Line up each piece in the order you removed them as a reference for when you install the new pieces. Also take note of the depth where the needle bearing is placed, which should be about even with the edge of the swingarm itself, for reference when you press in the new one at the same depth.
Step 6. Use a suspension bearing tool to remove each suspension bearing from both sides of the swingarm cavities.
PRO TIP: Line up the new bearings, washers, seals and collars from left to right alongside the old ones in the order they came out to make it easier to install them correctly.
Step 7. Clean out the swingarm cavities, then add a light layer of grease to the cavities and the bearing to make it easier to push them in.
Step 8. Make note of the edges of the swingarm bearings, which are a little bit different from one side to the other. Use the suspension bearing tool to press in the bearing, with the stamped lettering facing out and the more curved edge going in.
Step 9. Grease each piece as you’re putting them in either side of the swingarm. Install the washer, bearing, washer and seal. When you install the outer washer, make sure it goes inside of the lip and doesn't push down on the seal. Next, install the seal on the other side of the cavity.
Step 10. Pack the cavity with grease, then push the collar in.
Repeat the procedure of installing the bearings, washers, collars and seals for the other side of the swingarm.
As noted, we took apart the entire machine as part of our larger Honda CRF450 complete motorcycle rebuild. If you’re just replacing the swingarm bearings on your bike and nothing else, reinstall the swing arm bolt, making sure you grease it down, and bring it through the engine before replacing its nut and washer. Grease the back pivot point as well before reinstalling it, then replace the rear tire and braking system and you’re done.